For a little more than a year, the River at Tampa Bay Church has been warning would-be church shooters that coming inside might be a very bad idea.
Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne reminded his followers of the church’s policy with the following Instagram post last week:
The post caught the attention of The Tampa Bay Times, which reported on the policy. Associate Pastor Allen Hawes told the newspaper:
"It is a deterrent. Look at what is going on. In the past two months, look at what happened in Texas. Look at what happened in Las Vegas. Because we are a church that is on television, we are very involved in the community. We want people to know that this is a safe zone. We are not a soft target. People here will defend their families."
Howard-Browne’s church seats 1,400 and has nearly 2,800 members who attend services in person—plus about 600 who watch online—many of whom Hawes said are armed and “prepared to use deadly force, if necessary.”