Legislator proposes allowing armed guards in N.J. churches

TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R-Ocean County) thinks New Jersey should allow the state’s thousands of houses of worship to hire armed guards. 

His legislation (A1695), according to the veteran Republicam legislator’s office, would allow “a church, mosque, or synagogue to establish a security program by selecting a qualified person to carry a concealed handgun during worship and prayer services.”

“The horrific mass shooting at a Texas church last year is a grim reminder that no public place, including churches, synagogues and mosques, is safe from attack,” said Dancer. “It’s unconscionable that innocent people attending religious services have to worry about their safety in these sacred places. Sadly, that’s our new reality. Allowing qualified and trained armed personnel on site will help protect worshippers.”

The designated guard — paid or volunteer — could be required to participate in a firearms training course with certified instructors. Churches could also hire off-duty police or other similarly situated and legal carriers of firearms to fill the role. 

Dancer’s bill isn’t expected to make much headway with the governorship and both houses of the legislature solidly in Democrat hands.

New Jersey’s firearms regulations remain among America’s most restrictive.