From Dylan T. Lovan in the Durango (KY) Herald:
A Kentucky pastor invited his flock to bring guns to church to celebrate the Fourth of July and the Second Amendment.
New Bethel Church welcomed "responsible handgun owners" to wear their firearms inside the church Saturday. An ad says there was a handgun raffle, patriotic music and information about gun safety.
"We're just going to celebrate the upcoming theme of the birth of our nation," said pastor Ken Pagano on June 3. "And we're not ashamed to say that there was a strong belief in God and firearms - without that, this country wouldn't be here."
The guns must be unloaded, and private security will check visitors at the door, Pagano said.
He said recent church shootings, including the killing Sunday of a late-term abortion provider in Kansas, which he condemned, highlight the need to promote safe gun ownership.
The New Bethel Church event was planned months before Dr. George Tiller was shot to death in a Wichita church.
Kentucky allows residents to openly carry guns in public with some restrictions. Gun owners carrying concealed weapons must have state-issued permits and can't take them to schools, jails or bars, among other exceptions.
Pagano's Protestant church, which attracts as many as 150 people to Sunday services, is a member of the Assemblies of God. The former Marine and handgun instructor said he expected some backlash, but has heard only a "little bit" of criticism of the gun event.
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