Calls Come In For Armed Security At Houses Of Worship Following Pittsburgh Shooting
A Los Angeles based security firm says it received a spike in inquiries from Jewish temples about their armed guard services immediately following the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
Jeff Zisner, president of Aegis Security and Investigations, said his company specializes in services including security consultation designed to improve on existing protocols, as well as operating procedures and physical improvements of houses of worship.
“So we provide the training and the consulting anywhere in the nation. But the guard service we provide locally in Southern California — typically in Los Angeles and the L.A. region. And, yes, the last couple of years we’ve had more interest in security services.”
He went on to say, “In the last couple of years it’s been in general, but today — specifically today’s interest has been from synagogues. We’ve had requests for training and consulting in multiple synagogues throughout the country. And for guard service locally in Los Angeles.”
Calls for more armed security teams at synagogues have also been happening on the East Coast since the Pittsburgh shooting happened Saturday.
The New York Post reported Sunday that a New York City rabbi, who was an NYPD law enforcement officer for nine years, called on Jewish congregants in the city to arm themselves at services.
“You must have it,” Rabbi Gary Moscowitz said of armed congregants. “A guy comes in with a gun, and what can they do? Throw chairs at them? We’re sitting ducks here,” he told The Post. “Several people in every synagogue should have the right to carry a premise permit.”
The Post also reported Sunday that Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, another former NYPD officer, said that he plans to bring his firearm to his church and urged other off-duty police officers attending church to do the same.
— Ivan Pereira (@IvanPer4) October 28, 2018
“This is a case where, if they had an armed guard inside, they might have been able to stop him immediately,” Trump said. “Maybe there would have been nobody killed, except for him, frankly. So it’s a very, very — a very difficult situation” President Donald Trump told reporters following the mass murder at the Tree of Life synagogue. (RELATED: SHOOTER OPENS FIRE AT PITTSBURGH SYNAGOGUE, MULTIPLE FATALITIES REPORTED)
However, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio blasted President Trump for suggesting that armed security is the answer to protect houses of worship.
“I don’t think that the answer to this problem is solved by having our synagogues, mosques and churches filled with armed guards or our schools filled with armed guards,” Peduto said Sunday on NBC News’ “Meet The Press.”
Mayor de Blasio agreed, saying, “Our hearts go out to Pittsburgh. You will see a strong NYPD presence at Jewish institutions across our city. But let’s be clear: suggesting a house of worship should have had armed guards is blaming the victims, and that’s not America. That’s not our values.”
Jews for The Preservation of Firearms Ownership spokesman Alan Korwin shot back at the idea that having an armed security presence is victim blaming.
“[Trump] is making an observation. He’s not blaming anybody. He’s making a statement of fact. And, in fact, it’s true. When there are armed people — when there’s an attack, the murderer gets shot,” Korwin told TheDC. (RELATED: JEWISH PRO-2A ORG SPOKESMAN SLAMS MEDIA FOR SYNAGOGUE ATTACK COVERAGE)
Nevertheless, armed security teams are a growing reality in the United States after fatal shootings at houses of worship across different faiths have happened in the last few years.
“Right off the bat when we opened in 2010, we were servicing houses of worship and it’s continued to grow every year,” Zisner told The Daily Caller of his security company.
NBC News reported a training school in Corona, California, added a “synagogue security” class just last year after the popularity of its private training sessions for synagogue security became very popular with clients.
Last year in Sutherland Springs, Texas, 26 were killed by a gunman. In 2016, a shooter entered a church in Dayton, Ohio and killed the pastor and one other member. Nine were murdered at a church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015. Three people were killed in 2014 at a Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas. In 2012, six worshippers at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin were also shot and killed.