Following the shooting at a church in Texas, an upstate New York pastor sparked controversy for declaring that his church wasn't a "gun free zone" (video below).
The sign in front of Lighthouse of Mexico Church of God in Oswego County, New York, went viral for its strong declaration about allowing guns.
"We say it again. We are not a gun free zone," the sign read.
Ronald Russell, the pastor of the church, told Fox News the sign in front of his church was meant to send the message that something like what happened in Sutherland Springs, Texas, would not happen at his church. He also referenced the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Massachusetts, and the 2015 shooting in San Bernardino, California.
"Ever since Sandy Hook, these individuals -- whether it's in Sandy Hook, whether it's in San Bernardino -- people like to go to gun-free zones to shoot 'em up," Russell said on "Fox & Friends." "And we're just putting out a warning that we believe in the Second Amendment and we do carry, and it's not going to happen in our church."
Russell added that while police officers often take time to respond to events due to travel time and other factors, meaning that having someone there to potentially shoot an attacker would go a long way in saving lives.
"If they have to respond, that means something already's happened, the damage has already taken place," Russell said. "It takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun."
In the Sutherland Springs shooting, 26 were killed before a bystander with a gun chased after the shooter.
Many readers applauded Russell for the message he sent with his sign.
"Absolutely awesome!" one Mad World News reader commented on the site's Facebook page. "Enough! We need to keep our houses of worship safe, our stores, our family and friends safe. I pray that I never am in a situation where I need to defend, but if circumstances dictate that is exactly what I'll do. This country was founded on Christian faith. Do not put our religion or lives at stake."
"I love this pastor and he's spot on right," wrote another. "I have a multitude of thoughts about those whack jobs who shoot up a group of innocent people but not one word is nice so I will refrain from what I really want to say."
"He is a good guy," another commented. "His sign is really a good one. All churches have to change also. Someone needs to be armed to protect everyone. It's really that things have changed so bad but that's the way the ball bounces. Better to be safe than sorry."