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Pa. church plans blessing ceremony for AR-15s
A church in northeast Pennsylvania is telling couples to bring their semi-automatic rifles to a blessing ceremony next week.
The event is meant to give couples an opportunity "to show their willingness to defend their familiars, communities and nation," The Times-Tribune in Scranton reported.
It will take place at the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland, Pa., on Wednesday.
"All of the weapons in the ceremony will be checked to make sure they are unloaded, with a zip tie so that no bullets can be inserted," Sanctuary Church president Richard Panzer said in an email, according to the The Times-Tribune.
"We are inviting local and state police to be on the premises, so that everything goes safely."
The blessing ceremony will be held just weeks after a gunman, using an AR-15, opened fire at a high school in Florida, killing 17 people.
Panzer noted the church has "no ill intent" and does not see any connection "since these firearms are for self-defense."
He also addressed school shootings and raised the suggestion of arming teachers.
"Regarding the school shootings, if any of the teachers had been allowed to carry a firearm, many lives could have been saved," he added. "Several states have passed legislation to allow exactly that."
Since the Florida high school shooting, students across the country have been rallying for gun control.
They are demanding that lawmakers take action to prevent future mass shootings and to keep their schools safe.