Why pastors want a hidden port in places of worship

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BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) – A temporary victory for two local pastors who filed a lawsuit against New York State’s new gun law.

“I will tell people when they come to church — lock the door because we don’t know,” said Jimmie Hardaway, pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Niagara Falls.

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Jimmie Hardaway, pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Niagara Falls.

On Thursday, a federal judge in Buffalo issued an order to temporarily block the law banning concealed carry in “places of worship.”

“There are a lot of African-American pastors who are worried — most pastors I’ve spoken to — many had licenses — many have,” replied Jimmie Hardaway, pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Niagara Falls.

Pastor Hardaway is one of two plaintiffs who have filed a lawsuit against the state’s new gun law that bars him from carrying a concealed weapon in his church.

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Lawsuit filed against NYS.

Hardaway tells me he’s glad the judge made the ruling granting a temporary restraining order.

Hardaway says churches and their congregations are vulnerable and guns are a defense.

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Trinity Baptist Church, Niagara Falls, NY.

“I never want in my life to shoot anyone – not even, but I will protect myself – I will protect my family and I will protect those I have a responsibility to protect,” Pastor Hardaway remarked.

Hardaway tells me he wants Governor Kathy Hochul to hear pastors’ concerns.

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Governor Kathy Hochul appearing in Buffalo on Friday.

During a visit to Buffalo on Friday, Hochul said you shouldn’t be allowed to carry a gun in a church, but there are exceptions for safety reasons.

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Outside Trinity Baptist in Niagara Falls.

“We made an exception – that if it’s for security reasons – security guards, of course you can have a gun. We are not talking about that – we have been talking about ordinary citizens filling our pews in churches and synagogues and even our schools with guns,” Hochul replied.

But Pastor Hardaway says many churches cannot afford security.

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Pastor Jimmie Hardaway.

“Well, if someone is in the room with us shooting – what am I going to grab and call 9-1-1 – I run or shoot back,” Hardaway noted.

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Open Praise Baptist Church on Fillmore Avenue.

Pastor Hardaway sued another Buffalo church leader, Bishop Larry Boyd. I contacted Bishop Boyd at his Open Praise Baptist Church on Fillmore Avenue, but he declined to comment yet.

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn was also named in the pastors’ lawsuit. He says he’s following the law, and under the interim ruling, it now bars him from pursuing any cases.

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Erie County District Attorney John Flynn.

“Now a federal judge says to me — ‘you have to stop doing this’ — I’m going to follow the federal judge, so my reaction is I’m going to do what I’m told,” Flynn described.

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for November 3.

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