CRAVEN COUNTY - A New Bern pastor is taking his congregation's safety into his own hands.
On Tuesday News Channel 12 met Reverend Cannon Sears, buying a hand gun at a local gun shop.
Sears said Saint Bartholomew's Church in New Bern has seen several attempted break-ins. He filed a police report on the incidents but decided he needed a little more protection.
Sears showed us the broken latch on the door and the tear in the window screen where thieves attempted to break into the church.
"Not that we're the gun toting church or the church that advocates carrying guns, certainly not that, but I felt we had a duty to be safe and responsible," said Sears.
Sears is originally from near Sandy Hook, Connecticut and is not a stranger when it comes to fire arms. Before becoming a reverend, he served 21 years in the Coast Guard.
Although some may think it's odd for a reverend to be carrying a gun, Sears said it's all about being safe.
"I carry it in the car and out in the open and when I'm in the church if there's no on here I'll keep it at my desk," said Sears.
He said, being former military, he has a duty to make sure his parish is safe.
Sears said he also plans to host a concealed weapons permit class at the church for church members or anyone else who wants to come.
"We want everyone to be safe and to understand just exactly what a fire arm is and how to safely store it if they're going to carry a concealed weapon, what they need to do," said Sears.
When I asked sears on the issues of morality on carrying a gun. He believes anyone who follows the law and is a responsible citizen should be able to carry a firearm.