PHOENIX - A local pastor defends his right to own a firearm and even use it for self-defense -- under the Bible.
Pastor John Correia asked ABC15 not to mention the church where he leads out of privacy for his congregation.
Correia says he believes the Bible allows him and others to own firearms in order to protect themselves and others.
Correia says the Bible makes a difference between murder and killing.
“Murder is always wrong,” said Correia.
Correia first bought a gun in seminary school.
“I was running a video game store and there were news stories about people getting mugged and I said, 'no not me,'” said Correia.
Correia won’t say if he carries a concealed weapon with him while preaching on Sundays.
“A firearm is a weapon,” said Correia. “It has one purpose. So if you’re not morally prepared to defend your life or others, I tell people they should not own firearms.”
Outside of church, Correia runs two pro-gun organizations called Active Self Protection and Females with Firearms.
Correia says he has taught all four of his children, starting as young as 8 years old, how to safely shoot a gun.
For his daughter’s 8th birthday, Correia bought her a .22 single shot pink rifle.
Inside his Phoenix home, Correia owns more than a dozen guns.
Correia says he’s open and honest with his congregation about his pro-gun opinions for transparency.
“I live among my flock and I don’t separate this is my private life and this is my church life, to me that’s hypocrisy,” said Correia.
Correia says often times, pastors are dealing with people during the worst times of their lives which can be dangerous.
“You would be surprised how many pastors carry,” said Correia.
“Maybe 50 years ago people thought church was sacred space but this day in age there’s no such thing,” said Correia .
Before Correia became a pastor, he was an U.S. Navy Electronic Technician 1st class, nuclear qualified.