NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The tragedy in Pittsburgh has many people talking about whether armed guards should be used to protect congregants in houses of worship.

Rabbi Gary Moskowitz says there is no question about it.

“Yes. For sure. We must,” the security consultant told CBS2’s Scott Rapoport.

Rabbi Moskowitz is president of American Security Council. He’s also a martial arts expert and a former New York City police officer.

Rabbi Gary Moskowitz during his time with the NYPD. (Credit: CBS2)

He offers gun training to synagogues, teaching rabbis and employees to use firearms with the idea of arming them inside the house of worship.

Moskowitz says he teaches students “how to draw the weapon. How to shoot while you’re in motion. How to shoot while they’re in motion. How to make sure you don’t hit bystanders.”

An extreme measure to some, but Moskowitz says in today’s increasingly volatile and violent climate there should be several people in every synagogue with a gun permit and the right to carry a firearm.

“I hope they never have to use it, but if you don’t have a gun, how are you going to fight back against someone shooting at you?”

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It is another wrinkle on today’s hot button issue of whether to have armed security inside synagogues, churches, and other religious congregations – an issue even President Trump has publicly supported.

It’s an idea that cuts both ways – one that some may find comforting and others controversial.

“There are congregations that do have armed personnel and there are others that do not have armed personnel,” Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis said.

He adds that this is the conversation at virtually every synagogue right now.

“I can tell you that every congregation is in close contact with police to decide what is appropriate security.”

Rabbi Moskowitz says over the years he has instructed rabbis and congregants in 20 synagogues on the use of firearms in the event of an attack.


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