Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick wants Texans to know that current state law allows for concealed handgun licensees to carry to church clarified.
In the wake of the Sutherland Springs church shooting that left 26 dead, Patrick wants Attorney General Ken Paxton to issue an opinion on guns in churches that leaves no doubt.
“Current law says that you can carry into a church unless a church posts a sign, but the law as it was written years ago was not as clear as it should be,” Patrick said.
He believes the additional firepower from churchgoers will increase safety.
“Members, to feel safe, may want to carry or the church may want to organize a security force. They may welcome people to carry their weapon,” Patrick said.
Gateway Church in Midlothian welcomes worshipers to carry concealed to church, but not out in the open.
“If they're concealed we're fine, but we do want to respect those that don’t always feel like guns are the answer and so we don’t allow open carry,” said Gary Puckett, the church’s safety director.
Pucket said he prays for protection, but tells his safety team to always be ready.
“Preparation is better than surprise, but expect the unexpected. We expect the unexpected and we're gonna be prepared for it,” Puckett said.
Clarifying the law on guns in churches, Patrick says better prepares, churches of all sizes for the unexpected.
“Most of the churches in Texas are smaller and this is just an added measure of security,” Patrick said. “After we saw what happened in Southerland Springs, we know that no church is too small for that type of evil.”
Patrick says when lawmakers convene in 2019, a new law covering guns in churches written in plain language will be crafted.