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Should guns be allowed in church?

Should guns be allowed in church?

Does your parish have a policy regarding guns at church? Congregations in Georgia are grappling with this issue after passage of a state measure allowing guns nearly everywhere, leaving it up to leadership at individual churches to decide whether to ban or allow guns. From WALB News in Albany, Ga.:

Would you want the person next to you on the church pew packing heat?

A bill that passed the General Assembly late Thursday night allows guns in churches but only if church leaders take a vote saying it’s okay.

… Saint Patrick’s Episcopal Church Rector Jay Weldon says bringing guns into his church is more than a political issue.

“For those who disagree with me, (of the opinion that) we need to have guns in church to protect what goes on there. Which seems to me to goes against the general narrative of Jesus and what he taught and what he expects from us,” said Weldon.

Before the new measure passed, it was illegal to bring a gun into a church in Georgia. Just down the highway where I live in Florida, anyone with a concealed weapons permit can bring a gun to church unless the church posts a sign on the premises to the contrary. What’s the law and practice where you live, and what do you think– is church an appropriate place to bring a gun?


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Dirk Reinken

This discussion says as much about the problem of blanket resolutions as it does about the nuances of gun policy.

We had a health fair once where a police officer came with his rescue dog to do a presentation. Because of the attendance, we put them in the church. I cringe a little when I see the photos of him in the sanctuary with his gun, but there was no practical disconnect. Don’t think for a minute that if we had called the police for an investigation of a robbery or violent crime, there wouldn’t be guns in the sanctuary as they did their job.

As for the GC resolution, given that it’s not canon law, I don’t think it’s hypocritical to ignore the ones that don’t make sense in the local context. Just as our Roman friends sometimes have to say “Well the Vatican is in Rome, and we’re here,” sometimes we have to say “Well, GC was in xxx 2 years ago and it’s not here.”

Parishes do it all the time with Open Communion, why not not in the matter of armed public safety officers worshiping in church?

Dirk Reinken

Chris H.

Sorry about the double post, my internet was acting up.

Chris Harwood

Chris H.

JCF, Resolution D003 doesn’t mention exceptions. It “calls for every parish and every diocesan place of work to declare their

establishments as Gun Free Zones” and to place signs in all of them stating so.

GC apparently didn’t believe exceptions should be made. Of course some churches and people will ignore the resolution, but that doesn’t change what was passed, which was why the officer was hurt. From my experience people in the police and military are more aware of the rules and laws than most and even if you say you’ll bend or break the rules, they still feel the hypocrisy more than most. They want it written out. Also in my experience, as TEC has gotten more liberal the idea has spread that no Episcopalian should be in the military, police, etc. so perhaps that is why no exemptions were written into it? Even some comments here assume all cops or soldiers can’t be Christians or are evil.

Chris Harwood

Dcn Scott Elliott

A few years ago, I deaconed for a visiting priest for a weekday Mass, who was an officer in the Chicago Police Department. We locked his weapon in the sacristy safe for the duration of the service.

There really is a difference between someone bringing a gun to church because of some identifiable obligation, and bringing it because of choice.

And another difference between a blanket permission with exceptional prohibitions (how would one do that?), and a blanket prohibition with exceptional permissions – such as have been mentioned upthread.


“a well-regulated militia”, ChrisH: I don’t think anyone objects to AUTHORIZED police or military personnel following their chain-of-command decisions about carrying firearms. They are, by definition, “permitted”—they don’t have to specially get concealed and/or open carry permits (who are the objects of a firearms ban).

JC Fisher

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