Churches are considered sacred places where people should always feel safe to worship and gather with other people as they desire. However, shootings in the past have often focused on breaking up the peace that people should feel in a house of worship. Currently, very few states specifically outlaw the ability to carry a gun in church. However, you’ll still want to take these steps to make sure you’re following the local regulations for the church you attend.
Find Out the Church’s Stance
Your first step is to make sure you’re in a state that doesn’t prohibit carrying a gun in church. Since state gun laws can change periodically, it’s important to double-check anytime you’re visiting a new location. The majority of states leave it up to the churches, since they’re considered privately owned property. A church may choose to post a notice if guns are prohibited, but they’re also allowed to use verbal or written language. Never choose to carry if you’re unsure of the church’s guidelines. Instead, a quick phone call to a leader in the organization can tell you if you’ll be staying within the law.
Determine if You Feel It’s Necessary
Many churches have implemented security measures that are designed to protect everyone in the building. For instance, some churches hire police officers to keep watch during their services. Or there may be an armed security guard within the building. When you check on the gun laws, it’s a good idea to find out what other security measures are in place. If you hear the church is actively watching over the congregation, you may not feel the need to carry. However, your safety is your own responsibility. As a general rule, never rely on someone else to provide that safety for you.
Pay Attention to the Use of the Church
Churches may be allowed to make their own decisions about carrying guns, but schools are still prohibited places for both concealed and open carry in most states. Since some churches also operate as schools, this is one area where your rights could get murky. Depending on the organization you visit, they may choose to prohibit guns completely, or you may only be allowed to carry outside school hours. Once again, this is an area where reaching out to someone who works for the organization can help you stay in compliance. Federal gun free school zone laws prevent carrying a firearm at schools. However, there may be some exceptions for concealed carry license holders in your state. Check your state laws to find out.
Think through Your Response to a Threat
You’ll also want to think carefully about when it would be considered legal to use your firearm in a church building. While you may have the right to defend yourself and others in a life-threatening situation, you still place yourself in a vulnerable position anytime you draw your weapon. If you get involved in a church shooting, you will be required to prove your reasons for using your gun. You’ll also need to carefully weigh your ability to use it safely in a crowd. If you plan to carry in church, make sure to stay on top of your gun safety training and practices so you’re fully prepared to defend your life without putting anyone’s life in jeopardy.
Whether people use handguns for protection, hunting, competition, or another purpose, they should make sure they have the proper training to handle and shoot them safely. You can count on the firearm education experts at Gun Safety Training Pros when you’re looking for the finest handgun safety course online. If you want to learn more about the crucial aspects of safe firearms ownership and gun handling, contact us today at info@GunSafetyTrainingPro.com.