Texas Lawmakers Legalize Possession Of Guns In Houses Of Worship

Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church following the 2017 shooting.Screengrab / ABC News / YouTube

This comes after multiple shootings at houses of worship over the past year and a half.

According to Chron, Texas lawmakers want to make it clearer in their state laws that guns are allowed in houses of worship. This comes almost a year and a half after 26 people were killed by a shooter at a Texas church. Last week, a California synagogue shooting left one dead and three injured. In October 2018, a shooter at a Pittsburgh synagogue killed 11 people.

Attorney General Ken Paxton’s opinion after the Texas church shooting was that licensed handgun holders can carry their guns in places of worship unless they’re given “effective oral or written notice” or were warned that weapons were banned from the property. Paxton’s opinion would be codified in the new Texas bill.

Supporters of the bill say that it will help houses of worship determine security measures. Yet, gun rights advocates say the law’s language is confusing and could leave some in doubt of their right to carry.

"I would like to eliminate any doubt that it's legal to carry and use a firearm to defend yourself in a church should the gravest extreme actually present itself," firearms instructor Kenneth Gibson said.

In eight states and Washington D.C., firearms are prohibited in houses of worship unless permission is given by officials at the religious institutions.

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