Attorney General Ken Paxton says licensed handgun owners can legally carry firearms into some churches.
Paxton released a statement claiming exceptions are churches with posted signs banning firearms. He issued the opinion nearly two months after the massacre in the town of Sutherland Springs.
“If a church decides to exclude the concealed or open carrying of handguns on the premises of church property, it may provide the requisite notice, thereby making it an offense for a license holder to carry a handgun on those premises,” Attorney General Paxton wrote in his opinion. “However, churches may instead decide not to provide notice and to allow the carrying of handfuns on their premises. Unless a church provides effective oral or written notice prohibiting the carrying of handguns on its property, a license holder may carry a handgun onto the premises of church property as the law allows.”
Paxton suggested after the Nov. 5 shooting that churches need armed parishioners or professional security. He also that a state law passed this year exempts churches from paying certain private security fees.
U.S. House Republicans this month rammed through a bill that would make it easier for gun owners to legally carry concealed weapons across state lines. The vote was the first significant action on guns in Congress since the church shooting.