Following last month's church massacre in Sutherland Springs, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wants the Texas attorney to clarify what state law says about concealed-carry in churches.
The Lt. Gov. wants AG Ken Paxton to make it clear whether handgun license holders may carry their guns into a church that doesn't post signs prohibiting them.
“You can carry into your church unless the church posts a sign, and in the next Legislative session we'll clean up the language in the law so there is no ambiguity,” says Patrick.
“The law is clear, if a church makes a decision they don't want anyone to carry a gun, they have a right to post a sign or notify their members they cannot, so it's still in the church's hands.”
Patrick points out that the Sutherland Springs gunman was stopped by an armed citizen.
He also wants to know whether a bill passed by the Legislature this year waives the private security fee for churches that the state charges to private institutions.
“Larger churches have hired security, off-duty police officers or on-duty police officers in some cases,” says Patrick. “But your smaller churches have to depend on the congregation very often because of finances.”
The request comes days after Houston area church leaders held a workshop with police to learn better ways to protect their congregations.