I am blessed to live in a state where carrying a gun in a church is not verboten.  However, I don’t think any of us are blessed to live in a society where the sight of a gun doesn’t bring at least a tinge of nervousness or, in many unfortunate cases, sheer panic. I attend church on a regular basis. I carry a gun on a regular basis. But I had not, until recently, carried a gun regularly to church. Even in my red, gun-friendly state, the topic of guns in church is about as comfortable as carrying a ma-deuce in a shoulder rig . . .

However, I eventually learned that our pastor owns guns, hunts with guns, and enjoys talking about guns. So do many of our elders. The pastor and I had several conversations about carrying and finally I up and asked him, “What are your thoughts on my carrying a gun to church?” I was delighted with his response.  He said, “I can tell you with great confidence, that on any given Sunday, there are no less than three handguns in the congregation.”  Well, now he has four.

However, there are still dilemmas for those who bring a heat when they worship. Are you prepared to deal with the possibility of being discovered? Do you carry in the nursery?  What if you bend over to pick up a pukey toddler and you print? Have you thought about the consequences of being “caught with a gun around kids?”  The horror! Church clothes are often make it more difficult to conceal a full size pistol on your hip. Are you prepared to be one hip-hug away from the public knowing that you brought an instrument of death to the holy house of God?

81 Responses to Question of the Day: Do You Church Carry?

  1. If you bent over and printed your carry conceal in our church you would probably get asked what you prefer to carry. We live in a very gun friendly area (SW Missouri). The nursery worker may carry, I’m not sure, not having any babies in there. And we also have a trained roving security team who carry concealed walking the grounds during the services. Crazy that we would even have to consider such things, but such is the day.
    Oh, and we are a growing conservative church. Currently averaging about 220 attenders on any given week.

    • I’m in the KC, Missouri area. Our Catholic Parish has rules against it. The overall policy is no weapons at all. I don’t consider knives as weapons, but I don’t carry a firearm in church. If we didn’t have the rule in place I wouldn’t feel guilty carrying in the House of God.

      • There’s nothing to feel guilty about. If life and limb have any sanctity it is derived from the Creator and that is why we are justified in protecting them from aggression with lethal force.

      • To be honest why would anyone attend a church who violates the Word of the Lord? The sword back in the day of Christ was the Military M-16 of that day, and Christ made it abundantly clear what his thoughts are on this matter, and if your Pastor says sword only means the bible he is a apostate because the bible didn’t exist back then, it was not yet written and published for the common man. I have talked to and argues this point with so called men of GOD and when you stick with the topic eventually the truth comes out, it is not the Pastor thinking the bible is the meaning of sword, it is in fact the Pastors own personal bias that he decided to turn as a biblical truth to the IGNORANT he can then fool. This is why only YOU are responsible to know the truth and no where does the bible say put your faith in men/Pastors for your salvation. It actually says the Opposite. Many passages in the Bible warn of the liars in the pulpit and it makes it clear that it would get worse in the end times in which we now live.

        Luke 22:36
        New American Standard Bible (©1995)
        And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.

        here is one we need to learn and commit to memory lest we perish with these Apostates.

        Matthew chapter 7 verses 21,22,23

        21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’
        23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

        Who is your faith in? Men who wear robes, or the Father and the Savior?

        • Good to hear someone this brother you are right on. I would like to add a verse from revelation chapter 13 verses 9,10. To him who has an ear let him hear. Those that lead into captivity, into captivity they will go. Those who live by the sword must also perish by the sword. This is the perseverance and faith of the saints. In the verses prior to this passage it talks about Satan being given power over the saints. So to me this means you can fight to the death with your” sword” or be led into captivity and have to persevere the horrors of captivity like the Jews in WWII. Again right on with your point. Hope this helped to build your faith. I like you wonder if our brother and sisters are up for what lies ahead. It’s hard to get them engaged in reality sometimes. Especially when we have leaders preaching pre tribulation rapture. I may have gotten a little of subject there but you get the point.

        • You seem to forget that Jesus allowed His disciples to be “armed” and never once objected to it. Peter regularly carried a sword for protection.

  2. No, I haven’t carried in the church I belong to now. Once upon a time, long, long ago, I would be armed when at the neighborhood church in the south side of Chicago where I was living at the time. That particular church had been burned to the ground, and I was volunteering time there salvaging glass windows and other debris for rebuilding. Most of my time was spent there in the evening, and I was the wrong color for the neighborhood, so transiting to and from the church, I was at risk.

  3. Much like many gun grabbers have an irrational fear of guns, some concealed license holders have an irrational fear of printing. People aren’t as observant as you would think, I would be surprised if 1% of the people you encounter are aware enough to notice, let alone identify that lump under your shirt. And if someone calls you on it, they’re probably looking for it and therefore, likely friendly to the cause.

    Like RAN58, my sister’s church, which I occasionally attend, is gun friendly. They actually have several CHLs strategically positioned throughout the congregation. More churches should consider this approach, IMO.

  4. There are so many guns at our church, I have serious concerns about a “blue on blue” type shooting occurring in the confusion if anything ever went down.

  5. Actually, after looking at the artwork accompanying this article, the better question is why that guy is wearing jeans and an untucked polo to church. Church is a dress up occasion. At least business casual people, c’mon!

    • I used to wear a suit and tie to church every week. Then I had a kid, whose constant dripping from one end or the the other has driven me to more casual attire. Just as well, ’cause all my suits are too closely tailored for carry.

    • The photo is from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence website and it’s intended to portray churchgoers in a particular light.

      I agree that it’s an occasion for which one should dress up.

  6. I’m lucky that I go to a church that didn’t require “church clothes” so printing isn’t an issue. I carry in church and seeing as my boss and I go to the same church, I know there’s at least two of us. I know that my pastor is gun friendly and a church is no exception to violence, so why wouldn’t I carry there?

  7. Under Virginia law you cannot legally carry during a church service unless specifically authorized by the church governing body so no, I don’t carry in church. When I was financial secretary I carried if I came back in the evening to do the count. If I asked I suspect the answer would be no and will not operate on a don’t ask, don’t tell basis. It would be impolite to put the pastor on the spot by asking.

    • I think you just have to have “good and sufficient reason” to carry in church and the VA Attorney General said self defense was good and sufficient reason.

      • That is an opinion that is subject to interpretation and the incumbent AG. While it may be considered legal to church carry if you have a restraining order against a threat or have received credible death threats, just showing up “in fear of your life” probably won’t cut it with even the most pro-gun Commonwealth Attorneys.

        • Gotcha. I can see how that’s too wide open for interpretation, especially with the prevailing politics in the NoVa area.

  8. “Are you prepared to be one hip-hug away from the public knowing that you brought an instrument of death to the holy house of God?”

    I’m not a church goer but here’s how I’ve handled this in the past:

    Hug happens. “Are you carrying a gun?”

    I look around the room with an uncomfortable look on my face. Then I lean in and whisper “No, it’s a colostomy bag”.

  9. Now that Wisconsin allows concealed carry, there are now at least 5 people that I know of who regularly carry in our church. I wear a jacket and tie, so I carry my Beretta 92FS in an OWB holster, and it’s concealed quite well.
    Our pastor is not a “gun guy”, but he has no problem with us carrying at church.

  10. If I can conceal under a dress shirt, so can you.
    Yes, I church carry. I conduct myself in a manner that does not encourage printing. If I am found out, I simply smile, put a finger to my mouth in a shushing gesture, and say “Yeah, I do carry, but I try to keep it quiet.” If you comport yourself as a decent person, that ought to be enough for them. If they start to panic and start shouting that you have a gun, merely remain calm, and act as though you don’t understand why they are making such a fuss. If you are worried about acting guilty in such a scenario, then perhaps you feel guilty and have some soul-searching to do.

    Oh, and do you doubt that church-goers in the Biblical era all made a habit of not carrying swords? If I recall, one of the disciples carried a sword, and defended Jesus with it.

  11. First place I ever carried was church, no need for the Walmart walk for me. Its a piece of cake to carry IWB under a suit coat. Slightly more difficult with a supertuck and a dress shirt and tie, but still very doable.

  12. I would, but our church and school are intertwined in their construction and I don’t have permission to carry at our school. MN law allows principals/head admins to grant permission; I just don’t have it.

  13. If I ever stepped foot into a church, I’d probably burn up and leave a pile of ashes on the floor, so if I did carry anything, it would have to be cheap and probably all-steel…

    Of course, if I didn’t turn into dust, I’d probably want to shoot myself, so there’s that conundrum 🙂

    In all seriousness, I have quite a few friends that go to church regularly and often pack heat. It is an “open” church and people can walk in/out as they please so I don’t think any of the attendee’s have a problem with a little “swagger” in the pew.

  14. No, but it’s because I don’t go to church. Otherwise, I carry everywhere it’s legal. The only exception is work, because I need the job.

  15. “I can tell you with great confidence, that on any given Sunday, there are no less than three handguns in the congregation.”

    Now that’s a church that can’t be randomly shot up on Sunday.

  16. Yes, and so does my father who is a minister and my grandfather who would open carry every where including when preaching. In addition we have a small group that meets at the range once a month. Now if I could only get the elders to sign of on sponsoring a shooting team

  17. I for one am a devout catholic and attend church every sunday and YES I church carry. I do not go around advertising it but many people who know me personally at church know that I carry and have no problem with it. I usually take along a small carry piece a have dubbed my “Sunday Gun”. (Thank you Good Guys). Now that I have joined the choir and have an excuse to have a satchel for my music and water. I have taken to putting a G19 with spare mags and a sholder rig inside just in case the .38 is not enough. I personally don’t think I will EVER need it but you never know who might get it in their head to shoot up a church. SO I am prepared.

  18. I would not subscribe to a philosophy that asks me to surrender my ability to defend myself and my loved ones. I submit that any such philosophy that asks you to do this is a bad one.

  19. Several folks at the church we most recently attended were regularly armed. Always concealed (this is Texas), but given that one of the deacons was a retired police officer as well as my last CHL instructor I know for sure that multiple folks were comfortably heeled.

    Never saw a firearm displayed, but that’s a pretty safe place to worship. As far as my current church, I know there’s at least one person who carries.

  20. Heck yes, I church carry! Religiously. If we weren’t surrounded by sinners, we wouldn’t need the church in the first place!

  21. This guy sounds like he’s new to carrying.

    I can remember being worried about printing when I first started carrying, but as time has gone on, I’ve realized the truth: people don’t generally notice if you ignore it. Additionally, those who are predisposed to notice are also predisposed to not really care.

    • Printing is actually illegal in some states.

      In states, where it isn’t, there can still be social repercussions to being made carrying. Sure a modest lump isn’t going to mean anything to those not in the know, but sometimes, especially when you carry all the time, you have the occasional oops of an exposed gun. It’d suck to have it happen right in the middle of church with a bunch of people who don’t get it being the discoverers.

      • I’ve been carrying regularly for something like a year and a half, and in that time I’ve been spotted precisely twice; Once while hugging a relative, and the other time in a church at a scout meeting.

        That said, I live in PA, and I generally work outside. For a time I worried about printing, but as time has worn on, I’ve realized that the minimal amount I print with my service-length XD doesn’t matter.

        As I said, people tend to not notice it when I ignore it. Furthermore, those who are inclined to notice it are generally those who are inclined to not care about it.

        The paranoia many have about printing reminds me a lot of what I have heard from first-time OCers — they think that EVERYONE is looking at their gun, and they become self-conscious.

  22. Not that I’d ever voluntarily enter another church as long as I live, but if I did, I’d take the same things I take everywhere else, including a firearm. Who knows, it might come in handy when I start handing out copies of Hitchens and asking the parishioners if they’d like to accept Sagan/Popper as their lord and savior.

  23. If I correctly understand carry laws in Texas, I can only carry in church with the church’s (pastor’s) permission … or something like that. I haven’t had a chance to have that discussion since I got my CHL, so … No.

    • Jimbo,

      You do not understand the Texas CHL law correctly with respect to church carry. It is legal to do so without permission unless the curch posts a 30.06 sign or askes you to leave. Please see PC 46.035 Par (i).

  24. Why shouldn’t you carry in church? Of course, the last couple of churches to be attacked were lefty churches attacked by right-wing crazies. Just sayin’. I will likely never go to church excepting weddings and funerals, but it seems like a good place to be armed.

  25. I don’t attend as regularly as I used to, but whenever I’m sitting in the pew or in the choir loft I’m carrying. Many of the church staff either carry themselves or encourage those with permits to carry, because they are wise enough to realize that bad things can happen in the church building, same as it can happen in a school. But just like any place else, you have to be discreet about it so that you don’t scare the sheep.

    My dad believes in the right to self defense, but doesn’t believe one should carry in church. I have tried my best to help him see that your right to self-defense doesn’t stop at the church doors, but he won’t see it any other way. Puzzling.

    What some people refuse to understand is that if you make ANY place a “gun-free” zone, then you have done nothing less than to invite evil into your midst.

  26. Of course I carry a gun to church. At the church that I most recently attended in Wisconsin, the pastor knew, and another congregant assumed that I did so. Why would anyone object? This is a red herring put out by the left to delegitimize the ownership and carry of arms for self defense.

  27. When my oldest boy finally found a decent woman and got married I not only carried at the service and reception I let it be known to a select few that there was a loaded Garand and 12 gauge close at hand in my vehicle. Both of the young couple had very unstable exes who had made threats against their nuptials. As I told his mama, chances of an incident were low, maybe 5% or so, but it was cheap insurance anyway. Ceremony and party came off without a hitch. Several folks including both mothers later thanked me for my foresight.
    Couple just celebrated their 11th anniversary by the way.

  28. There is no prohibition in Fla for CC in a church, nor any legal requirement to obey ‘Victim Disarmament Zone’ signs. In my home church there are probably between a dozen to 2 dozen pieces in the service on any given Sunday, and quite a few more in locked in vehicles in the parking lot. Not that we anticipate needing to use them, but we are prepared.
    A few ‘one-liners’ come to mind; I carry a pistol because it’s too hard to sit in a pew with a 12 ga. strapped to my leg. and We carry rifles to deal with expected threats. We carry handguns to deal with unexpected threats. I don’t carry because I am afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. I do not prepare because I fear…I do not fear because I am prepared! I don’t carry a gun because I want to shoot someone, I carry a gun because if I’m attacked, I don’t want to have to beat them to death with just any ole rock that I found on the side of the road.
    I have used ‘printing’ to open a conversation with more than one gun-fearful person and have used that opportunity to offer them initial safety training at my local range. Quite a few of them have changed their minds about the ‘scary firearms’ from those encounters and trips to the range. Not everyone becomes a gunny from the encounter, but a lot of people have gotten over their irrational, media-driven fears, and we’ve been able to introduce more people into the safety aspects of the gun world.

  29. I carry. I go to church. I don’t “church carry” because that implies something special. I also have my keys, my wallet, my cell phone and who knows what else when I walk into church. The only thing that I “carry” that I normally don’t everyday is my Bible.

    We probably have a dozens carry guns in our Sunday morning service. I told my pastor once that if he sees me in public then I am carrying. He never batted an eye. Never been spotted or had trouble in ten years of wrestling on the floor with the toddlers during nursery or serving communion.

  30. I have always carried in church and always will so long as my health allows. I would rather have the gun and not need it then need it and not have it.
    As far as carrying a gun in the nursury, what’s the problem????
    I don’t know where all these faint of heart people have come from. GUNS ARE NOT BAD. They are a tool.
    As a boy 45 or more years ago I would walk the streets of downtown Lancaster, NY with a gun slung over my shoulder with no problems from the police or any one else. Nothing was thought of it. We need to reeducate people that guns are not bad.

  31. Oh yeah, I specifically asked the pastor, who was an ex-cop, before I was willing to attend his church, he told me that it was a good idea to carry what with the number of church shootings that have happened.
    “Gun free zone” = homicidal maniac empowerment zone.

  32. What if you bend over to pick up a pukey toddler and you print?

    Carrying or not, if you have to pick up anything as heavy and squirmy as a toddler kneeling is much safer and easier on your back. And you’re less likely to print.

    Are you prepared to be one hip-hug away from the public knowing that you brought an instrument of death to the holy house of God?

    1. Since I teach CHL many of the people in my church know I carry, particularly the ones who have taken my class so they can carry.

    2. I have a feeling the hundred or so members of the New Life Church, who weren’t killed because CHL Jeanne Assam used her “instrument of death” on an active killer, can provide an even better answer. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Colorado_YWAM_and_New_Life_shootings)

  33. When I was still a church goer back in OKC our youth pastor co-owned a jewelry store with his wife, he was also a reservist with the Sheriff’s dept. He always carried.

  34. Concealed carry at church frequently becomes open carry because it gets so warm in there sometimes that I take my jacket off. The only reaction I have ever received was conversations about makes and models of pistols and what ammo I feed my carry piece.

  35. No – I don’t.
    Others in my church do.
    The idea of the church as a safe place or as an escape from society resonates with a lot of people, making them not want guns there.

    I guess a lot of it depends on your point-of-view.
    Plenty see guns as a method of defense, so they favor them.
    Others see guns as something likely to be used against them, so they oppose them.

    The church angle makes for an interesting discussion.
    One thing’s for sure though: There won’t be anyone shooting at anybody in heaven.

  36. Awhile back, here in Virginia, I asked my preacher if it was OK to carry, and after about a month, got word from him that NO it’s NOT. I wasn’t very happy. Now, a year later, the deacons have decided we need to be prepared, and I have been asked to be one of our sheepdogs in the sanctuary! didn’t see that coming!!

  37. I don’t understand why anyone would feel guilty for carrying in church. We have a moral, ethical, and loving responsibility to protect Gods people. Some are to gentle and trusting to want to be armed in church to fend for themselves. Evil will rear it’s ugly head when and where you least expect it. And where more attractive to Satin than a building full of gentle loving people to attack? Would your conscience bother you more for carrying in church and NEVER needing it, or NOT carrying one time when there is an attack resulting in severe injury or loss of life knowing you could have prevented it. If you are in my church be assured that you have at least one Christian brother ready to fight for your life against evil.

  38. We had our 50th anniversary party this last August with many of our past Priests present and our Bishop! It was advertised in the paper for several weeks before so because we have heard of many muslim terror attacks I asked several of our Men’s Fellowship members that had a Concealed Carry to be present carrying. I also found out that the Color Guard of the Knights of Columbus came concealed Carry as well. I was busy at the grill through most of the festivities but had my revolver on my hip. This was in place hoping it was not needed and it was not thank goodness.

  39. Once upon a time I did not carry at church, then I heard a statement from a local deputy that changed my outlook on the matter. He said “How would I feel if I had the option and the ability to protect my fellow Christians, but because I didn’t carry my weapon that day, I was unable to, and something happened to them. I could not live with that guilt.”

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