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Dean Weingarten writes [via]:

According to, two states ban concealed carry in churches: Nebraska and Louisiana. Nebraska allows a church to authorize an armed security team if the team members have carry permits and written notice is given to church members.  Louisiana law is similar but requires an extra eight hours of training every year. Seven states and D.C. that require the permission of a church leader to conceal carry firearms in church, and 41 states where carry in churches is treated the same as any other private property.

Of the 41 states that treat churches the same as other private property, eight are “may issue” states, where the permit-issuing authority can deny the exercise of the Second Amendment for almost any reason. Those states are California, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. Within these states, the issuance of permits ranges from almost none in Hawaii and New Jersey, to fairly large numbers, as in upstate New York and Massachusetts.

There are 13 states that do not require a permit to carry concealed. They are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, and West Virginia.

Open carry is legal in most states. Only five states prohibit the open carry of holstered handguns in most public places. Those states are California, Florida, Illinois, New York and South Carolina. 26 States do not infringe on the right to openly carry firearms.

Six states infringe on open carry in a few specific areas. Pennsylvania requires a permit for Philadelphia, Colorado requires a permit for Denver,  and Iowa requires a permit inside city limits. The other three states allow localities to pass restrictions on open carry without a permit. 13 states require a permit for open carry.

In my experience, most people who carry in church carry concealed. There are churches where open carry is common and acceptable. In my church, The Vertical Church, in Yuma, Arizona, open carry is common and seen every Sunday. Many of the open carriers are on the church security detail. There are concealed carriers as well, but they are harder to count. People switch between open and concealed carry as is convenient.

In the early colonies, people were sometimes required to be armed at church. In “Origins and Development of the Second Amendment“, I found a reference to colonial requirements to carry guns in church from the Virginia laws of arms-bearing.

All men that are fitting to bear arms, shall bring their pieces to the church…

The law dated to 1631.  David Hardy found it in the 1823 work by William Henning, “The Statutes at large, being a collection of all the laws of Virginia, Vol. 1 at 127, 173-174.”

Those were perilous times in Virginia. Church attendees are not attacked with the frequency that they were in the 1630’s in Virginia. The United States today has a population tens of thousands of times greater than all the colonies in 1631. It seems like we are being attacked at a greater frequency because each attack is trumpeted over the entire nation, and our communication system is so good that everyone hears of every attack almost immediately.

Church attendees tend to be responsible people. It makes sense for those with knowledge of firearms to carry at church. With the recent attacks on church attendees, the legal carry of firearms to church is bound to rise.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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    • I think they have a ban on murder as well. armed or not when your on your knees and eyes closed the damn church needs a security team. some out side some at the doors with eyes open. if not its nothing more than a killing pit.

    • It is high time for those two states to change their laws. Maybe this incident will help them understand the necessity of doing so. I’ll bet both change that within the next few weeks.

  1. An old friend from Omaha used to refer to his fellow statesmen as being “A buncha’ corn fed fuckin’ retards” from “the trailer park state” where “when tornadoes role through, the view is vastly improved”. Esoteric Inanity however, could not possibly comment.

  2. I just don’t understand why this makes sense; to anybody. I mean really? Disarming people because a miscreant came to church to shoot up the place? Shouldn’t it be just the opposite? I know I’m preaching the to the choir but this is just insanity. What am I missing?

  3. “Bring your pieces to church”…yep. If you can’t carry find another house of worship. Or have a home church…

    • “If you can’t carry find another house of worship.”

      This last event in Texas is the last straw. I am going to confront my church. If they do not support our God-given right to life and self-defense, I will move to a different church.

  4. Dc is an outlier. One needs to jump through the hoops to possess the gun before entering a house of worship. Unless we are talking about the church residents.

  5. How are such bans constitutional? Churches are private organazitions, privately owned, on privately owned property. That would be no different, at all, from those states banning concealed carry in the home.

    • I was wondering about this. If a member of a church wanted to carry concealed in the church, could they do so without a permit as long as they had permission of the church’s governing body? Or would that depend on the state?

  6. Utah is technically incorrect on your map. The state allows a church to post public notice that concealed carry is not allowed. The largest church in the state is the only one to do so.

  7. Living in one of the yellow states I have found churches in my area don’t allow CC. My wife and I no longer attend formal services.

    • Rusty Chains,

      Have you confronted any of those churches in your area with the Biblical truths of our God-given right to life and self-defense?

      Any church that denies our right to life and self-defense is steeped in an egregious Biblical error: and they need someone to show it to them.

      Note that I am in a similar situation. I have prepared a lengthy defense of our right to life and self-defense. I am going to present it to my church shortly. I say this as encouragement to you.

        • DrunkEODGuy,

          I am willing to send you my write up. It is WAY too long to copy and paste here. At the present time, I have it as a Microsoft Word document. Is that something that you can read? If not, I could probably find a way to convert it to a PDF document if you can read those. (My apologies if you are not versed in computing to understand document formats.)

          If you are still interested, I will create a temporary e-mail account and post it here. Once I post the e-mail account, you can privately e-mail me so that I know what your e-mail account is. This protects your personal e-mail account from exposure to the world.

          I will check back in a day or so to see if you replied.


        • DrunkEODGuy,

          I created a temporary e-mail account. Please send me an e-mail to that temporary account so that I can in-turn send you the document.

          My temporary e-mail account is jdoes7777 at gmail dot com. In case it isn’t obvious, I replaced the @ symbol with the word “at” and I replaced the . (period) with the word “dot” in my email address. I also added spaces. (Those steps tend to prevent automated routines from finding my e-mail address and hammering it with spam.)

  8. Pay no attention to prohibitive signage. My life My choice. Carry everywhere I go. Bank.Post Office.Police Station,Sheriff’s office where I get my License renewed. Even in the Court House. Never been asked whether I have a gun or Not. Don’t act a fool and no one will ever know. Concealed means Concealed.

    • Felony also means felony. Joking aside, Its dumb for the places to be prohibited places carry firearms since my understanding is in PA you can carry into a bank and also into a restaurant that’s serves alcohol. Weird

  9. It’s called Concealed Carry for a reason. What ‘they’ don’t know won’t hurt them. What hurts them is when church-goers think they’re heaven bound and bullet proof.

    I carry everywhere, posted or not. My family’s personal security is not in the hands of an hoped-for 9-1-1 call made by some store clerk and while waiting for a cop to decide my life is worth coming to protect.

  10. People may think of West Virginians as dumb back woods hicks , at least the media likes to portend that that’s what people think , but we are a right to carry state , concealed and open carry , permit or no permit . Seeing all the havoc taking places on the streets of American cities , in the malls , entertainment events , schools and churches , our dumb hick back woods legislators passed the can carry law . We are not a gun free zone in WV . If you bring your intended lead based havoc here , you’re likely to be met with incoming lead , any State that lends itself to being your ultimate protector is playing you while they tax you .


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