Jump to content
4Freedom

Carrying Gun In Place of Worship

Recommended Posts

I had some questions about the laws involving the banning of guns in religious places of worship.   Where I some religious institutions have received death threats in the past and there was a high profile shooting in a religious community center in Seattle a while back where an armed assailant forced his way into the building and shot up a day care center, killing some young children.      
 

Anyhow, I probably don't need to discuss too much about why I would like to carry a gun while attending a religious institution, especially with all the high profile church shooting, etc.  I have been researching the gun laws in several states and I can see some states like Utah, Louisiana, etc forbid the carrying of a firearm in a place of worship.   I would like to know the laws in Tennessee about carrying a gun concealed (or even openly) in a place of worship.  Most likely I would carry concealed, but one institution I use to attend, people were encouraged to open carry, because of some threats they received.


I guess I am wanting to know if carrying in a religious institution is allowed in Tennessee or if it is allowed with caveats, like require signed permission.  I assume No Gun Signs in any establishment in Tennessee would make the place off-limits. 

Edited by 4Freedom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tennessee does not ban carrying in places of worship. It is up to the the particular church in question to make that decision.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I had some questions about the laws involving the banning of guns in religious places of worship.   Where I some religious institutions have received death threats in the past and there was a high profile shooting in a religious community center in Seattle a while back where an armed assailant forced his way into the building and shot up a day care center, killing some young children.      
 
Anyhow, I probably don't need to discuss too much about why I would like to carry a gun while attending a religious institution, especially with all the high profile church shooting, etc.  I have been researching the gun laws in several states and I can see some states like Utah, Louisiana, etc forbid the carrying of a firearm in a place of worship.   I would like to know the laws in Tennessee about carrying a gun concealed (or even openly) in a place of worship.  Most likely I would carry concealed, but one institution I use to attend, people were encouraged to open carry, because of some threats they received.

I guess I am wanting to know if carrying in a religious institution is allowed in Tennessee or if it is allowed with caveats, like require signed permission.  I assume No Gun Signs in any establishment in Tennessee would make the place off-limits. 

One big caveat...if there's a school on church grounds. The AG released an opinion a few years back that firearms cannot be carried during school activities. It's worth taking a look. May be a good opportunity to head to a security team for the church.

https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/attorneygeneral/documents/ops/2015/op15-67.pdf


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

oops, got my threads mixed up ...

Edited by Oh Shoot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I don't open carry and my church isn't posted, it's never been an issue during 30+ years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Churches have to be posted like most anywhere else. 

Regarding the school possibility, it has to be a real, accredited school that runs a normal school schedule.  A pre-school that meets a few days/wk isn't a "school". 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Also private schools may adopt their own policy on guns.  


Doesn't read like private schools can be exempt. See below from the TN Code. I don't think a majority of churches have private schools and have to deal with this as an issue.

"...in any public or private school building or bus, on any public or private school campus, grounds, recreation area, athletic field or any other property owned, operated, or while in use by any board of education, school, college or university board of trustees, regents or directors for the administration of any public or private educational institution."


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, jdgreen said:

 


Doesn't read like private schools can be exempt. See below from the TN Code. I don't think a majority of churches have private schools and have to deal with this as an issue.

"...in any public or private school building or bus, on any public or private school campus, grounds, recreation area, athletic field or any other property owned, operated, or while in use by any board of education, school, college or university board of trustees, regents or directors for the administration of any public or private educational institution."
 

 

And not just private schools.

Read the rest of 39-17-1309 regarding employee carry by public institutes of higher education.

Then read the the other statutes referred therein regarding private schools:

49-50-803  Which allows gun policy to be set by private K-12 schools

49-7-161  Which allows gun policy to be set by private higher education schools

- OS

 

Edited by Oh Shoot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And not just private schools.
Read the rest of 39-17-1309 regarding employee carry by public institutes of higher education.
Then read the the other statutes referred therein regarding private schools:
49-50-803  Which allows gun policy to be set by private K-12 schools
49-7-161  Which allows gun policy to be set by private higher education schools
- OS
 

OS- Great points. It'd be a full time job keeping up with regulations and all of their variations, exemptions, etc. Laws are only made for law-abiding citizens.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since this is a 'sign' thread and church/school was mentioned, there was no suggestion either was exempt from posting.  However, I was noting that a private school may elect to allow carry as Oh Shoot pointed out in his post, as well as post-secondary schools as UT did about a year or so ago.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My church is probably one of the most heavily armed around.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/14/2018 at 10:56 PM, Steelharp said:

My church is probably one of the most heavily armed around.

Other than some shooting activities I attend, I'm fairly certain that Church is the most armed place I attend. Since all the talk of church shootings, us members have discreetly let each other know who is carrying. I'd say at least half of the membership is carrying at any given service. While not making anything official, due to legal matters, the Church leadership actually encourages carrying. 

We all do try to at least semi-conceal them, mainly due to a few members it may make uncomfortable and don't want to freak out visitors.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can follow laws or your conscience, you have to make the call.

There should basically be "NO Gun Free Zones", they get people killed.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greetings, all.  New member, first post here.

Just wanted to share an experience I had with off duty law enforcement while my wife and I were picking my son up from a church's Vacation Bible School.  

I changed out of uniform coming off duty into a large pool and shorts (I'm 5'11, medium build, shirt fits loosely around the waist). I wore my Glock 42 in a thumb break holster and moved around to the right kidney (small of back) as I didn't want to walk in showcasing I was carrying.  It prints around the thumbsnap when bending, sitting, but has never been an issue drawing attention before.  

We come into the church, I talk to my son a while, join in one of the activities with him and the others near the pulpit, so on. I go back to sit down and am approached by a tall, older man in a polo.  He stands by me a few seconds, looking down at me, I look up at him, a d ge asks if I'm doing alright.  It wasn't really the kind of "how are you doing?" youd get from a member of the congregation,  I knew right off the bat this was just a preparatory statement. Before I could get the "Doing well, how are y...."  he hits me with a "Are you carrying any weapons on you?" 

I look at him for a second with what must be a look of surprise on my face. There were no signs posted on premises whatsoever, and here I was, legally carrying and attempting concealment.  

"I sure am.  Anything else I can help you with?" I replied.

He cocks his head and give a quick "tisk" "Well, I'm afraid this is a concealed area only."  I look at his polo again, it's got the pittle embroidered shield with the local law enforcement's name on there along with his name and rank.  I smiled big, "Lucky for us, that's exactly what I'm doing! Anything else I can help you with?" 

He moves his head to shake "no," and I can see him trying to point out to my holster. I lean forward and show him where I'm carrying. The polo has snagged, you can see the bottom inch, inch and a half maybe of the holster, but that is all.

He introduces himself as Cpt. ************, in charge of security at the church.  I also introduce myself, along with my rank, and where I work.  He begins to backpedal from here, both hands coming up briefly, apologetically. 

I know what was about to happen next before I threw in my own introduction, and having worked managing large retail stores in a previous lifetime, I know that, legally, had I been asked anywhere else to return a firearm to your vehicle or i could leave, you could get in serious trouble by making a scene and not complying.  In this case, though, had it gone any farther.. had I not been a service member and this off-duty had not backpedaled so quickly, this could have gone much worse.  

Never have I ever had someone approach me, for one, and I don't think I ever imagined to be approached where there were no signs posted.... much less, being approached, while I carrying concealed, telling me that this is a "concealed area".  My wife fumed over this for a few days. As for me, it has renewed a belief that everyone, including myself, law enforcement, etc., could greatly benefit from more education on state gun laws.

What are your thoughts? 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eh, it's pretty simple.  As you undoubtedly know, churches are private property.  A person's expectations of being able to exercise their rights end where the driveway begins.  The fact that they allow concealed carry is very nice.  The fact that he chose to confront you over "printing" or your holster showing seems a little over the top but, again, it's private property and they can handle it however they want.

What's sad is that it sounds like he treated you much differently when you identified yourself.  I doubt he'd have been that kind to an average joe but, again, private property.

It might be asking the senior pastor or priest at the church if they feel that the level of intensity / demeanor shown is consistent with how they want folks treated.   *shrug*

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You come to our church and we don't know you....You will have at least two folks greeting you and giving you a visual check while welcoming you to the church, hopefully out in the parking lot or on the front steps.  If you are  noted as carrying, we will continue the conversation to vet a little more, do you know someone here, how did you hear about us, are you planning to visit again and how glad we are to have you with us.  If you are visiting out of the blue, a couple of us will sit with you to answer any questions you may have.  We want to have you come back next week too, we are eating before service Wed night, do you like to hunt, fish, shoot a little?    Generally, the question comes up pretty quick but we've never had anyone feel interrogated that they have noted back.  Just the attention anyone looking for a new church home or visiting while out of town deserves to get.  We only add another dimension to the welcome that hopefully assures us a bit more safety.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Rightwinger said:

You come to our church and we don't know you....You will have at least two folks greeting you and giving you a visual check while welcoming you to the church, hopefully out in the parking lot or on the front steps.  If you are  noted as carrying, we will continue the conversation to vet a little more, do you know someone here, how did you hear about us, are you planning to visit again and how glad we are to have you with us.  If you are visiting out of the blue, a couple of us will sit with you to answer any questions you may have.  We want to have you come back next week too, we are eating before service Wed night, do you like to hunt, fish, shoot a little?    Generally, the question comes up pretty quick but we've never had anyone feel interrogated that they have noted back.  Just the attention anyone looking for a new church home or visiting while out of town deserves to get.  We only add another dimension to the welcome that hopefully assures us a bit more safety.  

"Shibboleth", but more subtle and far kinder than the original in Judges.

This is not without precedent, having armed safety in church.

Myself, I'd be telling the church elders "Far rather to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Church is a place I especially want to carry a handgun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I carry in church all the time and so do many others that attend my church. I carry concealed but printing or bending over could make it known I guess, nobody has noticed that I know of.

Hey OleJohnny, it seems good that the security officer talked with you at the church, sounds like prudent security procedure to check out armed people on your premises that you don't know.  Sounds like he's on the ball and watching out for your kid's at VBS. Just my 2 cents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Going back to OL's post.  I can see why he would be surprised, as would I.  Private property and posting - or not-  go together.  No posting, then one is free to carry with noted exceptions by law.  Making up rules on the fly is not cool, but legal on private property.  A sign where "concealed carry permissable" would be appropriate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm consulting with a church right now that is getting ready to build a completely new church on the same ground and connected to the existing campus. Once it is done they are going to greatly expand their k-5 program and also expand their community outreach program which is already impressively large by converting the entire existing campus into the school and outreach. This is already a decently sized campus.

They are security minded and have a decent team currently in place. They just recruited a recently retired LEO that has a lot of higher end security training and experience to attend church there and head the security team. As part of the expansion project they are going to greatly enhance their security system.

Initially the new head of security was a bit standoffish but after a series of questions I began laying out my suggestions and soon his head was nodding a bit and by the end of the meeting he was smiling. When I was done he presented the summary of his site survey and a list of suggestions. We were perfectly in step. It was nice having someone the church trusted validate the proposed approach. 

This is still pre-construction so a lot of things could happen but the contractor that brought me in turned in his prelim budget. They added 10% to it and plugged it into their budget. This is a nice system that is very future proof yet properly scaled to their current needs.

I used to hate talking with churches about security. It just felt wrong that they had to even think about it. I had a very scholarly pastor talk with me for about an hour about 5 years ago. He gave me quite the education about how the Bible felt about providing for the security of the church members.

One other cool thing. All of their current service providers have multi-year relationships with the church. Once the church members became comfortable with the contractors they were given "the talk". As a result they have extra armed security anytime they are at the church. Each contractor has a letter from the church authorizing them to carry on premises. They regularly attend meetings with the security team so that any changes in procedures are communicated to all.

To say I was blown away would be an understatement...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Footer title

This content can be configured within your theme settings in your ACP. You can add any HTML including images, paragraphs and lists.

Footer title

This is an example of a list.

Footer title

This content can be configured within your theme settings in your ACP. You can add any HTML including images, paragraphs and lists.

Footer title

This content can be configured within your theme settings in your ACP. You can add any HTML including images, paragraphs and lists.

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to the following.
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Guidelines