THE ANGLICAN Church of North America’s Diocese of Fort Worth has banned worshippers from attending church packing pistols.
Anglicans with a permit to carry a concealed weapon may bring their guns to church, but they are not permitted to wear their guns in open holsters.
Last year Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill allowing Texas’ over 900,000 licensed “concealed carry” gun owners to carry pistols and revolvers in plain view in belt or shoulder holsters beginning on 1 January.
The new law does not change existing bans on guns in government buildings, sporting venues, and restaurants and bars that earn a majority of their income from the sale of alcohol. Private businesses and institutions will be allowed to ban open carry under the new law.
The Catholic Diocese of Dallas issued a ban on open carry in their churches, while several prominent Protestant mega-churches will allow side arms in church.
In a policy statement distributed on 30 December the ACNA-affiliated Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth diocese stated that Bishop Jack Iker had accepted the diocese’s Risk Management Committee to ban open carry.
The diocesan statement said: “Beginning January 1, 2016, it will be legal in Texas for licensed individuals to carry concealed or unconcealed handguns. Businesses, churches, and other entities have several options, including banning all handguns (including concealed weapons), or simply allowing open or concealed carriage.
“The diocesan policy will follow a middle path, banning ‘open carry’ handguns on our properties.”
It explained: “No one is permitted to bring an unconcealed handgun into the church, offices, classrooms, etc., at any time, including Sunday worship or weekday activities. Ushers and staff will need to be made aware of the signs and the diocesan policy.”