Shortly after the most deadly shooting in Texas history at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs in November, Attorney General Ken Paxton suggested armed volunteer security might help stop similar attacks in the future.
In fact, a new state law went into effect in September, noted the Texas Tribune.
The law’s author, State Rep. Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving, said many churches in Texas don’t know it’s an option.
Rinaldi submitted a bill to the Texas Legislature after finding out that while an existing law allowed congregants with licenses to carry to bring firearms into churches they weren’t allowed to conduct security functions.
Rinaldi said he was with his wife conducting church security at the St. Anne’s carnival. He said unarmed security guards were looking for lost children.
He said he checked the law and later discovered what the church was doing was illegal under Texas law.
Rinaldi said churches were faced with either contracting private security firms or obtaining a “letter of authority” from the state for $400 to create volunteer security teams.
He said churches are frequently targeted in Texas. It made no sense if they could not protect themselves without hiring private security. Rinaldi said many churches lacked the funds to contract a private security firm.
His measure passed the legislature after he notified every church in his district that they had the option for volunteer security.
Churchgoers may carry guns. However, Rinaldi pointed out congregants still need licenses to carry guns in church.
He said before the law passed, people in a church could still carry guns. The law allows the churches to identify who these people are and coordinate so that as everybody knows who’s providing security.
The new law may help clear up ambiguity but you still need a license to carry a gun in a church if you are to escape possible criminal sanctions.
Devin Patrick Kelley killed 26 people at the Texas church in November and injured many more. It was the worst mass shooting on record in the state.
If you have been charged with a firearms offense, you may be facing a serious sanction. Please call us today for a free consultation about your case.