Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick thinks the application of open carry laws in churches in unclear and has asked the state's attorney general to clarify the policy in the wake of the deadly church shooting in Sutherland Springs.
In a letter written to Attorney General Ken Paxton on Dec. 1, Patrick sought clarification on whether licensed handgun owners were allowed to bring their loaded weapons to any church if there were no posted prohibitions. He also expressed his continued support to guard people's gun rights in the state, The Houston Chronicle relayed.
"Next legislative session, I will continue to support initiatives to clarify the law and protect gun rights in Texas," said Patrick in his letter. "Meanwhile, I ask that you please expedite this request so that churches may know what legal options they have to improve their security."
On Sept. 1, a new state law was implemented to let churches organize volunteer security teams easily by scrapping the required $225 for annual licensing fees. Patrick pointed out that this law was passed to release smaller congregations and other churches of the burden of the payment.
Patrick and other top Republicans in Texas have been campaigning for the arming of churchgoers. Democrats, on the other hand, want gun laws in the state to be stricter where people will be prohibited from openly carrying rifles.
After the church shooting which left 26 dead, Dallas-based evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress told "Fox & Friends" that he thought there was nothing wrong with allowing churchgoers to bring concealed guns to the services. He revealed that at least a quarter of their worshippers concealed carry, and suggested that an active shooter could be easily stopped by the congregations, Business Insider reported.
The co-hosts agreed with Pastor Jeffress, with Ainsley Earhardt commenting that the congregation probably feels safer with concealed carry. Brian Kilmeade, on the other hand, called such shooters cowards who might not attack a church or other groups with people that are known to carry concealed weapons.