- Julie Chang American-Statesman Staff
Licensed gun owners can bring guns into Texas churches that do not have posted signs prohibiting them, according to an opinion by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released on Thursday.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had asked Paxton for an opinion earlier this month in the wake of the mass shooting at a Sutherland Springs church in November. Texas law states licensed carriers may not bring a gun onto the premise of a place of worship, but it was unclear whether the law applied if the place of worship doesn’t have a sign or some notice prohibiting guns.
“If a church decides to exclude the concealed or open carrying of handguns on the premises of church property, it may provide the requisite notice, thereby making it an offense for a license holder to carry a handgun on those premises,” Paxton said in his opinion. “However, churches may instead decide not to provide notice and to allow the carrying of handguns on their premises.”
Twenty six people, including an unborn baby, were killed and another 20 were injured after 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley rampaged through the Sutherland Springs congregation during Sunday service. A family that lost three of its members in the shooting are suing Academy Sports and Outdoors that sold Kelley the assault rifle that was used in the massacre.
The family says the retailer never should have sold the gun to him, even though the retailer has said employees performed the required background checks on him, according to the San Antonio Express-News.