Leaders with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are promoting a policy that prohibits people from bringing guns and all lethal weapons onto church property.
They’ve tweaked a previous policy that called it inappropriate to have weapons on church property. It still includes an exception for law enforcement officers.
The clarification comes one year after a fatal shooting inside one of its churches in rural Nevada and as religions around the country grapple with how to deal with gun violence that has spread to places of worship.
The change went into effect the first week of August and a letter explaining it was first sent to local leaders in Texas. The impetus was a new Texas law that takes effect soon that makes it clearer in state law that licensed handgun holders can carry weapons in churches, synagogues and other houses of worship.
A church spokesman says the same letter will be sent elsewhere to local leaders, who will be responsible for sharing it with their congregations.
Recent shootings in places of worship include a gunman who killed 11 during services last October at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. More than two dozen people were killed by a gunman in 2017 at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. In Charleston, South Carolina, eight black parishioners and their pastor were killed in a racist shooting in 2015. The fatal shooting in the Latter-day Saints church occurred in July 2018 in Fallon, Nevada, when a man opened fire during Sunday services and killing one man and wounding the victim’s brother.