Defending The Flock | Texas

It’s a sad truth that churches, synagogues, and other places of religious worship are under assault. These tragic attacks happen all too often. And the frequency of these events appears to be increasing. We want you to be prepared in case of an emergency, and we want you to be safe. So, how can you protect yourself, your family, and your congregation?

Carrying in a Place of Worship

The good news is that Texas law allows License to Carry holders to carry their handguns in places of religious worship, so long as the church does not post 30.06 or 30.07 signs and does not otherwise give you valid legal notice.

Keep in mind, there are other forms of valid legal notice besides 30.06 and 30.07 signs. Your church could, for instance, provide you personal notice verbally, or via a card with the appropriate 30.06 or 30.07 language.

Schools in a Place of Worship

Let’s add another factor. We often receive questions about church buildings that also house schools. In Texas, these locations are referred to as mixed-use premises. Be very careful here, because the answer to the question of, “can I carry?” will depend on the legal classification of the premises. For mixed-use premises not owned by the state or an independent school district, the default rule is this: when it is being used as a church, you may carry, so long as it’s not still considered a “school building;” when it’s being used as a school, you cannot.

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Because the legal classification can vary, to be safe, you should obtain written authorization from the institution on where and when you can carry, if at all.

When Tragedy Strikes

But, what happens when tragedy strikes and you refuse to let yourself or your religious community become victims? Can you use your weapon to defend yourself? Can you defend the flock?

The answer to both of these questions is yes. To better understand this concept, let’s break down the self-defense and defense of others rules here in Texas.

Texas law allows you to use deadly force to defend yourself, if you reasonably believe deadly force is immediately necessary to defend against the attacker’s use or attempted use of unlawful deadly force. This means if you see an active shooter and reasonably believe he’s about to shoot you, then you can respond with deadly force against the attacker. Texas law allows you to protect your family, friends, and yes, even fellow churchgoers. The term “third person” is used as a catch-all for anyone who is not you and is not the attacker. To protect a third person, you must reasonably believe you would be justified to defend yourself in the same circumstances, AND your actions must be immediately necessary and reasonable to protect the third person.

Simply put, to determine if you could use deadly force to protect someone else or someone in your congregation, put yourself in their shoes. If you could protect yourself with a gun, you can protect a third person as well. Keep in mind, these justifications are legal defenses. They do not grant you immunity from civil lawsuits or exempt you from the criminal process. Once you are in the legal system, they must be asserted and proven in court.

Finally, an option available to churches when it comes to providing peace of mind is a volunteer security team. The pastor, priest, or rabbi can select trusted members and organize them to carry in defense of their house of religious worship. Note, these volunteer security teams may not wear uniforms or otherwise give the impression that they are law enforcement or security officers.

What it comes down to is this: we all want to keep our religious community safe.

If you have any questions about self-defense or defense of others in places of religious worship, call Texas LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.

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Comment section

9 comments on “Defending The Flock | Texas

  1. In wake of the recent New Zealand terrorist attack on Muslims in their mosques, I find this article very biased. No mention of Mosques or Muslim Imams appointing trusted members. I believe they must be mentioned as well.

  2. Great info! Our church posted the 30.06 and 30.07 signs at the entrance to their parking lot. NONE of the buildings are marked as required by TX law. I’m assuming even though the buildings are not properly marked the signs in the parking lot would constitute “reasonable notice.”

  3. They did not mention elders or deacons either but their point is obvious that “someone in authority” can assemble a team. Stop looking to be offended all the time; it is a lousy way to live your life.

  4. I think its a shame that your church leadership seems it necessary to post the 30:06 signs. I understand not wanting open carry, thus the posting of the 30:07 sign makes more sense. The truly brainless place to put a sign stating you don’t allow weapons is at the street where everyone call see that your place of worship is a soft target. I’m not an attorney but the law states that the signs must be posted at any public entrance to the building – not the property. Do your fellow churchgoers a favor and find a group of men and women (you probably have cops in your congregation) that are handgun licensed, trustworthy and can prove their ability to handle a gun. I pity the fool who comes into our midst with the intent to do any of our churchgoers any type of harm. Our prayer is that nothing bad happen – ever – but if it does we are prepared and the 2500 or so members know it.

  5. It isn’t biased at all, just expedited use of language. If you wanted to list all places of worship by name and their corresponding authority this article would be pages long.

    Here are just a few I can think of off the top of my head:

    church house
    house of prayer
    house of worship
    place of worship
    ward house

  6. Question on this…
    What if your church is housed in a school?

    Our church uses a HS auditorium, that is not during any school hours. I am presuming that this is still a school building even though it is used for a church, and carry is not allowed.


    • Hello Frank, please see this response from a Texas Independent Program Attorney:

      “This is a common question with regard to churches that do not yet have their own buildings. If a church is meeting on property that is owned by a school, either a private school or an independent school district, then it is the premises of a school 24/7. Therefore, an LTC holder would not be able to lawfully carry in a church that meets on Sundays in a high school gym. In fact, because it is school property, an LTC holder carrying a handgun in church would be committing a felony.”

  7. If your church puts a 30 ought six and 30 or seven signs then takes them down where do we stand. I would think it’s permissible with license to carry a concealed handgun. That’s my question can I?

    Then my church puts in the bulletin on the back page the proper notice 30 out six and 30 old seven. This is handed out after church is over. I believe that says you cannot carry. It’s not sudden and immediate but they’re notifying you.

    Now that Chirch has taken that notice out of the bulletin. When you call and ask, the priest, the man in charge, he says we’ve got it under review with our lawyers. Did not say one way or the other if you could or could not. I told him and it appears to me that one can carry a concealed handgun with license.

    Thank you very much and if you can help me out appreciate it can I carry?

    • Hello Bert, please see this response from a Texas Independent Program Attorney:

      “If your church has removed the 30.06 and/or 30.07 criminal trespass warnings, then there is no longer any legally effective notice and LTC holders can carry their handguns. If your church reinstates the notice either by posting a sign, or putting the notice in the bulletin, or by having the minister or ushers notify people verbally, then it could be established that you received notice. Also, keep in mind that in the event an LTC holder is arrested and prosecuted, it is the church who would be pushing the case for the parishioner to be prosecuted. Honestly, I would hope that a church would not do that to one of its members.”

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