Can you open carry in church?

Many of the Catholic churches in Central Texas are still undecided on how they will handle the new open carry law. They could either approve or disapprove it - or just wait and see.

The church is seen by many people as somewhat of a safe haven. So could that change because of open carry?

"Guns just make me nervous," says Kathryn Dennett, church-goer.

"Other places already allow guns. I don't see it being anything crazy all of a sudden," says Ken Caldwell, UT student.

"You shouldn't have to worry about your safety going to church," says Aaron Cortinas, church-goer.

The Diocese of Austin oversees about 125 parishes and missions in 25 counties in Central Texas.

They sent a note out in November explaining all aspects of the open carry law, which took effect January 1st.
It's up to each individual parish to decide how to handle the new law.

"Some of our parishes have schools for example, some of them don't. Some are in rural areas, some in inter-city areas. Many with multiple buildings, others with just a few buildings. So there were some issues that came up in specific questions and we realized that maybe one answer is not going to fit a response in every one of our locations," says Chancellor Ron Walker, Diocese of Austin.

"I think that's perfectly fine. You know, they let the universities decide individually. So I mean, why not the churches?" says Caldwell.

We contacted St. Mary Cathedral on 10th and Brazos Street.

They sent us a statement saying:
The leadership councils have reviewed legislation regarding open carry law and continue to evaluate the best course of action for our congregation.

Aaron Cortinas says he would not feel comfortable going to church with someone who is openly carrying a firearm around his family.

"There's no reason for you to bring a gun to church. I don't see a need for it. You're there to praise God or to worship," says Cortinas.

Others think members of the congregation should be involved in the discussion.

"I think at the the very least, there has to be open communication about what the policies are going to be, just for the comfort of everybody and so that nobody is surprised if they were to allow it. I think that would be very upsetting, just to walk in one day and see somebody with a gun and not know what was going on," says Dennett, church-goer.

If you want to find out whether you can openly carry or not, you're asked to call your specific parish.
There are other dioceses in Texas that are banning guns in churches.

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