Bishop’s Response in Dallas after the Sutherland Springs Mass Shooting

November 16, 2017

The day after the massacre in a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs killed 26 people, Bishop Edward Burns of Dallas published an official statement on the website of his diocese inviting parishes to remove signs prohibiting guns at church entries.

At the same time, the bishop insisted on maintaining the diocese's policy: “The policy of prohibiting the open and concealed possession of firearms at our parishes still stands."

United States law grants citizens the right to own and discreetly carry a concealed weapon on or near their person.

Regarding the question of carrying guns inside places of worship, the laws vary between the states. A few strictly forbid guns in places of worship. Others authorize concealed weapons as long as their denominations grant permission, and most states leave it up to the individual places of worship to decide their own policy.

In his statement, the bishop of Dallas announces that he is consulting with others as to how to address the safety of the parishioners. His goal for asking parishes to consider appropriate safety measures is “to worship and exercise our faith free from fear”.