Church Security & Legally Armed Parishioners

To begin, in my state, one who has a CHL is permitted to carry concealed in a place of worship only with permission.

Being licensed in my state, as well as another, plus having plenty of training, I am legally and responsibly armed unless I carry into the church without permission, which is precisely where my concern for having to respond to an active shooter increases.
My wife literally fears going to a weekend mass because she says she feels like a “sitting duck.”
My archdiocese will not allow our priests to grant permission for licensed individuals to carry concealed, as would be legal with that permission, in church. Outside the doors of the building, there’s no issue because the law doesn’t consider that a “place of worship,” and there are no signs posted forbidding carry.

Now, if my wife and I happened to be at a mass and, God forbid, a shooter entered whilst I was unarmed, and she was killed, I would never ever ever be able to forgive myself for not carrying anyway.
Kind of puts a man in a quandary. And I’m sure it isn’t just my parish but many others.
Further, since Sunday is a day of obligation, that means either break the law and carry concealed or commit a sin by not going. But breaking the law means risking lives.

This is just nuts IMO. I fail to understand why the USCCB doesn’t change this nationwide. But, I am indeed a child in the Catholic Faith and have no clue how such things are changed. But are they going to provide me the immediate armed response I could provide my wife and myself? Without a metal detector and armed security, they can not do that. I can respond in guaranteed less than 3s if I’m sitting, under 1.5 if standing…will the Church protect me to that degree since they forbid me to do it myself? Or do I risk it, carry anyway and pray it is never seen and never has to be used?

Not requesting legal advice. This is almost entirely rhetorical questioning of the laws that make no sense.
I’d like to hear what other Catholics think about this.
Ya all take care,

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I would never take a gun to Mass and wouldn’t want to kill someone there either. If you are going to die what better place to die?


I thought it was like “don’t ask don’t tell”. If it’s a concealed carry state, i wouldn’t think the parishioner would have to tell anyone he was carrying. Nor would the priest have to ask.


Why couldn’t they give the priest permission to carry? Or have security on the door. I don’t know the answer but I am truly sorry you have to worry about such things :frowning:

If I was a priest I wouldn’t want people bringing guns to Mass.


Me neither but if you live in a society where someone could come in and shoot you, I can see why the OP would feel this way.


Sitting in a state of grace in a Catholic church during Mass must be better than being shot at work or at a bus stop.


I’m fine with responsible people who have carry permits carrying guns any place they happen to go. I’ve known enough LEOs and bailiffs and security guards and hunters my whole life that I don’t think about it.

I don’t worry too much about church shootings. If the Good Lord wants me to die in a church shooting, it’ll happen. If not, it won’t. Dying in church means I’d at least be close to Jesus.
Maybe I’d even qualify for Martyrdom.


The USCCB doesn’t have authority over bishops in their own dioceses.

There is your answer. You do not have permission to bring your weapon into church.

Then your wife needs some counseling to overcome her fears.

They don’t make sense to you, because you want to do what they forbid and are trying to rationalize said decision.

Follow the law and the guidelines of your bishop.


You can either obey your bishop, or you can bring your weapon to Mass.

I personally wouldn’t have a problem with a qualified person bringing a concealed weapon to Mass, even if the bishop doesn’t want that. But there should also be respect shown for a reasonable law. I don’t think it’s an unreasonable law.

Morally speaking, just ccw in and of itself during Mass I don’t see any problem with it today’s climate. But it’s not my call to make.

These laws need changed because numbers show more people have been killed in church shootings.
Also, I have in the USA the right to defend myself wherever I may be. The Church forbidding me to have the adequate capability to defend myself & wife is arbitrary nonsense IMO. I’ll bet you that if I ignore tge laws, carry anyway, and stopped a shooter coming on to kill innocent worshippers, my opinion would be valued more.
As for my wife, she is correct n doesnt need therapy. I’m armed everywhere we go. I drive her to work n back for crying out loud. Shes used to having me as her armed security and, likely because she knows my quals, feels safe when we go places together.
But, IF I choose to not carry to mass, which by the way is a quite soft target for these mass shooter types, she feels like shes a sitting duck. I would as well. We dont go to movie theaters. We avoid crowded public rooms.
My daughter was within 20 yards of the Dayton shooter not long ago. It’s real stuff folks.
I will not wait for a 911 response of minutes when I can respond in seconds.
As for the law, I’d rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6.

Now, if ppl are willing to live in a delusional state of “it wont happen to…,” that’s certainly their right.
Rhetoric over here. This sort of law causes unnecessary danger to innocents. Theres 1 way to stop a bad guy with a gun…

I realize this isn’t a political forum n sorry, but this is relevant to our women, children, elderly, disabled in the pews if…
That’s y it matters. I’ve protected innocent lives since age 18 & have no intent of stopping.


This right here.^^^. Pity I can only “like” a post once. There’s a relevant verse I cannot locate here, but I’ll add it when I find it. The shepherd lays down his life for the sheep might apply, but that wasn’t it.
Dominus vobiscum

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I wouldn’t, I won’t kill, nor will I spend my days fearing that someone will shoot me.


People usually don’t buy car insurance because they intend to have an accident either.
Dominus vobiscum


It sounds to me like your wife has very irrational fears if you have to drive her to/from work as an armed escort and you won’t go into movie theaters and do other normal, every day activities because of that fear.

That is not a healthy or normal way to live.

I’m not going to argue with you about concealed carry or your self professed “rights” on the matter (I have no problems with legal gun ownership and use BTW). You asked about the morality of breaking the law and disobeying your bishop— the answer is that you should obey the law and your bishop.

If you feel strongly about it, make an appointment to actually talk to your bishop about the matter.


Statistics say that the probability of this happening is pretty low.
Is there some reason to believe your particular church will come under attack?


Handguns decrease the safety and lifespan of Americans.

The USCCB advocates for more responsible measures on guns in various ways, although I’m not sure if they ever specifically commented on conceal carry.

I also think your wife’s fears (and your fears) are irrational, given the immense improbability of it happening. But, this is what happens when you consume a certain kind of media that advocates a certain worldview consistently over a long period of time. It affects a person mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Your wife is afraid to go to Mass because of something that is more improbable than a lightning strike, and I can’t see in what world that could ever be a good thing. It is taking your joy and peace away and those are things we should strive to have in abundance.



Despite polarizing political views, the Catechism is a voice of both reason and moderation.

Legitimate defense

2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. “The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one’s own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not.”

2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:

If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s.



And the greatest defense, of course, are preventative measures to keep such situations from arising in the first place. This is widely understood by bishops in England, Australia, Canada, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Japan, S. Korea, etc., and for that matter, by those in the United States. Regrettably, libertarian culture in our nation has made common sense in this matter a limited commodity.

The USA is the odd character out on this subject. Not because of exceptionalism, but because of confusion and fear.


I was trying to understand just what the law is here. So, in your state, it’s only legal to carry in the church if you have the priests permission? (… which your archdiocese won’t give.) But the state itself doesn’t have a law against carrying inside a church? Or is the law actually that you may carry with the priest or pastor’s permission?

(I know it’s hard to read emotion in posts - so know that’s not a snippy comment question! LOL. I really am trying to figure out the details of the legality. I live in a state where we can carry to church, no problem. No permissions other than our county issued concealed carry permit.)

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