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Texas Pastor Ready for New Open Carry Gun Law, Will Allow Firearms in Church

Texas Pastor Ready for New Open Carry Gun Law, Will Allow Firearms in Church

Senior Pastor Dennis Wiles of First Baptist Church of Arlington, Texas, preaches Sunday, March 6, 2011. | (Photo: First Baptist Church Arlington via The Christian Post)

A Texas megachurch has announced its decision to allow for concealed carry and open carry of firearms in its facilities.

First Baptist Church of Arlington's staff and congregation will be able to openly carry firearms as a new law goes into effect statewide tomorrow, Jan. 1, 2016.

Dennis R. Wiles, senior pastor of FBC Arlington, told The Christian Post "we do not prohibit concealed carry" as with "most of our sister churches here" in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

"Our senior level staff members spent some time evaluating our response to the changes in the gun carry laws in Texas," Wiles explained. "We have decided tentatively to not post the restrictive codes that prohibit open carry. We will monitor this situation closely and respond accordingly."

In June, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation into law allowing open carry for licensed firearm owners.

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In a statement released the day he signed the legislation, Abbott said: "By signing these bills into law, Texans can be assured that their Second Amendment rights will be stronger and more secure than ever before."

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that "Existing Texas law requires licensed gun owners to conceal their handguns so they aren't in plain view. The new law will allow them to carry handguns openly, in belt or shoulder holsters. But private businesses and other establishments have the right to ban open carry under the law, and many have been wrestling with how to proceed."

Wiles told CP that he and his congregation are unsure "how these changes in gun carry laws will affect any church" and they are willing to reconsider their position.

"We are not adopting any political position on gun control. We are certainly not encouraging anyone to bring guns to church," Wiles added.

"We simply announced that we have chosen, at this point, not to post the restrictive codes that address open carry. We trust our church members and others to be responsible and respectful of our church culture."

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