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Guns

Houston Churches Remove ‘No Guns’ Signs, Citing Safety Concerns

Last year’s massacre at Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church have prompted churches across Texas to rethink their security policies. Many in the Houston area have concluded posting signs banning firearms make them more attractive targets to would-be shooters.

LYNDA GONZALEZ / KUT
Last year’s attack at Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church has led many churches across Texas to rethink their security policies, including those involving “no firearms” signs.

The Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth has removed signs from its parishes warning people not to carry guns on church property. The Diocese hasn't changed its no-guns policy. But officials worried the signs themselves made the churches a more attractive target. Some churches around Houston are taking similar precautions.

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Last year's attack at Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church forced the Houston Area Pastor Council to think about how to balance the need for safety with the need to provide a welcoming environment. The question of posting no-firearms signs was a big one, and ultimately most churches in the network decided against it.

"There was that concern that if these signs were posted, that it would be a signal that, very clearly, that potential shooters would have less resistance there, unless...those particular churches had visible, consistent, armed personnel or uniformed personnel, on-site, which some do but many don't," said Dave Welch, the Council's executive director.

Roughly 400 churches belong to the Houston Area Pastor Council.

News 88.7 also reached out to the Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. The Archdiocese has left the question of whether to post signs up to each individual parish.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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