One of the questions that we get frequently has to do with places of worship and firearms. The law in Pennsylvania is very clear. The law does not explicitly prohibit a License to Carry holder from possessing a firearm in a place of worship.
There are two considerations when you are deciding whether or not to carry in your house of worship: if a school is attached and if there are policies in place prohibiting firearms.
Places to Worship with Schools
Whether it’s a headstart program or an afterschool K-12, anything recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as a school facility in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requires careful consideration. As a law-abiding gun owner, you have to be very cautious about whether or not you want to be the test case that finally answers the question of whether or not it is legal or illegal in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
House of Worship Policies
The second question you have to consider is the congregation’s philosophy and policy. Do they have a written policy about firearms being prohibited or not?
Remember, private property owners have the right to exclude you from carrying a firearm on their property. If you are discovered to be carrying a firearm in a house of worship and you are asked to leave, remaining subjects you to potential prosecution for defiant trespass.
For any questions regarding places of worship and firearms, please give U.S. LawShield a call and ask to speak to an Independent Program Attorney. We will help you think through the process in order to ensure that you’re on the right side of the law.
Thank you for the information on places of worship. I do carry. I worship at one church where my pastor welcomes the ushers to carry. I also work at another church as a bus driver for the elderly. I am not sure what the pastor s feelings are on the issue. I never gave it much thought. I reckon that I should ask to be safe.
What about an update including current case law (2021)
I have a license to carry but I do not carry in my home church. One of the reasons that I do not carry in the church is because there is a school attached to the church. The school is not open on Sundays and I wonder if that affects the legal right to carry a firearm on the property when the school was not open?