Should you bring your gun to church?

Most states permit worshippers to bring guns into churches and others houses of worship. Some require permits for conceal and carry; others do not. Some permit open carry; others do not. Some require pastoral permission; others do not. But the majority of Americans go to church in places where guns are allowed to come to communion.

The State of Concealed and Open Carry in ChurchesThis is as offensive to the sanctuary of the church as was Sarah Palin’s comparison of water boarding torture to baptism.

But, for today, I want to share some good reasons why it’s a bad idea, practically, to bring a gun to church.

  1. Unintentional discharges are far more common than the use of lethal force to repel an attacker.
  2. Police miss their targets nearly 90% of the time in high-stress situations. The likelihood that a “good guy with a gun” will hit his target is unlikely.
  3. Bullets pass through bodies easily. Even if you hit your target, you may likely hit another person.

All of this means that you are far more likely to kill someone you know and love–a member of your Sunday school class, the teenager being baptized today, the baby girl sitting in the row in front of you–than to kill someone who is a danger to you or others.

Every speck of data scholars have ever collected on this issue makes it very clear: you are in greater danger with a gun on your person than you are without it.

When you choose to bring a gun into a church, you are telling your co-religionists that you are willing to take risks with their lives because you believe that you are superior to the statistics. That’s not a decision you should get to make on their behalf.


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