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OPINION: Guns In Church Don’t Make Anyone Safer


A gun accidentally went off in a Provo church on Sunday, blasting a bullet into a classroom full of teenagers. Thankfully, no one was injured, but the incident begs a discussion: are we really okay with people carrying guns in a church at all?

Don’t get me wrong — I support concealed carry laws. I think that you should have the right to carry a weapon to keep yourself and the people you care about safe.

But I don’t want to see guns in church.

An Accidental Shooting

Provo police say the gun, in this case, belonged to a 74-year-old man who was carrying it unholstered in his backpack. Somehow, the hammer of the gun got caught on something in his bag, accidentally firing a bullet into a classroom full of teens.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spokesman Eric Hawkins has weighed in, reminding members that guns in church are not welcome:

“Churches are dedicated for the worship of God and as havens from the cares and concerns of the world. The carrying of lethal weapons, concealed or otherwise, within their walls is inappropriate except as required by officers of the law.”

That isn’t just a policy. In the state of Utah, churches and homes have the right to restrict firearms, and their restrictions carry the weight of the law.

And I agree with them all the way.

Church Is Supposed To Be A Haven

Provo Church

The Provo church where the incident happened. (Photo: Adam Sotelo, KSL TV)

To me, a church is supposed to be a haven. Church is a place where we can leave the world behind. It is a place where you can remove yourself, where you don’t have to think about the darkness that exists in the outside world. I want my church to be a place of peace. I don’t want it to be a place of guns, bullets, and knives.

And that’s what I want church to be. I don’t want churches to have metal detectors. I don’t want to have to get patted down before I come into a place of worship. I want to be able to just walk in and feel safe.

Guns Don’t Make Churches Safer

Connie Peterson

Connie Peterson made headlines with a similar scandal on August 1, 2018. She spoke out about her right to bring a gun to the Salt Lake Christian Center in Millcreek. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred / Deseret News)

I understand where concealed carriers are coming from. I understand that there have been mass shootings at churches, and they break my heart. Every time I read those horrible stories, I cry for the people and the families and everything they have gone through.

And I think it’s noble that people want to help. I think it’s great that people go to gun ranges and practice because they think that they’re going to be able to save people like me.

But no matter how good their intentions are, guns in church are not going to make me safer. Church shootings might get a lot of press, but that does not mean that they are common. Statistically speaking, the odds of a church being involved in a shooting in any year is about one in 126,000 – or 0.0000079 percent.

Disasters Can Happen

Guns In Church

Guns for sale at The Gun Vault in South Jordan Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

If there’s one thing this incident proves, it’s that not everybody knows what they’re doing with guns. The gun was not secured properly. A round was left in the chamber, and if that hadn’t been done, the gun wouldn’t have been able to go off on its own.

I don’t have an issue with concealed carry. If people think that carrying a gun is going to keep them and the people they care about safe, I fully support that.

I just want people who carry to be safe. I want them to follow every safety guideline, go to shooting ranges, and make sure that they know what they’re doing with their gun.

And I don’t want them to take them into place they don’t belong. Churches shouldn’t have to pat you down before you go in. Kids shouldn’t have to worry about a gun going off while they’re at church.

This time, thankfully, nobody was hurt. But this story could have been a lot worse.

Your Voices

Our listeners called in and shared some great thoughts about this when they talked about it on the air. Listen to the whole story and hear what they had to say: