A Message from Bishop Gary E. Mueller in response to Arkansas HB1249

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Governor Asa Hutchinson signed HB1249 yesterday expanding locations where concealed handguns are allowed beginning September 1, 2017. Included are public colleges, government buildings and the State Capitol. Bars, restaurants and places of worship also are included unless they act to prohibit concealed handguns on their premises.

This means it will be legal to carry concealed handguns into a United Methodist Church unless that congregation takes action through the appropriate administrative body to prohibit them, and displays written notices that comply with the law’s provisions.

I was opposed to this legislation for many reasons, and now call upon every United Methodist congregation in the State of Arkansas to do what many, if not most, bars and restaurants will do in the coming weeks: prohibit the carrying of concealed handguns. It would be ironic, indeed, if a higher percentage of bars and restaurants banned concealed handguns than did United Methodist congregations in our state.

The 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church adopted resolution 3428 calling “for United Methodist congregations to display signs that prohibit carrying guns onto church property”. I pray that your congregation will join the spirit of this resolution as we address the reality of this new law.

You will be provided with resources and additional information in the coming weeks to help you take appropriate steps to prohibit concealed handguns in your congregation.

Please get in touch with me if you have any questions.

Grace and peace,

Gary E. Mueller