Concealed Gun Letter to Churches

July 11, 2017

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

The 2017 Arkansas Legislature has approved legislation concerning concealed handguns that impacts all churches. Beginning September 1, 2017, Act 859 2017 will make it legal to carry concealed handguns into any church or place of worship unless the congregation takes action through the appropriate administrative body to prohibit them and provides notice that complies with the law’s provisions.

I know this is a complicated matter and that United Methodists have differing opinions. I want to state again, however, my hope that every United Methodist congregation in the Arkansas Annual Conference will adopt a policy banning concealed carry handguns. Doing so will simply be a continuation of the current law that does not allow concealed handguns in churches.

This is not a Second Amendment issue. It is simply disciples of Jesus Christ proclaiming that concealed guns are not appropriate in God’s house. After all, they already are banned in public government buildings, restaurants, sports venues and bars.

Attached are three resources that have been prepared in consultation with our Conference Chancellor, Michelle Ator, to help your congregation address this significant matter:

Please feel free to contact the Assistant to the Bishop, the Reverend Jim Polk, at (501) 324-8042 or if you still have questions after reviewing these materials.

Thank you for your willingness to take steps to prohibit concealed handguns in your congregation as part of our important work of addressing the rising levels of gun violence in our state.

Grace and peace,

Gary E. Mueller