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All Lethal Weapons At Church Prohibited In New Policy Change

Nauvoo News for Latter-day Saints

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All Lethal Weapons At Church Prohibited In New Policy Change

Nauvoo News

SALT LAKE CITY - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has prohibited nearly all members from carrying lethal weapons on church property. 

Prior to the shift in policy, having a weapon on church grounds was considered "inappropriate." 

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Prior to the shift in policy, having a weapon on church grounds was considered "inappropriate." 

The change was revealed in an update to a handbook sent electronically to local church leaders over the weekend. 

"Churches are dedicated for the worship of God and as havens from the cares and concerns of the world," the handbook reads. "With the exception of current law enforcement officers, the carrying of lethal weapons on Church property, concealed or otherwise, is prohibited."

Lethal weapons include a number of possible items including guns.

There have been several gun incidents on church property in recent years. In September, a 74-year-old man accidentally fired a gun in a meetinghouse in Provo, Utah. No one was hurt or injured.

In August 2010, a man fatally shot a bishop at a chapel in Visalia, Calif., and then was later shot dead by police. Two years earlier, a man shot and killed his pregnant estranged wife in a church parking lot in Lehi, Utah.

In 2004 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mailed a letter to its local leaders in Utah informing them that the Church "plans to invoke ... Utah law and give public notice that firearms are prohibited in the Church's houses of worship, including temples, meetinghouses, the Assembly Hall, the Salt Lake Tabernacle, and the Conference Center."

This action implements the Church's position announced by the First Presidency in 1996 that churches are dedicated for the worship of God and as havens from the cares and concerns of the world and that, consequently, lethal weapons, concealed or otherwise, do not belong in houses of worship. The Church shares this belief with many other religions in Utah.

The Church will register its position with the State Bureau of Criminal Investigation and provide notice in the newspaper, as required by the Utah law that allows religious organizations to prohibit concealed weapons from their premises.

Once the actions of registering and providing public notice are completed, individuals with concealed-carry weapons permits will not be allowed to bring their firearms inside Latter-day Saint houses of worship.

The Church's position and these announced actions apply only to houses of worship. The Church has not taken a position on legislation regarding guns in public schools or other public places.