Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should leave firearms and other lethal weapons at home when they’re on church property, religious leaders said in a recent rule tweak.
A previous policy had called it inappropriate for church members to bring weapons onto church property, and the change comes amid calls for stricter gun laws around the country after several mass shootings in recent weeks.
Law enforcement officers are excluded from the revised rule, which went into effect the first week of August. NPR reported that local church leaders were notified of the tweak over the weekend.
USA TODAY has reached out to the church for comment.
“Churches are dedicated for the worship of God and as havens from the cares and concerns of the world,” the policy reads. “With the exception of current law enforcement officers, the carrying of lethal weapons on Church property, concealed or otherwise, is prohibited.”
Church spokesman Daniel Woodruff told the Associated Press that church leaders in Texas were first notified of the change as a state law is to take effect soon that will loosen restrictions on licensed handgun holders carrying firearms in houses of worship.
Last July, a gunman in Nevada killed one person and injured another when he opened fire in the Fallon Church of Latter-Day Saints. Houses of worship have been targeted in mass shootings in Pittsburgh, Sutherland Springs, Texas, and Charleston, South Carolina in recent years.