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Austin, TX 78705

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In the Event of an Emergency

The Reverend Matt Gaventa
Matthew 18:1-14

A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, ‘Truly I tell …

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UPC Policy on Gun Carry

The Open Carry Law for Concealed Handgun Holders (“Open Carry Law”) became effective January 1, 2016. This law authorizes an individual who possesses a concealed handgun license issued by the state of Texas or by a state that Texas recognizes to carry the handgun in plain view in a public place as long as the handgun is carried in a shoulder or belt holster.

The law gives property owners the right to prohibit a person licensed to openly carry a handgun on the property by providing verbal or written communication of the prohibition. The written communication may be a card, document or sign posted on the premises of the owner. The sign must

  • Include in English and Spanish the statutory warning prescribed in the Texas Penal Code,
  • Have contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height, and
  • Be displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public at each entrance to the property.

Believing that the open or concealed carry of handguns on church property is inconsistent with our church being a place of prayer and peace, the Session of University Presbyterian Church, at its stated meeting of December 16, 2015, voted to ban both open carry and concealed carry of handguns on church property by the posting of the approved signage, along with a statement that expresses our beliefs.

The proper signage that denotes this ban will be posted as soon as possible. These signs will be customized by adding appropriate biblical/theological language that expresses UPC’s beliefs concerning this issue. Specifically, the signs will include the Presbyterian Church U.S. A. cross, the text of Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Additionally, the sign will include a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

The Session is also recommending that appropriate training be given to all staff, ushers, building monitors, and volunteers (UPLift, Micah 6, Office, and others) in the event of a violation of the notices or in case of a disturbance caused by guns on the property.

Approved by Session December 16, 2015
Signage text approved by Session January 20, 2016