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Texas law allowing people to carry guns in church went into effect Sept. 1

Under the 2019 law, licensed gun holders can carry in places of worship unless their religious leaders specifically prohibit the weapons.

A gunman was stopped by another armed person after he fired a gun during a church service Sunday in White Settlement. 

Two people were killed, including the gunman, and another person was critically wounded in the shooting at West Freeway Church of Christ.

RELATED: 2 people killed, 1 in critical condition after shooting at White Settlement church

An armed guard at the church returned fire after the gunman shot his weapon, a livestream of the service showed. Several other church members also pulled out their weapons. 

A separate 2017 Texas law allows churches to have armed volunteer security.

This church shooting near Fort Worth comes less than four months after a law went into effect that allows people to carry a weapon in established places of worship.

Under the 2019 law, licensed gun holders can carry in places of worship unless their religious leaders specifically prohibit the weapons.

It is not yet known if the shooter in Sunday's incident was legally allowed to own a gun.

RELATED: New law will allow Texans to carry guns in church

Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) filed Senate Bill 535.

In August, Sen. Campbell said the goal of the bill was to clarify an existing statute.

Here is Campbell's full statement:

"The existing statute is confusing and clunky when it comes to clearly stating the rights of licensed Texans to carry on the premises of a church. This bill provides clarity of the Legislature's intent to treat churches in the same manner as other privately owned establishments in Texas.

Senate Bill 535 does not restrict the rights of churches to post 30.06 or 30.07 signs or prohibit weapons on their premises if they choose, which has been established law for most privately owned property in Texas.

In addition, Senate Bill 535 reduces penalties for licensed citizens who unknowingly carry in prohibited areas, aligning these penalties with other sections of state law. It also increases the penalty for armed individuals who are told to leave certain premises where weapons are prohibited and fail to depart."

State law allows churches to prohibit firearms on the premises, as long as they notify the public through the proper channels.

According to the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth’s website, licensed people “may not enter this property with a concealed handgun.”

In a statement to WFAA, the Diocese said:

"The Diocese of Fort Worth has for several years prohibited firearms in its churches, schools and other facilities, as prescribed by state law.

At the same time, the Diocese has the safety of its parishioners, students and visitors as a paramount concern. A year and half or so ago the Diocese engaged a local security firm composed of active police officers to assess security risks at each of the Diocese’s 91 parishes and 19 schools and to subsequently to devise a security plan for each location. The enhanced security ranges from electronic surveillance and the training of staff and volunteers in proper security to hiring off-duty police to creating a lay protection ministry of well-vetted and well trained lay individuals."

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