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Prominent Texas Pastor Calls for Ban on AR-15s: 'The Silence of the Church' Is 'Sinful'

  • Michael Foust Crosswalk Headlines Contributor
  • Updated May 15, 2023
Prominent Texas Pastor Calls for Ban on AR-15s: 'The Silence of the Church' Is 'Sinful'

A prominent Texas pastor is calling for AR-15 rifles to be banned in light of a string of mass shootings – including one in his home state – that involved such a weapon.

Dwight McKissic, the senior pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church and the author of Beyond Roots and Beyond Roots II, made the comments after a gunman used an AR-15 to kill eight people at a mall in Allen, Texas. The shooter who killed six people at a Nashville school this year used an AR-15-style rifle, as did the shooter at the Uvalde, Texas, school in 2022 who killed 21 people, including 19 children. The AR-15 is a semi-automatic weapon.

"The silence of the church in calling for a ban on the sale/possession of these weapons … is sickening & sinful," McKissic tweeted. "The gun lobby can't have a stronger voice on these issues than the church. God has called the church to be the moral guardians of society."

A Texas House committee this week approved a bill, HB 2744, that would raise the age limit on purchasing AR-15s from 18 to 21, preventing teens from buying them. It passed 8-5, with two Republicans joining six Democrats in supporting it. The bill faces an uphill climb in the full chamber, according to The Texas Tribune.

"All of our kids have a right to go to school and they have the right to feel safe and so do their parents. The shootings right now are just happening too often," GOP Rep. Sam Harless, who backed the bill, told The Texas Newsroom. "So, if this is something we can do to stop it, then I'm all for it."

An AR-15 was also used in the 2018 school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida that left 17 people dead.

In a follow-up tweet, McKissic said he is a pro-life pastor who supports gun reform. His church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention and the National Baptist Convention, USA.

"The reason we cannot pass legislation to enact a constitutional ban on abortion, or legislation to ban buying & selling AR-15s/ammunition for AR-15 – is not because we're divided by faith, but, rather, because we're divided by politics & race," he wrote. "It's syncretism in the church, and division over race-related matters, that's hindering legislation to advance the Kingdom agenda we all share in common to protect innocent, unborn lives, in the womb … and lives walking in the malls, churches, & schools in America.

"... The evangelical church on both sides needs to repent, so the church can be the church; the salt of the earth, the light of the world, a city that sitteth upon a hill – that rises above secular politics, that no longer engages in the sin of syncretism, for the sake & safety of all Americans, & to the glory of God."

The National Rifle Association opposes the Texas age-limit bill.

"We represent 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds who are not mass shooters," Tara Mica, a regional lobbyist for the NRA, said in April. "We defend the Constitution. Realistically, a raise-the-age bill is likely to be litigated and found unconstitutional."

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/UltraONEs


Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.