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Guns in Church

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Hey, yutz! Guns aren't toys! They're for family protection, hunting dangerous and delicious animals and keepin' the King of England out of your face!

Inspector Yang: You can't bring guns in here! This is a church! It's a holy place!
Inspector Watson: That's okay. You see these? These are holy guns. Because they make a rather large hole-y.

Guns In Church is what occurs when a weapon is carried or brandished when not appropriate. When you have Guns In Church, the bank, the supermarket, the U.N, an airport, or anywhere else where the very mention of a weapon could be grounds for arrest, people in games are surprisingly aloof to the dangers it presents. As a result, everyone fantasizes about owning a sword/gun/etc that will never leave their side in all of life's journeys.

In Real Life, however, throughout most of the developed world, life is just peaceful enough that this is typically a bad idea. With an individual who normally is expected to carry a weapon (such as a knight, policeman, or soldier), if they have a means to store a weapon that can be easily drawn, this trope then is restricted to them actually carrying it. (For example, a policeman who has a gun in his hand everywhere he goes, leaving his holster empty.)


Some weapons (such as rifles, large machine guns, and Arm Cannons) can't be sheathed or holstered, and due to context, the trope is often averted by necessity. If you are a soldier, then chances are, not only do you play the trope straight, but you're actually better off for it. The same does not hold true for an average white-collar office drone walking down the street holding a claymore. (The mine or the sword).

Compare Improbable Use of a Weapon, when a weapon may be appropriate, but the one used is unlikely or impossible. Also, Ornamental Weapon, where it is carried, but doesn't get used for other reasons. Averted in settings where carrying weapons is unremarkable because Everyone Is Armed. Brats with Slingshots has a tendency to reflect this trope but with Children. Axes at School is a sub-trope specific to schools.


For when a shootout actually does take place in a church, this is combined with Bloodstained Glass Windows. If the clergy are taking an active part in the proceedings, they may be members of a Church Militant.

Why do these examples have their weapons out?

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     Anime and Manga 
  • Inverted in Black Lagoon as the church is the gun runner, appropriately called "The Violence Church" ("The Ripoff Church" by other people). Even head sister is armed with Gold plated and engraved Desert Eagle. Given the fact that this church exists in a Wretched Hive, it only makes sense.
  • The protagonists and most recurring characters of City Hunter tend to carry at least a handgun everywhere but the bathroom, with the crowner being Umibozu bringing a machine gun and a bazooka at his own marriage. Justified by them being Professional Killers who could be attacked any moment, and in fact Umibozu's wedding was attacked by professional soldiers (Ryo, who was attending, had accidentally ruined a coup in a foreign country by protecting the escaped president, and the leader of the coup started his attempt at revenge with that attack).
  • A running gag in Full Metal Panic! is that Sousuke goes absolutely everywhere heavily armed, no matter how inappropriate or illegal that would be. Even fellow military Otaku is appalled when he tries to enter a Shinto shrine while armed for bear.
  • Switzerland in Hetalia: Axis Powers tends to do this, as he carries a rifle everywhere. The story goes that this was inspired when the author saw a Swiss guy out shopping with a gun.
  • In Lupin III, Jigen is almost always armed, but does not bring them into church. However, at the beginning of The Plot of the Fuma Clan where the villains show up while he's in one, at a wedding, this leads to some embarrassment when he tries to draw his weapon, forgetting it's not there.
  • Premise of Tetragrammaton Labyrinth has the main characters fighting evil. They live in a church. Some fight scenes take place in churches.

    Comic Books 
  • Ultimatum: Why does Carol Danvers need to carry a BFG around in the Triskelion?

    Film — Animation 
  • In the Pixar film Up, one of Ellie's friends or family members fires a single gunshot in one of the back pews after she and Carl kiss on the altar during their wedding.

     Film — Live Action 
  • A literal example happens in the prologue to Dobermann. Uncle Joe attempts to give the infant Dobermann his christening present—a .357 magnum—in the church. Dobermann's father, himself a hardened gangster, points out how inappropriate this is.
  • Used twice in The Enforcer. First he chases a suspect into a church and has him at gunpoint when the minister gets pissed (then his partner kicks the door open with her gun drawn). Later he returns to the church to question the minister about someone in connection to the kidnapping (and potential murder) of the mayor and ends up drawing his gun when the minister refuses to talk. As Harry is dealing with that a woman dressed as a nun tries to shoot him with a shotgun, only for Harry's partner to show up and shoot the nun.
  • Played with in The Fighting Temptations. During the scene where several prison inmates are brought into the church choir, Paulina complains about the prison guards being armed as required by law. The piano player then says "Guns ain't allowed? Nobody told me." as he pulls a rather large revolver from his pants and places it on the piano.
  • This trope is outright defied in Highlander, as fighting on holy ground is expressly forbidden.
  • John Wick sees John Wick shoot it out in a church with a couple of Viggo Tarasov's men and kneecapping the priest at first, with the second part of the fight taking place outside in the parking lot after Viggo and his enforcers show. Makes sense, given the church in question is actually a front for Viggo and all...
    • From the John Wick franchise in general, "business" is expressly forbidden from being conducted on the premises of the Continental hotels. While one can prepare for "business" in a Continental, such as procuring guns and the like, one cannot conduct it there. The first movie sees Winston have a firing squad execute Miss Perkins for violating the sacred ground to collect on Viggo's doubled bounty on John Wick (and killing Harry). In John Wick: Chapter 2, Cassian and John's fight after his hit on Gianna (Cassian's boss) is broken up immediately the instant the fight bursts into the Rome Continental. And in the climax of Chapter 2, John violates the sacred rules of the New York Continental to kill Santino, rendering him excommunicado from the Continental. This leads to the plot of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, where the High Table actually deconsecrate the New York Continental after John refuses to betray Winston, so they can send in their enforcers and Zero's gang to kill John and Winston.
  • Subverted in the K-9 sequel Film/K911: James Belushi's character gets into a discussion with his boss about the kind of sidearms he carries while on the job, at the same time brandishing each handgun in succession. His boss urges him to put them away several times.
    • Later on in the same movie, while at the park, when he mistakes a toy gun for a real one, he pulls out his own. This prompts his partner/rival's police dog to charge him and bite his arm, making him dropping the gun.
  • In Kill Bill, the Bride carries a katana onto a trans-oceanic flight and through the airport without trouble. Shots seem to suggest that everyone on the flight has a katana though.
  • Used for a joke early in Man of the House. When Texas Ranger Sharp and his partner go to a church to get information from an ex-con turned minister, Sharp keeps his gun with him. When reminded by his partner that they're entering a church, Sharp replies, "That's why I didn't bring the helicopter".
  • Spoofed in Spy Hard, when Leslie Nielson's character sneaks into a church to rescue a girl, he has to deal with a bunch of violence-prone nuns, ending with nuns brandishing machine guns and trying to shoot at them!
    "Girls! Make 'em holy!"
  • In The Tenth Victim, a Hunter who has just been told by the manager that no shooting is allowed in the restaurant complains about the increasing restrictions: "In the restaurant it is not permitted, in the church it is not permitted...."
  • In Unforgiven sheriff Little Bill is deadly serious about enforcing the 'no guns in town' ordinance so any time a stranger in town is seen carrying any weapon, even holstered, it means big trouble. Either the stranger is about to shoot people or Little Bill is going to beat him into a bloody pulp.
  • In The Weather Man, Nicolas Cage's character takes up archery as a hobby. At the end of the movie, he is seen carrying a bow over his shoulder as he walks down the city streets. In closing narration, he acknowledges that it might be why people don't throw things at him from their cars anymore.

  • In Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the Shepardsons and the Grangerfords take their rifles everywhere, including church on Sunday.
    • This is something from Real Life, at least in the old English-Scots Border region where many of the rural Southerners came from. The Border was a lawless and violent place, and if you didn't have a weapon at all times you'd likely meet someone who did have one and was willing to use it. On you.
  • Brother Cadfael: The next-to-last scene in the short story "A Light on the Road to Woodstock" has a young boy tell off Cadfael (who is still an armsman at that point) for wearing his sword in church. This is mainly so Cadfael can leave the sword behind before asking to enter the Benedictine Order in the last scene.
  • The Church Knights in The Elenium are allowed to carry their weapons into churches, at least when they're in full armor. Which doesn't stop one priest from trying to invoke this trope on Sparhawk.
  • In The Hunt for Red October, the Soviet ambassador states that although the USSR's submarines are massing on the US eastern coast, they are still in international waters and legally allowed to be there. The American president points out that in the USA someone may be legally allowed to carry a shotgun on their property but if your next door neighbor starts patrolling his lawn with one while your children are playing on your lawn, you are not going to be happy about it.
  • In the Iron Druid Chronicles the Atticus gets a lot of flak for carrying his sword with him in public despite there being nothing inherently illegal about it. Normally carrying a baseball bat will not look very suspicious but when Atticus was lurking in a night club parking lot after dark with two baseball bats the police justifiably thought he was up to no good. He really could not explain that he was backing up a witch in killing a bunch of monsters who were immune to iron.
  • Ken MacLeod's The Night Sessions. Guns not specifically mentioned, but during the Great Rejection, the police "God Squads" pulled off repeated irruptions of "boots in the pews" at insufficiently Politically Correct services.
  • During Old Soldiers Never Die, Cain and most of the other Guard officers and commissars on the planet attend a funeral service at the cathedral. The priests aren't happy about all the sidearms, but have to put up with it since they're part of the dress uniforms. The priests are even less happy when the corpses reanimate and those sidearms get drawn.
    Hierophant Callister: Commissar! This is a house of the Emperor!
    Cain: Then I'm sure He'd approve of us keeping it safe.
  • In the original Thank You for Smoking, the Merchants of Death try to spin an actual church shooting when an old lady in the congregation complains that she could have saved the situation if it had not been for the law requiring her to leave HER gun outside.
  • Averted for laughs in The Two Towers, where the heroes are surprised and greatly annoyed/distressed at being asked to leave their weapons at the door when being brought before King Theoden. The guards allow Gandalf to keep his staff, either not realizing that it was the most dangerous item they had or because they secretly wanted him to do something to snap the King out of his Wormtongue-induced delerium.

     Live-Action TV 
  • 30 Rock: Pete is justifiably alarmed when Kenneth turns in a gun as well along with his page's badge. For non-fans: they work on a television show, folks.
    • When Liz visits a bad neighborhood nicknamed "Little Chechnya", she asks if she just saw a man walking down the street holding a gun. She is told, "Yeah, but don't worry, he's not a cop."
  • In Battlestar Galactica (2003), Season 3 begins with most of the humans under Cylon subjugation, while Tigh and a few others are part of La Résistance. Part of their strategy was hiding weapons in Caprican temples, which inevitably led to a shootout that left worshippers dead.
    • Jacob Clifton, one of the recappers at Television Without Pity, was so personally repulsed by this that for a time "guns in the temple" became his go-to metaphor for a character betraying principles for short-term goals.
  • Brass Eye evoked this in a satirical News Parody about America's fascination with handguns.
  • On Combat Hospital all the doctors and nurses wear a sidearm strapped to their hip. They are soldiers in a war zone and are required to carry a weapon.
  • In Game of Thrones Viserys Targarayen, impatient with Khal Drogo, tries to intimidate him into giving him the army he was promised by drawing a sword on him... in Vaes Dothrak, a city in which it is expressly forbidden. The Khal merely signals his bodyguards to break his sword arm and hold him down while Drogo pours molten gold on him.
  • On Garth Marenghis Darkplace, most of the characters, who work in a hospital, seem to have guns at all times. This comes in handy when they're attacked by Animate Inanimate Objects, undead warlocks, and Scotsmen.
  • Happens to Freddy in House of Cards (US). Freddy, a small restaurant owner, is about to start a nationwide franchise. He decides to share his good fortune with his son, who is also a gangbanger. His son does this trope twice: once in Freddy's shop, where Freddy temporarily convinces him to stop carrying a gun, and again, when a bunch of photographers are taking their pictures walking down the street. This last action has the effect of completely ruining Freddy - his son is on parole, carrying a gun is a parole violation, and his bond is slightly more than what Freddy's restaurant is worth. Freddy loses the chance at a national franchise (he was a gangbanger in his youth, and there was a morality clause in his contract), and has to sell his shop to get bond for his son, leaving him penniless.
  • In The Last Kingdom, Uthred gets into whole heaps of trouble when he not only carries but draws his sword in a church, in anger, in the middle of a service, in the presence of the king.
  • In a short film on an early episode of Saturday Night Live, they went around in a truck with a big sign that said "Show us your guns!" People from all walks of life proudly displayed their handguns, including an entire wedding party on the front lawn of a church, even the bride and groom.
  • The Tollan in Stargate SG-1 defy this trope using advanced technology which disables both mechanical Earth guns and energy weapons.
    • That said, SG teams (particularly SG1) walk around with their submachine guns on slings (and Teal'c holding his Goa'uld staff weapon, since there isn't a holster or sling made that can hold that monster) in all kinds of relatively innocuous settings, like primitive villages and ultra-modern high-tech cities. Somewhat justified, since they are on alien planets at the time, and do need to be ready to defend themselves, just in case.
  • In an early episode of Supernatural, the brothers are hunting a shapeshifter and carrying around guns loaded with silver bullets in order to kill it. They flush it out of its lair and end up looking for it in the middle of a city with quite a few other people around. Sam takes pains to hide his gun, but Dean walks around with it up and at the ready. He receives quite a few nervous looks, but nobody calls the cops about it.

     Newspaper Comics 
  • Part Rule of Funny, part Take That!. One Peanuts strip had Snoopy renewing his dog licence. He also gets a driving permit and a fishing licence, but according to the people in the government building, he didn't need one for the assault rifle he'd brought with him (presumably in Hammerspace).

     Tabletop Games 
  • A common joke regarding the Imperial Guard involves Guardsmen obsessively taking their standard-issue lasrifles everywhere, including to the latrines and, presumably, mass (granted, said mass is conducted by an organization that employs flamethrower-equipped nuns). Since IG regulations prescribe execution for losing an issue weapon outside of combat, they have a solid reason not to let it out of sight.
  • Plenty of players in a wide range of RPG games will take it for granted that they can carry their swords/bows/guns/staffs of power anywhere without hindrance, including bars, temples and audiences with the king. Just have an NPC ask them to leave their weapons behind, and they'll react with fear, suspicion and outrage. (It probably doesn't help that many game world writeups do seem to establish that the more restrictive a given place's rules on weapons are, the more hostile it will be to player characters — perpetuating the stereotype where they don't create it in the first place.) Then they'll usually try to conceal the weapons somehow, or develop elaborate tactics to reach their weapons just in case the pacifistic church where no one is allowed to carry a weapon happens to be full of armed soldiers. This desperation to avoid separation from their most beloved possessions often turns out to be justified, since so many game masters will be unable to pass up the chance to catch the player characters at less than their min/maxed best. This is unfortunate, since these times are almost the only occasions in a tabletop game where the players will not emulate Lee Roy Jenkins when they encounter Villains Out Shopping, Go-Karting with Bowser or Did You Just Have Tea With Cthulhu.

     Video Games 
  • 2027, a Game Mod for Deus Ex, cleverly averts this by forcing you to leave your weapons with a bouncer when you enter a nightclub.
  • 7.62 High Caliber has no restrictions on carrying weapons in the war-torn country, and everyone (including bartenders and people masquerading as civilians) will insist on carrying their weapon in their hands as they walk around and do business. You'll still automatically incite combat if you aim a weapon at someone for too long, though.
  • Radd Spencer of Bionic Commando is warned not to shoot within neutral zones, but the fact that he brought a bazooka with him is perfectly okay.
    • The computer, naturally, is not at all restricted, and can attack Radd freely. If he retaliates, he's killed by the peacekeepers.
  • Cave Story. No NPC will ever mind if you test your weapons inside their house. Not even Hermit Gunsmith while sleeping.
  • Deus Ex:
    • Deus Ex: Certain areas will have a "No Weapons" sign when you enter them. Ignoring this sign will cause unarmed NPCs to panic, and armed ones to attack you.
    • Deus Ex: Invisible War averts this, though, as in certain areas you can have your weapons, but they are "locked down" so you can't use them. Also the strength mod is suppressed so you can't use items in the environment heavy enough to damage.
    • Deus Ex: Human Revolution averts this. Certain areas won't allow you to pull out your weapons, and in other areas civilians will panic and/or refuse to talk to you if your gun is drawn.
    • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided functions similarly to Human Revolution, with certain areas preventing you from drawing your weapons or activating any weaponized augmentations.
  • Subverted in Divine Divinity. People notice when you talk to them with your weapon drawn, and you are given you the option to threaten them, or attack them.
  • Duke Nukem 3D features a protagonist arming himself across various normal settings, including a movie theater, a burger chain, a theme park, a supermarket, and even a hotel. The trope is justified by the fact that there is an invasion underway.
  • The Elder Scrolls: Played with in different ways throughout the series. To note:
    • Played straight in Arena and Daggerfall, where nobody notices or seems to care that you are pointing your Daedric Longsword at them in a threatening manner.
    • Morrowind introduces a mechanic where speaking to a NPC with your weapon drawn will result in a disposition penalty with that NPC, and this was carried into Oblivion. Because the disposition penalty is so small, it Downplays the trope instead of Averting it.
    • Skyrim drops the disposition mechanic from the series, removing any attempt at Averting the trope. Some NPCs, especially guards, may comment that you have your weapon drawn or a spell readied, but no one actually does anything about it.
  • Fable:
    • Zig-zagged in Fable I. Upon entering the walled city of Bowerstone, the guards confiscate your weapons until you leave again. In smaller settlements, people react with anger or fear if your weapon is drawn and the City Guards will fine you if you don't put it away. Even in the wilderness, neutral NPCs get nervous if your weapons are drawn, even if you're defending them at the time.
    • Fable II: Carrying your weapons on your back (or on your side for that matter) is acceptable seeing as it is an archaic society, but, oddly enough, most NPCs keep their weapons in hammerspace.
  • Being unarmed in the world of Fallout is generally a bad idea. There are, however two notable exceptions: The New California Republic in Fallout 2 doesn't allow drawn guns within the city (they have a police force, after all) and waving your gun in someone else's face will penalize speech checks in Fallout 3.
    • And throughout Fallout and 2 there are several places where people will tell you to put your guns away, before they allow you to talk to them or walk into the town.
    • Not exactly this trope but wearing your power armor everywhere can scare quite a few people.
    • The casinos in New Vegas frisk guests for weapons, and thus the guards get understandably upset when you draw a weapon. Gets hilarious when you're treated politely while wearing full Brotherhood of Steel power armour and accompanied by an eight foot tall Super Mutant and a Cyborg German Shepherd, but the guards all pull guns if you slip on brass knuckles.
  • Faxanadu shows the main character holding his weapon even when he's in a town. Entering a house or shop, however, disables his weapon and magic, so that it looks like he's eagerly extending his hand as he walks around. This makes rooms with enemies in them the most dangerous locations in the game, as you can't fight back.
  • In the Gothic games, unsheathing a weapon or preparing an offensive spell out of combat will make people nervous, and they will attack you if you don't put it away after a few warnings.
  • Grand Theft Auto: While taking a gun out while in a fight or police chase will get you shot at, feel free to walk down a street in Liberty City or San Andreas with an assault rifle and not get even a second look from a police officer. However, if you take a gun out inside a police station, they finally take notice (to the player's surprise if they went in to pick up a weapon and forgot it would automatically appear in their hands...)
    • Another aversion appears in Grand Theft Auto IV, where walking into a strip club with a weapon out will get you attacked by the bouncers.
    • Another aversion in Vice City Stories, where entering into the airport automatically strips you of all your weapons. The same goes for the golf course in Vice City, but there's an alternate path into the course that's not particularly hard to go through.
  • Hexcraft: Eventide Sigil averts this as a core element of its gameplay. Don't equip a gun unless you plan on killing something, because any NPCs who see you do it will react accordingly. Humorously, this trope only applies to the player character - the cops and Arthurian knights all have their guns out all the time, and nobody runs from them. In fact, if you pull yours out, they'll react too - by shooting you.
    • Its sequel, Hexcraft: Harlequin Fair, carries over this mechanic, and with it ups the dissonance to absurd levels. At least in the first game the only NPCs with guns out are law officersnote  who you'd expect to have guns, but the second game adds a whole host of NPCs who are regular civilians just like you, and nevertheless several hold guns in the same manner without provoking any reaction from the other NPCs around them.
  • The Hitman series of games takes this trope and tosses it off a cliff. If you carry ANY weapon that isn't concealed whilst wearing your default outfit, you will blow your cover and all hell will break loose, with the exception of one level in the entire series (so far), however if you have a guard's uniform on things get a bit more relaxed, you can carry two handed weapons, however you can only carry them underslung, and they have to be standard issue to guards/security/gang members. (So if the guards are armed with SMG's, you can't be carrying around a gatling gun), carrying them "at the ready" is still allowed, but far more suspicious, but don't even THINK about aiming. Interestingly even if an alert has been raised, you can only ever have pistols concealed, even if other guards are running around pseudo-aiming, if you draw yours you will be fired upon the moment you are spotted.
    • There's one stage in any of the games where you can basically carry any gun openly, in any outfit including the default. In Blood Money, one of the missions takes place at a large Mississippi crime family wedding in the father of the bride's mansion. The guests are so redneck that they don't bat an eye if you're carrying a scoped M4, although you do run into trouble if you run into the paranoid groom or if guards catch you in a restricted area while armed. You can even fire any gun you like while in the front yard, though if you hit anyone the guests will come after you with their guns.
  • In Jedi Outcast, at the start of the Nar Shaddaa level, the game stops you from drawing any weapons or using any Force powers, mainly because Kyle is trying to keep a low profile. When he enters a cantina, his pistol is immediately confiscated, yet he is allowed to keep his lightsabre (although the game still won't let you activate until the action begins).
  • In Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel, you can go anywhere, anytime with any weapon clearly visible in your hands, even Manaan, a planet under very strict pacifist rule. There is a moment on Tatooine in a cantina where the barkeep tell you not to use blasters inside, but he still seems okay with you waving one or two around.
  • The Legend of Zelda 3D games generally prevent Link from using weapons while in houses and other town buildings, but the 2D games allow him to commit violence everywhere. In particular, in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Link cannot draw his sword in Castle Town, though he can draw his sword and swing it around the his heart's content in every other town. An exception is Zelda II: The Adventure of Link: Link's sprites show him constantly holding his sword, even if he is in a peaceful town. One must wonder if this makes the townspeople nervous. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is another exception, as you can brandish weapons absolutely anywhere and even swing them at civilians.
  • In LEGO Star Wars, attacking anyone (friend, foe, droid, or neutral party) in the hubs will set off a bar brawl in which you can actually take damage and die. Though in the first game, once you buy a few villain characters this is the default state: Jedi and Sith will duel, good gunslingers will trade gunfire with mooks, etc.
  • Played with in Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, where the player character stumbles in on the funeral of somebody that they murdered, and is recognized; the mourners draw their guns and a tactical shoot-out ensues. It turns out the family attending goes everywhere armed with their guns.
  • Mostly averted in Mass Effect, as being a Spectre allows Shepard to go around armed wherever s/he pleases, and in the first game no one bats an eye if Shepard whips out a shotgun in a residential area and starts firing. There are a couple of exceptions where guards try to confiscate your weapons, i.e. the guards as Noveria and Purgatory, and one specific mission in Mass Effect 2 requires Shepard to go around unarmed, while another restricts Shepard to just his/her sidearm at a formal dinner party where only concealed sidearms are allowed.
    • Keep in mind that even after the weapon crackdown between games, Shepard is still allowed to walk around the Citadel with a mini-nuke on his/her back.
  • During the undercover missions in the early Medal of Honor games, pulling a gun out in front of German soldiers would blow your cover. But thanks to No Body Left Behind, taking out lone guards while their back was turned with your silenced pistol didn't.
  • Given its relative realism you'd expect that drawing weapons in a city might cause a ruckus, but Mount & Blade averts this, and with good reason. Calradia is in a state of constant war, with raiding parties, bandits, and mercenaries pretty much everywhere. A person carrying weapons openly while covered in plate armor is hardly worth a second glance, but civilian NPCs won't fuss if you happen to draw a spear and shove the pointy end in their face while talking to them. Shopkeepers blithely ignore the mace being waved in their face by your character while you browse their wares, and even city guards will simply give you a generic 'don't cause trouble' message.
    • The second game, Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, downplays it. While in a town characters will switch to a civilian outfit, which uses the same mechanics as your normal wargear but with your options restricted. Most swords (see Real Life below) are allowed, but more dedicated weapons of war like maces are not allowed. Certain quests will pit you in combat with your civilian gear, so there is incentive to use some of the light armor options that are allowed as civilian clothing.
  • Avoidance of this is an actual play element of No One Lives Forever, as civilians are less than cooperative when Cate is brandishing, so use of quiet weapons and timely holstering are both necessary when in public levels.
  • Averted in Perfect Dark, when wearing a disguise. If Joanna pulls out a weapon in front of a guard or is caught wielding one otherwise, her cover will immediately be blown, and she may even be accosted for it.
  • Explicitly averted in Persona 4. The Protagonist and Yosuke are ready to go into the TV World to find some clues on the murder of one of their classmates, so Yosuke brings along weapons for them to defend themselves with. Problem is, the portal to the TV World is a TV screen at the local supermarket. And the town IS on edge due to the murder investigation. A brief incident with the police later, they have to spend a few tense moments sweating it out with the Protagonist's uncle (the detective in charge of the investigation) and he spends the entire game being suspicious of his nephew's activities afterwards. They wisely decide to hide their weapons under their clothes next time.
  • Averted in Postal 2. Waving any kind of weapon around will scare people away and/or alert the police. The "E" key allows you holster your weapon.
    • Just wait until you get to the ACTUAL church! Islamic terrorists decide to attack the place, Catholic priests grab guns to fight back and you're stuck in the middle of it. No doubt you will have to pull your own gun out just to get out of here alive.
  • A gameplay element in Scarface: The World Is Yours. Waving a gun around causes people to flee and police interest to skyrocket. Paying off the cops is possible. Outright hiding works as well. Even crooks get nervous around your gun. It gets funky when you're trying to do in-game required missions in the middle of the street.
  • Averted in all 3 games of STALKER, you can't enter most populated places with your weapon out and nearly no one will talk to you unless you put your weapon away.
  • In the otherwise forgettable video game for The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon could not draw his lightsaber in Mos Eisley without putting the whole town on alert.
    • The shopkeepers would also comment on you having your lightsaber out.
  • The first gun obtained in They Hunger, is in fact, found in a church. It lies next to the corpse of a Priest, who attempted to ring the church bell that unlocks his secret Dynamite stash. Someone apparently knew that a Zombie Apocalypse was going to happen sooner or later.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, anywhere designated a 'combat' zone allows you to draw your heaviest artillery and blast away, with no worse repercussions than making nearby non-combatants panic. Normally, combat zones are in areas not covered by law enforcement anyway, but there are a few examples where you'd think you'd get some problems. The trope is inverted in one case, however: A certain enemy has to be killed without the use of firearms or you will be chewed out by the quest-giver, as the subsequent investigation into the enemy's death will have multiple witnesses hearing the gunshots.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption, your characters could walk around in full tactical armour brandishing RPGs and flamethrowers, and police, store owners and private citizens didn't bat an eye (in NYC this was bad enough but London?). Just don't get caught necking with someone in an alleyway...

     Western Animation 
  • On Archer, "covert operative" Lana Kane frequently wears two guns openly in side holsters over her otherwise skintight clothing.

     Real Life 
  • According to this USA Today article, the nuclear football once entered St. John's Church.
  • Europeans seem to think that this is the norm everywhere in America.
    • Most Westerns would have you believe this was case in the wild west. In reality many towns at the time had ordinances requiring you to turn your guns over at a saloon or livery while you were in town. This was one of the things that led up to the shootout between the Earps and the Clantons and McLaurys at the O.K. Corral, since the former were attempting to disarm the latter.
    • In most States in the US, it is legal to walk around wearing guns openly, but there are variations in both law and practice that a wise man would do well to familiarize himself with. Additionally, just because it's legal doesn't mean that some random citizen won't freak out at the mere sight of a firearm, or that you won't have occasional conversations with law enforcement while they try to determine if you are going to cause a problem. Private property owners also have the right to forbid weapons on their property.
      • In the state of Pennsylvania, it is actually legal for you to carry most sorts of weapons as long as they are not concealed, and you are not brandishing them. You need to get a special license to carry concealed. The exception to that is within the City of Philadelphia where, unless you are a law enforcement officer, you basically need a concealed carry permit to have the gun in your possession outside of your property.
      • Kansas takes this even further: It is legal for anyone except convicted felons to carry concealed weapons, with or without a license. Not that very many people actually do.
      • In Germany you need a special permit to carry a concealed weapon, more special than the permit for carrying a weapon.
    • A lot of people seem to think this is the case in Texas. It's true that Texas gun laws are not strict when it comes to the purchasing and possession of firearms for an ordinary citizen who is not a convicted felon, but there are limitations on where you can carry, even if you have a concealed handgun license. The most obvious is any location that properly posts "30.06 signage" which is explicit notice that carry of concealed handguns is prohibited on the premises and will constitute a specific trespass offense (Tresspass by a License Holder) with significant penalties (much more serious than simple trespass).
      • Texas law as of August 2015 forbids the carrying of an openly displayed handgun (though longarms such as rifles and shotguns have no restrictions) in public places except during specific activities such as shooting at a range, hunting or when traveling. If you want to carry a handgun, publicly (as a private citizen) in Texas, you need a Concealed Handgun License and the firearm must not be in plain sight. On the other hand, carrying openly in Kentucky is likely to get attention only in the most metropolitan areas and even then police will just politely ask the carrier not to carry openly if possible due to the risk of an alarmed citizen wasting police time with a report of a "man with a gun".
      • Churches were initially one of the places specifically mentioned by Texas state law as off limits for concealed carry, along with hospitals and some other locations but this is no longer the case and they must post specific signage like any other property to explicitly forbid carry there. In an odd showing of non-hypocritical governance, the Texas capitol is a permitted location, along with any government owned property (state or local government) and at the capitol, the fastest way to enter is by approaching the security and showing a CHL (Concealed Handgun License), whereupon you will be waved past the metal detectors and allowed to proceed freely whilst still armed.
      • A group of Black Panthers led by Bobby Seale once carried assault rifles right into the California state capitol building. This was done to protest a bill submitted in the state assembly to outlaw open carrying of firearms (as they had done while patrolling black neighborhoods to protect people from police brutality, resulting in shootouts at times). It passed, and Ronald Reagan, then Governor of California (later so pro-gun he wouldn't even support restrictions proposed after he himself was shot) signed it into law. In certain areas of Massachusetts, there are artifact laws requiring you to bring a gun to church (Danvers and Salem), which were passed in colonial times, when it was quite possible that people might need to protect themselves from hostile natives attacking during the sermon.
    • Played straight in a Colorado church in 2007, when two people carrying Guns In Church prevented a third (who had apparently chained the other doors shut and was in the only available escape path) from turning the house of worship into an abattoir.
    • Ironically, there are a few places in Europe where this approaches the truth - In Switzerland, you may sometimes find men doing their military service traveling by train and carrying their (unloaded) battle rifles with them. Civilians doing rifle shooting might also carry their rifles with them to the range. Still, you won't generally find anyone carrying guns publicly unless it's for the two reasons mentioned (policemen and border guards excepted).
  • There's a joke about how Israel is the safest country in the world because it's the only place where a group of young men can walk into a bank carrying guns and be expected to wait in line (soldiers carry their guns with them when on leave). Though Israeli soldiers, like their Swiss counterparts, are not allowed to have their weapons loaded unless they're either at the range or in battle, the considerably higher odds of the latter situation happening in Israel means that they typically carry their assault rifles "unloaded" by simply having the fully-loaded magazine strapped to the side of the rifle instead of inserted into the magazine well. Thus, the "unloaded" rifle is still ready for action within a matter of seconds.
  • Truth in Television. While churches have a very long history of being sanctuaries where you're not permitted to bring a holstered and concealed weapon, there have been been cases of police officers interrupting mass or sermons with drawn guns and not understanding what people are so upset about. The exact phrase used for this sort of situation (at least in Texas) is ".22s for Jesus". Of course we all know that the Lord would prefer to use a Jericho, but that gets into a completely different debate all together.
  • Very much averted in Scandinavia, where taking any kind of weapon - even a knife - to church is considered a sacrilege. Even today. Many Medieval churches had a separate "weapons room" where weapons were to be left before entering the church.
  • Truth in Television in much of the US, where concealed-weapons permits are easy to obtain. May not count as this trope since they're concealed.
    • And even those can be banned from certain places, such as schools, government buildings, and some private businesses. Interestingly enough, many gun shops in the US (which often contain an attached shooting range and offer gunsmith services so you can get your weapon fixed) will have a strict rule concerning concealed or holstered weapons: They STAY that way while you are in the store. If you want to have the gunsmith look at the weapon, or if you want to use the shooting range, you walk in with the weapon out where they can see it. And unloaded, until you actually step in to the shooting range. This way you pulling the weapon out won't be misconstrued as you drawing a gun to rob the place or shoot someone.
    • Gun shop carry rules are also often in place to prevent incidents of unwanted discharge in the "trying out holsters" situation (holsters come in all manner of designs to accommodate differing body types and carry positions. Quality holsters can be expensive, and carrying a 4lb chunk of metal on your body in a poorly-fitting holster can be very uncomfortable, making "try before you buy" a good idea in holster selection if you're not independently wealthy). And yes, there have been cases where a guy walked into a gun store (with customers in there) and tried to rob it. Even funnier in the Real Life version of the story: The robber had to walk past a police car to get to the gun shop. He was promptly ventilated.
    • Post Reconstruction Era, most states allowed the carry of arms so long as they were not concealed (usually this is a Felony offense) and especially when properly slung or holstered. It must be remembered, however, that Federal law largely entirely prohibits the possession and carry of firearms on Federal property, including Post Offices, no matter what state they are located in.
    • It should also be noted that most states have separate laws for handguns and long guns. For example, in Michigan a license must be obtained to carry a concealed handgun, but no permit is needed to carry in the open. It's perfectly legal to carry around a rifle or shotgun without a license, so long as it's not in or on a motor vehicle (due to hunting from vehicles being prohibited). If you want to carry in a church, synagogue, mosque, etc., you need the concealed carry permit along with the permission of the person in charge of the house of worship. Michigan also happens to be one of the few states that require law-enforcement personnel to carry their sidearms even when off duty, except in church.
  • Despite being under Norwegian sovereignty, Svalbard allows everyone to carry rifles openly (although there are some rules on how to carry them in populated areas). Why? Because of Polar Bears.
  • Averted in the UK, where firearms, especially handguns, are tightly regulated and largely unavailable to private citizens (excepting shotguns which require a small fee and some paperwork, followed by an inspection of proposed storage). Thus when a French police officer working in St Pancras station for the international customs office (they have French officers on the British side and vice-versa) forgot to take her gun out of her holster, before walking across to the non-international section of the station to buy lunch, she got in serious trouble.
  • Swords served a dual purpose in Medieval Europe: In addition to weapons, they were also a makeshift crucifix. It was not that uncommon for a knight to enter a place of worship and use it as such, or in some other peaceful, humble way.
  • A subfaction of pro-gun proponents advocate militantly open-carrying wherever it's legal to do so, a practice that is controversial even within the pro-gun community, depending on the intent and exactly what weapons are carried / how they are carried. Even most gun enthusiasts consider buying groceries while wearing a modern semi-automatic rifle to be gauche but few would bat an eyelid at the notion of shopping while wearing a holstered pistol.
  • In communities in the Canadian Arctic it isn't impossible to see someone walking into the local store with a slung rifle to pick up something before they head out on to the land, although it's generally considered to be rude. On the other hand, seeing people driving down the street on an ATV or a snowmobile carrying a rifle or shotgun is extremely common. It actually became a security issue when G8 Finance Ministers were meeting in Iqaluit and southern security personnel had to be briefed in advance to make sure that they didn't shoot an elder puttering along down the street heading out to his cabin.
  • There are some places in the States where guns are allowed in bars. We can't think of a better place to allow guns.
    • In Ohio, for example, you can carry in the bar but have committed a serious felony if you touch so much as a drop of alcohol.
    • In Texas businesses that serve alcohol for consumption on the premises are either "red" (AKA "51%") license or "blue" license and generally known as "bars" and "restaurants respectively. The former are those which make 51% or more of their profit from sales of alcohol and everyone else is the latter. Only unlicenced (I.E. No CHL) carry is forbidden in "blue" locations, all firearms are forbidden in "red" ones.
  • Sometimes averted depending on the weapon. Some (admittedly amateur) research indicates that carrying mediaeval edged-weapons around doesn't intimidate people, as they assume that criminals would use a modern weapon...
  • The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)note  had a tradition of maintaining military discipline during Church services, including posting sentries and keeping arms nearby. This is an invocation of the time when their ancestors were a Protestant regiment with lots of Catholic troops nearby.
  • In 1637, Brechin Cathedral in Scotland saw a particularly extreme case of this: the Bishop of Brechin, Walter Whitford, brandished two pistols while performing the service, and several of his family and friends stood nearby, also armed. King Charles I had recently ordered that all church services use the Anglican Book of Common Prayer — a move which Whitford supported, but which infuriated most Scottish Presbyterians. Unsurprisingly, the service concluded without incident, but Whitford was attacked by an angry mob on his way home.