Pa. school to close due to church’s blessing ceremony involving AR-15s
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An elementary school in Pennsylvania will close for classes this week when a nearby church holds a blessing ceremony involving AR-15 rifles.

The superintendent of the Wallenpaupack Area School District wrote in a letter to parents that students will instead be taken to schools about 15 miles away, The Associated Press reported.

The superintendent in the letter said there is "no direct threat," but said there are worries about parking, traffic and the "nature of the event."


The World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland, Pa., is telling couples to bring their semi-automatic rifles to a blessing ceremony it is scheduled to hold Wednesday.

The event is meant to give couples an opportunity "to show their willingness to defend their families, communities and nation," The Times-Tribune in Scranton reported last week.

All of the weapons will be checked to make sure they are unloaded, Sanctuary Church President Richard Panzer said in an email. The church is also inviting local and state police to be on the premise so that "everything goes safely," he said.

The blessing ceremony comes just weeks after 17 people were killed in a shooting at a Florida high school. The suspect allegedly used an AR-15.

Since the shooting, students and lawmakers have been calling for action on gun control.