Monday, February 16, 2009

Guns and Church

Tampa Bay Online has a report on the legal battle going on in Arkansas (H/T to Alan Colmes).

Under current Arkansas law, holders of concealed weapons permits can take their guns anywhere they want except bars and houses of worship. A bill in the state Senate would let churches decide for themselves whether weapons should be allowed.

"I believe it would disturb the sanctity and tranquility of church" said Pastor John Phillips, a bill opponent who was shot twice in the back as he finished a service 23 years ago. If a church opts out, "Do you want ushers to stop you at the door and frisk you?"

The bill's supporters say the issue isn't gun rights but a constitutionally protected right for churches to set their own rules. Opponents say worshippers should be allowed to pray without worrying whether the person next to them is armed.

Apparently, it was the state government at some time in the past that decided guns should not be allowed in churches. This is what's being disputed now and perhaps due to a few tragic incidents in churches over the past couple years, most churches seem to be in agreement.

How do you suppose it will work? The State law prohibiting guns in churches will be repealed and then it'll be up to the individual churches? What if a certain pastor announces that he doesn't want guns in his church, would the gun-carrying parishioners respect his wishes when the law and the Constitution and logic itself is on their side?

Is the country moving in the direction of more guns in more places, generally? Last year it was Harrold Texas that began allowing teachers to come to work armed. Do you think this is good for the country?

What's your opinion? Is Arkansas the only state that has a law like this? I've heard about guns being prohibited in the post office, but I didn't know the states sometimes also speak for the churches. Is this an anomaly in the state legislation that needs to be corrected?

Please leave a comment.


  1. wait, a state law dictating to churches what they can and cannot allow in through their doors? how was that constitutional to begin with?

  2. Mike,

    Churches are not prohibited places in Texas. If a church doesn't not want firearms to be carried by law abiding license holders, all they have to do is post the legal signage.

    The pastor who was shot 23 years ago was shot before Arkansas implemented it's Concealed carry law (Jun 1995). So how would allowing concealed carry have changed anything?

    I attend church at a rather large church in another city. In addition to armed security, we have unarmed security officers and members are not prohibited from carrying concealed. Not one problem has been reported with those that carry concealed. In fact, the elders recognizing the possibility of attacks and the courage of concealed carry holders at the New Life Church in Colorado (search Jeanne Assam but she wasn't the only one responding) has initiated similar precautions.

    The only anomaly in the law, is the one preventing people from carrying in more places.

    Show where concealed carry has caused crime to INCREASE.

  3. A church should absolutely have the right to ban guns. The state has no business deciding this sort of rule for a church

    In Ohio, churches default to off limits, but individual churches can set their own rules. Giving churches the ability to override doesn't make the law proper.

    It is frightening to think what would have happened in the New Life church without the heroic Jeanne Assam.

  4. Sevesteen,

    I can tell you what would have happened.

    Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth.

    Just four days earlier on September 15, MacDonald was attending a youth rally with her teenage daughter at Wedgewood Baptist Church in Fort Worth when Larry Gene Ash brook entered the sanctuary with a 9-mm handgun and a suicidal mission.

    In a scene eerily reminiscent of the Jonesboro, Paducah, and Littleton tragedies, Ashbrook, 47, stormed the church, cursing God and spewing anti-Baptist rhetoric. He proceeded to gun down seven teenagers and adults and injure seven others before shooting himself in the head.

    This citation doesn't mention the pipebomb that he threw but didn't harm anyone as Wikipedia shows

    Ashbrook interrupted a teen prayer rally at the Wedgwood Baptist Church spouting anti-Baptist rhetoric before opening fire with a 9mm semiautomatic handgun and a .380-caliber handgun. He reloaded several times during the shooting; three empty magazines were found at the scene. Seven people were killed, four of whom were teenagers (a 14 year old boy, two 14 year old girls and a 17 year old boy). Three people sustained major injuries while four others received relatively minor injuries.

    At Ashbrook's home, police found a pipe, end caps to enclose the pipe, gunpowder and a fuse. Ashbrook had thrown a pipe bomb into the church, but this exploded vertically, and did not injure anyone.

  5. Ashbrook had thrown a pipe bomb into the church, but this exploded vertically, and did not injure anyone.

    "exploded vertically"?

    perhaps they mean the endcaps let go harmlessly, turning the thing into a roman candle?

  6. Nomen,

    According to the information that I remember and from the reading I did in finding the citations, that is exactly what happened.

  7. I grew up with the joke that the reason you can't take your gun to a house of worship was that you might shoot the preacher over a bad sermon! (Especially if you are already hung over!)


  8. What was that line Obama used to describe the Alabama section of Pennsylvania during the primary? Something about clinging to guns and Bibles. Apparently both are attached.

  9. Mud,

    If you would read, it was the case of some against the church that killed people in Fort Worth.

    As for as those clinging to their guns...doesn't much of the gun violence occur in the inner city, among black youths, among those involved in drug and other crime?

    Perhaps you could put aside your prejudice and preconceived and ill conceived notions and look at the facts about "gun violence".

  10. Mike,

    Further reason to keep the laws about concealed carry as loose as possible.

    You never know when someone carrying is going to stop a robbery in of those defensive uses that you claim isn't very common.

  11. So a Man was shot in the back (Fellony Assault and attempted murder) by a guy who was illegally carrying a gun...and dare I guess the asshole didn't legally own his gun in the first place?

    So it obviously must be a good idea to make it a crime for people who pay money, and undergo extensive background checks and get a note from a judge, from legally carrying their guns in Church.

    This is the same anti-logic BS that would get woman thinking she's perfectly safe now that she's filed a restraining order against psycho ex-boyfriend who says he wants to kill her.

    Oddly enough to prevent a major crime, the threat of a minor crime is just a drop in the bucket.

    Meanwhile the other guys pointed out the cases where lawfully-held weapons have saved lives in churches.

    It appears all Mike (and it appears Muddy) wants to do is make things easier for the criminal who doesn't give two shits about the law....if he did he wouldn't be a threat in the first place.

    Again, Mike, you know better than this tripe. Why do you continue to repeat things you KNOW are untrue? is it arrogance? Is it fear? Is the Joyce Foundation or George Soros cutting you a check?

  12. Private property. Why shouldn't churches be allowed to make the decision? The parishioners can choose for themselves whether to stay or not.

    An acquaintance of mine is an elder at his church. After the recent shootings, they decided to have several of them get their CCW's and train for an emergency.

    Now he's found he likes firearms and target shooting to the point where he is buying several scary "assault weapons".

  13. let them have guns

  14. "Is the Joyce Foundation or George Soros cutting you a check?"

    I hope they're reading.

    As usual, Weer'd, you're putting words in my mouth and reading my mind, badly.

    I agree the state government that allows guns everywhere else should not prohibit them in churches. I agree that that's not the government's job to do that.

    I don't agree that arming the churchgoers will solve anything, anymore than arming the teachers will. In the longrun, these measures will make matters worse.

  15. Basis for any of these conclusions, Mike?

  16. Mike,

    How can you possibly say this?

    I don't agree that arming the churchgoers will solve anything,

    Except out of deliberate lies or complete and total ignorance.

    Did you look up the facts on the New Life Church in Colorado?
    Did you not read about how several of the armed church members responded to the attack of one person?
    Did you not read how one church member Jean Assam engaged the killer and shot him?
    Did you not read how once wounded the killer turned his gun upon himself?

    In the face of the facts, if you say you can't see how arming the church members will make a difference you are either lying or deliberately playing the fool. I am really starting to wonder which it is.

    Over and over again, you refuse to see that armed resistance to crime STOPS crime. Anything less then a complete admission of that is simply you hiding from reality.

    Now does that mean that every crime can be, will be, and has been stopped when confronted by armed citizenry? Nope, but enough to show the value and the truth of people carrying firearms.

    Again, you offer opinion

    In the longrun, these measures will make matters worse

    We offer fact!

    Can show any evidence, any proof, any statistics, any facts to back up your inane opinion?

    We have certainly offered plenty of statistics, facts, evidence, anecdotes to show that you are simply wrong.

    And in the long run Mike, it is this fact that you choose to overlook. You don't have the right to disarm me regardless of how you feel about it.

    You are starting to look more like Cliff, then Richard at this site

    NRA/Gun Lobby Spanked Hard in 2008 Elections

    You offer no reason other then "common sense" which isn't and feelings in your attempt to curtail our rights. It is really starting to be pathetic Mike.

  17. I don't agree that arming the churchgoers will solve anything

    maybe not, but so what? nobody's proposing doing that anyway.

  18. Mike,

    Let's play off a question Weer'd posted at his blog.

    Who would you rather be locked in a closed room with:

    a.) a group of armed church goers


    b.) a group of violent but unarmed criminals.

  19. [deep voiced movie preview guy]

    Jesus... He has a HARDON for guns! and this time he's NOT TURNING THE OTHER CHEEK..

    It's payback time!

    [end: deep voiced movie preview guy]

    [Scene: Night: in Garden of gesthemane]

    Put that Sword Away Peter!
    Jesus Pauses
    Here, use this...


  20. Steve from Toledo, that's pretty funny. Thanks for stopping by.

    Bob, I'd much rather be with the armed churchgoers. Did I have to answer that?

  21. Mike,

    Just checking to verify two things.

    One you recognize it isn't the firearm and two it does matter who has the firearms. concrete terms, how are you going to keep the type you don't want to be around from getting firearms?

    Stop stalling, stop saying you don't have any idea. Either be part of the solution or be quiet about a subject that you know little about.

  22. Bob said, " concrete terms, how are you going to keep the type you don't want to be around from getting firearms?

    Stop stalling, stop saying you don't have any idea. Either be part of the solution or be quiet about a subject that you know little about."

    I admit to knowing too little about the subject, but I stand on my 1st Amendment rights as an American to continue talking about it. (you're supposed to be smiling now).

    I'm offering a compromise to you guys. You don't want a total ban like in the UK, so through increased registration-type legislation, we'll cut down the numbers overall and ensure that the flow which inevitably happens from the millions of borderline gun owners, you know, the ones who are not doing all the good things you guys do for security and responsibility, diminishes.

  23. "I'm offering a compromise to you guys."

    A "Compromise" where we give somthing up and you stand firm. You have a dictionary handy Mike?

    "we'll cut down the numbers overall and ensure that the flow which inevitably happens from the millions of borderline gun owners, you know, the ones who are not doing all the good things you guys do for security and responsibility, diminishes."

    And you have no idea of the mechanics of that, nor the VERY simple problems. #1 You have yet to have proven that such a dynamic exists. #2 We have proven that such a dynamic does not exist, and simple theft is the primary dynamic in the "Flow"
    #3. You have no idea how you're going to decrease "avialbility" without taking away people's guns.
    #4. The number of guns in the hands of criminal elements is below 1% of the total civlian guns in America.
    #5. Without baning "Boarderline Owners" (no definition given)if they were to only have ONE gun, and they sold that gun to criminals, or lawful owners only had ONE gun stolen in a break-in, coupled with real-life numbers shows that the number of guns in criminal hands would be unchanged.
    #6, not like ANY law is going to do jack shit to ANY contraband in the hands of the criminal element.

    So your "Compromise" takes away, offers nothing in return, and is given no support why it would even remotely work.

    That aside you sill haven't figgured out what the hell you're talking about (how do you reduce "Availability"? How do you define "Boarderline Owners"? ect.

    But it's not like what you've said, or what I've said is anything new. You KNOW what you said was BS, and you KNOW more-or-less I was going to type this.

    You are choosing to spread ignorance by means of your Blog. I respect your 1st Amendment right to do so....I do not respect your motivation, nor do I think it is on level with your Charactor Mike.

    Will you teach your children that people of different races are different mentally? Will you teach your children that if we allow gays to marry people will soon be being wed to farm animals?
    Do you teach your children that if they smoke a joint at a party they'll be blowing somebody for crack by the weeks end?

    All those statements are ignorant statements. All of those statements have been concretely disproven. All of those statements are commonly made by zealots who are too arrogant/ignorant to admit they're wrong. All of those people are bad people, because they are using ignorance to further an agenda that IS wrong. Not "Maybe" not "Debateable", but W R O N G! yet they continue anyway.

    Mike, even with the articles and blogs I KNOW you've read, I suspect there is more on this subject you have seen. You have read people cleanly refuting the bogus gun-control arguments.

    You aren't a die-hard gunnie who will start a 200 comment debate on direct impingment vs gas piston, or .45 ACP vs. .40 S&W, Glock Vs. 1911. But you're NOT in any definition Ingorant, and I would NEVER dare to call you stupid.

    This leads me only to belive that you KNOW you're wrong, but feel that your agenda is more important than right-or-wrong.

    That's kinda disgusting!


    Here's the type of REAL law that will do wonders to reduce "Flow". Hell I wish it had an amendment that included stealing firearms from a residence.

    Note the group that drafted the law. A gun owner's group, and affiliate of the NRA.

  25. Mike,

    +1 to Weer'd.

    Let me add, what do we get for your registration?

    Do we get open carry with registration?

    Do we get nearly unrestricted concealed carry?

    If I'm registered as a gun owner, do we eliminate waiting periods?

    How about background checks?

    One Gun a Month?

    How about state approved lists like Jay G has to live under?

    How about freedom to purchase fully automatic weapons?

    Taking away half my firearms and telling me to be happy you haven't taken them all away isn't compromise?

    If we give you registration, are you willing to give up your right to free speech on the subject? Never again blog about it, never talk about it at parties?

    You aren't talking about firearms Mike, get that through your head now. YOU are talking about my constitutionally protected rights.

  26. Compromise?

    When gun owners "compromise" what do we get in return? We get a promise that the anti-rights side won't push for yet another restriction....yet.

    There's NEVER compromise involved. Besides, how can we compromise with those who want guns out of our hands?

    And Mike, you say,

    "so through increased registration-type legislation"

    Sorry, no dice. Registration and licensing has historically lead to outright bans and confiscation of arms. That's a damn good reason for me to oppose it and not waver one bit.