The reason we are against SB357 – Carrying Firearms in Places of Worship

SB357 addressed some concerns of the church concerning carrying in churches. This bill would allows churches to operate more like private property but would not strike them from the off limits places, therefore not classifying them as private property. It would continue with the provision of up to $100 fine for caught carrying in a place of worship.

The fundamental issues is that churches should not be treated differently from any other private property owners.  It is a violation of the state constitution for the state to spend money in aid of churches.  By having a special process for churches (including criminal laws that ordinary private property owners cannot use), the state is spending money via law enforcement in aid of churches.

​This bill is worse than what we presently have in place.  If a church presently allows anyone with a license to carry​ in church, they must allow everyone to carry.  This bill allows them to selectively pick and choose who can and cannot carry.  Therefore, there is a very high probability that most churches that presently allow carry will drop that provision and allow only the chosen ones to carry.

We are told that churches feel they are sitting ducks and need this provision.  We do not disagree on that point.  But, should this bill become law, and the churches who now allow you to carry decide that only a chosen few can carry, you too would become a sitting duck as well since they would be allowed to pick and choose who can and cannot carry.  We agree that private property owners have to power to do that presently but there is no penalty associated with carrying on private property.

However, churches are somehow “special private property owners” which should not be the case.  If the General Assembly and the churches want churches to have the provisions of private property owners, the churches should be stricken from the prohibited list and remove the $100 penalty for being caught carrying in a church.

Funny how the churches will cry separation of church and state but lobby heavily to keep the government’s presence on this one issue. Funny how the General Assembly will ignore private property rights and go along with the churches.

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