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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Guns in church

August 26, 2013

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To the editor:

This past spring, the state Legislature passed new laws regarding the carry of guns in Kansas. One way this law impacts our community is not well known. The law provides that firearms can be carried into churches, mosques, synagogues and other houses of worship unless a congregation explicitly state that guns are not permitted on its property with a no-gun symbol on all its doors.  

My congregation contacted the Lawrence Police Department to ask what would happen if someone with a gun came to our facility. They confirmed that the church is powerless to have the visitor removed if we do not post signs within sight of all entrances to our building that guns are not permitted. It would appear that the Legislature holds the rights of gun owners over those in congregations to practice their faith without interference from the state.

The First Presbyterian Church, where I serve as pastor, hosts several programs in our building each week involving children and youth, including our preschool, the Small World program of international guests, Mothers of Preschoolers and Scout troops. It is alarming and overwhelming to think of the responsibility our staff, teachers and members must bear in light of this new legislation. Many of the officers of this congregation feel that posting a no-gun sign would violate basic tenets of our faith and conscience. At the same time, recognizing the public service we offer with our programming, we feel that of necessity we must post such a symbol to comply with this law.  

Comments

Patricia Davis 7 months, 1 week ago

Just another reason I'm glad I'm an atheist.

Just another reason I'm glad I'm an atheist.

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jayhawklawrence 7 months, 2 weeks ago

This is a false argument with only one purpose and that is to try and portray concealed carry owners as fanatics. In other words this argument is designed to manipulate and deceive you into supporting strict gun control legislation that will criminalize law abiding American citizens.

The fact that a church will provide cover for what is basically a lie is what happens when churches become political tools.

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jayhawklawrence 7 months, 2 weeks ago

This is such a silly argument.

Nobody is going to force anyone to allow guns in church.

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Haiku_Cuckoo 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Any person who thinks it's okay to bring guns to church obviously doesn't understand the meaning of "thou shalt not kill." Would Jesus ever shoot somebody?

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mitavanam 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I'm curious to learn what variety of firearm Jesus would use?

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jayhawklawrence 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Do you want to teach the Life of Jesus or become a political organization?

It can get complicated.

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oldbaldguy 7 months, 3 weeks ago

In the way old days, you left your edged weapon(sword/knife) outside church. To take it inside was a breach of the peace and an act against god.

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JJE007 7 months, 3 weeks ago

This letter seems opposed to a need to post a sign that guns are not allowed. I understand that posting a sign seems to come as an affront to the sensibilities of a congregation or a "church", but such an "affront" need not BE an affront unless the sensibilities of the congregation are more important than any message of assumptions. Leaders are able to tell their congregation that they do not want anyone to carry (concealed or exposed) a weapon into their church. Is that not good enough? There is no need for a worthless sign unless the leaders determine that it is of use. No sign has any power unless there is a power beyond the sign. They may as well post a sign that nobody is allowed in their church that has not been approved by the church, but neither sign will guarantee that people holding a gun will not enter.

I think that they are perfectly free to post no sign. I think that they have a right to do so or not. I think that it will make no difference. I don't see grievous harm coming from posting a sign or not. I see confusion and fear. Is fear to be coddled or dismissed? There is no indication, in my mind, that either coddling or dismissing will do anything...but soothe the desires of patrons. Nothing else will come of it.

Do what you will. Do what you want. Do what you must. Don't expect a different outcome from your choosing whether or not to post a piece of paper, lam(b)inated or not.

I suggest asking your congregation not to carry weapons, and acknowledging that they live in a world run by another congregation, run by greed and foolishness beyond the tenets of their belief.

...or not...

It makes no difference unless you MAKE it make a difference. I wish you luck with that, but think it will make no difference...just the same...all the same...as we're all in the same boat...on the same roiling sea...in the same magical time of instability...and fear the needs that are never recognized.

Gun violence is borne of despair, poverty and a culture of hopelessness...or af pure insanity. Fix that. Forget about a "sign".

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Mollie New Leaf 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I know of a local church that has a private security guard attend their services with a concealed firearm for the congregation's protection. The congregation doesn't know about it, but if someone ever did walk in intending to go on a shooting spree they'd be stopped.

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audiver 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Did_I_say_that has it mostly right. Churches should be allowed to decide for themselves as the law permits whether guns are permitted on the premises. Fear of licensed gun carriers is grossly misplaced. Each of them has been through some training and a fingerprint background check in my state. I am more afraid of being in a place that prohibits the lawful carry of a weapon. I would call such a place a "free fire zone" for criminals and crazies and that is where we repeatedly see them do the most harm. In my own church I know of several good Christian men who regularly carry a weapon. I hope they never have to decide to use that weapon on anything other than a paper target at a legal gun range. I know them to love their fellow man with generous hearts and serve their community. I also know if a crazed gun-man came into our church with evil intent I would want them to do what needed to be done to protect the innocent. Much of this anti-gun talk is about the "lambs" (the unarmed) fearing the "wolves" (evil armed people). I see that some among us are "guard dogs" (legally armed and honorably intended) and I am glad to have them nearby and can make the distinction between them.

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woodscolt 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I have always liked the gun advocates position of "the more guns there are out there the more guns we need out there". Bet George Tiller wishes there weren't guns in churches. He should have known he needed a gun in church.

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Chris Golledge 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I don't understand why the police would be powerless to remove anyone from a premises who was there against the owner's wishes. I wasn't aware the owner of a property had to have a reason for asking someone to leave.

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faceit 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Having guns in houses of worship is probably purposeful if your child-molesting prophet told you that God wants you to kill the infidels. Have a nice day everybody!

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bevy 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I find it sad that my brother told me, after a couple of the church shootings a few years back, that his wife's brother had been asked by the deacons of his church to carry his licensed, concealed gun during services. Just in case someone came to their church and started shooting.

However, I find this pastor's argument confusing. What, exactly, about posting a sign violates your Christian faith? Are you also opposed to No Parking signs? It's a specious argument and mostly troll-bait, I think.

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John Kyle 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I find it funny how pro-gun folks think they are protecting us.

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Satirical 7 months, 3 weeks ago

fmrl...

If we allow people to conceal carry in church, then God will be offended, and therefore we should pass laws to not offend God.

Not only will it offend God by not passing this legislation, churches will turn into Wild West shootouts; just like everywhere else where concealed carry is allowed...

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fmrl 7 months, 3 weeks ago

WWJD? First of all He would not indulge in self righteousness. Secondly He would focus on truth instead of little girl emotionalism. Can this pastor name ONE PERSON who has been harmed by concealed carry? Compare that to the thousands of innocents who are killed every year by law enforcement or other thugs or the tens of thousands of innocents killed by our military.

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jayhawklawrence 7 months, 3 weeks ago

The point is that the basis of the complaint is false. In spite of this, it is being used to dredge up fear of guns.

And you fell for it.

I have a license and I almost never carry my gun. People who have licenses are not idiots regardless of how the left wing wants to try to portray us.

By their actions they provide the evidence for why we are/should be suspicious anytime the government wants to take something away from us. They say the devil can talk you into anything if you keep listening. It is the same with our politicians and the media. Stop listening.

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Larry Moss 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm not sure I understand the problem. Is it that you don't want the sign, which solves you problem or that those you serve don't want the sign, which is your problem?

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Drone 7 months, 3 weeks ago

"I am 100% pro gun and a life long church attender. My opinion: guns in church is shameful, it is a place that they are not appropriate."

So, they are less shameful at elementary schools?

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jayhawklawrence 7 months, 3 weeks ago

"No it just appears to me that most CCH people are like young children who have to carry a pacifier everywhere."

Exactly why we cannot trust the gun haters to pass legislation regarding firearms.

In their minds, if you own a gun, you are dangerous.

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kansas_cynic 7 months, 3 weeks ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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2002 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I am 100% pro gun and a life long church attender. My opinion: guns in church is shameful, it is a place that they are not appropriate.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalms 20:7

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Satirical 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I am confused by two statements from the pastor:

(1) “It would appear that the Legislature holds the rights of gun owners over those in congregations to practice their faith without interference from the state.”

Do you also think the state requirement of fire alarms interferes with your right to practice your faith? I think it is interesting how the left is now trying to emulate the right in using religion as an excuse for non-sense.

(2) “Many of the officers of this congregation feel that posting a no-gun sign would violate basic tenets of our faith and conscience.”

How? No one is making you post a sign that says God hates gun owners. The sign simply indicates the gun, not the person, is prohibited. Is your religion one that prohibits signs? What about the state required EXIT signs, or the other state required building code requirements? It's called "freedom of religion" not "freedom to do whatever you want under the guise of religion."

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friendlyjhawk 7 months, 3 weeks ago

There is no rational debate to this problem. To me a gun means you are the biggest bully and surpresses all my conversation with you because your answer is in your gun.

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Mike Ford 7 months, 3 weeks ago

in this country some people believe in the fascist nature of linking the guns and the military and religion together. They do this rather naively. All I have to do is look at the "Got Mit Uns" belt buckles worn by German soldiers in the good war (World War One) and the horrible war (World War Two) that a family member has in their collection. Who is God really with? Is he with the Christian airman at places like Colorado Springs more than the Jewish, Muslim, or Agnostic, or Atheist practices? it's a shame that some people go nationalistic against others instead of realizing the free practice of ALL religions with the First Amendment. I'm a grown Preacher's Kid who got my first shotgun at eight years of age in Louisiana and hunted with my MINISTER father. We don't believe in the NRA, political paranoia, or the need for guns in churches and have collected firearms most of our lives. Like I told AG Schmidt's office in Topeka a couple of weeks ago.... If I wanted to be armed like the Wild West I'd move to Dodge City but therein lies the problem...who wants to live in Dodge City or have guns in a church? no sensible person I hope.

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Lynn731 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I recall not very many years ago, an armed church member in another state, stopped a person intent on killing a lot of people in that church. The media, not knowing what to call this lady, called her a volunteer security guard.

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kansas45 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Did_I_Say_That, very well written. Good job! But alas, logical discussion usually falls on deaf ears.

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jafs 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I wonder why posting a no gun sign would violate their faith?

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Benjamin Roberts 7 months, 3 weeks ago

"It would appear that the Legislature holds the rights of gun owners over those in congregations to practice their faith without interference from the state."

The law actually leaves the power to decide with each individual church; to prohibit carrying in a church would be interference from the state.

More to the point, do you really want the state to decide what individuals in your congregation can carry into your church building? You should shudder at the thought of that potential They may decide that Bibles are too controversial, too bigoted, too politically incorrect, too racially insensitive, or too graphically violent for children and youth; in short too dangerous to carry into a church.

You may easily discard the radical example of government limiting the use of Bibles in the church. Yet, like firearms, religion and the printed Word, are specifically named in the Bill of Rights. The limiting of any one of these rights displays the willingness of those in power to limit any, or all, of them.

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Benjamin Roberts 7 months, 3 weeks ago

You made three mistakes, pastor.

First, you - like most right to carry opposition - assume that there is a great evil in allowing a CCH to carry on premises. There is no justification or evidence to support that view. More importantly, why would you want to limit the ability to defend the children, youth, mothers and staff? If evil entered your building - such as happened in 2006 at the West Nickel Mines (Amish) School - would you really want to limit the defense of your students to unarmed individuals?

Second, you either asked the wrong question or the wrong authorities. The fact is that anyone asked to leave your premises must do so. They must do so, not because they have a legal weapon, but rather because they would be trespassing if they refused to leave. Not only would they be trespassing, but they could be cited for criminal trespassing. The Attorney General answered this question long ago. But, since his answer didn't allow you to use your bully pulpit - you apparently found an answer that did.

FAQ: "If I’m licensed to carry concealed and I enter a business that is not posted as prohibiting concealed carry, do I have to leave if the owner or an employee sees that I am carrying and asks me to leave?
o Answer: Yes. While you would not be violating the concealed carry law, if you refuse to leave an establishment that has asked you to leave, you could be cited for criminal trespassing. This is a result of you remaining in an establishment after the owner or employee tells you to leave (K.S.A. 2011 Supp. 21-5808 [formerly 21-3721])." http://www.ag.ks.gov/docs/documents/concealed-carry-faqs.pdf

Third, nothing in the legislative session this past spring had anything to do with churches. The bill that was passed specifically addressed “state or municipal buildings” with no mention of churches, synagogues, mosques, or other houses of worship. http://www.ag.ks.gov/public-safety/concealedcarry/2013-legislative-changes

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