Do you ever run across a column that’s so completely oblivious to the obvious that you can’t help but think that the author is engaging in a bit of intentional ignorance to try to make a point? My most recent experience with an eye-rolling editorial comes from Louisiana, where lawmakers are currently debating a bill that would require churches, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship to opt-out of allowing the lawful carrying of firearms inside, rather than opt-in, as is the case right now.
The Advocate newspaper has a column from self-described Second Amendment supporter John Singleton, who just can’t understand why any pastor, rabbi, or imam would ever want worshippers to have their gun with them during a service.
I’m still wondering how this perceived parochial insurrection might actually play out. And, yes, I’m aware of at least one incident where a gunman went into a church and opened fire, but I tend to think it’s more about a lover’s quarrel or a family squabble than just a guy who has a problem with churches.
So, I’m picturing the bad guy standing up and waving his gun in the middle of the Rev. Boreman’s sermon. What’s next? Does Sister Martha reach under her choir robe and cycle a round into her Glock and go to town on the guy without giving it a second thought? Or what about the gentleman visitor who’s just returning from the men’s room? Shall he unholster his Smith & Wesson and take-out Sister Martha since she’s the first person he sees with a gun?
And heaven forbid someone actually pulls the trigger and sends the rest of the congregation scrambling for their own sidearms.
It’s truly amazing that Singleton ignores real incidents where armed parishioners were able to stop attacks in favor of a hypothetical situation that has never played out in any of the states that don’t require places of worship to be gun-free zones.
According to the bill’s sponsor, the legislation would still allow for gun-free zones if that’s what church officials want.
Rep. Bryan Fontenot, a republican out of Thibodaux, sponsored the bill and says the leader of the church may still stop someone from carrying and says he wants to be clear on that.
“I see letters to the editor or even some reports at several newspapers around the state that (claim) this would take away the right of the pastor to refuse someone from having a firearm in church and that’s incorrect,” said Fontenot.
Right now, you can’t conceal carry in a church unless the house of worship allows you to.
Representative Mandie Landry, a Democrat from New Orleans, voted against the measure and says it would make things more difficult for churches that are already dealing with strict COVID-19 reopening guidelines.
“What this law would do is flip the burden and say anyone who wants to can and it’s up to each church to opt out,” said Landry. “So each church would have to put up signs, maybe a security guard, maybe get medal decorators. It puts the burden on them to keep weapons out and I think that is really unfair to put that on churches right now.”
Ultimately, it’s up to the churches to keep weapons out (or allow them in) regardless of whether or not this bill passes, so I’m not persuaded by Landry’s argument, which seems to suggest that the only thing keeping criminals from attacking churches at the moment is the fact that guns are de-facto banned from worship centers unless the pastor or church leaders specifically state otherwise.
Anyone with evil intent isn’t going to be thwarted by a gun-free zone, because they’re simply going to ignore that prohibition. This bill still allows for property owners to keep those misguided policies in place if they want, but recognizes that the default position in a country that recognizes the right to both keep and bear arms should be to allow the lawful carrying of firearms instead of banning them in the hope that a “No Guns Allowed” sign will keep evil at bay.