Gun-free zone fail: New York clergyman robbed at gunpoint during livestreamed service

The left can’t stop pretending that “gun-free zones” do anything to keep violent criminals away, even when the evidence is crystal clear that these “no guns allowed” policies are only preventing the law-abiding from protecting themselves.

The latest example comes from Brooklyn, where during church services at the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries in the Canarsie neighborhood on Sunday morning were rudely interrupted by three armed men looking to take up a collection of their own.

The armed assailants “displayed firearms and demanded property” from the 44-year-old bishop and his wife, 38, police said.

“When I see them come into the sanctuary with their guns, I told everybody to get out, everybody just get out,” [Bishop Lamor] Whitehead said in a video posted to Instagram following the incident. “I didn’t know if they wanted to shoot the church up or if they were just coming for a robbery.”

In the end, he said he was thankful that it was the latter, but said “they took all of my wife’s jewelry and took all of my jewelry,” including his wedding band.

In video shared online by local media outlets appearing to show the incident, which was captured on a livestream that appears to have since been taken down, Whitehead can be heard saying “alright, alright,” before dropping to the ground on his hands and knees.

Police say that the armed robbers were able to get away with about $400,000 in jewelry belonging to Whitehead and his wife; speeding off in a white Mercedes before police could arrive at the scene.

Under the state’s new concealed carry restrictions approved last month and set to take effect on September 1st, houses of worship like Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries must ban lawful concealed carry from their premises. The only way for Whitehead and other worship leaders to have armed protection for their flock is if they’re willing and able to hire private security. That might be an option for some larger congregations, but declaring all religious services to be “sensitive places” off-limits to concealed carry is going to leave many houses of worship unprotected and undefended even if those inside want their fellow congregants to be armed.

Remember, under New York’s pending law violations of a “gun-free zone” are far more severe than a warning, citation, or even a misdemeanor offense. Accidentally set foot onto a “sensitive place” while armed, or even choose to disregard state law and allow congregants to carry inside your church or synagogue and legal gun owners and concealed carry licensees could be looking at felony charges with the potential for years in prison and the lifetime loss of their right to keep and bear arms if convicted.

Instead of making New Yorkers safer, Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Democrats in charge in Albany are going to put them at greater risk of being the victim of a violent crime by making it virtually impossible for them to lawfully carry a firearm in self-defense while providing armed robbers and violent criminals with a handy list of places where they’re most likely to find unarmed targets who are ripe for the picking. The armed robbery of a church service in Brooklyn isn’t an outlier crime for New York City; it’s a taste of what’s in store for law-abiding New Yorkers unless the courts block these new infringements from taking effect in just a few weeks.