A Sunday morning starting not unlike many others did a lot of change some minds regarding the role of guns in fighting potential mass shootings. A few seconds, a single shot from a church security team member, and it was over. It wasn’t the perfect outcome–someone other than the bad guy was also killed, after all–but it was as close as humanly possible under the circumstances.
It’s giving a bit of momentum to pro-gun measures that would also serve to help combat mass shootings.
In fact, the state that passed limits on who can buy rifles and red flag laws is now considering a couple of proposals that might have a much better impact on mass shootings.
With supporters pointing to attacks on churches and synagogues, a House panel Tuesday approved a measure that would allow people to carry concealed weapons at religious institutions that share properties with schools.
The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee also approved a separate bill that would allow county commissioners, school board members and elected city officials to be armed at their public meetings.
State law generally allows people to carry concealed weapons at religious institutions, but it bars being armed on school properties. That has effectively meant that people cannot carry guns to churches or synagogues that meet at places with schools.
The measure (HB 1437) approved Tuesday would allow religious institutions to authorize people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry guns at such locations.
That’s a good move on the church schools and one that’s long overdue. It created a potential for people to violate the law without really meaning to since, in their mind, they were carrying at church and not at the church school that happens to share the same property.
I’m less enthusiastic about the bill allowing elected officials to carry.
It’s not that I think they should be barred from doing so, mind you. The problem is that it allows these officials to carry but not the rest of the general public. While I get the argument that they’re more likely to be targetted by violence because of their position, the laws in place make a lot of people vulnerable coming to and from government buildings. Especially since there’s no evidence of elected officials being more law-abiding than the rest of humanity.
That’s my problem there. It’s not that the people it permits shouldn’t be permitted, it’s that it still excludes legions of law-abiding citizens from carrying a gun. If Virginia Beach taught us anything, it’s that these buildings aren’t automatically safe havens and we’d best not pretend they are. Law-abiding citizens shouldn’t be disarmed at all, but especially when we know there’s no way to keep them safe while disarmed.
Which brings me back around to the church school bill. That was the problem there. It kept law-abiding citizens from being armed in certain places because of a particular type of function. Allowing carry in churches is a good thing, as White Settlement showed the entire world. Yet having a school in place barred people from carrying, even if the school wasn’t in session on Sunday morning.
Still, anything that expands gun rights has to be taken as a win.