North Carolina Considers Church Carry Bills

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

My father is a retired police officer, but before that, he was a preacher’s son.

Yes, the stereotype of a preacher’s kid was 100 percent accurate from what I’ve learned of my father’s youth. However, that upbringing also had a profound effect. Despite being a police officer, then a retired one, he was never comfortable with the idea of carrying in church.

At least, not until I pointed out the number of mass shootings in churches.

This was long before White Settlement, TX when an armed member of the congregation put an end to a mass shooting with one well-placed shot.

After that, it becomes easy to convince people who can carry in church. What’s more difficult, though, is making it so the law will allow them to do so. Plus, even if it does, there usually isn’t an exemption for carrying in a church that also has a school attached.

In North Carolina, a couple of bills seek to do just that.

North Carolina lawmakers are considering two separate bills – one in the House and another in the Senate – that would loosen gun laws in churches and other places of worship that also serve as private schools.

 

The gun rights legislation under consideration has sparked impassionate debate.

 

The proposed laws come as coronavirus restrictions gradually loosen with more people getting vaccinated, and an increasing number of students and worshipers return to in-person activities.

 

House Bill 134 and Senate Bill 43 would both allow people to conceal carry a handgun in a religious building that also houses a school, as long as they’re armed outside school operating hours.HB 134 goes further to say that handguns are allowed if the educational program is affiliated with a religious institution.

 

As the law stands now, most North Carolina churches can allow concealed or open-carry weapons on site. However, state law bans weapons on school property, and many churches share their grounds with an affiliated private school.

Religious institutions can still prohibit gun owners from carrying concealed handguns and must put up a sign indicating this desire.

I don’t actually have an issue with that last part. I do believe that people and organizations have a right to restrict rights on their property. However, as consumers, we have the right to consume from places that actually respect our right to protect ourselves.

Yes, that includes churches. Don’t try to tell me you can’t leave a church because of something like that, because I left mine over something the governing body did, so you can hit a church across town.

Or, you know, not. It’s your call.

As for these bills, though, they’re the right move. People should have the legal ability to carry a handgun to church, even if that church also has a school. This is especially true if the church is OK with it. After all, it’s not even like there are church services taking place at the same time school is underway anyhow.

The question is, will North Carolina pass these bills?

Honestly, the state is one of the dicier ones when it comes to politics. A couple of urban centers in the state shifts the politics more leftward than much of the South. Are they shifted enough to stop these bills? It remains to be seen, but I sure as hell hope not.