Episcopal Leaders Freak Out Over Supreme Court Gun Case

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

After a long wait, we’re finally getting another Second Amendment case before the Supreme Court. Yes, there’s been some mention of reasons to be skeptical of getting a really good ruling out of the Court, but I agree with Cam as to why that argument doesn’t seem to hold much water.

Most people following the gun debate suspect that what we’re going to get is a fairly pro-gun ruling from the Court.

And that has some people worried. Some are worried to the point of being ridiculous about it, too.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 3 will hear arguments in a gun control case that could limit how far cities and states may go to regulate whether and when Americans can bring guns into public places, potentially increasing the risk of violence at houses of worship.

The case focuses on a 108-year-old New York law that requires gun owners to show “proper cause” for self-defense before they can receive permits to carry concealed guns in public. Two gun owners sued to challenge that requirement after they were denied the permits. The Episcopal Church’s presiding officers have opposed the gun owners’ lawsuit, joining an interfaith group of more than 400 religious leaders in filing a “friend of the court” brief on Sept. 21.

Their brief warned that throwing out the New York law could undermine gun regulations in that state and in other jurisdictions, making it more likely that guns will be brought into churches and other “sensitive places” where guns usually are prohibited.

“Reducing threats to Americans gathered for religious observance – as well as those participating in religious ministry within the community – is an important state interest that justifies reasonable firearm regulation,” the religious leaders say in the court brief. “However, regulating firearms within houses of worship alone is not enough. New York’s law further helps address these threats by reducing the casual public carrying of concealed weapons, and thus the likelihood of gun violence in public places – including houses of worship.”

Oh, that’s just adorable.

First, let’s understand that the question before the Supreme Court is about the issuance of gun permits. There’s no discussion of just where people can and should be allowed to carry a firearm. The Court is looking at whether New York’s law that allows a subjective determination based on “good cause” to decide who gets a permit and who doesn’t.

It’s highly unlikely they’re going to get into where people can carry.

However, even if it did, so what?

Let’s think about the fact that we have an entire category of mass shootings for those that take place in places of worship. Let’s also note that these often happen in states that don’t allow the carry of a firearm in the church. In other words, those laws aren’t exactly stopping anyone from bringing a gun into the church. More specifically, it’s not stopping anyone who you need to stop.

Plenty of law-abiding citizens will leave their guns at home. Those aren’t the folks you need to worry about.

If the Supreme Court were to rule that guns can and should be carried anywhere the individual wishes to carry them, that will likely reduce the odds of a shooting in a church.

Yet as optimistic as I am about this potential ruling, I don’t expect the Court to get remotely that broad with it. They’re going to address the question regarding the issuing of permits and probably leave it there.

The fact that the Episcopal Church is sweating on this shows just why they should probably stay out of the gun debate. They just don’t know what they’re talking about.