Joe Levi:
a cross-discipline, multi-dimensional problem solver who thinks outside the box – but within reality™

Church Policy May Encourage Violent Acts

If we take a look at places where seemingly senseless violence takes place we see a disturbing pattern:

  • Airports and airplanes,
  • churches,
  • schools,
  • and areas with high densities (malls, etc.).

What do most of these places have in common? Most have policies or laws which prohibit firearms.

Criminological research into gun control has led to the unavoidable conclusion that locations which enacted more permissive concealed carry laws had a decrease in violent crime (rape, murder, assault, etc.) Don Kates summarizes this consensus thusly:

Unfortunately, an almost perfect inverse correlation exists between those who are affected by gun laws, particularly bans, and those whom enforcement should affect. Those easiest to disarm are the responsible and law abiding citizens whose guns represent no meaningful social problem. Irresponsible and criminal owners, whose gun possession creates or exacerbates so many social ills, are the ones most difficult to disarm.1

Utah Statute 76-10-530 (Trespass with a firearm in a house of worship or private residence — Notice — Penalty.) states that “A person, including a person licensed to carry a concealed firearm […], after notice has been given […] that firearms are prohibited, may not knowingly and intentionally […] transport a firearm into [… or …] while in possession of a firearm, enter or remain in (i) a house of worship; or(ii) a private residence.”

The statute also provides a  website (maintained by the Utah Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI)) at which “the church or organization operating the house of worship” can register as having published their prohibition of legally carried open or concealed firearms. To-date the only church to register with the BCI is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Recent Events:

  • April 1999: Gunman in Salt Lake City Family History Library — “On April 15 a 71-year-old man calmly walked into the Mormon church’s Family History Libraries and opened fire with a small-caliber handgun. Before it was over, the gunman had killed a church security officer and a library patron and wounded five others, including a police officer. He was fatally shot by police and died later in an ambulance.” Also reported by the BBC.
  • March 2005: A man known for sharing his homegrown vegetables with neighbors walked into a church service at The Living Church of God in suburban Milwaukee, Wis., and killed seven people with a gun, wounding four others before killing himself.
  • July 2005: CHURCH LEADERS SILENT ON TONGAN GANG VIOLENCE — “[…] This gunman was a fellow Tongan and he had a sawed off shotgun, shooting erratically at moving targets and I just happened to be in the same parking lot of a Mormon church in Salt Lake City, Utah, on a cool Friday night, dodging shotgun blasts while scurrying to my car.”
  • February 2006:  Two people died after a gunman opened fire with a shotgun during a church service at Zion Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit, sending parishioners ducking under pews for cover. Police said the shooting grew out of a domestic dispute. The gunman later killed himself.
  • May 2006: A gunman shot and killed four people at The Ministry of Jesus Christ Church in Baton Rouge, La., then abducted his estranged wife and three children. He later killed his wife.
  • May 2007: Two people were killed by a gunman inside First Presbyterian Church in Moscow, Idaho, and a police officer died later after he was shot while responding to the call for help.
  • August 2007: A man entered a church in Neosho, Mo., where relatives were praying and killed three people with a gun before holding several others hostage at the 100-year-old First Congregational Church.
  • December 9, 2007: A gunman shot and killed two teenage girls in the parking lot of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo. Earlier
  • December 9, 2007: A gunman went on an early-morning shooting rampage at a Christian missionary center in Arvada, Colo., where he also killed two people and wounded two others.
  • January 2008, Sanctuary safety: Not even churches are off-limits to violence: “Last Sunday, Kristy Ragsdale joined two young Colorado Springs women as the latest victims of violence at the place most Americans consider to be a sanctuary — their church.”

Why do churches (and other places) want to remove your right to self-defense?

The argument for “gun-free zones” (known by some self-defense advocates as “defenseless target zones”) is usually based on the idealistic view that weapons “don’t belong” here or there. While that is well and good in theory, one major flaw in the logic exists: people who don’t follow the rules are the same people that carry out violent crimes.

Are these same places willing to guarantee your protection? Will they contract to paying for final expenses and replacing your income if you are injured or killed while in their “gun-free zone”? No? Why not?

Do you know of a place that has a “gun-free zone” policy in place? If so, please comment!

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2 Responses

  1. Oscar D. Mann says:

    Please notify me any happenings of church violance. I am a co-leader at Mountain Top Church in Birmingham, Al. We are concerned for the safety at our church.

  1. January 25, 2008

    […] a discussion on a blog post titled: Church Policy May Encourage Violent Acts; there is another thread discussing “Christian perspective of self defense. Right & duty […]

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