State Sen. Donald McEachin, D-Henrico County, said he will file the bill in response to an advisory opinion issued last week by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who said guns can be carried into houses of worship if they are for personal protection.
His press release is equal parts alarmism, hyperbole, ignorance, and condescension.
Once again, the Attorney General governs by fiat and by his opinion rather than by the constitutional process of legislation.
He was asked for an interpretation of the current law, which is part of his job, not “governing by fiat”. My earlier post noted how vague the current law is – it’s essentially unconstitutional. With “good and sufficient reason” left undefined, any lawful purpose qualifies – and despite what you would no doubt prefer, Senator, self defense is still lawful in Virginia.
I cannot imagine a need to carry guns in places of worship where people go to seek peace, prayer and solace.
Ignoring the issue of needs vs. rights for the moment, you could ask the people who were at the New Life Church in Colorado on December 9, 2007. They had a pretty significant need, and I bet they were very glad that Jeanne Assam was legally allowed to carry her gun into the church with her. Or you can look at any of the other church shootings that have taken place around the nation. After all, anyone who bothers to pay attention knows how well
victim disarmament gun free zones work.
Now, thanks to the Attorney General, if a faith community does not wish guns at their services, they will be forced to post signs and expend funds to ensure guns are not present. The assumption will be that guns can be there, even if they are contrary to the spirit of the religious service and the desires of the congregants.
*Gasp!* You mean the decision will have to be made by individual churches, and not the all-knowing government!? The horror of it all!
The assumption will be that if the church doesn’t forbid it, it’s allowed – just like it has always been, but without the government intimidation of a ridiculously vague law. Just like everything else, and just the way it should be. More to the point, if a church wants to encourage it’s members to carry at services – much like New Life Church apparently did – then it remains the decision of the church, rather than the government.
Next Session, I will put in a bill to not have guns in places of worship and then an honest debate on the merits of this policy can occur, culminating in a vote by all the elected representatives in the General Assembly. This serious decision can then be made by the people, not by a single individual’s political grandstanding.
Your bill would take that same decision out of the hands of the individual churches completely. Members of churches that encourage self-defense would be prohibited by law from carrying the most effective tool for the job while at the very church that encourages it. Churches that believe they have a reason to need extra security will be forbidden from having it, unless they can afford to hire an off-duty police officer.
I imagine groups like VCDL will make the people’s desires known – and get your pro-criminal anti-rights bill killed in committee, like it deserves.
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