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(Photo: Drew Force / Pixabay)

Right-to-Carry in More NC Churches Gets Final Legislative Approval

By Gary D. Robertson

The North Carolina General Assembly on Tuesday finalized another bill seeking to expand gun rights — this time in churches — and will send it to Gov. Roy Cooper, who vetoed a bill containing the same idea a year ago.

The Senate agreed 30-19 to House changes to Republican legislation that would allow members or visitors at churches that meet on private school campuses to carry a handgun if they have a concealed weapons permit.

Current law treats these places of worship differently than standalone religious venues, and bill supporters say these worshippers should have access to the same level of security when churches have been targets for violence. Ministers of several evangelical churches with affiliated schools spoke in committee earlier this year to request the option.

While a few Democrats joined all Republicans in voting for a broader gun bill in 2020 that contain the church language, Cooper managed to return enough Democrats to the fold last year to uphold his veto.

This year, five House Democrats and three Senate Democrats also joined with Republicans in approving the scaled-back measure.

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The governor focused on the church provision in the 2020 measure, saying it threatened the safety of students and teachers.

There was no Senate debate before Tuesday’s vote. House Democrats said last week that the gun access sought in the measure wouldn’t help prevent violence. They suggested these congregations should hire off-duty police officers instead for security. But that the cost can be prohibitive for small churches, according to the Rev. Mark Creech with the Christian Action League of North Carolina.

“They’re not able to develop their own (armed) security team,” Creech said in an interview, adding that the churches “are vulnerable to some crazed soul that might walk in and want to start shooting.”

Cooper’s office didn’t immediately respond Tuesday to an email seeking comment on the bill heading to his desk.

As with last year’s bill, sponsors of the current measure say it contains protections for the schools that meet on the property. Permit holders can only carry a gun outside the school’s operating and activity hours, and these churches could still prohibit concealed weapons by posting a sign.

The bill also contains a separate provision also inserted into the 2020 bill that allows additional law enforcement employers — such as a civilian front desk worker at a police station — to carry a concealed weapon on the job if the police chief or sheriff allows it and the person has a concealed handgun permit.



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18 thoughts on “Right-to-Carry in More NC Churches Gets Final Legislative Approval”

  1. Marin Heiskell

    So, my mom’s side of the family lives in NC and I asked them about this. They summed it up accordingly: the same demographic that claims they don’t need covid protocols or vaccines “because they are covered by the blood of Christ” and “God didn’t give us a spirit of fear”….need to carry a gun in church. Yet the irony is lost on them.

    Wow. I’m still waiting for someone to explain: what is everyone so afraid of??

    1. Another Sutherland Springs, or what could have been at White Settlement except someone had concealed carry. I agree though that it looks terrible to advocate for concealed carry at church yet oppose vaccines.

    2. To answer your question: realistic people are afraid of being murdered while attending a church service because it has happened several times in this country alone. You are being just as inconsistent and contradictory as your mother’s side of the family if you believe in masking and vaccination but not in having effective security measures in place in your church. People who think that nothing bad can possibly happen to them are being neither prudent nor wise.

    1. Brian Patrick

      Arthur Frandy,

      Going down that list in your link, the conviction of Mr. Storms for shooting Mr. Braxton looks pretty wrongful to me. Braxton was behaving violently (the reason why is not explained) and had physically attacked Mr. Storms prior to being shot. This was not some senseless gun crime, it was self-defense. It looks like the DA in this case (Laura Bradbury) was out to make a politically correct point. This was an injustice.

      Sorry to create a tangent here, but that case (at least) should certainly not be upheld as a head on a stick for the anti-gun movement.

  2. Marin Heiskell

    Actually, the inconsistency is on the opposite end. So God protects from a virus, but not a shooting? Pray away a virus, but carry a concealed weapon in church in case of a shooting (which is MUCH less likely)?Prayer doesn’t work in a sanctuary? How’s that work?
    Remember all of the statements around “statistics show you’re likely to survive covid, so don’t take any precautions”? Well, statistics show you are even LESS likely to get shot in a church. So why do you need a gun in a sanctuary, but not a vaccine or mask when walking around in public?
    Make it make sense.
    I didn’t say – nor do I think – nothing bad can happen. But I know I can get in a bad car accident, yet I still drive.
    To each his/her own, but I think fighting to have a concealed weapon in a church is a bit much.

    1. Brian Patrick

      Marin Heiskell,

      I can’t make a one to one analogy on this. I agree that the vast majority of the anti-vaxism is stupid, but nobody is passing laws banning people from getting vaccinated at church. That would have to be the case for these two issues to be analogous. For WAY too long, it has been against the law to protect yourself at church.

      Self-defense is the first of all human rights because without it, none of the others mean a thing.

    2. You have simply restated the inconsistency of your mother’s side of the family which you previously described and complained about. I wrote that I agreed with you! I then said that IF you believe in protecting yourself and others from the virus (masks/vaccination), then why don’t you believe in protecting yourself and others from possible gun-violence in a church? Do you also think churches should have an outdoor plaque that indicates they are a gun-free zone? I’ll bet you buckle your seat-belt/shoulder-harness everytime you drive.

      1. Marin Heiskell

        My mom’s side of the family was quoting what they hear from the same people who claim only need prayer for protection from covid. I guess prayer doesn’t protect from anything else, so guns are needed. Oh well.

        I don’t think the answer to a problem that is HIGHLY unlikely to happen is to have everyone who sets foot in a sanctuary (the very word is ironic in this discussion) carrying a concealed weapon. But hey, if we want to turn sanctuaries into a wild wild west of potential accidents and shootouts, then go for it . (Well, we already have.) The gun violence that makes the news doesn’t come CLOSE to the number of gun-related ACCIDENTS that happen among those who know each other. Get ready. (I’d say pray, but you know, apparently that doesn’t work in this case.)

        My church has a security team. In the DECADES of our existence, they have had to take action a handful of times (and it’s been medical related incidents). I’m grateful for that, and do attribute that to prayer.

        I don’t have a gun in my glove compartment when I drive, nor do I carry one constantly on my person when I walk my dog, or run errands. I don’t have a gun in my lap or purse when eating at a restaurant nor when sitting on my patio to enjoy the day. And I live in the (gasp) city! (I also assume if there is no sign about being a “no carry” business that someone is carrying a gun. It’s the Texas girl in me.) But I feel safe.

        I respect those who feel they must have a gun within arm’s reach at all times; it’s their right to do so. I also admit I wonder what kind of lifestyle they live to be too fearful to be out of arm’s reach of their gun for an hour (or 2) to worship the Lord.

        But that’s where our society is headed. If you’re afraid? Just carry a gun. Into a church.

        1. Because there are enough people who think like you, Marin, you will never have to worry about EVERYONE carrying a gun into the (or any) church you happen to go to. Your “wild, wild, West shootout” scenario is a description of gang activity that takes place every weekend in our large cities. It is not what happens at the many gun shows that take place every weekend all across this country. If CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, NPR, ABC, CBS, NBC, etc., would report the daily incidents of private gun owners who saved their life and others—there there would be far fewer people in our society who think like you do. The lifestyle of people who carry a gun is one of constant situational awareness and readiness. It takes effort and isn’t very fun. People who think like you enjoy a false sense of safety in our violent age which is only getting worse. I wear a mask and get vaccinated but still PRAY against viruses; I put on my bicycle helmet and still PRAY that it won’t be needed; I wear my seatbelt when driving but PRAY that it and the airbags won’t be needed; Christians who have a gun in their home or carry one, PRAY that they will never be in a situation where it’s needed (and so do Christian police officers on their jobs). The Bible exhorts us to both action AND prayer.

          1. Marin Heiskell

            There is a gun in my household, Craig. It is something that I was gifted to me by my dad, and I chose to accept upon proper training and a lot of prayer.
            However, I just returned from the gym, where I did not walk around on the gym floor with my gun always within arm shot. I actually left it at home (I rarely take it off my property). And I don’t believe that is because I have a “false sense of safety”; it is due to trusting and respecting the security policies and preferences of my gym, its staff, and its members. I believe the owners of my gym have the right to request guns not be brought onto their property, and that I am to also be considerate of its staff and other members. I can only image how alarmed they’d ALL be if I refused to get on the treadmill without my gun next to me; IMO, that is the equivalent of refusing to enter a church sanctuary without a gun on your hip. You can’t keep it outside? It isn’t all about you.
            That is the spiritual trap of fear – it can make us so self focused that we place ourselves in a bubble of “it’s all about me and mine” and shut out or ignore what’s going on around us (including the rights of others).
            Part of being a responsible gun owner isn’t just about proper training and safety measures. It is also considering the rules and rights of others.

    1. Only in the privacy of your own home…

      NOT on other people’s property – you would be infringing on their private property rights.

    2. Marin:
      You have some odd perspectives about people who choose to carry a gun. It’s you’re choice that you’d rather trust others for your safety and personal defense.
      I don’t see how someone who carries a gun around violates the rights of others.
      You’re all over the place on this discussion.

        1. Marin Heiskell

          @Craig –
          Greg nailed it. What happened to others being able to say what they want or don’t want on their property? If my gym (or church) requests that I not have a gun on their property, that is their right to do so. To force my own way on THEIR property is an entitled attitude that disrespects and infringes on THEIR rights as private property owners.
          My home is my property, and that is where I do have a gun – as it is my right to do so.
          Legally forcing someone else (in this case, a church) to let me do what I want on their property is pushing it. THAT is what’s too far IMO.

          And you were right in your first post: it is “you’re” as in “you are”. :)

          1. Marin:
            The issue that you described when you started this discussion wasn’t about private property rights.
            Even though I don’t carry a gun outside my home, if my current church or gym ever decides to ban guns from their premises, I will no longer go there.

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