Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Guns in Church? A Wisconsin Pastor Begs Congregants Not to Pack Heat on Sunday Morning After Concealed Carry Law Passes

"Wisconsin Catholic bishops are asking parishioners to avoid carrying guns into church, now that a new law permitting residents of the state to carry concealed weapons has gone into effect."

I myself have snarked when states such as Louisiana or Arkansas have considered legalising guns in church. The idea must seem particularly absurd when viewed from the UK, where gun laws are strict. Here in Wisconsin, though, it's no joke. It's a huge headache.

Let's be clear about the situation. First of all, Wisconsin is not the Wild West. Nor, despite its proximity to Chicago, does it have a rich tradition of gangsterism. In fact, until the new law took effect, Wisconsin was one of only two states in the nation banning concealed carry. And while "open carry" – displaying a weapon on a side holster, for example – is legal, it's never been part of tradition, as it is in some places in the south.

So despite the headlines, Wisconsinites are hardly bloodthirsty savages clamouring to arm themselves to the teeth. Certainly there's been no rabid upsurge among Christians. It's really only a very small number of people who wanted concealed carry. Unfortunately, they happen to be backed by conservative dogmatists in the Republican party of Wisconsin. You will be safe and even receive a warm welcome should you visit America's Dairyland. Still, to be on the safe side, I would exercise caution the next time the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears square off at Lambeau Field. more