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Del. LaRock sponsors bill to allow guns in places of worship

Del. Dave LaRock (R) represents much of western Loudoun County.
After a committee endorsed the proposal on a party-line vote, the House of Delegates is considering legislation to allow people to bring guns and knives into a place of worship in Virginia.

Delegates are scheduled to vote this week on House Bill 1180, which would repeal the state’s ban against carrying weapons into a house of worship while religious services are being held.

Del. Dave LaRock (R-33rd) said he is sponsoring this bill on behalf of concerned churchgoers.

“Recent shootings in churches have leaders across the country reevaluating their security plans in places of worship,” LaRock said, referring to church attacks in Sutherland Springs, Texas and Charleston, South Carolina.

The existing law states, “If any person carry any gun, pistol, bowie knife, dagger or other dangerous weapon, without good and sufficient reason, to a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held at such place he shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.”

At a meeting of the House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee last week, LaRock said the law is ambiguous.

“The statute restricts those in charge of places of worship from exercising full control over their own private property,” LaRock said. “By repealing this law, we will remove a barrier to churches forming plans to protect and defend their establishments against malicious attacks.”

Philip Van Cleave of the Virginia Citizens Defense League testified in support of the bill. He said the current law “is forcing pacifism, if you will, on churches. It’s taking away their ability to do certain ceremonial things.”

Representatives of faith communities disagreed. Bryan Walsh spoke on behalf of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy.

“Faith leaders we have spoken with, and members of our community, don’t feel that this bill makes places of worship any safer,” Walsh said. “We want our places of worship to be places of peace, not violence.”

Amanda Silcox, who also works at the center, echoed Walsh’s testimony, stating, “We believe places of worship should be safe havens for people, not places of violence.”

LaRock said HB 1180 will not invite violence in houses of worship. “Repealing this bill will do nothing more than to allow the formation of sensible security plans for places of worship and the best way to avoid disaster is to plan and prepare,” he said.

Del. Marcus Simon, D-Fairfax, said he saw no need for LaRock’s legislation.

“If a law is working just fine, and there aren’t really any problems with the law, we should just leave it alone,” Simon said.

Lori Haas, a lobbyist for the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, requested more time for public reaction to the bill, which was filed on Jan. 10.

“There are many, many, many members of faith communities across the commonwealth who might have an opinion about this bill, might want to express their support or opposition to the bill,” Haas said.

Despite her plea, the Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee voted 12-9 in favor of HB 1180, sending the bill to the full House. The Republicans on the panel voted unanimously for the measure; the Democrats voted against it.

Comments


Churches don’t vote.  I would like to know which churches, not church goers, asked him to champion this legislation.  I just called his office and was told “several,” but he couldn’t name one, or provide a picture of the delegate speaking with a reverend or priest on this issue. 


It’s hilarious to watch leftists suddenly become concerned with churchgoers.


The point of this is to allow the leader of each specific house of worship (regardless of religion) to determine if they want guns on the premises.  Much like stores that put up no weapon signs at their front doors.  It is private property and the owner should decide.


david Dickinson your falsehoods do a disservice to the GOP. You were told Dems are atheists and afraid of guns.You need to educate yourself on truths not fears.


“Accordingly, it is my opinion that carrying a weapon for personal protection constitutes a good
and sufficient reason under the statute to carry a weapon into a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held there and it is further my opinion that places of worship can restrict or ban firearms from their premises.”
- Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, II, Attorney General

There should be no argument. The AG has made his interpretation clear and the ban should be repealed. Leave the decision up to the head of the house of worship (church, synagogue, mosque, etc.).
Since there is supposedly a separation of “church and state”, not sure why this is even an issue. Other than the ban should have never been considered constitutional in the first place.


Won’t speak out against the Klan or White Supremacist, but wants guns in churches.


There is nothing to fear people, it’s not like a flag desecrating anarchist will murder a bunch of Christians at their church. oh wait…


C’mon America…you need to live in fear.  It’s making lots of money and giving power to groups like the NRA, race-baiters, security vendors, political demagogues, fake-news peddlers, and on and on.

 


So, after a tragic event, you may find out that your love one was killed by friendly fire.


There is nothing to fear people , it’s not like Democrats show up at, lets say a baseball field to shoot up members of congress. oh wait…


fellow gopers voted idol worship bill doa


In case you don’t get out much, places of worship have been in the news frequently for getting shot up in the past several years.

Every large church in America has a security team now.

This may be alien to atheist Democrats, but there are many churches in Virginia (and elsewhere) with several hundred or thousands of people gathered for a single service.  The minions of Satan are attracted to large bodies of unarmed believers.

Yes, temples have similar security details.  Mosques, I don’t know but I presume any significantly large one does too.


I think many get the point. 

What I don’t get is how it seems normal to some people to want armed security details at a church. Wonder if they want that for all mosques and temples too?


People are missing the point.  Churches want armed security details.  Current law states, “without good and sufficient reason,” weapons are illegal.

Now, we all know how Democrats operate.  A Democrat will interpret that to say that you can’t have a weapon unless we are 5 weeks past Armageddon while common sense Republicans think that the current state of world affairs would meet that definition.

To avoid constant legal wrangling, eliminate the statute altogether.


Many places of worship are schools.
Will LaRock’s bill now allow guns in schools?


Shooting from the hip (again), amerigirl?

And please don’t insult us with your virtue signaling.


God help the people who cannot legally defend themself because Democrats have disarmed the law abiding citizens and made them sitting ducks for mentally ill murderers who have no regard for law.

“Oh, I’m sorry sir. I hate to disrupt your evil plan today. You can’t kill us here because we have a VERY strict ‘no guns’ law. Now, I have to ask you kindly to take your weapon somewhere where carrying guns and commiting murder is legal. Thanks and have a nice day!”


That’s it. LaRock jumped the shark.  He may get enough money from the NRA to make it seem like a great idea but I don’t appreciate seeing my safety used as a fund-raising chip for La Rock.

Dave, you can probably pack at your church (assuming you go to one) and I doubt anyone will pat you down.  If it makes you feel closer to Jesus to have a Trump card to “thou shalt not kill” ... well, that’s between you and Jesus.

Leave the rest of us out of your issues.


God help these fools that think they can’t go anywhere without their guns.

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