Virginia is now continuing to ensure that gun owners can exercise their right to self-protection by passing new legislation that will allow registered gun owners to be able to conceal carry in churches in the state. The Senate is responding to a growing need to allow its citizens to be able to protect themselves in areas that may be targeted due to gun restrictions in the past.
The recent legislation that has passed was a repeal of a current state law that banned the carrying of guns in places of worship during a religious service. The repeal was in response to a recent violent attack where an assailant preyed on the vulnerability of a church service in Texas. The Virginia Senate wanted to give their citizens their rights to self-defense no matter where they are so they can protect themselves against being the possible victim of a tragedy.
While the measure easily passed through the Senate, it will still have to make its way through the House and past the Democratic governor Ralph Northam who opposes the measure and threatens to veto the bill if it comes across his desk. Supporters of the new bill have stated that earlier state prohibition of carrying a weapon such as a knife, dagger, pistol or gun into a place of worship is simply a remnant of the states long ago enacted blue laws that were created in the 1800’s to restrict activities that can occur on Sundays. These supporters feel that the reversal of this law is far from overdue.
While in a previous statement the State’s Attorney General said that the government already allowed for citizens to carry in churches at the church’s discretion, GOP Senator Bill Chafin, who is the sponsor of the bill, said that the right needed to be cemented and expressly stated so that owners will have the right to carry in churches that allow it. In addition to parishioner’s right to carry, the bill will allow the church to employ armed security guards if they feel the need.
“It’s a private property rights issue,” said Chafin. In his plea from the debate floor, Chafin was quoted as saying, “for any of us to sit here and think that when a gunman comes to you that a law is going to somehow protect you is sheer lunacy.”
After 26 worshippers were killed at a Baptist church in Texas last year, Chafin said that he needs to ensure the people he represents will have the right to defend themselves in the event a situation occurs and hopefully prevent a similar tragedy in the state of Virginia.
Armed Citizens Deter Crime
Unfortunately, when assailants choose to commit crimes or acts of violence, they often target those that will be more easily victimized and provide the least resistance for them to achieve their goals of destruction. We have repeatedly seen acts of violence committed in areas where firearms are prohibited, and the assailants are unlikely to encounter much resistance such as schools, places of employment, and even churches.
With criminals having no respect for the laws that prevent gun carrying in these areas, it has now become time for law-abiding citizens to be able to exercise their right to carry to protect themselves as well as those who may not be able to protect themselves. State and local laws are continuing to be passed as more establishment are pushing for the right for citizens to be able to protect their property and patrons. More employers are allowing employees to concealed carry, many schools are now allowing authorized persons to be armed, and now churches are acknowledging their parishioners right to self-protection.
As citizens continue to exercise their rights and are prepared for self-defense, the hope is that these locations that were previously targeted for the ease in victimizing them will now cause more of a deterrent to would-be assailants who only wish to prey on those who cannot defend themselves. Hopefully, legislation such as this will continue to pass through state law and make communities safer for all the law-abiding citizens who inhabit it.
~ American Gun News