To the joy of self-defense minded firearms owners throughout the state, Illinois recently passed concealed carry legislation. However, the law is rather restrictive (it establishes the lengthiest training requirement in the country — 16 hours). Some of those restrictions prevent CCW permit holders from carrying in several locations, including stadiums, government buildings, various forms of public transit, libraries, and bars. However, state Senator Dan Kotowski (D) feels the list of restricted locations isn’t long enough. Although the law establishes the right for private properties to post signage prohibiting firearms on the grounds, Kotowski has expressed that places of worship, that is churches, synagogues, mosques, etc., should have been written into the legislation as de facto firearm free zones.
Some of those in support of Kotowski’s ban feel that bringing firearms into places of peace and worship “dishonors [their] faith” (Pastor Charles Burton, in defense of banning firearms in churches). Kotowski explained that, “For many, knowing someone can bring in a loaded, concealed handgun is very troubling.” There has been some voice of opposition to Kotowski’s proposal, however.
Others who disagree with the restriction of firearms in churches cite recent acts of violence in churches. An extension of the concealed carry debate itself, those in favor of church concealed carry would have the ability to defend themselves and others in cases such as the murder of Baptist pastor Fred Winters—which occurred during the service—in his church in Maryville four years ago. Others are opposed to the legislation on the grounds that it should be up to each congregation to decide whether or not concealed carry should be permitted on the premises.
H/T Jim Suhr, Associated Press.
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