(MN) Lawsuit takes on guns at church (Again)


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motoman
August 1, 2005, 11:17 PM
The Red Star (http://www.startribune.com/stories/587/5537282.html)
Two Twin Cities churches have filed a new lawsuit claiming that the state's gun law, which prevents churches from prohibiting guns on their property, violates religious freedom.

Even though the churches had sued over an earlier version of the law, their concerns weren't addressed when that law was struck down by a Ramsey County district judge last year or when legislators passed a new law in May.

Minneapolis attorney David Lillehaug, who along with attorney Marshall Tanick is representing Edina Community Lutheran Church and Unity Church of St. Paul, said Monday that the law profoundly infringes religious institutions' rights.

"The religious organizations don't take any joy in having to resort to courts," Lillehaug said. "We would rather that a religious exemption would have been passed in 2005."

The suit, filed Friday in Hennepin County District Court, challenges two parts of the law.

One part prevents churches from banning guns, include those belonging to employees, in parking lots. The other mandates that specifically worded signs must be posted at all entrances.

Tanick said the lawsuit is not challenging whether the law is good or bad, but whether it violates the rights of religious organizations.

The 2003 conceal-carry law was struck down by Ramsey County District Judge John Finley because it was included in a law that was unrelated to guns.

The new law signed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty on May 24 contained only a small change from the original.

It says a property owner must either post a specifically worded sign at every entrance or personally telling individuals that guns are prohibited on the premises. The original law said property owners had to do both.

Lillehaug said the sign at Edina Community Church, which reads "Blessed are the peacemakers. Firearms are prohibited in this place of sanctuary," does not meet the language requirements of the statute.

The law has a chilling effect on the churches and their members' exercise of their constitutional rights, the new suit said.

Allowing guns on church property, except those carried by peace officers on official business, is inconsistent with the churches' sincerely held beliefs, the suit said.

William Mitchell College of Law Prof. C. Paul Jones said Monday that he believes the churches have a good point in wanting to protect people in parking lots from guns.

"It's like us prohibiting people with guns in our homes. There's no question but they should be able to do that," he said.

The lawsuit does not address a person's right to buy a gun.

Jones said the churches' wishes may be an inconvenience for someone who wants to go hunting after church, but they don't interfere with an individual's right to bear arms.

He compared guns in churches to guns in schools. "It's out of line for a person to have a gun in school," he said.

About 27,000 people had received permits to carry handguns before the law was struck down a year ago.

Joe Olson, president of the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, said Monday that he expects the law to withstand the challenge.

"They are not suing over religious freedom. They are suing because they don't like guns," Olson said.

Attorneys Tanick and Lillehaug said within a month they would seek an injunction from Hennepin County District Judge LaJune Lange to keep the law from being enforced against the churches.

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WT
August 2, 2005, 07:56 AM
I believe church members should be allowed to be armed while on church property.

In the past we have seen murders take place in churches from New York City to Texas. Possibly, had some armed individuals been present the murders would have been prevented.

The churches already subject themselves to various laws - building codes, means of egress, sprinkler systems, exit signage, etc. I would hope that firearms would also be allowed by church leadership.

Firethorn
August 2, 2005, 10:19 AM
WT, while I agree with you, I also believe that it's the church's right to say 'no', as I feel that they're private property. Just like it's your right to find a different church.

I have the exact opposite problem here. Carry in a church is specifically prohibited, even if the church wanted to allow it. :banghead:

walking arsenal
August 2, 2005, 11:25 AM
Is there a way that someone could sue these two churches for infringing on our rights?

oh blanky
August 2, 2005, 01:33 PM
I would not want to be a member of a church that did not respect my right to defend my life.

carebear
August 2, 2005, 02:36 PM
Hard to sue a private organization based on voluntary association for denial of anything. You are free to worship at God's House of Guns down the street.

scout26
August 2, 2005, 03:05 PM
Hard to sue a private organization based on voluntary association for denial of anything.


Ask the Boy Scouts how hard it is...........

halvey
August 2, 2005, 03:08 PM
WT, while I agree with you, I also believe that it's the church's right to say 'no', as I feel that they're private property. Just like it's your right to find a different church. Read the article. They can say no. They just want to say no without saying so.

BigRedBowtie
August 2, 2005, 03:10 PM
Nobody says that they have to allow guns in their churches. All they have to do is put up the conforming sign and all the evil guns will stay out... ;) Thy also have to put up conforming signs for exits, handicap parking, fire lanes, etc, but they don't complain about those... like the article said; "they just don't like guns"

We even took out the "and", replacing it with an "or" with respect to requiring a sign *and* a verbal informing of each individual that carry was not allowed. So they really don't even *have" to have the signs- all they need to do is tell somone "please don't carry in here"... ... concealed means concealed- right? :evil:

Janitor
August 2, 2005, 04:23 PM
"Nobody says that they have to allow guns in their churches."
Nope. Unfortunately, the gun unfriendly signs aren't their only complaint.

"One part prevents churches from banning guns, include those belonging to employees, in parking lots. "
They also have a problem with the law requiring them to allow a gun in your locked car out in their parking lot.

I have to wonder about ramifications. If I were to find myself at churce for some reason, and if by chance I had a gun in my car and chose to leave it there, not telling anyone about it. Keeping it hidden so nobody knows, until ....

What happens if I have to use that piece while still on the church property? Obviously, better judged by 12, etc. But what problems might I be facing in court (other than the "good shoot" issues)?

Oh wait. Never mind. Too hypothetical, and nothing would ever really happen anyway. They don't allow guns there.

Standing Wolf
August 2, 2005, 06:20 PM
We would rather that a religious exemption would have been passed in 2005.

Special exceptions for people who think they're just extremely special.

Monkeyleg
August 2, 2005, 06:31 PM
"The law has a chilling effect on the churches and their members' exercise of their constitutional rights, the new suit said."

Yes, and all of these permit laws have a chilling effect on our Second Amendment rights, but we go ahead and compromise in order to carry.

Hey, Pastor Pete, how about meeting us half way?

Kjervin
August 2, 2005, 07:08 PM
When I started to carry, my wife and I had a big discussion about carrying in church. In the end, even though I felt it was a shame to have to carry in church (which should be a place where the "world" should not enter) I was being naive, and it would be a bigger shame to have to stand by helplessly and watch some crazy person execute one of my congregation mates. The shame of it, that the people who are arguing against would see any tragedy that would occur (ie someone shooting an innocent) as proof that no one in the congregation should carry as opposed to proof that someone could have stopped the tragedy.

Secondarily, it seems that they don't have the strength of their convictions if they want to "pretty up" the no guns allowed message to avoid doing damage to the collection plate. They should just say, "if you have enough faith, you shouldn't mind if you get killed here!" and be done with it. I'd like to see how that plays among the faithful.

Finally, several years ago, I had a friend who witnessed a shooting at a store that did not allow guns (concealed means concealed). He never pulled his piece. The police asked him why he didn't do anything. He said the guy didn't come after him (when the bad guy shot the gun, it startled the bad guy, and he more or less ran away) and his gun was there to protect his life and aparently the store didn't want his gun there to protect their life, so he let them have their way. The police started to charge him with carrying, but nothing ever came of it (not sure why). We drifted apart shortly after as I thought he was a little cold blooded. That is to say, I moght not have tried to stop the bad guy either, but his reasons seemed a little :neener: .

FWIW,
Kj

Well Regulated
August 2, 2005, 09:26 PM
March 1642- 3 -- 18th CHARLES 1st:

" It is enacted and confirmed that masters of every family shall bring with them to church on Sondays one fixed and serviceable gun with suficient powder and shott vpon penalty of ten pound of tobacco for every master of a family so offending to be disposed of by the churchwardens who shall levy it by distresse, and servants being commanded and yet omitting shall receive twenty lashes on his or theire bare shoulders, by order from the county courts where he or they shall live."

halvey
August 3, 2005, 07:45 AM
What happens if I have to use that piece while still on the church property? As of now, you'd be charged with a petty misdemenor and a $25 fine for ignoring the sign.

Some lady from norther MN called into Soucheray's show yesterday and said "why would someone feel the need to carry in church." Why does she feel the need to have an opinion? I mean, the first amendment is as important as the second.

Besides, has she ever been to some of these city churches?

Janitor
August 3, 2005, 08:12 AM
"As of now, you'd be charged with a petty misdemenor and a $25 fine for ignoring the sign."
Hmmm. Let's see ...

petty misdemenor - let bg hurt/kill me...
petty misdemenor - let bg hurt/kill me...
petty misdemenor - let bg hurt/kill me.

I'm so confused. How does one decide how to conduct themselves when the choices are so difficult? Of course, I keep on forgetting that the churches don't allow guns on their property so the danger is really pretty minimal.

"Why does she feel the need to have an opinion? I mean, the first amendment is as important as the second."
Well - to be anal about our rights ... I don't believe she's got a constitutional right to have an opinion. I believe her right is that she can voice that opinion. :) - of course - that doesn't modify the meaning of your statement one little bit. You're right.

These people lose site of the fact that they're attacking the one document that protects the rights they exercise in attacking it in the first place. It is very much in the .govs best interest to allow the first ammendment to stand intact as long as people are willing to use that ammendment to try and dismantle the others first.

The first ammendment will be the last to fall.

grimjaw
August 3, 2005, 09:26 AM
William Mitchell College of Law Prof. C. Paul Jones said Monday that he believes the churches have a good point in wanting to protect people in parking lots from guns.
I think banning guns in your vehicle in a public or private parking lot is relatively useless. Case in point.

Some of you may remember the school shootings at West Side, near Jonesboro, Arkansas, several years ago. I happened to live there at the time, and a friend of mine had just dropped office supplies there 30 minutes earlier. Two boys armed with rifles set up in the trees off the school property. One went in, pulled the fire alarm, then went back to his spot. As the people filed out, they opened fire on the lot, killing five and wounding several others. No guns in the school, no guns in the car.

The parking lot where I work is visible from a few hundred yards away. If someone wanted to fire on it, they don't have to come on the property.

Instead of paying all these lawyers to strike down 2A rights, why don't the left just hire a few earth movers to put up berms around the lots, if they want to do something CONCRETE, and probably CHEAPER.

Janitor
August 3, 2005, 09:35 AM
"Two boys armed with rifles set up in the trees off the school property. "
Well of course they set up off of the scool property. The rules didn't allow them to set up on site.

motoman
August 3, 2005, 12:07 PM
What happens if I have to use that piece while still on the church property?

As of now, you'd be charged with a petty misdemenor and a $25 fine for ignoring the sign.

Thats not quite right either. It is only a "crime" (petty Misdemenor) to refuse to leave the property after being asked to leave.

So if you had to use your gun on church property, there would not be any charges regarding the carrying in a posted location.

The "no carry" signs, by themselves can legally be ignored. It is just illegal to refuse to leave the premise when asked to do so. If your gun is concealed, why would they ask you to leave?

Janitor
August 3, 2005, 01:03 PM
Excelent.

Concealed is concealed

Andrew Rothman
August 3, 2005, 03:44 PM
This letter was sent to the reporter and the reader's rep at the Star Tribune by a local guy. Think it'll make the paper?

Thirty-eight out of 555 words.

That's how much room was the story about the gun
lawsuit gave to an opposing view.

Margaret Zack's story, "Lawsuit over conceal-carry
takes on guns at church"
(http://www.startribune.com/stories/587/5537282.html)
quotes the plaintiffs extensively, then devotes four
paragraphs to quoting a law professor who states what
appear to be personal, not legal, opinions.

Worse yet, the story lede badly misstates the law.

The lede says, "...the state's gun law, which prevents
churches from prohibiting guns on their property...."

This is disingenuous. Churches, like other private
institutions, may prevent guns anywhere on their
property EXCEPT in their parking lots. They may do so
by simply posting an appropriate sign.

This is not the first time that the Star Tribune has
heavily favored one side over the other in this issue.

Please see the Paul Gustafson story from 6/4/04 --
I've copied it below for your convenience.

Please note that in EVERY case, the anti-permit side
paragraphs start with their assertions, followed by
attribution. The pro-permit (state) side paragraphs
always start with "Varco argued," followed by his
assertions. This lack of parallelism smacks of bias.

Oh, and one more thing, one more time:

It's NOT a "conceal-carry law." Unlike some states'
laws, which mandate concealment, or others' which
forbid it, there is NOTHING in the Minnesota law at
all about concealment. Permit holders may carry guns
in any safe manner, whether visible or not.

halvey
August 4, 2005, 01:28 PM
I am re-posting this from Joel's blog. Please help Larry Howes out!!!

----------------------------------------------------------
http://www.livejournal.com/users/joelrosenberg/

Scalps
When the MCPPA passed in 2003, the antis went after the political scalp of Lynda Boudreau, the chief author of the bill in the House. With carry reform off the table, she didn't get the support from the self-defense community that she should have, and her opponent squeaked out a win. Rebecca Thoman and the ill-named "Citizens for a Safer Minnesota" gloated over that on their website, and waved Lynda's political scalp about like a trophy.

Not good.

Not again. Larry Howes was the House member who shepherded the bill through the House this time, just as Pat Pariseau was the Senator. Pat hasn't, as far as I know, started fundraising. Larry has, as the anti groups have already started organizing to add his political scalp to their collection. I strongly encourage everybody who appreciates his essential work on getting the MCPPA repassed to do what I just did: put a check in the mail.

Howes Volunteer Committee
5340 Ladyslipper LN NW
Walker, MN 56484

Can I count on you to do your part?

MissileCop
August 4, 2005, 01:46 PM
"Blessed are the peacemakers. Firearms are prohibited in this place of sanctuary,"

Umm..apparently someone forgot to tell the church folk that the peacemakers are the ones WITH the firearms. *sigh*

March 1642- 3 -- 18th CHARLES 1st:

" It is enacted and confirmed that masters of every family shall bring with them to church on Sondays one fixed and serviceable gun with suficient powder and shott vpon penalty of ten pound of tobacco for every master of a family so offending to be disposed of by the churchwardens who shall levy it by distresse, and servants being commanded and yet omitting shall receive twenty lashes on his or theire bare shoulders, by order from the county courts where he or they shall live."

Well Regulated, what is the source for the above quote? Would like to add it to the files for usage, but I always like to be able quote my sources. Thanks.

XMP
August 5, 2005, 01:39 PM
I think the real barb on the hook of the antis case is being able to ban guns from their parking lots. If they can do that then it essentially becomes legally impossible for people to carry any day they might visit such businesses or establishments. For instance, Lifetime Fitness, a prominent health club chain in the Minneapolis area, has the required signs prominently posted on their entrances. Fine, you can still safely lock your gun in your car. But what if this provision were overturned and such places could ban guns from their parking lots. Then if you wanted to stay within the provisions of the law you'd have to leave your gun at home anyday you planned to work out (or go to church or grocery shop, etc.). Thus even with a de jure right to carry, there would be a de facto carry ban.

HankB
August 5, 2005, 01:46 PM
Some of you may remember the school shootings at West Side, near Jonesboro, Arkansas, several years ago.Funny you should mention this . . . I'm going by memory now, but I believe there was a Minnesota connection to this school shooting. IIRC, the older of the two shooters was already a sex offender in Minnesota, caught molesting a little girl. Minnesota slapped his wrist and sent him on his way, with tragic results.Lifetime Fitness, a prominent health club chain in the Minneapolis area, has the required signs prominently posted on their entrancesOuch. I was a member when I lived up there . . . I guess I wouldn't be anymore if I were still a Minnesotan. They're opening up a club in Austin soon - they've been advertising it heavily - I'll have to see if they post PC30.06 signs here.

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