Guns in Church

Jan 27, 2011

Newly elected State Senator Mike Green, who comes from beet-growing country in Michigan’s thumb, seems to be a good and decent man. He was a tool and die maker for General Motors for thirty years, and operated a family farm most of that time.

He’s had the same wife for forty-three years; raised five kids and has more than enough grandchildren for two baseball teams.

The senator also owns a business that would make Abraham Lincoln proud -- Green’s Log Rails and Custom Log Furniture. Like Honest Abe, he is a Republican, and lacks college education. But he is very enthusiastic about guns.

So much so, that he has introduced legislation to allow people with concealed weapons permits to take guns everywhere -- churches, synagogues, bars, Joe Louis Arena. He thinks banning guns anywhere is outrageous. “Why do you need to give your Constitutional right away when you go to some places?“ he asks.

There are a number of ways to answer that, but the easiest and simplest is that there is no Constitutional right to take a weapon anywhere. That’s not a left-wing anti-gun point of view.

That’s how the solidly pro-Second Amendment majority on the U.S. Supreme Court sees it. Until a few years ago, by the way, many, if not most legal scholars thought that gun ownership really wasn’t a Constitutional right. They thought the Second Amendment had to do with the states’ need to establish national guard units.

But within the past three years, the current Supreme Court has ruled that there is indeed an individual right to keep and bear arms. However, as I said here several weeks ago, they’ve specifically indicated that right is not absolute.

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority in the most important of these cases, District of Columbia v Heller, said “nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places.”

That is clearly the opinion of every member of the nation‘s highest court. There is no right to carry a gun in church. Apart from the question of rights, allowing concealed weapons everywhere wouldn’t seem to make much common sense.

I suppose allowing people to pack heat at a bar might be good for the mortuary business, but other than that, it sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

Senator Green isn’t doing this on a whim. He’s been waiting more than a decade. He was in the state house ten years ago when, over his objections, lawmakers banned gun owners from taking their hand cannons into certain places.

Green told a reporter, “People feared a good, honest, law-abiding citizen would use it in a way that would hurt or harm other people. But the fact is, there’s not been hardly anything that happened like that.” Except, of course, that a man with a concealed shotgun went into a police station and shot four officers this week.

Green’s bill would have allowed the man who shot Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords to legally take his Glock to her Temple during services.

Mike Green has a long record as an agricultural and family farm expert. It might make more sense for him to craft legislation aimed at improving those areas instead.