Virginia Carry in House of Worship

Virginia Carry in House of Worship

This is a discussion on Virginia Carry in House of Worship within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; The success of the armed congregant who stopped the recent Colorado church shooting rampage lead to a follow-up newspaper article about churches in my area ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Array jofrdo's Avatar
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    Virginia Carry in House of Worship

    The success of the armed congregant who stopped the recent Colorado church shooting rampage lead to a follow-up newspaper article about churches in my area of Virginia who regularly hire armed security details during their worship services. I got a letter to the editor published in the Virginian-Pilot in which I took a neutral position and asked why the author did not address the fact that, except with good and sufficient reason, it is illegal to carry a firearm in a house of worship when a meeting for religious purposes is being held. I asked if those hired guns aren't in fact breaking the law and whether our Attorney General has ever ruled on what qualifies as good and sufficient reason. I really want to know how the law is interpreted. I'm confident they'll never respond, but at least they published the letter.

    I carry at my synagogue's worship services 100% of the time. I might be breaking the law (it's only a Class 4 Misdemeanor; no jail time and $250 fine if convicted), but I've never heard about it being enforced and I consider that with Islamic Jihadist cells, Neo-Nazis, Aryan Nation and others out there, the possibility of armed attack on any Jewish community institution is real. That's good and sufficient reason in my book, but I still feel legally exposed.

    With the church shooting news story fresh in everybody's minds, I have started approaching members of our Board of Directors (I'm an officer on the Board and a past president) and asking them if they think it would be good to have armed security in place, then reminding them that we are too small and financially strained to afford hired security. I propose to them that the Board take action to encourage those members who have CHP's to carry their guns to services. I want to persuade them one-on-one until I know I'll have a firm majority when I eventually make a motion at a future meeting. Once the other CHP's and I have Board of Directors' permission, recorded in meeting minutes, that would have to be considered legally good and sufficient.
    Last edited by jofrdo; December 28th, 2007 at 06:24 PM. Reason: Grammatical correction


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array AZ Husker's Avatar
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    I would seek qualified CCW volunteers discreetly, put them through an interview process, designate a chief of security (volunteer position) and quietly spread them throughout the congregation. Two or three just inside the door. In my opinion, your faith is in much more danger than my generic Lutheran church. Best wishes!

  3. #3
    Distinguished Member Array Chooie's Avatar
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    "Good and Sufficient reason" is vague, and I doubt you'd have trouble explaining your reason for carrying to any authority that inquires about it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Array jofrdo's Avatar
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    I already know who the shooting enthusiasts, gun owners and permit holders are, at least among the core group who attend services regularly. In fact, we all went shooting together Christmas morning for my third annual "Jews Do X-mas With a Bang" fun shoot at my gun club (what else is there to do on Christmas except go to a movie or eat Chinese food?).

    One of the regulars is a recently retired police detective who is my regular shooting partner. He would probably become head of security. We only have about 95 member families, and about 15-20 people attend a typical Friday night worship service, but I could reliably see 3 permit holders willing to carry there, and two of us have votes on the Board.

  5. #5
    Ron
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    Jofrdo, I agree with you completly. I also carry 100% of the time to services at our synagogue. It is lawful in Florida. We hire local off duty police for High Holiday services and special events, but not for our regular Friday night services.

    Sad to say, but I agree that we are, indeed, more at risk then most other religous denominations.

    But, as I sit at services, look around and try to imagine a scenario where we were attacked, I have a hard time figuring out exactly how I would handle the situation to win the gun fight, assuming panic among the congregants with people running all over the sanctuary. It is a pretty scary scenario, and one I pray I never have to face.

    Ron
    "It does not do to leave a dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him."

    J. R. R. Tolkien

  6. #6
    Member Array DrSal's Avatar
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    Due to the recent colorado church shooting incident, I carry whenever I go to services. I would usually leave my pistol at home or in the car, but not anymore.
    No one knows or can see my pistol or the spare 17 rd mag in my pocket. As the expression goes, 'G-d helps those who help themselves'...just trying to protect my people...

  7. #7
    VIP Member Array AZ Husker's Avatar
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    Ron...Besides my LEO career, I did personal security and crowd control for years. In the event that some wacko did disrupt your services, you MUST take control immediately. Everyone will be running, it's not hard to charge the BG, and do it forcefully. He will be focused on his targets, not looking for a defensive assault. Approach him, take a low stance to avoid innocents, and engage immediately with extreme force. Trying to order a nut to drop his weapon will only result in additional damages.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Array jofrdo's Avatar
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    My nightmare is 3 commandos with AK's and body armor against two or three of us with pistols and sport coats. We'll all be toast unless we make head shots.

    Does anybody make a kevlar yarmulka?

  9. #9
    VIP Member Array AZ Husker's Avatar
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    Kevlar yarmulka...I'm having a blast imagining you ducking your head to utilize it! As far as the group assault, history doesn't prove that in the USA. Usually it's a single nut with suicidal tendencies. Other places in the world is a different story!

  10. #10
    Distinguished Member Array Paymeister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jofrdo View Post
    Does anybody make a kevlar yarmulka?
    Great line! Maybe (as a Christian) I can get a trauma plate rosary?

    My pastor said, "Of COURSE you should carry! Your JOB is to protect the innocent!" (I think he was including the characters at my church, too, and the folks on this forum if they come visit.)

    "Good and Sufficient" enough for me, and probably for LE, especially since the Colorado episode.

  11. #11
    Ron
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ Husker View Post
    Ron...Besides my LEO career, I did personal security and crowd control for years. In the event that some wacko did disrupt your services, you MUST take control immediately. Everyone will be running, it's not hard to charge the BG, and do it forcefully. He will be focused on his targets, not looking for a defensive assault. Approach him, take a low stance to avoid innocents, and engage immediately with extreme force. Trying to order a nut to drop his weapon will only result in additional damages.
    AZ Husker, I appreciate your advice. Sounds like a good approach. As I said, hopefully I will never have to put it into practice.

    Ron
    "It does not do to leave a dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him."

    J. R. R. Tolkien

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array Rob99VMI04's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chooie View Post
    "Good and Sufficient reason" is vague, and I doubt you'd have trouble explaining your reason for carrying to any authority that inquires about it.
    +1 agreed
    “Are you a thermometer or a thermostat, do you reflect or become what is happening in the room or do you change the atmosphere, reset the temperature when you come into the room”?--Chuck Swindoll

    Its not about guns...Its about Freedom!

  13. #13
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    jrfodo, I would like to shoot on Christmas morining as a gentile. You might be able to make it into a fundraiser for your synogogue. Being prepared for the worst is the only way to go.

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