Should Florida allow concealed carry holders to carry at all churches?
Bottom Line: Among the many issues that has the potential to create a myriad of emotional responses this one’s high on the list. Currently there’s nothing in Florida’s state law that prevents a parishioner with a CCW license from carrying unless the establishment has their own restrictions – with one big exception. Churches with adjacent schools.
A bill is making its way through the state session that’d allow churches in this situation to enable its parishioner's to be able to carry if they’re licensed to do so. A little research and some quick math suggests that potentially a third of churches across the state would potentially be impacted by this legislation if it passed. Again, churches could still choose to disallow them even if it passed but for those that’d prefer for the option but are blocked by state law – it'd make it possible legally.
After a series of high profile and stunning attacks on places of worship across the country and around the world, the issue has gained traction in our state. The argument is pretty much as simple as this. Parishioners are potentially soft targets as it is and if those bent on evil are looking for the softest of targets – they'd know to look for churches with schools on the property that’d be certain not to have parishioners in a position to defend themselves.
The emotional argument is an easy one. How sad is it that we’d have to think about arming ourselves to worship? What kind of message does it send? True, but then again not everyone has armed security for all services and even then, it’s not a guarantee that they’d be able to protect all parishioners. What do you think? Should Florida give you the option?
As an update to this story. I was teeing this up in expectation that the bill would be heard in the state Senate yesterday. It was denied by the Senate Judiciary Committee and is done for the 2019 legislative year. If you're interested it’d be important to inform your representatives for next year.