Guns in church?

Opinion: Columns

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By John Barrett

On Jan. 1, 2014, the "Concealed Carry" bill became the law in the state of Illinois. This law allows a private citizen to carry a gun in public.

It has been estimated that as many as 400,000 people may apply for a permit to carry a concealed weapon under the provisions of this law. The law does not allow guns to be carried in certain locations, including government buildings, schools, parks, bars, and several other public places. But it does not expressly prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons in churches or other places of worship.

In order to prohibit carrying a gun in church, under the law, the church is required to post a sign saying that no guns are allowed, at every entrance to the building. If no such sign were posted, the carrying of a concealed weapon would be allowed in the church.

How are we, as religious communities to respond to this question of whether to allow guns in our churches? 

The person who carries a concealed weapon has already made the decision that, under certain circumstances, they are prepared to take the life of another human being. While such action may well be acceptable if it is the unavoidable final resort to an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm, will carrying a weapon in church imply that we have decided violence is a solution supported by our faith beliefs? 

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in their testimony before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on the topic of "Proposals to Reduce Gun Violence; Protecting our Communities while Respecting our Second Amendment," reminded us that we should live out what Pope Benedict called "our innate vocation to peace."

In their pastoral message, "Confronting a Culture of Violence: A Catholic Framework for Action," the pastoral message of the U.S. Catholic Bishops reads:

"We must join with Pope John Paul II to 'proclaim, with all the conviction of my faith in Christ and with an awareness of my mission, that violence is evil, that violence is unacceptable as a solution to problems, that violence is unworthy. ... Violence is a lie, for it goes against the truth of our faith, the truth of our humanity.'" 

Each place of worship must make its own decision. However, this decision must be guided by considerations different from those that guide our secular decisions as citizens. The Catholic liturgy is "the outstanding means by which the faithful … manifest … the mystery of Christ" (SC 2), who refused violence in the face of violence (cf. Matthew 26:52). 

In weighing their decision, each Catholic congregation should seriously consider whether allowing weapons into church properly safeguards the liturgical task to be the body of the crucified Prince of Peace.

If I recall correctly, it was the peacemakers who were to be called the children of God.

Additional information on obtaining signs is available at the Illinois State Police site:

John Barrett is a parishioner of St. Edmund Church, which has signs at all public entrances. He is also a member of the Gun Responsibility Advocates.

Reader Comments

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Linas Dapkus  

Posted: December 15th, 2017 5:15 AM

Guns don't kill people. People kill people. But we all know that.

Rick from Roanoke  

Posted: February 14th, 2015 9:08 PM

It is amazing how people of faith don't even know what God say about protecting them self, even those in leader ship of a church. Jesus states Luke 22:36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. Why did He say this? Because we will always have evil men and we need to protect ourselves. Issi will come in to churches and kill you. It is going on today. Open your eyes people.

Cranston from Oak Park  

Posted: December 16th, 2014 3:48 PM

Actually, you can if it hasn't been posted.

Ken from Chicago  

Posted: December 15th, 2014 8:53 PM

I recently read in the Chicago Tribune that the Cardinal's residence is protected by a police detail, and Holy Name cathedral is protected by a private security firm. Why can't I protect my family at my local parish- Our Lady of Guadalupe?

Cranston from Oak Park  

Posted: December 15th, 2014 9:06 AM

Actually the sign is a constant reminder that if you enter the building, you are a sitting duck, like the people in the Sydney chocolate store are experiencing at the moment. When this kind of thing starts happening here in the U.S., it will most likely happen in places like Oak Park where people feel somebody else is responsible for their safety, and the safety of their loved ones. See any place with signs in Oak Park. Uh huh. Would you feel safe if Harmon had to protect you? LOL!

Silent Majority  

Posted: December 14th, 2014 10:39 AM

I disagree with Sen Harmon's wanting to change the 'no guns allowed' sticker law. He thinks there are too many signs, as so many places reject the argument that carrying everywhere makes for a safe environment. I like the signs. It is a constant reminder of the fact that at any time, in public, you are potentially steps from a loaded lethal weapon. That is the law, and if you want the law to be any different, you have to do something about it. The guns are the problem, not the stickers. Peace.

Jim from Orion  

Posted: December 14th, 2014 9:08 AM

While on earth, I believe it is our responsibility to be aware we live in an environment that is sometimes hostile, and take appropriate action to be prepared for the unexpected. Would a thinking person, not have homeowners insurance? Or car insurance? Of course not. We do not expect a catastrophe to happen, but if it does, we are covered. It only makes sense to me. I can only pray, that I would never have to pull out my self protection policy, but if it is needed, it is very close.

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: November 17th, 2014 11:07 AM

If I had the slightest chance of talking with John Gacy, or anyone who acts like John Gacy, I would surely want to announce to him,or her, that I am armed.If I ever had the chance of talking to Bill Doogan, I would want to announce that I am armed. Its just me.

Paul from Brookfield  

Posted: November 17th, 2014 9:55 AM

".....Violence as a solution" No no no!! Only a solution to prevent a massacre like at Sandy Hook!

Lobbyist Todd Vanderrmyde from OP, the World, & Bill Doogan's head!  

Posted: November 12th, 2014 9:27 AM

Oh, Bill Doogan....!! I'm here...I'm living in your head....and I'm never, ever, going away! And do you know the best part? In order to defeat me, you have to become me! I am your father, Bill Doogan!!

Bill Doogan  

Posted: November 12th, 2014 8:34 AM

Parent- NRA already has random searches & gun checks handled. NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde wrote Duty to Inform police into Rep. Brandon Phelps concealed carry bill. Any armed citizen must give up their right to remain silent & right to be treated as innocent until proven guilty to exercise the "privilege" to go armed. Since the "officer" asking you does not have to be in uniform or on duty, you could be talking to John Gacy. Vandermyde & NRA are in bed with the police state, not to worry.

Bill Doogan  

Posted: November 12th, 2014 8:25 AM

Ray- who sez that I "want" anything? Projecting your "wants" & need to control others again? Who appointed you the big brain around here? Define "we?" Is that really YOU? For a guy who admits he still can't figure out that he got duped by NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde, you sure can inject a lot of condescension into a couple of sentences. What junior college did you pick up that skill at? In case you don't know, lobbyists write the bills, not the legislators. Rat lobbyist equals bad bill

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: November 8th, 2014 6:08 PM

@ Pete Flanagan: They are cafeteria Catholics, not Catholics.

Pete Flanagan from Downers Grove  

Posted: November 8th, 2014 5:29 PM

Interesting how most of the antigun troublemakers are Catholics.

A parent  

Posted: November 8th, 2014 1:53 PM

When are we going to see "gun checks" popping up all over in parks, bookstores, churches. After all you may need to shoot someone on your way to the hospital but if there is a "no guns" sticker on the window then what? What next, lawsuits for discriminating against people with guns by refusing service? Lawsuits claiming someone needed to shoot someone on the way to court but there is no service at the door for checking guns with coats? The gun lobby is just warming up folks.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: November 8th, 2014 12:32 PM

@ Doogan - I am still trying (Not so hard lately) to figure out what you want. Same mantra over and over and everyone seems to scratch their heads when you paste your boilerplate screeds.

Bill Doogan  

Posted: November 8th, 2014 8:49 AM

The bible thumping hicks claim to care about Mary Shepard & unarmed churchgoers. When a CCL holding woman is driving down a remote road after dark in Harrisburg, home of their hero, Rep. Brandon Phelps, what happens when an unmarked car w/ flashing lights pulls behind them? The "officer" displays a badge, and the woman is disarmed for "officer safety." Her mangled body is later found in the Shawnee Natl. Forest. Thank NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde for placing Duty to Inform in the CCL bill.

Walt E. from Chicago  

Posted: August 12th, 2014 11:25 PM

Sorry Father Barrett, but you need to read the Catechism: 2261, 2262, 2263, 2264, 2265. We're allowed to protect and defend ourselves. Even John Paul II said so: "...legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another's life... it happens that the need to render the aggressor incapable of causing harm sometimes involves taking his life. In this case, the fatal outcome is attributable to the aggressor whose actions brought it about..." CCL is OK.

Bogeyman from OP  

Posted: August 5th, 2014 8:57 AM

Bill Doogan, you're black helicopter is here...

Bill Doogan  

Posted: August 5th, 2014 1:10 AM

Guns in churches would not be a big deal for armed citizens if NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde had not written criminal penalties of 6 mo. or 1yr. in jail for ALL violations of Brandon Phelps carry bill, not just Duty to Inform. In Missouri, off limits locations is a $100 fine. IL had no citizen carry for 50 yrs. Then the NRA & ISRA bend over for the cops, and the only Reps. against DTI are black caucus Reps. LaShawn Ford & Will Davis. Anyone with brains can smell a rat. Can't figure it out?

Friar Tuck from OP  

Posted: August 4th, 2014 8:58 AM

This "Bill Doogan' character has been a one-trick pony on this comment board for months. He has an irrational ax to grind w/some lobbyist, and succeeds only in wasting everyone's time while adding nothing to the discussion. Please get off it, Mr Doogan. People will start to think you're really Les Golden.

Bill Doogan  

Posted: August 3rd, 2014 11:13 PM

John Q- Everyone in IL who wanted CCW was conned by Pearson & Vandermyde. Look at Brandon Phelps HB183 carry bill and you see criminal penalties of 6 mo. or 1 yr. in jail for anyone who enters a posted church or business. NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde wrote that, not the Chicago machine, not Mike Madigan. The downstate hicks don't care about getting arrested for posted places or Duty to Inform, because they never leave the county they live in. Otis got used and thrown away by the NRA hicks.

John Q  

Posted: August 3rd, 2014 9:08 PM

Also, scripture does not describe Judas' betrayal of Jesus as violent which disproves Barrett's assertion that Matthew 26 demonstrates "refused violence in the face of violence." Being a peacemaker does not imply that you will not defend yourself in dangerous situations. Ironically in Nehemiah's 4th chapter, the Jews were rebuilding the broken walls to the "City of Peace" working with one hand and carrying a weapon in the other because of the violent opposition they faced.

John Q  

Posted: August 3rd, 2014 9:00 PM

I do believe several of Mr. Barrett's biblical references were very much out of context. Matthew 26, Jesus rebuked Peter in drawing his sword against those who came to arrest Jesus before his crucifixion. Peter ignored that Jesus was submitting to the arrest, submitting to his eventual crucifixion and he tried to override this sacrifical decision...with human force. Mr. Barrett doesn't seem to remember Luke 22:36 when the disciples are instructed to buy a sword if they don't have one.

John Q  

Posted: August 3rd, 2014 8:47 PM

Bill Doogan, what evidence supports your theory that McDonald was conned? Whether they wanted a black face or not, understand that concealed carry is a popular issue among the black population...except mostly those in cahoots with the political machine. Could it be that McDonald became the face of it because he wanted to? So what the NRA has few black members. The NAACP has few white members but there are whites that support their cause.

Bill Doogan  

Posted: August 3rd, 2014 4:55 PM

Fred- IL has CCW because Richard Pearson of ISRA & others conned Otis McDonald to sign on as plaintiff against Chicago. 90% of NRA & ISRA members being from all white small towns, they wanted a black man as the face for their lawsuit. When the Federal Court FORCED IL to adopt CCW, NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde & Pearson gave Rep. Brandon Phelps a bill w/ Duty to Inform police & criminal penalties of 6 mo. or 1 yr. in jail for all gun free zones & churches. The good old boys in action. Yee-haw

The Referee  

Posted: July 17th, 2014 11:07 AM

What's under Pfather Pfleger's shirt?

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: July 15th, 2014 6:08 PM

@ RF Dan: Part 2. I do not argue for an absolute prohibition of firearms. I argue for some people being absolutely prohibited from owning firearms.

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: July 15th, 2014 6:04 PM

@ RF Dan: I never said anywhere about "your right to an automatic weapon" Why would a maker of an automatic weapon "intentionally for easy modification of an automatic weapon"? Yes, my partial solution is to focus on the mentally unstable having access to firearms, which we all agree is improper and other states have passed workable laws about this. I now assume you are pro life since you are interested in saving innocent lives.Past 2 I don't know what you agree with on putting anything away.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 13th, 2014 9:34 PM

After rereading my last comment, it occurred to me that I was being hard hearted and unforgiving. Then I discovered that no matter what changes we make, the first step must be to understand that the laws, rules and ordinances need to be rigorously enforced. The people who use firearms illegally must be held to account and made to regret their choices. Second chances must come after full payment for the first crime. Illinois has Class X felony laws which address most of the bad events thugs and criminals engage in. We must not permit prosecutors and judges to dilute the value of this law for the sake of easy clearing of cases and reducing court costs. The group we need to hold accountable are at the court house, on both sides of the bar.

Dominick Ahrens  

Posted: July 13th, 2014 3:29 PM

RF Dan - you keep making comments about how we "live in fear", yet you apparently live in ignorance of who is responsible for the protection of the individual. Since the 1856 Supreme Court case South v Maryland, and in a score of cases since, the responsibility has been placed not with the government, but the individual. I can provide actual legal citations if you think I'm lying. We are less scared than we are realistic about "serve and protect" being a motto, not a guarantee. By the way, where did you get the statistics about being shot with your own gun - Arthur Kellerman's disproven pseudo-"study", or one of the others used by anti-rights advocated that somehow failed to clarify if the shooting victim possessed a gun before the shooting, if the victim was engaged in criminal behavior when they were shot, or that the "family" you cite is actually just if the victim knew his or her assailant; a situation that describes familiarity that ranges from family to rival gang member whose identity is known, doesn't it?? I also find it interesting that your response to those of us who want to provide for our own defense is to suggest we move to one of those "95%" countries. 95% of what? There are many countries which are more violent once you move from the carefully crafted list used by anti-rights advocates. It's also amusing that you advocate simple sound bite solutions like bans instead of addressing the root causes of gun violence by criminals, which is a lot more difficult than just issuing an edict they will disobey anyway. You then go on to mention the favorite incremental chew-toy of the left, banning "assault weapons". Ignoring the fact that more people were killed with pillows than "assault weapons" in Chicago last year, can you provide a definition of these weapons based on functionality rather than cosmetics? If you can, you're ahead of every politician who has attempted it in the past.

RF Dan  

Posted: July 13th, 2014 10:32 AM

I agree...put them away. Execute them after a reasonable review period. Even then many of these shooters could care less about the penalties. You argue absolute prohibition of manufacture and sales of the most damaging weapons would have zero impact on the amont of injured & dead. That is where we disagree.

RF Dan  

Posted: July 13th, 2014 10:27 AM

Brian - really? your solution was a focus on those with mental health issues. Nothing wrong with that but you cannot just disregard that firearms do play a role here. Mental health is a factor in one small portion of the thousands of Americans killed or injured each year by firearms. Whether it is dead children or innocent by-standers everyone has a right to life, which is greater that your right to automatic weapons, which makers intentionally make for easy modification.

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: July 12th, 2014 11:42 PM

@ RF Dan: Again, please show how does anyone make anything that can not be modified. I am sure glad of the dead children at Sandy Hook are in your opinion a small part of the problem. Can you guarantee that waiting to buy two revolvers instead of a 12 round magazine will stop anyone from a crime?

Ray Simpson from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 12th, 2014 10:01 PM

@ RF Dan - So now you get to choose what products can be manufactured in this country? You are still trying tho hit a home run by starring at the umpire. The bad guys are the problem period! Put them away forever - with a clear conscience! Set up a fast track trial system with zero tolerance for plea bargains and no bail. Make juveniles who use guns stand trial as adults - no leniency! Take a no sympathy attitude toward gun violence and you will see improvements. Our 3%ers have no moral guidance so it is societies duty to defend the other 97% by using tough love. Let everyone know that the rules of the game are now being enforced without exception. Do this and you can forget all of that universal background check, magazine capacity, assault weapons and loopholes drivel. Attack the bad carpenter not his craftsman hammer.

RF Dan  

Posted: July 12th, 2014 9:29 PM

Ray-costs almost zero taxes to stop gun makers from producing such weapons. Brian - nothing wrong with a focus on mentally challenged but that's one small part of the issue, to carry two guns mens two straw purchases, more difficult. I really like the comment forn the Ref, home gunsmiths are really going to pump out same volume of weapons as factories

The Referee  

Posted: July 12th, 2014 6:21 PM

There are children and people without tongues making guns in caves in Pakistan with their bare hands. Do you really think that Americans with their modern machine shops are incapable? Gun parts can be printed on 3d printers nowadays.

RF Dan  

Posted: July 12th, 2014 11:39 AM

Ray - you are assuming I am a liberal. In fact, I'm one of the majority (and by chance a replublican) that supports adding gun laws in addition to enforcement. As long as gun advocates continue to take a stance that status quo is acceptable, more conservatives will become disgusted with the NRA resulting in radical changes versus the compromises that we should be discussing.

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: July 12th, 2014 9:06 AM

How does anyone make anything that can cant be modified? Ten round magazine restriction is voided by carrying two six shot revolvers. The GRA has no working mechanical knowledge of computer input, the mechanical aspects of owning and firing a firearm. I call for open discussion on the Conn, state model of a mental health court where a judge can order the person who has mental health issues to give up their firearms.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 12th, 2014 8:03 AM

@ RF Dan - you have not heard a word we have said - typical! We all agree that keeping firearms away from bad people is a good thing! You seem not to comprehend that the prohibited group will get weapons no matter what you believe. The better route is to solve their social or medical problems or put them in a place where their violence will not harm innocents. Make it absolutely clear that society will not tolerate illegal acts with a firearm. Make the penalty so bad that the time isn't worth the gain. The Lindberg law made snatching children unthinkable and the full force of government backed it up. As usual you see the simple solution, where you don't have to assume any of the responsibility for the root cause. The great society program believed that poverty could be eliminated by throwing tax dollars and big government at those in poverty. That has been a failure. Throwing more government and more tax dollars at firearms regulations will not heal a sick percentage of our population.

RF Dan  

Posted: July 12th, 2014 7:12 AM

so....making auto and semiauto weapons (and guns that can be modifie as such) illegal to MANUFACTURe would over time not reduce access to such weapons? You gun nuts will not even entertain that possibility? No compromise....end of day, I think you all could care less about victims of gun violence, as you live in such fear....sad.

Brian Slowiak from westchester  

Posted: July 11th, 2014 4:09 PM

"You cannot restrict access to guns while theyre out in public" A bond hearing judge can order a person out on bond to secure their firearms outside of the home. So can a domestic violence court judge. Conn. law, which I support, has mental health hearings and judges can order the confiscation of firearms of people who are determined to be unstable.

The Referee  

Posted: July 11th, 2014 3:36 PM

@RF Dan re: military The # of guns or military service have little to do with gun violence. As an example, Switzerland, Finland, and Serbia rank 3rd, 4th, and 5th behind the US and Yemen by rate of gun ownership. Finland has compulsory military service while Serbia does not, however both rank much lower than Switzerland in number of homicides by firearms and percent of homicides by firearm (.45 vs. .77%). These 3 countries have roughly the same average of firearms per person (37 - 45 per 100).

Ray Simpson from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 11th, 2014 1:28 PM

@ RF Dan - there is no reason you can't own a tank - most uncomfortable ride you will ever have and 3 gal/mile is sorta hard to take as well. The weapons might give you some grief you would be required to have the 50 cal machine gun disabled and I am not sure what the rules are about cannons. Your pastor might not like your taking up 6 parking places as well.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: July 11th, 2014 1:11 PM

RF Dan cont... in fact, twice as many people were beat to death than killed with rifles. Secondly, you do realize that "assault weapon" is a made up term? Guns like AR-15s fire no faster than any old rusty hunting rifle. They just look similar to military issue rifles but are functionally no different than a standard hunting rifle. Automatic weapons have been illegal for the public to own for almost 100 years.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 11th, 2014 1:04 PM

@ RF Dan - you cannot eliminate access! You sure can make it painful for anyone who is legally prohibited from owning or possessing firearm, if caught. I was on a weapons felony jury several years ago and we were instructed that the defendant was on parole and was caught with a 357 magnum which was an additional felony. He was not allowed to even touch a firearm without going back to jail and a decade added to his original time. I heard a prosecutor from Chicago explaining that plea bargains and reduction of charges are required because of court time, budgets and the amount of work in throwing the book at anyone. Why can't we come up with a fast track, single sheet system to get this problem off of the street. Set up a traffic court system - perhaps bad guys would look for a better way to rob and steal from you.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: July 11th, 2014 1:02 PM

RF Dan, the fact you are looking to ban assault weapons to keep them out of the hands of criminals shows you have ZERO credibility on this issue and are just parroting talking points. The vast majority of gun violence is committed with illegally obtained handguns. In fact, in FBI data shows murders with guns of all kinds were 8,855. 6,371 of those murders were handguns. Only 322 murders were committed with rifles OF ANY KIND. Mass shooting included.

RF Dan  

Posted: July 11th, 2014 11:46 AM

Referee- Swiss Men receive weapons as part of their conscription in the militia. After their stint in service, they can keep the weapons. Now, we just need to make 2 years of military service mandatory in the U.S. to make this a real comparison. Active duty in Afghanistan is a lot safer that living in Englewood, may be a good option.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: July 11th, 2014 11:41 AM

Ray, that is the conversation that they really don't want. You can't honestly talk about gun violence without talking about the black community because statistically, day to day gun violence for the most part is a black community problem. Delving into this issue really exposes the disastrous results of liberalism on the social fabric. It is easier to just blame AR-15s and law abiding citizens, neither of which are statistically relevant.

RF Dan  

Posted: July 11th, 2014 11:37 AM

You cannot restrict access of guns once they're out in the public. You can make them a bit more difficult to get. If you ban the manufacture, distribution and ownership of assault rifles, over time that will reduce availability to criminals. Who's rights does this really infringe upon, keep your handguns, let's "test" this. Why not? On the other side, I feel I should be able to buy a tank to protect myself and park it at Church (why not, same argument as assault rifles).

Ray Simpson from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 11th, 2014 9:56 AM

The other day liberal commentator Juan Williams commented that the carnage in Chicago was a failure of the black community and its leadership. He mentioned guns and gun regulations in Chicago, but admitted that enforcement of existing laws and punitive punishment couldn't hurt.

Friar Tuck from OP  

Posted: July 11th, 2014 8:33 AM

Ray, your 12:01 post is brilliant, and should be the de facto response to all on the gun grabber side, from the GRA to the new "moms" group that's popped up at the Farmers Market and other places. It's hard to solve a problem when one side is driven by emotion, and is fully invested in the failed policies that got us to this point in the first place. The hope is that if any good comes from the carnage to our east each weekend, it's that some prominent liberals will finally admit their errors.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 11th, 2014 12:01 AM

@ RF Dan - Both sides agree that bad people and dangerously mentally ill people should NOT have access to firearms. Where we differ is that the liberal solution is to regulate the non-problem group because it is easier. To tackle the gangs, drugs inner city violence would require examining societal, educational, poverty and a whole case book of politically insensitive issues that might call into question our touchy feeley approach to social issues. That is the hard part! You seem to feel that the assault weapons ban is a good thing. We had one for ten years and we have had ten years without. There has been NO statistical change in crimes with an assault weapon and the percentage of violence with an assault weapon is statistically insignificant. Just an easy, feel good - doing something, move to impose restrictions on people who know what they are doing by another group who are never troubled by the facts.

The Referee  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 11:37 PM

@ Brian re: I think this will be the test case. The first person who gets injured in a robbery or hold up in a place that has one of those offensive signs will be very rich after the lawsuit against whoever posted that sign. There are groups of lawyers who are waiting for it to happen, guaranteed.

The Referee  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 11:23 PM

The no guns in Japan argument doesn't fly. Switzerland has one of the highest gun ownership rates but among the lowest gun-related crime rate in the civilized world. Switzerland issues every adult a SIG 550 assault rifle and trains them how to use it. Swiss kids learn about guns at an early age. Many are shooting like marksmen by age 10. Their kids aren't stupid either, if they want access to guns, they know where they are. It's just that they haven't been taught guns are bad.

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 10:08 PM

There is madness in our 2200 firearm laws on the books that no one prosecutes.

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 10:05 PM

RF Dan: It is not a question of whether I fell safe or not in church, the question is why no one at St, Edmunds asked me to leave when I brought the hand gun with me to mass, and why did the ushers want me to stand around in the parking lot after Mass. As for Japan, I am comfortable here.

RF Dan  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 9:50 PM

Ray - The battle should be our combined effort to reduce gun violence. You can still maintain your rights and work on common ground. No one needs an assult rifle. Period. Brian - If you need to bring a gun into church to feel safe you should consider a move to Japan or the 95% of the world with almost zero gun violence who see the madness in our lack of firearm laws.

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 5:26 PM

Yes Dan, I am afraid. I have carried a gun for over forty years and no one has ever taken the gun away from me. I have been shot at. I shop in the Austin area. All the murder victims I have ever seen have their mouths open,as if asking me for one more chance to defend themselves. All the rape victims I have ever seen, their lips tremble, and it seems as though they wished they had a firearm when they were attacked.The chance of loosing a firearm is small,chance of loosing to a thug,fatal.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 3:46 PM

@ RF Dan - Are we paranoid? Probably a little! The pro-second amendment crowd is being vigilant toward attacks on our rights. We suffered 30 years of denial of our constitutional rights by a liberal village that still believes it "knows what is best" The majority of comments here point out the weaknesses or plain old dishonesty of the GRA ( Gun grabber ) argument, we will continue to provide positive, constructive defense of our position. We feel strongly and do not want to lose the battle because we failed to show up.

RF Dan  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 11:48 AM

Brian - What happens when you get shot with your own gun which is more likely statistically than fending off an attacker or an armed customer gets involved in a domestic and shoots a family member (also more likely). Is the business responsible? The pro-gun posts here are humorous...are you'all always living in fear? Need a gun to make you feel safe??

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 11:39 AM

I will take no further steps. thank you. IMO, any person or corp. who opens a public business is responsible for the safety of its patrons. If I disarm and go into a business that prohibits me from carrying my firearm and I get injured in anyway , it is the responsibility of the business to take of any of my losses because the business prohibited me from defending myself. I think this will be the test case.

Friar Tuck from OP  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 10:12 AM

Brian, as I recall they were armed, uniformed Chicago police officers, at least 2 but there could've been more. One always stood in the back of church, one was out front. This was during Cardinal Bernadin's tenure. Again, it's been a few years, however having them in that church seemed perfectly normal to me. At one point Holy Name was a frequent burglary target, as well as a popular spot for the homeless, some of whom were clearly mentally challenged.

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 9:45 AM

@ Friar Tuck: Do you know if the off duty Chicago Police working the side job at Holy Name were armed? Are signs posted outside Holy Name banning firearms? if someone is working for the church armed, does the ban prohibit them from carrying?Sounds like a great complaint.

Friar Tuck from OP  

Posted: July 10th, 2014 7:49 AM

You're correct, ref. Also, though it's been a while since I've attended Mass at Holy Name Cathedral, but when I did armed, on-duty CPD officers were in attendance as security. I'm guessing that's still the case.

The Referee  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 8:39 PM

I read article by John Barrett and I honestly think he's just a paranoid liberal who lives in his own bubble. If the Catholics didn't want guns in the church, the Pope, Holy See, and Vatican wouldn't be guarded by the Swiss Guard. What guns do they bring to church? Currently... SIG P220 (P75), Glock 19, Steyr TMP, Heckler & Koch MP5A3, Heckler & Koch MP7A1, SIG SG 550, & SIG SG 552

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 12:00 PM

Isnt this the same Christ who fashioned a whip and used the whip to drive the money lenders out of the temple? The question now is, did Christ have a whip concealed carry permit or a WOID-whip owners identification card? And was he trained to use the whip?


Posted: July 9th, 2014 11:42 AM

MichaelO... Seeing how the permit holders are required to be trained by law, that would make you the untrained boob. Just sayin'. Laugh, laugh, laugh!

MichaelO from Oak Park  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 11:37 AM

Corrections. Make that 300 million + guns in circulation;"boobs" should be potential boobs. Facts, Ray? What facts would you like to share?


Posted: July 9th, 2014 11:32 AM

The law is very specific about the sign. The sign in the picture does not conform to the one described in the law, so St. Edmunds is good to go. The fake signs are just there to make Oak Parkers feel good about themselves. Unofficial signs carry no legal weight.

Dominick Ahrens  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 11:31 AM

Just noticed the scripture reference and had to point out that Matthew 26:52 references when the apostles attempted to prevent the apprehension of Jesus. Verse 50 is where he instructs Judas to "do what you must do". In Luke, the Lord sent His disciples forth, saying "But now he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise a scrip; and he that hath not, let him sell his coat, and buy a sword. "

Dominick Ahrens  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 11:26 AM

The people that would have us "be like Christ" to the extent of sacrificing ourselves and our families to crooks and hoodlums either fail to understand His place as the lamb, or overestimate our importance.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 10:48 AM

Great post, Brian!

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 10:35 AM

I wonder how many children would have sexually assaulted by Catholic priests if the priests knew the congregation was armed?

Ray Simpson from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 10:14 AM

@ MichaelO - Part of your prayer should be that that quiet nondescript man one pew over has a concealed Carry license - is armed and is willing to protect you and your family from harm. To characterize citizens as "untrained boobs" who might just save your life is ignorant of the facts and myopic.

MichaelO from Oak Park  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 9:30 AM

Thank god for all the heroes packing heat. I remember the days of church massacre after church massacre. The result of some knee jerk progressives who thought that 300,000+ guns in circulation might not be a good thing. Now we can all pray easier knowing some untrained boob, two pews down, has a gat strapped to his leg.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 7:43 AM

The last person any congregation of church attendees should fear is a concealed carry license holder. This is generally someone who is willing to put their own life on the line to cover your back. The idea of violence free zones is a child's security blanket that ignores the fact that there are a very few sick, bad people who get a thrill out of putting fear into others. The people I know who have CCL never reveal their armed status and do not make a show that they are armed. They have a reason for their being armed and showmanship isn't one of them. This whole effort would be better spent finding out who the dangerously mentally ill people are and figuring out how to help them and protect us. If a church had a subtile or a blazing sign "Firearms welcome" what difference would it make? Going to church is a "good act" and the extreme, rare case of a nut job intent on harm joining you is a statistical rarity. Admit and solve the real problem rather than deflecting attention toward the evil gun. In all of recorded history there is not one example of a gun injuring anyone on it's own initiative. There is always a human being involved.

Eva Ready from Oak Park  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 1:09 AM

What do places where mass shootings occured have in common? That stupid sign on the door. "C'mon in, nobody in here will fight back". Sheeple!

Fast Fred from River Forest  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 1:02 AM

Please Google the name Mary Shepard. When you read the story you will understand why Illinois has Concealed Carry, and why church bans were not made mandatory in the law. Gun Free Zones are killing zones. Good luck, I hope you "feel safe" at St. Edmunds. You Oak Parkers are so emotional, right? What could possibly happen to a bunch of disarmed people crammed into one place anyway?

Gabriel Possenti  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 12:17 AM

Pope St. John Paul's words posted below.

Gabriel Possenti  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 12:15 AM

Moreover, "legitimate defence can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another's life, the common good of the family or of the State". Unfortunately it happens that the need to render the aggressor incapable of causing harm sometimes involves taking his life. In this case, the fatal outcome is attributable to the aggressor whose action brought it about, even though he may not be morally responsible because of a lack of the use of reason.

Gabriel Possenti  

Posted: July 9th, 2014 12:14 AM

In his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae (Gospel of Life), Pope St. John Paul cited the Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2265. Maybe you missed it? I'll post his words below in my next post.

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: July 8th, 2014 10:24 PM

I walked to St. Edmunds church when I lived on the 400 S. Euclid as a young police officer. I carried my fire arm in church. No one said anything and church goers wanted to talk after Mass, especially in the parking lot.

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