back to article Catholic Bishops: 'Would you mind not bringing guns to church?'

Wisconsin's Catholic hierarchy have told the faithful that they'd really prefer them not to pack heat when they go to Mass, after the state enacted a new law authorising the carrying of concealed weapons. But, the Bishops add, if parishoners do want to come to mass with guns, tasers, knives and billy clubs, well, that's OK too …


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  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Marketing opportunity

    Given their historical record couldn't they use this to market their own range of bible aproriate weapons?

    The "slayer of the first born" - branded handgun

    The "sodom destroyer" - tactical nuclear weapon

    Right upto the "Red Sea parter 2000", your enemy entirely drowned guaranteed or your money back.

  2. Graham Bartlett

    There's a thought to make small children afraid

    A priest with a concealed weapon.

    Mind you, get armed parishoners and you may well find someone bashing the bishop.

    (Coat, gone.)

    1. Z-Eden
      IT Angle

      "A priest with a concealed weapon."

      Helps in dealing with heretics, atheists, agnostics and people who fidget during the sermon.

  3. Flugal

    Catholic bishops

    Can just imagine it:

    "You, choirboy, come here....see if you can find my concealed weapon..."

  4. Ian Ferguson


    "God has created us to be truly free" and "This freedom includes both religious liberty and the right to self-defence."

    Not sure where in the Bible Jesus a) said having other religions was OK and b) defended himself against attack

    1. Steve Knox Silver badge

      Wouldn't be Jesus, would it?

      "God has created us to be truly free" is clearly a reference to the Old Testament creation story, and not the New Testament redemption story.

      Themes of free will abound in the OT (although they often include somewhat nasty consequences...)

    2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      "God has created us to be truly free"

      The funniest thing ever said in a church.

    3. TRT Silver badge


      Truly free, freely true, what's the difference?

  5. disgruntled yank Silver badge


    I can't quite see the ushers doing pat-downs, and so far I haven't seen any churches with metal detectors. I do imagine that St. Patrick's in downtown Washington, DC, about two blocks from FBI HQ, gets quite a few folk packing heat on days of obligation such as Nov. 1.

    At this point, the bishops are probably ready to put up with a lot to get people into the church...

  6. Ozz

    And the problem is?

    As a Brit now living in the USA (and a proud owner of numerous handguns, a concealed carry license and a license to teach concealed carry classes) I believe everyone should have one. In the words of Robert Heinlein, an armed society is a polite society.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Or, an armed society is one where minor mental instabilities result in mass murder.

      1. Figgus

        Or, an armed society where an unstable shooter can only get a couple shots off before there is return fire.

        Columbine is a GREAT example of how beneficial gun bans are. The people who did it had NOTHING to fear, they knew the building was full of targets not threats.

        In fact, I can't think of many mass shootings that have happened where guns were legal to carry. Gabrielle Gifford's thing is the only one I can come up with, but even there there was nominal return fire (believe it or not).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          "Or, an armed society where an unstable shooter can only get a couple shots off before there is return fire."

          Yeah, thats loads safer.

          I love the idea that if there is a robbery, or a "criminal" draws a gun etc, then having loads of bystanders also draw and join in the firefight makes things "safer" for the general public.

          The US really does appear to have internalised the idea that the Wild West of cowboy movies was both real and a cultural golden age.

          1. Figgus

            re: Crossfire

            I'd rather have a crowd of well meaning bystanders shooting at the criminal than have a criminal shooting at his victims unfettered.

            Maybe it would be better if there was not any threat to criminals at all, and law abiding citizens could just faint and play dead? Maybe the nice criminals would just go away and leave everyone alone, eh?

            Talk about internalizing stupid crap from movies...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "I'd rather have a crowd of well meaning bystanders shooting at the criminal than have a criminal shooting at his victims unfettered."

              Shooting at the criminal, but missing for the most part, and hitting other bystanders. This is better because ... ?

        2. Ozz

          Mass shootings.

          That's because there aren't any. With the exception of the Arizona massacre (Gabby Giffords), every single criminal shooting in U.S. history in which more than 3 innocent people were killed happened in locations where guns were banned.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            "With the exception of the Arizona massacre (Gabby Giffords), every single criminal shooting in U.S. history in which more than 3 innocent people were killed happened in locations where guns were banned."

            Interesting claim - I suspect this is based on the grounds that any gang related violence must not (by definition) involve innocent people.

    2. da'squid

      Open Bottle?

      Yeah, you can carry a concealed weapon wherever... but a bottle of alcohol that's been opened, carried in a car.... oh no! Gun in the glovebox, yes sir, go right ahead!

      That still cracks me up

      another Brit in USA.

      1. Ty Cobb
        Big Brother

        Sorry - but the Wisconsin Concealed Carry law covers firearms on your person, the Open Carry aspect requires that the firearm be visible if not on you but still within the passenger compartment. So... in the glove box would be a no-no.

        1. Hud Dunlap
          IT Angle

          In Texas your car is your home

          So there is nothing to prevent you from having a gun in your car.

          I am sure that if you really looked in the Wisconsin laws you find one from the 1800's that required you to carry a gun to church.

          But what is the IT angle?

      2. usbac

        Yeah, we have a lot of good ones here in the USA.

        I live in Nevada. Many years ago, I wanted to open a Brewpub here, only it wasn't legal at the time. So gambling, no problem. Prostitution, that's fine too. Concealed weapons, in some cases you don't even need a permit or license. But, don't you dare try and brew beer!!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      An armed society

      So polite that the firearm related death rate in the US is higher than almost anywhere else on earth..

      1. Ozz

        No right to police protection.

        Checked the stats for Switzerland recently? Gun ownership is mandatory there, and they have among the lowest crime stats in the world. Just remember that here in the States you have no right to police protection. In fact, it is a "fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen." [Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981)]. Look up the details of that case if you want a real wakeup call. In fact, it was that case that helped get the D.C. handgun ban overturned a few years ago.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          "Checked the stats for Switzerland recently? Gun ownership is mandatory there, and they have among the lowest crime stats in the world."


          Its impressive that having an assault rifle at home reduces the chances of someone snatching your handbag in the street. That is wonderful.

          It is strange, however, that in other countries with high (yet not complete) weapon ownership the crime rates are astronomical.

          Maybe, and this is just maybe, it is because ownership of a weapon isnt the primary determinate of crime rates. I wonder if we could make the same claim towards social policies?

          Having guns in the US doesnt really make people safer from crime, but it does give people the idea that they could (theoretically at least) do something about it.

          It seems the fear of crime is so prevalent in the US that they will never let go of the guns they feel protect them. I pity any tourists over there, it even half the fears are true, it must be terrifying for them to walk around unarmed.

          1. Ozz

            Check the stats...

            On average, right-to-carry states have 22 percent lower total violent crime rates, 30 percent lower murder rates, 46 percent lower robbery rates, and 12 percent lower aggravated assault rates, compared to the rest of the country. The seven states with the lowest violent crime rates are right-to-carry states. (Data: FBI.)

            Since adopting right-to-carry in 1987, Florida's total violent crime and murder rates have dropped 32 percent and 58 percent, respectively. Texas' violent crime and murder rates have dropped 20 percent and 31 percent, respectively, since enactment of its 1996 right-to-carry law. (Data: FBI.)

            Only 0.01% of nearly 1.2 million permits issued by Florida have been revoked because of firearm crimes by permit holders. Similarly low percentages of permits have been revoked in Texas, Virginia, and other right-to-carry states that keep such statistics. Right-to-carry is widely supported by law enforcement officials and groups.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Gunz Gunz Gunz

              It seems the Gunz vs Statz debate will go on for ever, including a flurry of downvotes for any heathen who ever suggests giving people guns is the only way to save lives.

              However, now we have introduced some figures - it is worth looking at the data the FBI has produced:

              In 1986 there were 1,371 murders in Florida.

              In 1988 there were 1,416 murders in Florida.

              In 2007 there were 1,201 murders in Florida.

              Interesting 1988 saw the second highest number of murders in Florida since 1960 (with 1981 being the highest).

              In 1986 there were 6,152 counts of Forcible Rape, in 2007 there were 6,151 counts.

              The problem with figures like this is that they peak and trough, so we have years like 1981 where the murders were through the roof or 1965 when they were almost non-existent (in comparison).

              It is also interesting if we compare the overall crime rate in Florida with the national average:

              In Florida (2010) there are 6.93 crimes per 100,000 residents while the US national median is 4.5.

              By the way - for balance, in Illinois the crime figures were:

              1986: 1023 murders, 4765 forcible rapes

              1988: 991 murders, 4449 forcible rapes

              2007: 752 murders, 4103 forcible rapes.

              Maybe Florida's gun laws reduced crime globally....

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward


              "Only 0.01% of nearly 1.2 million permits issued by Florida have been revoked because of firearm crimes by permit holders."

              (I suspect this, like the rest is a cut and paste from the NRA pages rather than actual statistics)

              Interesting figure that is very, very hard to find any evidence for. Mostly it comes from unsupported claims on Second Amendment / NRA sites (which also try to echo the crime rate percentages, whilst not mentioning equal or greater reductions in other states - often cutting the time period to 1991 when it looks best as there was a significant national decline in murders in the early 1990s).

              The only thing I can find is from the "Tennessee Law Review 62:3 [Spring, 1995]" which claims that between 1986 and 1993 there were only 17 licences revoked by the courts following a firearms related crime, out of 188,106 licensees.

              It appears that the state of fFlorida only makes these figures easily available to certain organisations.

              But it seems logical to assume that most people who bother to get a firearms permit will behave in accordance with the law.

              In Florida, no permit is needed to buy a firearm - its the "concealed carry" that needs one (and a concealed weapon is difficult to use in your own protection, unless you are Chuck Norris)

              Despite this, Florida has the "honor" of being the state with the 7th highest incidence of Firearms robberies per 100,000 population. (The top 6 are DC, Delaware, Tennessee, Nevada, Texas, Georgia - which is interesting in itself)

    4. Big-nosed Pengie

      That must be why there's so little crime in the US.

    5. PrivateCitizen


      "In the words of Robert Heinlein, an armed society is a polite society."

      Or, in the words of reality, a society which incarcerates more of its population than any other nation on Earth.

      Fake sincerity is not the same as being polite.

  7. Steve Brammer

    Flick knives

    I believe I read somewhere that flick knives are allowed for disabled people with only one arm.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      One-arm bandits?

  8. Z-Eden

    I'm baffled. Quite apart from the fact the obvious: Flick knives - no chance. An automatic pistol - alrighty then, now you're talking.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Automatic pistol?

      You mean semi-auto (i.e. gun self cocks after the first shot, requires multiple trigger pulls)? Fully auto ("machine guns" where you just hold the trigger down) are pretty much illegal. IIRC, owning one requires a license from the federal government that is expensive and difficult to get. It's not impossible, but not easy and definitely not common.


      1. Ty Cobb

        It is a tax stamp for a Class III firearm, not a license. Still difficult to get, but not impossible.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not that difficult

        Actually, they aren't that hard to get. The tax stamp is a whopping $200 and there has been some discussion of challenging the ATF under the second amendment if someone was refused one without a good reason (e.g. a convicted felon), however since that has never happened no-one has had the chance to take them to court.

        The biggest issue is that you can't build new ones, the public can only buy machine guns built before 1986, which means that demand exceeds supply, pushing the prices up quite a bit. I'm also not sure you could CCW one since it would be an NFA weapon.

  9. Colin Millar

    Emergency licences are available?

    I would have thought that any situation which called for the emergency presence of a gun would be beyond even the most expedited of licensing procedures.

    Carrying guns in the RC church in should be fun - specially when the traditionalists and the modernists decide to have a "full and frank exchange of views" on the mystery of the faith.

    1. mike2R

      I can see that story being reported in the parish newsletter... "a number of the participants in the debate are now taking the matter up with God in person."

    2. Figgus

      Think domestic violence victims who have left the abuser and are now being stalked... Or do you think a restraining order from the court will keep those victims safe (LOL?)?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "Think domestic violence victims who have left the abuser and are now being stalked... "


        So giving guns to frightened, jumpy and abused people who have good reason to shoot first and ask questions later is a good idea? Ok.

        I suspect it is a good sign that society is broken if a domestic violence victim has no protection other than getting themselves some guns. (not to mention the tactical difficulty of using them)

        Not sure why you put the ? after the LOL either. Arent you sure if you are joking?

        1. Figgus

          Yes, you're right! It's much better to simply let the victim call the police when their violent ex comes to visit them!

          That way, the police can already be there taking pictures when the coroner arrives.

          What protection would you suggest? This should be hilarious....

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    All part of God's holy cannon.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I thought it was a Holy Hang Grenade?

      I'll just get my coat ...

  11. Singlewhip

    Texas Allows this too. And...

    The TX concealed carry law originally banned weapons in churches. It was modified at the request of a pastor, who said he didn't feel safe.

    He (it was a "he") must have a heck of a congregation.

  12. Marty McFly

    Overheard at a Wisconson church....

    From an intruder during the sermon, "Allah Akbar!"

    -Bang, bang



    Minister, "Nice grouping!"

    Choir boy, "Were those hollow points?"

    Parishioner, "Sorry about the mess, I'll mop up after Mass."

    1. ian 22

      "violence, destruction, and murder are antithetical to the message and person of Jesus Christ"

      No, don't bother to ask what weapons Jesus Christ would conceal.

  13. Christoph Silver badge

    But what about ...

    The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch?

  14. Chris 3
    IT Angle

    That is all

    Ummm.. and the IT angle is?

    1. Simon Harris Silver badge

      Well, I think some Tasers are microprocessor controlled!

  15. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    If they want to come packing to church, that's their right...

    ... But does the law say anything about not requiring anyone who does so to sit in a special, segregated section of the church? Preferably, one with a wall of three-inch Plexiglas between them and the saner members of the congregation...?

  16. TRT Silver badge

    The priests don't need to carry guns...

    their main weapon is surprise, that's all, surprise.

    And fear, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope...


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