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
    Coat

    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
    FAIL

    Really?

    "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
      Boffin

      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

      Meh...

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

  5. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Hmm

    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

          Crossfire

          "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
            Facepalm

            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

            Innocents

            "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
        Pint

        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

          Ok

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

          Excellent.

          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

              Permits

              "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

      Polite?

      "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
    Facepalm

    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.

      /pedantry

      1. Ty Cobb
        Pint

        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
    Alert

    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
      Go

      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

        WTF?

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

        Seriously?

        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

    Ahem...

    All part of God's holy cannon.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      I thought it was a Holy Hang Grenade?

      I'll just get my coat ...

  11. Singlewhip
    Angel

    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
    Mushroom

    Overheard at a Wisconson church....

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

    -Bang, bang

    -Bang-bang-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
    Joke

    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
      Devil

      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
    Angel

    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...

  17. Friendly Neighborhood Yank

    Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition

    I have a CCW (for over a decade now) and here we get to carry anything we legally can own. Interesting note about "flick knives" - here we can't carry switch blades (which fully extend the blade by pressing a release switch) but we can have "spring assist" knives (you press a bump on the blade that extends through the handle, which gets the blade moving - then a spring takes over and it flicks open instantly). They are called "legal switch blades" because despite the fact you're starting the blades travel, in practice they are indistinguishable from side folding switch blades.

    I rarely carry, it doesn't seem worth the hassle most times. The CCW is for when I travel to unfamiliar places. I think the church crowd who would carry have bought into the media scares. Over here we've had a few church shootings - but most often it seems to be right wing extremists attacking "liberal" churches. Any church with gun toting parishioners is unlikely to be liberal - and therefore unlikely to be attacked by right wing extremists.

    /rarely attand church - and have never carried a weapon in one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Over here?

      "Over here we've had a few church shootings - but most often it seems to be right wing extremists attacking "liberal" churches."

      Where are you from? Not sure I've ever seen the words "church shooting" and "often" going together, much less the liberal vs. conservative slant.

    2. Figgus

      "Any church with gun toting parishioners is ... unlikely to be attacked"

      Fixed that for you. 50 armed parishioners would tend to take out a singe shooter before he could do much damage. Of course, 50 unarmed parishioners are just going to get shot without much resistance. Which do YOU think is a safer situation?

      Not to mention the fact that 99% of the time, LEGAL gun owners are not the problem.

      Sorry to mess up the thread with logic, but hey: why let silly things like FACT get in the way of a good anti-gun rant? (Not yours, clearly, since you have a CCW. I mean the thread as a whole.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Why am I thinking this?

        Only gun manufacturers/distributors/retailers will profit from this.

        Buy before you die!

      2. david 12 Bronze badge

        a safer situation

        I think Australia is a safer situation.

        Somehow, single shooters are doing a lot more damage in the US than they are here, even though we don't have armed parishioners taking out people.

        Although the Police have to some extent normailized the practice of gun carrying, I don't know when was the last time some 3 year old kid shot his brother here, and most of the young men on nicotine withdrawal (-- a carton of cigarettes and all the cash in the drawer....) still use knives or raw violence.

        Got taught to shoot as a child in the States. Don't miss it.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Civil War

        "Fixed that for you. 50 armed parishioners would tend to take out a singe shooter before he could do much damage. Of course, 50 unarmed parishioners are just going to get shot without much resistance. Which do YOU think is a safer situation?"

        Based on claims like this - the apparent need for everyone to carry guns because of the IMMINENT THREAT of an attack - it seems that living in the US is more dangerous than Bosnia in the early 1990s.

        How do tourists, children, felons and the mentally unstable survive in the US, when it seems that only carrying at least one firearm keeps you safe?

        1. Figgus

          "Based on claims like this - the apparent need for everyone to carry guns because of the IMMINENT THREAT of an attack -"

          See, the part that you are overlooking is that the imminent threat of attack is against the criminal: they simply don't know who is armed and who isn't, so any fight they pick could suddenly go very badly for them. States that banned CCW permits saw meteoric spikes in violent crime overnight as the predators realized their prey had been disarmed.

          "How do tourists, children, felons and the mentally unstable survive in the US, when it seems that only carrying at least one firearm keeps you safe?"

          See above.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Figgus

            "See, the part that you are overlooking is that the imminent threat of attack is against the criminal: they simply don't know who is armed and who isn't, so any fight they pick could suddenly go very badly for them."

            But they know tourists arent armed - why not just stick to robbing them? Is there any evidence that criminals are good at this type of risk:benefit assessment?

            BTW does this mean that America is populated with a different type of criminal than in (say) France?

            "States that banned CCW permits saw meteoric spikes in violent crime overnight as the predators realized their prey had been disarmed."

            Is there any evidence of this?

    3. David Cantrell
      WTF?

      You think you need a gun to travel to unfamiliar places? Seriously?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @David Cantrell

        Its a scary place these people inhabit.

        Maybe one day the US these people live in will join the rest of the civilised world and people can travel from town to town without worrying about highwaymen and visits to new places will be fun and enjoyable rather than a scary threat that needs overwhelming firepower to defend against.

  18. Richard Pennington 1
    Coat

    Surely ...

    ... this is covered by cannon law?

    That's the one, with the bullet-hole in it...

  19. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    But... but...

    Catholics have had concealed weapons for centuries. Their triple-bodied invisible friend.

  20. Darryl
    Thumb Up

    Catholic church could learn some marketing from the banks

    Something about 'Free rifle with every baptism' or replacing the bake sale and/or bingo with an afternoon at the weapons range.

  21. Andrew Smith 1

    Guns and religion combo?

    I'd have thought that guns and alcohol were a pretty bad combination, but what about guns and the belief in an afterlife, an all forgiving God and faith??

    That is surley a scary combination!

    1. TRT Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      It's all that shooting into the air lark. Wrecks the delicately hand painted devotional artwork on the ceiling.

  22. Arfur Smiff
    Angel

    I'm all for

    the AK47, God's weapon of choice.

    1. Ty Cobb
      Mushroom

      I have it on good authority he prefers calibers more like .50BMG or .338 Lapua.

  23. Brian Miller

    "Death, where is thy sting?"

    Why are the bishops worried? The citizens of Wisconsin all carry three high power rifles in their vehicles (just look at the back of any pickup truck, there aren't any cars in the state), so what's the bishop's worry about pistols in the Sunday mass? Just because the communion glasses are a bit smaller than a whiskey shot glass doesn't mean the parishoners will miss.

  24. King1Con
    Angel

    What's a nun to do, when she can't even be safe going to church, never mind sitting in one?

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/oct/31/trial-begins-illegal-immigrant-who-killed-nun-fata/

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    "God has created us to be truly free"

    For contrast, here are are some quotes attributed to Jesus:

    "All slaves should show full respect for their masters so they will not bring shame on the name of God and his teaching."

    http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=1Ti&c=6&t=NLT

    "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ."

    http://bible.cc/ephesians/6-5.htm

    I have yet to find any quote attributed to Jesus that says keeping slaves is wrong. The OT includes instructions on buying slaves, beating them and selling your daughters as sex slaves.

    1. Steve Knox
      FAIL

      Nope!

      The first quote is from Timothy, not Jesus. The second is from Paul.

      The only statements directly attributed to Jesus are in the Gospels (and possibly Revelations.)

  27. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Coat

    The Catholic clergy.....

    Is probably afraid of 8 year old altar boys packing heat!!

    (Because somebody had to say it!)

    Mine's the fire(s of damnation)-proof one hanging over there.....

  28. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
    Boffin

    Funny

    The law was signed many months ago and just went in to effect Nov 1.

    News reports that there were thousands of requests downloaded on the first day.

    Currently the only people who can legally carry concealed weapons are those who have a permit from another state which has reprocity w WI. Many non residents of Utah have non resident permits so that they can carry in states that have ccw laws.

    Now only the state of IL does not allow CCW. Currently there are two lawsuits hoping to overturn things, plus Chicago is currently plagued w a rash of gun violence.

    Why is this IT? Because many in the field like things that go boom.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thou shalt not kill *

    * conditions apply

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If you are going to quote it, get it right, It's thou shall not murder. Big difference.

      1. Loki 1

        Murder vs kill

        Yeah, its only Murder if God does not approve the killing, but that's usually not a problem because the bible justifies killing just about anything or anyone if you care to search for a relevant passage.

      2. David Cantrell
        FAIL

        No, God definitely said "kill", not "murder" when dictating the bible to King James.

        1. kain preacher Silver badge

          NIV

          Has the NIV here and it says murder .

    2. TRT Silver badge

      I think that's a moot point. Which is a bit like a hollow point I guess.

  30. Mark Dowling
    FAIL

    Shorter version

    We'd like to ban you from the church if carrying, but we're broke from paying off kiddie fiddlers we moved from parish to parish so we can't do without the collection revenue.

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