Why Are Houses of Worship Left Defenseless? New York Church Challenges State's Ban On Carrying Firearms

Written By BlabberBuzz | Thursday, 30 March 2023 22:45
Views 3.1K

On Monday, First Liberty Institute and law firm Clement & Murphy filed a lawsuit with the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on behalf of His Tabernacle Family Church, a nondenominational New York church, challenging an allegedly unconstitutional ban on firearms in houses of worship.

The suit alleges that the law discriminates against religious establishments, makes them vulnerable to outside violence, and violates two Supreme Court rulings.

Jordan Pratt, Senior Counsel at First Liberty Institute, told Fox News Digital that the lawsuit seeks "simply equal treatment" for religious and secular sites. "What our lawsuit is seeking is simply equal treatment, that if the state of New York is allowing the owners and managers of secular businesses to decide for themselves whether the patrons there can carry firearms, religious leaders are entitled to that same respect and that same trust," Pratt said.

The policy has been criticized due to the vulnerability of houses of worship to violence committed by outsiders. Pratt noted two incidents - a 2018 shooting at a Pennsylvania synagogue and a 2017 incident at a Texas church - demonstrating the importance of allowing religious establishments to decide whether to authorize their congregants to carry firearms. "The attack [at the church] ended within 5 seconds because there was an armed parishioner," Pratt said. "I would submit that it's not only constitutionally problematic on multiple fronts for New York to do this, but just as a matter of common sense, this is not protecting houses of worship to strip them of the ability to decide how best to protect themselves is not protecting us."


The plaintiffs are not seeking to mandate concealed carry in houses of worship but rather to allow religious establishments to make their own decisions. Pratt states, "This is not about mandating that houses of worship necessarily allow firearms, this is about giving them the same autonomy, the same decision-making power that all other businesses and property owners in New York are given."

Ultimately, the lawsuit seeks to end the disparity between religious and secular sites in New York, allowing religious establishments to decide for themselves whether to authorize their congregants to carry firearms.