by Max Brantley
What about those of us who worship in synagogues and mosques? Are we covered or were we minorities left out?
That might cover other established religions. Might it also provide cover for those who'd like to establish otherwise prohibited places as places of worship? The First Church of Whiskey, say?
Even if Jews do have access to guns in their synagogues now, the law remains woefully deficient in notice requirement. By amending existing statute with a new subsection, does it or does it not bring churches under the notice section of the law, which requires signage if you don't want guns on your premises? Does the bill really leave gun-friendliness up to guesswork of church visitors? Is such lack of notice wise, from a legal point of view? How will insurance carriers feel about this in cases of churches that do open their sanctuaries to gun carry by some or all who enter? The demagoguic whoop to expand the presence of guns in society doesn't have time to deal with technicalities. Guns first. Consequences later.
Meanwhile, speaking of guns, Ernest Dumas contemplates the issue this week. He notes that studies show more guns don't make any premises safer, churches or otherwise. He offers a modest proposal to take us back to the country's roots:
But if every single person had to be armed to the teeth maybe it would be different. After all, that is in the full spirit of the Second Amendment, which was enacted to protect Southern states right to keep militias to put down slave rebellions and runaway slaves and, after the Civil War, to punish uppity black men or keep them from voting.
If the Arkansas legislature is serious about church safety, it should follow that example. To be helpful, here is a template: South Carolina’s law, enacted shortly before the Revolution, which required all white men to go to church on Sunday and at Christmas armed with a long rifle, powder and a pair of horse pistols and fined them heftily if they did not.
Whereas, it is necessary to make further provisions for securing the inhabitants of this province against the insurrections and other wicked attempts of negroes and other slaves within the same, we humbly pray his most sacred majesty that it may be enacted, and be it enacted by the Hon. William Bull, Esq., lieutenant-governor and commander-in-chief over his majesty's province of South Carolina, by and with the advice and consent of his majesty's honorable Council, and the Commons House of Assembly of this province, that every white male inhabitant of this province (except travelers and such persons as shall be above 60 years of age) who, by the laws of this province, is liable to bear arms in the militia of this province, either in times of alarm or at common musters, who shall, on any Sunday or Christmas day in the year, go and resort to any church or any other place of divine worship within this province, and shall not carry with him a gun or a pair of horse-pistols, in good order and fit for service, with at least six charges of gunpowder and ball, and shall not carry the same into the church or other place of divine worship, every such person shall forfeit and pay the sum of twenty shillings, current money, for every neglect of the same. . .
Note to bill drafters: Insert Governor Beebe’s name where it alludes to “His Majesty,” King George II.