Columns » John Brummett

Praise the Lord and pass the ammo



That was quite a productive little Friday morning they had in the state House of Representatives, voting to put guns in church and the Bible in school.

It sounds worse than it actually was. In both cases the egregiousness was not so much what was done, but that anything was done at all. 

Yes, what we have here is yet another case of big-government activism by so-called social conservatives falsely asserting small-government goals. They simply will not leave well enough alone. That is why they sometimes get called yahoo busybodies in this space.

Someday, after we evolve further, we will learn that, almost always, less is so much more.

Let us first take the matter of guns in church. 

Several years ago, owing to our gun-addicted culture and to our insistence on being ruled by our fears, our legislature gave us a law by which a competent and law-abiding person could take a little training course and get a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

It was, while lamentable in a general way, fine by me specifically. I have more concern about a person who seeks and holds no permit for the gun he conceals.

But because yahoo busybodies inevitably over-legislate with their big-government intrusion, the Legislature felt obliged to put into this law a litany of locations into which one could not carry this otherwise legal and licensed concealed weapon.

We simply could have provided generally what ought to be a common-law assumption — that any property owner could deny admittance to his property, whether personal or commercial or otherwise, to persons with a concealed weapon. Or, imagine this, we could have left everything to human judgment and human reason and human liberty.

But instead the yahoo busybodies felt it necessary to legislate that a licensed carrier of a concealed weapon could take the hidden pistol into a restaurant, but not into a bar; and could take it happily down the street, but not into a government office or sporting event; and could not take it into a church.

Nowhere in these nanny-state edicts did these yahoo busybodies explain what the licensed gun-carrier was supposed to do with this usually legal gun from which he had to keep separating himself as he went about his life's route.

Regarding church, the law essentially invited a person to carry his gun into the church parking lot, but then to put it under his car seat to be stolen while he was inside worshipping.

Here's the deal: We have gazillions of guns. We have a law letting law-abiding people conceal these guns on their persons. It is better to let these law-abiding people keep these licensed guns concealed on their persons, and to trust them to behave appropriately in whatever venue they're inhabiting, than to leave these guns lying around.

Anyway, government should not be able under the U.S. Constitution to dictate to a church whom to allow on its pews and under what circumstances. That ought to be left to the elders or deacons or bishops. We just cannot seem to get our arms around this separation of church and state, can we?

So some folks got worried that they were going to get shot in church. They thought they might need their weapon in such a case.

Because we put this church exception into the law in the first place, it becomes necessary to remove the exception if we are to oblige those who want to be able to return fire legally in the sanctuary. And there you have the basis for this bill by which we attract national ridicule for seeming to be arming for shoot-'em-ups in our churches.

Alas, only a little space remains for teaching the Bible in school. 

It is just as well because, as sponsoring Rep. Denny Altes of Fort Smith told me, his bill had been so watered down by amendments that "it's a good bill — doesn't do anything."

Of course a yahoo busybody has to go ahead and pass the darned thing anyhow.

The bill merely authorizes a system by which school districts could design an elective nonreligious course based on the Bible and get it approved by the state Education Department. A couple of schools have done that already. No law was needed.

Most schools will continue having entirely too much sense to venture into this tinderbox with the yahoo busybodies who are about to pester us half to death with all their legislating.

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