The North Carolina House passed a bill on Monday that would give concealed carriers the ability to carry their firearms in places of worship that also operate schools outside of school operating hours.
The bill, HB174, passed in an 82-34 vote on Monday and now heads to the Senate.
Opponents of the recent expansions to the state’s concealed carry laws by Republicans have questioned why guns should ever be allowed in a house of worship at all, school or not.
But in recent years houses of worship have been the sites of more than two-dozen shootings — the most well known likely being the fatal shooting of nine worshipers at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina by a 21-year-old white supremacist in June of 2015.
But before the Charleston shooting came a shooting at a Jewish community center in Kansas City in 2014 that left three dead, including a 14-year-old boy.
Or in August of 2012 at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in the suburbs of Milwaukee when a gunman killed six and injured a police officer before being killed in the ensuing shootout.
February 14, 2010 in Richmond, California three gunmen entered Gethsemane Church of God in Christ and opened fire — two were injured but luckily no one was killed.
But the worshipers at First Baptist Church in Maryville, Illinois weren’t so lucky when their pastor was shot in the head point blank and many of the churchgoers were stabbed while subduing a gunman after his weapon jammed.
Or in August of 2007 when a gunman fired on the First Congregational Church in Neosho, Missouri, killing three.
In December of that same year in Colorado a gunman killed three and wounded five at two separate locations, a missionary school in Denver and a church in Colorado Springs.
Again in 2007, in May in Moscow, Idaho, a standoff between a suspected shooter of three at a Presbyterian church ended in the deaths of three, including a police officer.
In Detroit in 2006 at the Zion Hope Missionary Baptist Church a shooter killed two churchgoers, and then later killed himself. The shooter had gone to the church to look for his girlfriend.
Four dead in Louisiana in 2006, eight dead in Wisconsin in 2005, three dead in Georgia in 2003, three dead in Missouri in 2002, two dead in Kentucky in 2001 and eight killed in Texas in 1999.
The list goes on and on.
The motives range from racism to jealousy and heartbreak, but the outcomes are all the same, a criminal is inside the church with a gun.
In many of these places it was illegal for the person to have that gun in the church, but that didn’t stop them.
It was most certainly illegal for them to open fire on the worshipers, but that didn’t stop them.
So to those who say that there is no need to ever have a gun in a place of worship, do the research before making indefensible claims that a cursory search of the Internet will refute outright.
There are dozens of reasons to have a legally concealed firearm in a place of worship; their names are etched in stone and in the hearts of the loved ones they left behind.