A weird phenomenon is afoot in Middle American Catholicism. States are passing conceal-and-carry laws, and Catholic churches are putting up signs forbidding guns in church. It’s certainly a weird thing for non-Midwesterners to see when they’re coming in to church. It’s about to spread, as the same pattern is happening down in Louisiana.
This is (hopefully) a non-story. But I am struck by one thing: are these signs effective? They’re in direct response to conceal-and-carry laws. This seems to presuppose that there are people who:
- Really wanted to bring their gun to Mass, but couldn’t, because the state didn’t allow concealed-carry until now;
- Now can, and still really want to, bring their gun to Mass, and without the bold action of the bishops, were planning on coming packed to pray; and
- Are going to be deterred by a sign on the church door which says “No Guns.”
Don’t get me wrong: there are probably crazy people out there who want to bring guns into Mass for scary and dangerous purposes. But something tells me that these “no guns” signs aren’t going to do a whole heck of a lot to stop them, just as the gun control laws on the books probably weren’t doing a whole lot.
I get that many businesses don’t want customers in there with loaded weapons, even if the customers have no criminal intent at all — the mere presence of a loaded weapon creates some risks. Apparently, there are actual problems with people bringing guns into bars and restaurants. But Mass? Have we been having problems with people casually carrying weapons, loaded or unloaded, concealed or open, into Mass?
The whole exercise strikes me as the bishops being overly cautious, to the point of comedy. Then again, it’s hard enough to get priests to preach on unpopular topics even without adding the idea that somewhere in the crowd, the sheep are arming themselves.
Edit: Unsurprisingly, Diogenes had a much funnier take. I defer.