Northern Virginian, Keith Eldridge is the first to acknowledge that some may view him as an NRA poster child, but stresses that’s not the case. There comes a point where he draws the line. That point is church.
“We are at a place of worship and I don’t feel it necessary to be carrying a gun in a place of worship,” said Eldridge.
Others echoed Eldridge’s sentiment, wanting to keep guns out of churches, but for safety, not spiritual reasons.
“It’s one thing if a security guard has a weapon,” explained Woodbridge resident Pamela Miles, “but random people in the church? No. More people will end up gettings shot, because bullets don’t have names on them.”
Bullets, are the very reason the Virginia senate passed a bill to repeal a centuries old law banning guns, daggers and other weapons from churches.
They were used to take 26 lives and wound 20 people at a Texas church in November. The senator who sponsored the bill has said the old law infringes on the safety of worshippers and property rights of churches.
However, in 2011, the state attorney general said concealed carry holders could bring guns to a church if that church granted them permission to do so, something many see as that supposedly lacking property right. In fact, the Virginia Catholic Conference, which represents the interests of the Diocese of Arlington and Richmond says the new bill would infringe on their current property rights.
“Rather than back up and reinforce our property rights it make it harder for us to enforce those,” said Jeff Caruso of the Virginia Catholic Conference.
Caruso said the conference worries things will become more difficult for churches that want to remain weapon free.
But not everybody’s upset about it, like Northern Virginia resident David Howell.
“I’m perfectly alright with it I have no problem with weaponry or firearms anywhere to tell you the honest to God truth,” said Howell.
The bill would also have to pass in the house. Governor Northam publicly stated that he would veto the bill.