The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Williston pastors say churches should have option to decide on whether to allow concealed guns

  • Print

WILLISTON, N.D. - Some pastors in the heart of North Dakota's oil patch say they should be able to decide whether they can carry guns in church.

A group from Williston plans to submit a petition — signed by several pastors — this week to city commissioners that would give churches the option of allowing concealed weapons.

The Rev. Will Page, associate professor of Cornerstone Baptist Church, tells The Forum newspaper (http://bit.ly/10B1PE8) he's worried that people with evil intentions may target churches because they know members of the congregation are not armed.

"The whole idea of a gun-free zone is inherently dangerous," said Page, who moved to Williston from Mobile, Ala., in August.

The Rev. Mark Britton of Faith United Methodist Church says the petition asks that the decision to allow guns be left up to church leadership, not the government.

"Sometimes pastors have to stand up for church rights," Britton said.

The state Legislature is considering allowing guns in churches and other places.

Republican state Sen. Stan Lyson, of Williston, a former Williams County sheriff, said he doesn't believe that allowing concealed weapons in church or other places improves safety.

"When you get into a situation where a gun is being used, people are scared. They're so afraid that you don't hardly remember what took place when the thing is over," Lyson said. "In doing that, are they going to be efficient with their gun at that point? Or are they going to spray the bullets and maybe hit innocent people?"

Applications for new concealed weapons permits and renewals are steadily increasing in the Williston area and around North Dakota. Williams County had 923 concealed weapons licenses and renewals in 2012, a 101 per cent increase over 2011, according to the Attorney General's Office. The entire state saw about a 124 per cent increase in licenses issued in 2012.

Officials believe the increase has more to do with discussions in Washington, D.C., about guns than concerns about safety in North Dakota.

"We don't see any crimes from people who have concealed weapon permits," Williams County Sheriff Scott Busching said. "I have nothing to fear from the law-abiding armed citizen."

Page said Cornerstone Baptist Church has not had any incidents that would prompt support for this petition, and the church leadership is not in favour of arming ushers.

"We're not advocating that anybody do this, just that the city council grant local congregations the option of making the decision for themselves," Page said.

___

Information from: The Forum, http://www.in-forum.com

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Bowman pledges to find efficiencies at City Hall

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Gardening Column- Assiniboine Park English Garden. July 19, 2002.
  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 090728 / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS White Pelicans belly up to the sushi bar Tuesday afternoon at Lockport. One of North America's largest birds is a common sight along the Red RIver and on Lake Winnipeg. Here the fight each other for fish near the base of Red RIver's control structure, giving human fisher's downstream a run for their money.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think e-cigarettes should be banned by the school division?

View Results

Ads by Google