Illinois Sen Kotowski Seeks Ban on Concealed Carry in Church

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Illinois capitol building
Henryk Sadura / shutterstock.com

Nearly a month after the Illinois General Assembly overrode Governor Pat Quinn’s veto of the state’s long-awaited concealed carry law, one lawmaker is attempting to add an amendment. Illinois was the last state to enact a concealed carry law and the latest attempt to alter it is a state senator’s campaign to ban concealed weapons from houses of worship.

State Sen. Dan Kotowski, a suburban Chicago Democrat and a one-time gun control lobbyist, first floated the idea of banning such weapons in July while the General Assembly was out of session.

On July 9, with a 30-day extension to enact some type of concealed carry law, Illinois ratified it by an override of Governor Quinn’s veto. Present in the debate preceding the vote were arguments about the lengths to which citizens are allowed to carry concealed weapons. After much debate and several pieces of defeated¬†legislation, a compromise bill finally emerged that left nearly everyone on both sides unhappy. In the end, concealed weapons were prohibited from buses, trains, casinos, government buildings, hospitals, and alcoholic establishments that earn less than half their income from food.

Kotowski insists that omitting a ban on concealed weapons in churches in the original law was an oversight. As it stands, churches are permitted to post signage stating that concealed weapons are prohibited from the premises.

Explaining his position, Sen Kotowski said, “There are certain places where guns should be off-limits. Churches, as sanctuaries, are among them.” Going on, Kotowski continued, saying that ministers he consulted, “believe that when you go into a house of worship you’re going to pray, reflect and make the most of this period of silence.”

However, not all Illinois pastors are of the same mind. Charles Burton of Unity Fellowship Church in Godfrey, northeast of St. Louis, supports the amendment, saying he “refuses to be governed by fear.” Yet, Pastor Cory Respondek of Living Water Church in Cahokia, also in southern Illinois, says churches should be able to decide for themselves. Also, a head of security for a church in Collinsville supports letting concealed weapons in, but would like to know who is carrying. He also added, “I don’t believe your rights as an American stop when you walk through the door.”

Kotowski says he spoke with Chicago-area pastors, four years after a pastor was murdered in 2009, before he introduced his proposed amendment. It was in the¬† downstate town of Maryville where a Baptist pastor was killed during Sunday services. The shooter, who had no apparent connection to the church, was deemed clinically insane and unfit to stand trial. A potential snag in Kotowski’s plan is how a ban would have prevented shootings like the one in Maryville.

The Sen Kotowski campaign to ban concealed weapons from houses of worship also introduces more issues of constitutionality to the state’s concealed carry law. in this episode, Illinoisans may begin asking whether this amounts to the state government stepping into the realm of the church. Specifically, this proposed amendment deals with what worshipers may be allowed to bring into the building, a not-for-profit entity.

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  1. David Does this idiot think that someone with the intentions of murdering will give a hoot about some dumb law prohibiting guns in some places? I mean if they do not care about the law of murder or dealing drugs, will they care about some law about guns not being allowed in certain places?
  2. David Hartmann I get a eerie feeling when I see those signs banning weapons in stores and government buildings ... going in knowing that only the lawless would potentially be the only armed individuals if anything happened while I am inside.
  3. Bruce Hestley Twit. I know of one church that has a sign thanking the parishioners for the extra security. It should be up to the church, or any other establishment
  4. Donald Marks Of course it is, Chicago is the diamond example of a corrupt, fascist, backwards group of delinquents. They have never had a straight, uncorrupt politician in a hundred years or more.. give them some credit, they have been wallowing in it for many years, so they have had plenty of time to perfect the recipe.
  5. Donald Marks I am more worried about the morons opening their big mouths and restricting the rights of other people they simply disagree with. Like that one you see in the mirror. The "Morons" who randomly capitalize letters that aren't supposed to be capitalized, and insult and judge other people whom they have never even met or talked to. The same morons who don't know anything about history, let alone firearm history and ownership, or legislation (and the legislatOrs* who write it). Next time before you call people morons, maybe at least hit spell check, be sure you managed to actually make a provable point, and perhaps lay off the sauce.. because you are the worst kind of moron.. The kind who thinks everyone who disagrees with you is unintelligent.
  6. Donald Marks And yet Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi thought the most treacherous thing that Britain did to India was to disarm it. He was a real war monger eh? Just to help out, because you don't seem capable of understanding it, someone can be peaceful, and still want to use a gun to protect innocent people.
  7. Donald Marks Nothing like insulting when you have no actual argument. Typical.
  8. Donald Marks I don't think anyone should have free speech but politicians. See how stupid that sounds?
  9. Donald Marks So is there seperation of church and state, or isn't there? The church can't influence the government whatsoever, but the government can dictate rules for churches? You can't have it both ways.
  10. Alex Gauthier This makes me think of that scene in kill bill
49 comments
David
David

Does this idiot think that someone with the intentions of murdering will give a hoot about some dumb law prohibiting guns in some places? I mean if they do not care about the law of murder or dealing drugs, will they care about some law about guns not being allowed in certain places?

David Hartmann
David Hartmann

I get a eerie feeling when I see those signs banning weapons in stores and government buildings ... going in knowing that only the lawless would potentially be the only armed individuals if anything happened while I am inside.

Bruce Hestley
Bruce Hestley

Twit. I know of one church that has a sign thanking the parishioners for the extra security. It should be up to the church, or any other establishment

Aaron
Aaron

Uh, property rights? Churches should decide on their own.

Larry Dawson
Larry Dawson

Churches can make their own rules about what is permissible within their walls. Kotowski should quit messing with the churches and maybe spend more time in one.

Steve Cox
Steve Cox

Kenneth, you're quoting the first amendment. For the answer you seek, look at the next one.

Johnny Ritchie
Johnny Ritchie

Used to be only the Bar hoppers carried weapons in our civilization. Where is our civilization headed with these Moron legislaters?

Johnny Ritchie
Johnny Ritchie

I think there are waaaaay too many Morons, such as Zimmerman who should not be issued a concealed carry permit.

Phyllis Osborn
Phyllis Osborn

They don't need another law... let the church or churches make their own rules.

Kevin O'Mara Sr.
Kevin O'Mara Sr.

Did he include criminals in the ban or does that just mean law abiding citizens?

Galen Ray Richards
Galen Ray Richards

This is stupid because there have been attacks on Churches, gun free zones create victim zones.

James O Donnell
James O Donnell

Senator Kotowski would prefer that Jeanne Assam had been unarmed the day that a murdering lunatic killed two innocent people in the parking lot of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. The Senator would prefer that Jeanne Assam have confronted a heavily armed murder with nothing more than her empty hands, instead of the legally carried pistol that Jeanne Assam used to stop the killing spree.

Senator Kotowski is vile, even by the appalling standards of Chicago politics.

Steve Cox
Steve Cox

Rules and laws without a reasonable means of enforcement are useless.

Carol Kretchmer Gil
Carol Kretchmer Gil

We had armed guards at our Synagogue for a while. There were threats.

Kate Calkins
Kate Calkins

The Senator is right but there have been mass shootings in churches

Jason H Kendall
Jason H Kendall

so when a lunatic shows up with a gun -- he can kill everyone ! good stuff !

Steve Cox
Steve Cox

They should.

The point I'm making is that the only way to tell if people are following this rule is if they make EVERYONE walk through a metal detector.

How many churches will do that? And what message does it send to the congregation?

Jack L Eich
Jack L Eich

bullcrap,you should be allowed to defend yourself anywhere

Timothy Francis
Timothy Francis

I wonder how many Mosques have weapons stored in them

jack
jack

If you have any questions regarding the CWP law or training contact www.e2c.us or 1-866-371-6111 and the Instructors at Equip 2 Conceal will be happy to help you.

Steve Cox
Steve Cox

Elise, how will the church know who is or isn't carrying a CONCEALED weapon?

Steve Cox
Steve Cox

Oh, they're illegal in churches? Certainly, that means no one will take guns into churches, right?

Legislators are idiots.

Barb Happ Zimmerman
Barb Happ Zimmerman

If my church bragged that it didn't allow concealed carry, I would not go there anymore. You can rest assured that these will be places where crimes will occur.

Elise Hokman
Elise Hokman

Personally, I think it should be up to the church...just because you are authorized to have a concealed weapon doesn't mean that you can have the weapon wherever you go.

Terry Orton
Terry Orton

That we'll have church shootings next.

Bob Conner
Bob Conner

I personally see no reason anyone but law enforcement need concealed weapons, but at some point common sense should prevail rather than including every potential circumstance listed in legislation. I imagine any persons carrying a weapons into a church likely needs not have the weapon anyway.

Sanford Jones
Sanford Jones

There is no need for this amendment, a church can decide if they want to be a gun free facility churches are a prime target for an armed person to enter the church and rob it or shoot up the place unless there is an armed person in the church.

Shawn M. Griffiths
Shawn M. Griffiths

I don't think it is completely unreasonable to tell people they can't carry concealed weapons in a church. I would think religious leaders would be on board with this. It's not about giving into fear. It is about common sense.

Michael Higham
Michael Higham

This is kind of a tricky situation. Not sure if the government wants to get involved with rules within a place of worship, but again it's a public safety concern, just as how other laws apply to the establishment.

Donald Marks
Donald Marks

I am more worried about the morons opening their big mouths and restricting the rights of other people they simply disagree with. Like that one you see in the mirror. The "Morons" who randomly capitalize letters that aren't supposed to be capitalized, and insult and judge other people whom they have never even met or talked to. The same morons who don't know anything about history, let alone firearm history and ownership, or legislation (and the legislatOrs* who write it).

Next time before you call people morons, maybe at least hit spell check, be sure you managed to actually make a provable point, and perhaps lay off the sauce.. because you are the worst kind of moron.. The kind who thinks everyone who disagrees with you is unintelligent.

Jeremy Landry
Jeremy Landry

I find it odd that this is a discussion considering Jesus was a severe pacifist and likely wouldn't own a gun if they existed in his time.

Rhetorical gun love completely ignores reality.

Kevin C. Smith
Kevin C. Smith

Concealed carry should be forbidden in all public places. Any private place open to the public (businesses) ought to be able to allow CC by posting the fact on its premises.

Jeremy Landry
Jeremy Landry

If someone feels the need to take a gun to church, they probably have mental issues.

James O Donnell
James O Donnell

We have already had church shootings.

And we've also already had church shootings that were stopped by a member of the congregation who was legally carrying a concealed weapon.

Donald Marks
Donald Marks

I don't think anyone should have free speech but politicians.

See how stupid that sounds?

Donald Marks
Donald Marks

So is there seperation of church and state, or isn't there? The church can't influence the government whatsoever, but the government can dictate rules for churches? You can't have it both ways.

Alex Gauthier
Alex Gauthier

This makes me think of that scene in kill bill

James O Donnell
James O Donnell

What is "common sense" about the government telling churches how to run their affairs?

Maybe the state shold be issuing rules about what hymns to sing, while they're at it?

Donald Marks
Donald Marks

And yet Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi thought the most treacherous thing that Britain did to India was to disarm it. He was a real war monger eh? Just to help out, because you don't seem capable of understanding it, someone can be peaceful, and still want to use a gun to protect innocent people.

James O Donnell
James O Donnell

In your bigoted mind only Christians matter.

Good to know.

Donald Marks
Donald Marks

Nothing like insulting when you have no actual argument. Typical.

Steve Cox
Steve Cox

Same logic applies to government telling bars not to let in people with guns, right?

Donald Marks
Donald Marks

Of course it is, Chicago is the diamond example of a corrupt, fascist, backwards group of delinquents. They have never had a straight, uncorrupt politician in a hundred years or more.. give them some credit, they have been wallowing in it for many years, so they have had plenty of time to perfect the recipe.

Ulfr Dokkr
Ulfr Dokkr

There have been church shootings across the nation. Most states have left it up to the individual building owners and many churches have allowed CCLs. But then Illinois seems to enjoy being the most backwards assed state in the Union.