This federal lawsuit against the state police superintendent and county district attorneys was filed on behalf of 25 churches in Niagara, Orleans, Genesee, and Cattaraugus counties and other churches elsewhere around the state. It was coordinated through a Rochester-based group called New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms.
They contend many houses of worship, at the request of clergy and other church leaders, actually have groups of volunteers who have concealed carry permits and are prepared to defend other members of the congregation. This stems from shooting attacks at churches and synagogues around the country.
The group also says there have been instances in Texas and elsewhere where an armed member of a church congregation actually stopped someone shooting in a church.
Now they’re questioning why the state specifically in its law would only allow such protection by a trained certified security agency or active or retired law enforcement church members.
Rev. Jason McGuire, executive director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, said: “Under the written law as it’s written, that is not permitted. You have to be an employed professional security team, or you have to be active or retired law enforcement. That is something that not every church across the state of New York has or has the ability to hire professional security teams. We’re looking at oftentimes trained volunteer security teams, and the law does not allow for that.”
McGuire added: “Frankly there are people who didn’t want it to be known they were engaging in this. But there are congregants in churches sitting in the pews, sometimes they’re more formal than that, but they are armed for the purpose of being there to protect the congregation during morning worship services.
“You know every time the governor speaks in a church, and she’s done a lot of that lately, she takes an armed detail with her. We’re simply saying that the family sitting in that pew deserves the same protection that the governor is accorded when she goes into a house of worship.”
Source: “Church group sues New York State on gun law restrictions,” WGRZ.com