I’m here today to talk to you about your house of worship and guns. The question is can you protect yourself or can the house of worship, whether it’s a church, a temple, a mosque, etc.
Carrying in a Place of Worship
Can you protect yourself and/or your house of worship in New Jersey? Basically, no, you can’t. And that’s because New Jersey does not allow us, the average law-abiding citizens, to have carry licenses. So, bringing your gun to church or to your house of worship is unlawful. There’s no exemption that allows you to bring a firearm to such a place, so you would not be able to use it or to have it. And therefore, virtually all New Jerseyans are vulnerable in their house of worship to problems because we are denied the right to have the most effective means to defend ourselves in New Jersey.
It’s true, if your house of worship can afford it, they can hire security. There may be folks that are armed security that could be hired, but that’s very expensive for any of these facilities to do. If New Jersey had a reasonable licensing system, then of course, there would plenty of individuals attending the facilities that would want to be part of the security of the building. But because New Jersey offers no such license, there is no exemption in the law for having a firearm in a house of worship. And in New Jersey, the only way to be legal is if you have a license or with an exemption (which does not exist) to be able to protect your house of worship.
This is plainly something that our legislatures should address so that we can abide by and exercise our First Amendment right to freedom of religion, as well as our Second Amendment right to be secure in our person and our safety when we’re out and about, particularly engaging in the exercise of our First Amendment rights. New Jersey has a history of turning folks into victims instead of defenders, and until that changes, our houses of worship in Jersey are vulnerable.
If you have any further questions about this topic, feel free to call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak with your Independent Program Attorney.