Not an unreasonable position to hold, especially if you, like Bishop Lamor Whitehead, had been robbed at gunpoint while holding a church service.
Unfortunately for Bishop Whitehead and every other worship leader in the state of New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul and her legislative minions have proclaimed that all worship spaces are off-limits to concealed carry, no matter what the congregation may want to allow. If Bishop Whitehead brought a gun with him to the pulpit and had to use it in self-defense (and in violation of state law), he’d be looking at a felony charge and the potential of years in prison.
Still, Whitehead firmly believes the law should change in favor of the right of self-defense.
“They need to pass a law expeditiously that pastors of houses of worship, anyone on the ecclesiastical staff, need to be able to have permits for firearms,” said Bishop Lamor Whitehead, who was robbed in his Canarsie storefront church on Sunday. “If the teachers can have it, we should be able to have it.”
I think Whitehead might want to refresh himself on New York state law, which does not allow for armed school staff any more than it recognizes the right of law-abiding citizens to carry in a church, synagogue, or mosque, even with approval by worship leaders.
Of course, in order for Whitehead to be able to lawfully carry, it sounds like there might need to be additional changes to state and federal law.
Such a law should even overlook the sins of his own past, said Whitehead, who served time in prison on an identity theft charge.
“No matter if we have a record, it should be exempt,” Whitehead said. “So we should be able to bear arms as the Constitution says.”
… In a news conference outside the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries, Whitehead said elected officials, including Gov. Hochul and President Biden, should do more to help churches.
“I’m calling on every elected official that has power to protect houses of worship,” Whitehead said. “We need protection. We need you to sympathize with us. We don’t get the luxury of having firearms. All we’re asking is help us protect ourselves. Pass a law where we can carry our firearms, because this gun violence has gone to a new level. “
Even if Whitehead himself can’t lawfully carry because of his criminal conviction, I’m sure there’s someone else in his flock who’s eligible for a concealed carry license who could stand guard over congregants and the bishop while he delivers his sermon.
More importantly, there are thousands of faith leaders across the state who are unable to decide for themselves how best to protect themselves and their congregation because anti-gun Democrats have decided they’re better off not carrying a firearm for self-defense while they’re worshiping, attending a prayer meeting, or even quietly working on next week’s sermon in their office.
Whitehead is right about the need to repeal places of worship from New York’s list of “sensitive places,” but of course the problem runs much deeper than that. I’m sympathetic to Whitehead’s plight, but not solely because he’s the head of a church. The right to bear arms in a self-defense is a right of the people, not just pastors, and clergy aren’t the only New Yorkers who are having their civil rights abused by the state’s post-Bruen carry laws. Every New Yorker who wishes to carry a firearm in self-defense can make the same complaint, and hopefully it won’t be long before the courts will provide those law-abiding citizens the relief they’re entitled to.