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Thread: Catholic School vs Catholic Church

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    Catholic School vs Catholic Church

    Often Catholic Schools share a common parking lot with the Catholic Church. Where does that leave us with carrying into the church, assuming no one has learned how to tele-port from their car to the church without setting foot in the parking lot?

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    Regular Member 45acpForMe's Avatar
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    My understanding of the law is that you could have a loaded gun in a secured container while on the "schools"/churches property but could not carry unless you had a CHP and you didn't leave your car.

    Since the property of the school is the same as the property of the church the "good & sufficient reason" to carry in the place of worship is trumped by the VA law forbidding carrying (outside your car for CHP, or secured in a container & not taken out while on property for everyone else) while on school property.

    Without the CHP you couldn't carry within 1000 feet of school property because of the GFSZ (which I know many believe is unenforceable).

    Unfortunately (and the bill that changed this got killed this year) the first offense is a felony.

    18.2-308.1. Possession of firearm, stun weapon, or other weapon on school property prohibited.
    :
    B. If any person possesses any firearm designed or intended to expel a projectile by action of an explosion of a combustible material while such person is upon (i) any public, private or religious elementary, middle or high school, including buildings and grounds; (ii) that portion of any property open to the public and then exclusively used for school-sponsored functions or extracurricular activities while such functions or activities are taking place; or (iii) any school bus owned or operated by any such school, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony; however, if the person possesses any firearm within a public, private or religious elementary, middle or high school building and intends to use, or attempts to use, such firearm, or displays such weapon in a threatening manner, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years to be served consecutively with any other sentence.

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    It would be nice to have some case law or legislation passed that would clarify that for multi-use facilities such as church - school combos should be treated in the same manner as any other multi-use facility that may host school only functions. That is to say that when a facility operates as church and school, the portion dedicated to the school would be off limits to those carrying when operated for school functions, but the parking lot and remainder of the property not used exclusively for school functions would be treated as non-school (church). Combined with the law that only allows for carry of firearms during religious services (my paraphrase) with good and sufficient reason, the state has essentially stepped in and given the preference of who should be able to defend themselves with a firearm to those who chose not to attend a church service or attend a church that shares a parking lot or part of a building with a school.

    *Note that the prohibition on carrying during religious services is probably toothless as the restriction to "good and sufficient reason" is likely too vague.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
    SNIP Where does that leave us with carrying into the church, assuming no one has learned how to tele-port from their car to the church without setting foot in the parking lot?
    Well, I'm guessing that if you could teleport, your spiritual abilities would be sufficiently advanced that you wouldn't need to attend church.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmelvin View Post
    SNIP *Note that the prohibition on carrying during religious services is probably toothless as the restriction to "good and sufficient reason" is likely too vague.
    Yeah, but the cops who might do the arrestin' got plenty of teeth. And attorney fees can take a bite out of a budget.

    I'd be very discreet. Or, ask the legislature to do a little dental extraction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    Yeah, but the cops who might do the arrestin' got plenty of teeth. And attorney fees can take a bite out of a budget.

    I'd be very discreet. Or, ask the legislature to do a little dental extraction.
    Being taken down at church in front of wife and kids is not first on my list of things to do. Unfortunately most of the Catholic parishes around here have parish schools co-located on the same property if not in the same building.

    Looks like I need to go parish shopping.

    Regarding "Good and Sufficient" as the Bard said "The better part of valor is discretion."

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    Interesting Issue

    Quote Originally Posted by 45acpForMe View Post
    My understanding of the law is that you could have a loaded gun in a secured container while on the "schools"/churches property but could not carry unless you had a CHP and you didn't leave your car.

    Since the property of the school is the same as the property of the church the "good & sufficient reason" to carry in the place of worship is trumped by the VA law forbidding carrying (outside your car for CHP, or secured in a container & not taken out while on property for everyone else) while on school property.

    Without the CHP you couldn't carry within 1000 feet of school property because of the GFSZ (which I know many believe is unenforceable).

    Unfortunately (and the bill that changed this got killed this year) the first offense is a felony.

    18.2-308.1. Possession of firearm, stun weapon, or other weapon on school property prohibited.
    :
    B. If any person possesses any firearm designed or intended to expel a projectile by action of an explosion of a combustible material while such person is upon (i) any public, private or religious elementary, middle or high school, including buildings and grounds; (ii) that portion of any property open to the public and then exclusively used for school-sponsored functions or extracurricular activities while such functions or activities are taking place; or (iii) any school bus owned or operated by any such school, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony; however, if the person possesses any firearm within a public, private or religious elementary, middle or high school building and intends to use, or attempts to use, such firearm, or displays such weapon in a threatening manner, such person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years to be served consecutively with any other sentence.
    The Our Lady of Angels Parish Center building houses St. Thomas Aquinas School as well as the Parish Religious Education Offices. So, it is not used exclusively for school functions. I certainly have not tested the law.

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmelvin View Post
    It would be nice to have some case law or legislation passed that would clarify that for multi-use facilities such as church - school combos should be treated in the same manner as any other multi-use facility that may host school only functions. That is to say that when a facility operates as church and school, the portion dedicated to the school would be off limits to those carrying when operated for school functions, but the parking lot and remainder of the property not used exclusively for school functions would be treated as non-school (church).
    This.

    I just found out recently that my church is planning to start their second year of offering a Kindergarten in addition to day-care. I had no idea that they did this!

    Does Kindergarten count as "elementary school"?

    Why does the law insist on criminalizing perfectly law-abiding citizens? It's not like we don't have enough already with the people who actually mean to do harm.

    TFred

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