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Thread: OC in a church--but not during a worship service...

  1. #1
    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    OC in a church--but not during a worship service...

    If there is a concert happening on church property in VA, and it is NOT part of a worship service, would carry (OC or CC) be OK?

    What about if there is a preschool on the church property? Does that put the entire property under the "school property ban?", or ONLY the part of the church property where the preschool is located?
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    General consensus seems to be that "school" equals school no matter what time of day you want to be there.

    However, you mention a preschool, which is not covered in the school gun-free law

    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...cod+18.2-308.1

    § 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 exemptions set out in § 18.2-308 shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to the provisions of this section. ....
    As for the question "Would it be OK?" - all depends on the preference of the owner/agent of the property. All I can do is point out that it's not specifically prohibited by law.

    stay safe.

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    I've OCed at my church during work days or when visiting not during a worship service and have never had an issue and the pastor is a former Lynchburg policeman. I don't foresee any issue in Virginia with a pre-school provided they do not also have a kingergarten (part of the elementary school function). I don't recall what the fed's GFSZA says regarding pre-schools, but if you have a VA CHP or one of the states with which we have reciprocity then you have been granted license by the state to carry concealed within Virginia that is necessary to get out of the GFSZA prohibitions.

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    Regular Member CHILINVLN's Avatar
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    That code also doesn't include Secondary, Charter, Intermediate Schools, or Alternate Schools.

    Just saying.

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    This does not specifically address your concern Dreamer, but it has crossed my mind that there may be a way around the church with a school issue, especially if the two have separate mailing addresses. It would seem to me that we have 2 portions of Virginia law for which to be concerned. The first is the one that lays the general blanket prohibition on carriage of a firearm on school (K-12) property and another which addresses portions of property that are being used exclusively for school functions. It would seem easy enough to me to delineate the portion of property which is exclusively school by paint and signage in the parking lots, sectioning off a portion that is dedicated to school and if buildings are shared then having doorways that are clearly marked as being the end of one portion and the beginning of another. If there are 2 entrances from the roadway this would make life even easier. Resultingly the only time the church portion may ever be off limits for carrying a firearm would be if it was being used exclusively for the use the school, but the school portion would always be off limits. This of course would need good scholarly review by a consulting attorney, but I do believe it may be one way to skin the cat.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHILINVLN View Post
    That code also doesn't include Secondary, Charter, Intermediate Schools, or Alternate Schools.

    Just saying.
    You need to go back and check the definitions. Secondary = high school, Charter = possibly any of the 3 levels codified, Intermediate = middle school, and Alternate = possibly any of the 3 levels codified.

    Playing fast and loose with semantics can get you into trouble, for which you have only yourself to blame. Playing fast and loose with semantics when advising someone else is "bad form".

    stay safe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CHILINVLN View Post
    That code also doesn't include Secondary, Charter, Intermediate Schools, or Alternate Schools.

    Just saying.
    If any of those in your list perform the state's requirements necessary for the completion of K-12 tutelage then they most certainly are included in the code as a "school". The code doesn't delineate between public, private, charter or even English second-language, but it does address those that meet the requirements as an elementary, middle or high school.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    After all is said, how do you handle the 1000' rule in a church where they have a church school, even with a separate entrance?
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.” Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Easy, by defining the limits of the school grounds separate from the limits of the church grounds, a person walking about within the limits of the church meet the exception provided in 18 USC 922 (I)(2)(B)(i), which provides for an exception for people within 1000 feet of a school, but on private property not part of school grounds. The fact that the school building exists on the extreme limits of the defined school grounds should not make a bit of difference. I imagine there would need to be some legal documentation (deed or property map) of the limits of the school and the limits of the church.
    Last edited by jmelvin; 03-17-2011 at 06:59 PM.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmelvin View Post
    Easy, by defining the limits of the school grounds separate from the limits of the church grounds, a person walking about within the limits of the church meet the exception provided in 18 USC 922 (I)(2)(B)(i), which provides for an exception for people within 1000 feet of a school, but on private property not part of school grounds. The fact that the school building exists on the extreme limits of the defined school grounds should not make a bit of difference. I imagine there would need to be some legal documentation (deed or property map) of the limits of the school and the limits of the church.

    Don't see that working when the two are in the same building - it gets convoluted.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.” Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Why not? I already clarified that you'd have doors to separate and everything else, possibly a different mailing address. When under the old requirements to OC in an establishment serving alcohol, did you then have to OC in every business that may have shared the same building as a restaurant in a strip mall? Is it necessary to avoid a whole strip mall or similar when armed if there's a post office? Doors and separation by walls make all the difference in where you are, especially when you've defined the space to have different purposes.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmelvin View Post
    Why not? I already clarified that you'd have doors to separate and everything else, possibly a different mailing address. When under the old requirements to OC in an establishment serving alcohol, did you then have to OC in every business that may have shared the same building as a restaurant in a strip mall? Is it necessary to avoid a whole strip mall or similar when armed if there's a post office? Doors and separation by walls make all the difference in where you are, especially when you've defined the space to have different purposes.
    Specious argument at best. The 1,000-foot eclusion zone is measured from the outermost boundary of the schoool property and encircles the school. The no-CC in a business serving alcohol rule was based on the boundaries of the ABC-licensed restaurant/club. There was no additional exclusion zone.

    The fact that nobody seems afaik to have been arrested/convicted for "mere" possession within the exclusion zone notwithstanding, the possibility exists. Given the "sensitive nature" of schools, the folks who work in schools, and the parents who send their kids to schools, I'd say the possibilities raise to the level of probabilities once it became known someone who was not a cop was carrying at a school.

    stay safe.

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    skidmark did you even bother to read my arguments or look at the details of the law itself? If property maps, deeds, walls, borders, and actual language of the law mean something when it comes to every other place, why on earth would they not apply to the defined borders of a school, that has doorways, walls, borders, a defined parking lot, possibly a defined address separate from a church, which is a separate portion of private property which meets the requirements of 18 USC 922? Please fill me in on how you define private property in one case but not the other or even define 1000 feet, if it has no meaning either? Does 1000 feet actually mean 2000 yards just because a school is involved?

    Your argument about the 1000 foot exclusions zone means absolutely nothing when the 1000 foot zone specifically excludes private property no matter how close it is to the school, or even if it borders the school itself. You want to pretend the borders of an alcohol establishment mean something, but the borders of private property don't?

  14. #14
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Yes, if there were seperate plots, with clearly defined boundaries, you might have an exemption based on private property, except that you are not the owner of the property. You would need to have permission from the property owner, just like you do currently when entering my home or my place of buiness.

    When you add interconnecting buildings and the like you start comingling properties.

    However, if you are sure of your interpretation of the law then I am willing to let you act on your belief. When there is a potential question of the sureness/certainty of one interpretation over another, and the interpretation was requested by a third party, there is a duty to present all the interpretations and let the third party decide for themself. Declaring you are right and I am wrong without citation to case law is asking someone to bet the ranch blindly. You might do that, but I will not.

    stay safe.

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    Perhaps you missed that I pointed out that the whole process would have to go through a significant scholarly legal review. Further at no point did I suggest that someone other than the church or school take on the issue, so of course it would be left to the property owners to take up such a task. I imagine it would be complicated, but perhaps a congregation that would like to provide for their own defense and have a school on site would be interested in such a project.

    Once you get the property documents in order with all of the information approved by whatever 'authorities' it would seem to be as solid of a defense to state that one was most definitely in a church and not a school as readily as one could define their presence at a gas station and not a school since everything would already be defined. I'm not by any stretch suggesting just slapping up some signs and paint and calling it okey dokey. Something like that would likely require case law or a clarification of existing law.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    IMHO - it would be far easier and more effective to allow honest citizens to carry in schools, thus eliminating the question as to where the church/school lines are.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.” Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    I agree that it would be more effective. We'll see what the upcoming years bring as far as the easier aspect.

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    Activist Member Wolf_shadow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    IMHO - it would be far easier and more effective to allow honest citizens to carry in schools, thus eliminating the question as to where the church/school lines are.
    +100

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    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    To be more specific, the church is the Church of the Resurrection in Alexandria VA. It is an Episcopal church.

    http://www.welcometoresurrection.org/

    They have a "coffee house" event once a month, where they bring in folk and traditional music performers, and I am going to see Roy Zimmerman on Sunday, March 20 with my family...

    So, it's NOT a worship service. The school affiliated with the church is a preschool. I don't know if the venue is posted, but if it is NOT posted, then the big question is, can I CC there?

    I have permits from multiple states (NC, PA, UT) that are recognized in VA.

    Hopefully that clears it up...
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

  20. #20
    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamer View Post
    To be more specific, the church is the Church of the Resurrection in Alexandria VA. It is an Episcopal church.

    http://www.welcometoresurrection.org/

    They have a "coffee house" event once a month, where they bring in folk and traditional music performers, and I am going to see Roy Zimmerman on Sunday, March 20 with my family...

    So, it's NOT a worship service. The school affiliated with the church is a preschool. I don't know if the venue is posted, but if it is NOT posted, then the big question is, can I CC there?

    I have permits from multiple states (NC, PA, UT) that are recognized in VA.

    Hopefully that clears it up...
    Personal opinion - unqualified "Yes"

    Not having any K-12 school removes one of the potential obstacles.

    I would and have done so in similar, even for worship services as I have a "good and sufficient reason" - my life.
    http://leg1.state.va.us/000/cod/18.2-283.HTM
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.” Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Of course....

    You ARE going to check to make sure that the church preschool does NOT have a Kindergarten as well, right? K-12 religious schools fall under 308.1, so any Kindergarten counts.

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    Regular Member MSC 45ACP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamer View Post
    To be more specific, the church is the Church of the Resurrection in Alexandria VA. It is an Episcopal church.

    http://www.welcometoresurrection.org/

    They have a "coffee house" event once a month, where they bring in folk and traditional music performers, and I am going to see Roy Zimmerman on Sunday, March 20 with my family...

    So, it's NOT a worship service. The school affiliated with the church is a preschool. I don't know if the venue is posted, but if it is NOT posted, then the big question is, can I CC there?

    I have permits from multiple states (NC, PA, UT) that are recognized in VA.

    Hopefully that clears it up...
    Since it is being held in a large place with a lot of people in attendance, you may consider why you are carrying. I know quite a few here that will want to tar and feather me for even suggesting such blasphemy, but you may want to consider the tactical aspect of your visit: CCing may be a better idea anyway. You have permits. OC if you want to make a political statement, invite conversation about 2A, or risk being asked to leave an event you are really looking forward to attending and deal with the Wrath of Spousal Unit for getting you 86'd from the place.

    CC if you are serious about being a Sheepdog among the Sheep and keeping your family and friends safe from Wolves. I rarely go anywhere unarmed. I CC when I think its a better idea tactically and/or do not want to bring attention to myself and family. Its also against Boy Scout rules to have firearms except at BSA-sanctioned ranges, etc. On the 'flip-side' of that coin, I doubt I could live with myself if a BG showed up at a Scouting event and started shooting while I was there unarmed.

    We make decisions like this in our daily lives. Hopefully, we'll always make the right ones.
    "If I know that I am headed for a fight, I want something larger with more power, preferably crew-served.
    However, like most of us, as I go through my daily life, I carry something a bit more compact, with a lot less power."
    (unknown 'gun~writer')

    Remington 1911 R1 (Back to Basics)
    SERPA retention or concealed...

    "Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not." ~Thomas Jefferson
    (Borrowed from "The Perfect Day" by LTC Dave Grossman)

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