The General Convention passed a resolution asking all Episcopal Churches to declare themselves "Gun Free Zones". There's a resolution coming before diocesan convention doing just that. But there's considerable debate about whether we can even legally do this.
Controversy around this revolves around Indiana's gun laws, particularly the so-called "Take your gun to work" laws, which permit any employee to carry a gun in the glove box or trunk of his or her locked vehicle, and prohibit an employer from asking about it.
I've done a little research on this, and I don't think we have much to worry about. But I'm not a lawyer. A FAQ from the Indiana State Police notes that "
places like preschools (and churches that have a preschool), head start, or similar programs – even when 'school' is not in session, like at Sunday services." If correct, that would suggest that it is already illegal under state law to possess a firearm on the property of Trinity Indianapolis (St. Richard's School), and any Episcopal church that has a pre-school.
A question was raised on the floor of General Convention inquiring whether a church declaring itself a gun-free zone might face liability if a shooting occurred on its property, since the zone turned out not to be gun-free after all. I have no idea about the merits of such a claim, but it seems that one could deal with it by using the phrase "firearms prohibited" rather than "gun-free zone" as the text of any proposed sign.
All right, on to the score:
- Is the resolution likely to pass unanimously? No. I think there are some people who will view this as a waste of time, and you can vote against this without looking like a jerk. +1
- Does the resolution call for someone in the church to do something concrete? Yes. Hanging up a sign is a concrete action. +1
- Might the resolution call for the person who proposed it to do something concrete? Yes. The resolution is proposed by the General Convention deputation, which includes a few rectors who will have to decide what to do with this request. +1
- Does the resolution contain an escape hatch? Yes. The resolution is framed as a request, not an order. -1
- If the resolution calls for an allocation from the diocesan budget, is it clear how the funding would happen? No budget requirements. +1