Thursday, November 16, 2006

Court Grants Churches Exemption From Minnesota Concealed Carry Law

Hennepin County, Minnesota District Judge William Howard on Tuesday issued a permanent injunction permitting churches to ban firearms from their property used for religious purposes, including parking lots and space leased to tenants, without complying with the elaborate notice requirements applicable to commercial establishments under Minnesota' concealed carry firearms law. The permanent injunction extends a temporary injuction issued by another judge last year. The decision says that freedom of conscience and association provisions in the state and U.S. Constitutions exempt churches from the statutory requirement to either post a specifically worded sign or give individual notice to people entering the building in order to exclude firearms. Instead churches can notify individuals of the ban in any way they wish to. This will allow Edina's Community Lutheran Church to continue to bar firearms with signs reading: "Blessed are the peacemakers. Firearms are prohibited in this place of sanctuary" instead of the language required in the statute. Reports by the Associated Press and the Minneapolis Star Tribune give details on the decision.