Concealed Weapons at Church • Child Endangerment Retrial • Donation Box Theft: News Roundup
This week’s headlines that affect churches and church leaders.
Concealed Weapons at Church • Child Endangerment Retrial • Donation Box Theft: News Roundup

North Carolina Approves Bill to Allow Concealed Weapons at Church/School Sites. “The state House approved a bill Monday night [March 27] that would allow people to carry a concealed weapon at certain churches, citing concerns among some church leaders about security. The lawmaker backing the bill says leaders of a church near her came to her about the issue and were concerned about safety. But some pastors say this goes too far and goes against what they preach at church. The State House voted Monday night 82-34 in support of a bill that could lead to more people carrying a concealed weapon at churches. Republican Representative Rena Turner says a local church’s leaders approached her after the shooting at Emanuel AME in Charleston. They said their security team would like to be able to carry a handgun. ‘And, after that shooting in Charleston, they were just very concerned about their safety and feeling vulnerable,’ Turner said. Her bill would allow someone to carry a concealed weapon at a site where there’s both church services and a school—but only during hours when school is not in session. Schools that allow churches to use their buildings could still keep a no-gun policy” (“NC House approves concealed handgun option for church services on campus,” WNCN).

To learn more about gun laws and church security, read this Q&A with Church Law & Tax editorial advisor Frank Sommerville.

Retrial Planned for Former Philadelphia Church Official Accused of Child Endangerment. “A longtime Philadelphia church official is due back in court as lawyers debate how many church abuse victims should testify at his retrial. Monsignor William Lynn is being retried after serving nearly three years of a three- to six-year sentence in a child endangerment case. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out the conviction over weeks of testimony from priest abuse victims not directly tied to his case. . . . Lynn is accused of endangering an altar boy who says he was assaulted by a priest in 1998” (“Ex-church official due in Court as lawyers plan for retrial,” The Seattle Times).

In this article, attorney Richard Hammar explains the legal consequences when clergy do not report abuse.

Pennsylvania Church Faces Donation Box Theft. “A 55-year-old Norristown man is facing charges for allegedly stealing money from a donation box inside a Hilltown church, according to authorities, who said that the man is suspected of similar thefts from other churches in southeastern Pennsylvania. . . . Hilltown police said that in February, they received a report from staff at the Our Lady of Sacred Heart Catholic Church Chapel on Broad Street that the amount of money collected from a locked donation box had declined substantially. During the ensuing investigation, surveillance video at the church captured a middle-aged, balding man later identified as Bennett opening the donation box with an unknown type of master key, police said. Bennett took cash from the donation box on multiple occasions, according to police. Authorities said that Bennett had no affiliation with that church” (“Norristown man allegedly caught on video stealing money from church donation box,” The Times Herald).

What steps are you taking to secure your church building and property? The Protecting Church Property downloadable resource provides practical guidance on how to protect your property against burglary, arson, vandalism, and more.

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This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

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