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Barrel Worship

There’s nothing worse than entering a Presbyterian church for communion expecting a fine vintage Merlot in that little plastic cup only to find that the minister’s slipped you ... grape juice. It’s enough to make any true Christian whip out his six-shooter and start filling the place with lead. A circumcision goes horribly wrong at the local synagogue? Shoot first. Ask questions later.

As painfully unfunny as those scenarios are, the least we can say about our state’s concealed firearms laws is that they prompt anemic smirks and a vigorous rolling of the eyes. Remember all the tumult when handgun owners demanded that Olympic facilities include gun lockers at entrances so they could watch speed skaters without a barrel chamber tickling their ribs?

Now there’s a lot of argument about what, exactly, Utah Code 76-10-530 requires of churches before they can ban firepower from the pews. Sen. Mike Waddoups and an adviser for the Gun Owners of Utah recently told the Deseret Morning News that a bunch of uppity religious leaders who recently staged a revolt against the law are all confused. It turns out that no place of worship has to register with a Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) Website. Ministers and imams can post signs “reasonably likely to come to the attention of persons entering” if they so choose. Why, then, did legislators decide to waste precious time and resources creating the BCI registry? Just because, apparently. More crucially, why do houses of worship banning firearms risk earning an infraction if they fail to take proper procedures in prohibiting firearms from the premises? Our lawmakers of Christian persuasion might want to read their New Testament—again. All that “turn the other cheek” stuff is so confusing.

Does anyone find it ironic that concealed-firearm-permit carriers are afforded protection of their identities by law, while churches, synagogues and mosques must publicly announce their abhorrence of firearms?

& ull; Not so loaded after all: Soldiering on, The New York Times recently reported Internal Revenue Service records show that the National Rifle (what, no handguns?) Association does more shooting than reloading—financially speaking at least. In fact, the NRA is $100 million in the red.

& ull; Rio Revolvers: Tired of its rate of death by guns, which is twice that of the United States, Brazil looks set to implement new laws covering legal gun sales. They include increasing the age of ownership to 25, the evil background check, and even the possibility of banning handgun sales altogether. Expect the rugged NRA past president Charlton Heston to come to the rescue. During a November 2000 visit to Oxford University, Heston had no qualms branding Britain’s strict gun laws as “cultural cowardice.” He’ll no doubt find enough manly courage to tell yet another nation how its affairs ought to be run.

& ull; More fun with guns: Remember the “Long Island Lolita” who shot the wife of Joey Buttafuoco in the head? After serving a seven-year prison sentence for that piece of handiwork, Amy Fisher has resurfaced as a contributing columnist to Long Island Press, an alternative weekly not unlike this publication. Check out her column on another young person who also had a way with firearms, Lee Boyd Malvo. Follow the links at www.longislandpress.com.

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