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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Update: Minn. church gains reprieve on gun law

Edina [Minn.] Community Lutheran Church won a reprieve from aspects of the state's new "conceal-carry law." Under the law, permit holders can carry firearms into any private establishment — unless they are "personally informed" of the ban and signs are posted saying guns are banned on the premises (July, page 8).

The suit charged that the law infringes on the church's free exercise of religion by telling it how it must greet worshipers and visitors and by preventing it from banning guns from its property, including the parking lot.

Hennepin County District Court Judge Marilyn Brown Rosenbaum granted a preliminary injunction June 6, preventing some of the law's measures from going into effect against the church. She ruled that the law's signage and notification aspects unconstitutionally infringe on religious speech and churches could prohibit firearms from their houses of worship "in any lawful manner."

Rosenbaum didn't rule on the church's other challenges to the law — including their desire to ban guns from the parking lot and playground — pending review.

"This preliminary decision helps our church continue with our mission of welcome, peacemaking and nonviolence," said Erik Strand, a pastor of Edina.

The six ELCA Minnesota synod bishops urged lawmakers to reconsider the law. They said granting an absolute right to anyone with a permit to carry a gun onto a church's property abridges religious freedom and is a governmental intrusion.


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