Nearly five years after Edina [Minn.] Community Lutheran Church led a legal challenge to a “conceal-carry” gun law, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled unanimously in February that religious groups can ban guns from their property—without following provisions that specify how to post or word signs (August 2003, "Minn. church gains reprieve on gun law").
The law allows people to carry firearms into any private establishment unless signs that it “bans guns in these premises” are posted and people are “personally informed” of the ban at all entrances. Edina’s sign — “Blessed are the peacemakers. Firearms are prohibited in this place of sanctuary” — didn’t fit state requirements.
The Appeals Court agreed with Edina’s contention that the law placed an undue burden on religious groups and infringed on their property rights. It also allows them to ban guns in their parking lots, day-care centers and other charitable, educational and nonprofit facilities they own. Erik Strand, a pastor of Edina, said, “We’re especially thankful that the court recognized and protected our congregation’s witness to peacemaking and nonviolence in all relationships.”
But in early March the state filed an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
“We’re disappointed that the state is spending more time and energy and money on this issue,” Strand said. “But we don’t mind waiting. The case is important as a witness to the gospel.”
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