When is a church ... Not a church?

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When is a church ... Not a church?

Postby igolfat8 » Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:40 pm

I know it's illegal to CC in churches in OH unless authorized by the pastor. I've been invited to a music program, which is being held in a church building. The church will be rented to an individual. This is not sponsored by the church nor is it held during church hours. Am I allowed to CC during the music program since this isn't religious in nature?
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Re: When is a church ... Not a church?

Postby JustaShooter » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:13 pm

The way I read the law, just like a school it is the property that is prohibited, not the activity. So, whether the activity is secular or religious you cannot carry without permission from the church.
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Re: When is a church ... Not a church?

Postby rimfireOH » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:33 am

This has bugged me for a while. The people I worship with (notice I didn't say "church"; let's define "church" later) temporarily meet in decidedly non-traditional-church-like "places". Hotel meeting rooms, farmers market warehouses, etc. (We're a new group and don't have the funding for a permanent "place" yet.)

(Please note, INAL, nor do I play one on TV.)

2923.126(B)(6) says (emphasis added):
(B) {snip} A valid license does not authorize the licensee to carry a concealed handgun into any of the following places:
{snip}
(6) Any church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship, unless the church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship posts or permits otherwise;

In this section of the ORC (as I read it), "church" is a "place", a location where a particular activity ("worship") takes place. By that definition, our hotel meeting room, as a "place of worship", likely becomes a statutory CPZ during those times. Some of the questions that bother me are: 1) How long prior and after does this "place" become and stay a "place of worship"? 2) How far around us is included in this "place"? 3) Are we causing practicing CHL-holders who walk near our hotel meeting room to unwittingly violate the law?

1710.01 (B) and (C) have been used elsewhere in the ORC to define "church" and "church property". Here in (B), however, the term "church" becomes a group of people, not 2923.126's "place". It's not until (C) that we talk about a location (property), but even that doesn't completely line up with what's being described in 2923.126(B)(6). "Church property" isn't consistently a "place of worship".

Here are 1710.01 (B) and (C) (emphasis added):
(B) "Church" means a fellowship of believers, congregation, society, corporation, convention, or association that is formed primarily or exclusively for religious purposes and that is not formed for the private profit of any person.
(C) "Church property" means property that is described as being exempt from taxation under division (A)(2) of section 5709.07 of the Revised Code. . . .

That first definition (B) is similar to other locations in the ORC, including 6109.21(I)(1) and 5709.07(D)(1). But again, those definitions are people/entities, not 2923.123's "place" list. And 2923.126 doesn't say "As used in this section, "Church" has the same meaning as in section XXX.YY of the Revised Code", so we can't be sure that 2923.126 uses the 1710.01(B) definition of "church".

As I read it, under 2923.126(B)(6), the place where my congregation meets for worship on a sunday becomes a statutory CPZ. (Let's not get into who in a "church" has the authority to "posts or permits otherwise". That's not the point of this thread.)


Let's look at another situation. A fellowship of believers (i.e., a 1710.01(B) "Church") stops worshiping in their physical building (a 1710.01(C) "Church property"). Does that make the "place" not a 2923.126 "church"? No worship activity is being done there. Maybe they sublet it for some other activity and the activity of "worship" isn't performed. Maybe they sell it to a non-church. Still looks like a church, but the activities being performed there aren't "worship". Is it still a 2913.126 or 1710.01(B) "church"?

It seems like sloppy writing to me. And that makes sloppy law. And that can catch up an otherwise law-abiding-citizen.

Then there are the issues of property owners' rights:
There used to be someone on this forum who would sometime ask posters (in jest, I believe, to make this very point) if he and his congregation could come and meet to worship at the poster's house. Turning that location into a "place of worship" and therefore into a statutory CPZ.
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Re: When is a church ... Not a church?

Postby Brian D. » Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:12 pm

Okay, JustaShooter, let's see you try to give rimfireOH a two sentence definitive answer to HIS questions. :lol: It would certainly simplify things if the ORC required churches to post with "No Guns" signs if they wanted to stop law abiding folks from carrying.
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Re: When is a church ... Not a church?

Postby Brian D. » Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:15 pm

Hey rimfireOH, I guess you know there's a similar minefield of gray area concerning schools, and "school activity" locales, wherever they happen to occur.
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Re: When is a church ... Not a church?

Postby rimfireOH » Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:24 pm

Brian D. wrote:Hey rimfireOH, I guess you know there's a similar minefield of gray area concerning schools, and "school activity" locales, wherever they happen to occur.
Yep.

Except my "premises upon which home schooling is conducted." (ORC 2923.122(D)2) I'd hate to have to store (and carry) all my firearms somewhere else.
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Re: When is a church ... Not a church?

Postby JustaShooter » Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:40 pm

Brian D. wrote:Okay, JustaShooter, let's see you try to give rimfireOH a two sentence definitive answer to HIS questions.

Not even on a bet! LOL
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Re: When is a church ... Not a church?

Postby MyWifeSaidYes » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:51 pm

A 'church' is not a government building and should not be listed as a statutory CPZ.

They can put up a sign (pro OR anti) just like every other private business.
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Re: When is a church ... Not a church?

Postby JediSkipdogg » Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:43 pm

MyWifeSaidYes wrote:A 'church' is not a government building and should not be listed as a statutory CPZ.

They can put up a sign (pro OR anti) just like every other private business.


I concur and it seems every time we get a bill that takes churches out, some legislator puts it back in. I've never heard of a church group speak at the statehouse, but I imagine they have a pretty large private input.
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