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Firearms bill goes too far

Your editorial (Feb. 8) urging support for Senate President Lane Beattie's SB57 is both irresponsible and reprehensible.

Beattie's bill would not, as you falsely inform your readers, "allow church leaders, private property owners and public school officials to ban concealed weapon permit holders from bringing firearms into their buildings." It would absolutely prohibit the possession of firearms on these premises, and the churches and private property owners would have no discretion whatsoever. Prohibition is not the same thing as choice.This mistake is quite understandable since you both wrote and published your editorial days before the actual text of the legislation was available. While you are entitled to your opinions, I wish you would have the journalistic integrity to base your opinions on facts and not rumors.

Both Utah and the LDS Church have long been known for their religious tolerance and adherence to the principle of separation of church and state. This is a worthy tradition, which should be held sacred.

Beattie's bill would set a heinous precedent for intrusion of the state into church matters. If the state may prohibit firearms from the premises of a house of worship regardless of the wishes of the religion or clergy involved, all religious freedom is endangered. If the state may force a church to ban guns, what is to stop it from banning sacramental wine or requiring that Muslims wear shoes during prayer? What is to stop it from mandating birth control or equal religious standing for homosexuals?

If a house of worship wishes to ban guns or even require guns, let it do so on its own authority. Religious practices are not the domain of the state.

All Utahns who support religious freedom should vigorously oppose SB57.

Sarah Thompson