A Brooklyn preacher is calling on city and state leaders to give clergy members frictionless access to gun permits after becoming the victim of a recent robbery.
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At a Friday press conference, Bishop Lamor Miller-Whitehead of the Leaders of Tomorrow International Church made his plea.
“They need to pass a law expeditiously that pastors of houses of worship — anyone on the ecclesiastical staff — need to be able to have permits for firearms,” he said, per Fox Digital. “If the teachers can have it, we should be able to have it.”
Miller-Whitehead, who spent five years behind bars for a felony conviction related to identity theft, believes that despite his criminal record those with a privileged access to grace should have the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense outside the home.
“No matter if we have a record, it should be exempt,” Miller-Whitehead explained. “So we should be able to bear arms as the Constitution says.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams was asked about Miller-Whitehead’s request.
“Do you think it’s a good idea that like clergy should get a special dispensation when it comes to gun permits?” a reporter asked the mayor on Monday during a press conference about expanding the city’s speed camera program.
“No,” Mayor Adams said, with a chuckle. Mayor Adams is apparently a longtime friend of Miller-Whitehead.
The bishop was robbed while recording an online sermon on July 24. Three masked men held Miller-Whitehead at gunpoint and made off with over $1 million in jewelry.
Along with calling on city and state leaders to step in, Miller-Whitehead made an appeal to President Biden.
“I’m calling on every elected official that has power to protect houses of worship,” the bishop said. “We need protection. We need you to sympathize with us. We don’t get the luxury of having firearms. All we’re asking is help us protect ourselves. Pass a law where we can carry our firearms, because this gun violence has gone to a new level.”
Back in June, the Supreme Court struck down New York’s restrictive “may-issue” concealed carry standard that required citizens to provide to the state a “proper cause” on why they needed to exercise their 2A rights.
This “proper cause” scheme was used by state officials to arbitrarily deny permits to ordinary New Yorkers, thus, in effect, creating a “no-issue” standard.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision, Gov. Kathy Hochul immediately passed new gun laws that work to keep the de facto “no-issue” standard in place, including requirements that an applicant: display “good moral character,” disclose their social media accounts, have in-person interviews with law enforcement, provide character references, and undergo 18 hours of training.
Gun Owners of America has already sued Gov. Hochul in federal court over the new requirements.
“Instead of acknowledging the clear line in the sand drawn by the U.S. Supreme Court, Governor Hochul and the radical anti-gunners in Albany are doubling down on nearly every front to restrict the rights of their citizens to carry arms for self-defense,” said Erich Pratt, GOA’s Senior Vice President in a press release obtained by GunsAmerica.
“Especially when crime is on the rise in places like New York City, GOA stands ready to fight for Americans’ right to defend themselves in public when danger rises,” he added.
Unfortunately for Bishop Miller-Whitehead, as a convicted felon, it’s unlikely that he will be able to obtain a permit even if GOA succeeds in its lawsuit. Longstanding federal law bans prohibited persons (felons, minors, fugitives from justice, mental defectives, etc.) from possessing firearms.