Taking guns to church is OK in Arkansas

Taking guns to church has been approved in Arkansas with the passage of a law allowing individual religious leaders to decide if concealed weapons should be allowed in their places of worship.

The Church Protection Act passed the Senate with a 28-4 vote and the House of Representatives with an even more decisive 85-8 vote.

The Catholic Diocese of Little Rock joined the local bishop of the Episcopal Church in opposing the measure.

Gun control has become an increasingly contentious issue in the United States since the schoolhouse massacre of 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut, in December.

The Arkansas law says “personal security is increasingly important” and “this act is immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health, and safety”.

Among the opponents of the bill, Democrat Senator Linda Chesterfield of Little Rock said she was “trying to wrap my head around how we get Jesus Christ being non-violent and churches as a house of prayer”.

The bill was sponsored by Republican Senator Bryan King from Green Forest, a rural town in northern Arkansas. In an interview with CNN, he called churches “soft targets” that deserved to be able to protect themselves.

In particular, King said, the law was important for rural communities, where “it could be thirty minutes to an hour” before police responded to a violent incident in a church.

The new law will allow individual religious leaders to continue a complete ban on firearms, allow a select few to carry firearms, or allow all members of the congregation to carry firearms inside the church, given they have the proper permit.

According to CNN, religious leaders were primarily concerned about any effect the law would have on insurance rates for houses of worship that choose to allow concealed weapons.

When the bill becomes law, Arkansas will join a small number of states that have passed legislation specifically allowing concealed weapons in houses of worship.

While about 20 states allow the practice because of “right to carry” laws, only a few states have singled out houses of worship in legislation.


Christian Post


Image: All Christian News

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