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Arkansas to allow concealed guns in churches
February 5th, 2013
02:00 PM ET

Arkansas to allow concealed guns in churches

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) - The Arkansas House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a measure that would allow concealed guns to be carried in churches and houses of worship, and the governor’s office says it plans to sign the bill.

The measure, which passed 85-8 on Monday, gives houses of worship the option of allowing concealed weapons.

Passed by the state Senate in an equally lopsided 28-4 vote last week, the bill states it is “immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health, and safety” because “personal security is increasingly important.”

“A person should be allowed to carry a firearm in a church that permits the carrying of a firearm for personal security,” the bill reads.

The bill was originally sponsored by Republican state Sen. 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 the previous law, people with a concealed carry licence could not carry in church. No carry was allowed," said King. "Now, this just allows each church to make their own individual decision."

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

Matt DeCample, spokesman for Democrat Gov. Mike Beebe, told CNN the governor plans “to sign the bill as written” but also wants to “continue discussions with lawmakers to address concerns raised by the faith community.”

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, but proponents downplayed the concern, saying multiple states have similar laws.

“Additional language is definitely possible,” the governor’s spokesman said.

A number of churches, including one of the state’s largest Fellowship Bible Church, told CNN they were reserving comment until the bill is signed by the governor or church leaders have decided whether to allow concealed weapons.

When the bill becomes law, Arkansas would 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.

In April 2011, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said that bringing a concealed firearm into a house of worship for protection purposes is allowed under Virginia law.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Arkansas • Houses of worship • Violence • Virginia • Weapons

soundoff (999 Responses)
  1. lewtwo

    Does it include AK-47 in a mosque ?

    February 5, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • truth be told

      They are already there. No so called atheist has the balls to assault a mosque.

      February 5, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • truth be told

      He called himself a Christian but no Christian that is the same type of Christian I am is actually a real Christian.

      February 5, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • truth be told

      Except that you are not a Christian but rather a low end gutless thieving atheist that is trying to obscure the Truth.

      February 5, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • truth be told

      I just...I'm so conflicted. I just wish I knew what the Truth was. I can't make up my mind, today.

      February 5, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • truth be told

      Perhaps if you thought up your own name for an anonymous blog you would be less conflicted.

      February 5, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • truth be told

      Now I'm just carrying on a conversation with myself.

      February 5, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • truth be told

      No you are just a so called atheist liar, and if you ain't careful that is all you'll ever be.

      February 5, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • truth be told

      See I threw 'ain't' in there to make it a little jaunty, like some sort of down-home truth. Now everyone will take me seriously.

      February 5, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • truth be told

      Back to posting as captain america, to beat Jesus' Truth into you so called atheists.

      February 5, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
  2. chem major

    Just another excuse not to attend church. "Can't go, Maw. The preacher might shoot me for sleepin' during the sermon."

    February 5, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
  3. Jake Marley

    Next they'll be passing laws saying we're allowed to read Bibles in church. The gummint has NO BUSINESS making laws about what we do in church, as long as the virgins are consenting adults and there's no bloodshed. Oh wait, I get it, now bloodshed is allowed!!!

    Presuming we can carry guns, we can carry knives. Does that mean the Supreme Court is going to revise its decision against the religion that required sacrificing a live chicken?

    February 5, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
  4. revjudith

    I am not against guns per se, but I believe that there is no place for guns/weapons in places of worship. I am an Episcopal priest, and would object to parishioners carrying weapons in any church where I am serving...

    February 5, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • truth be told

      So if some so called atheist attacks your congregation you would rather bury the innocents than stop the perpetrator?

      February 5, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • sam

      TBT – you silly old hag – those innocents with be with god in heaven! That should make you happy.

      February 5, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • Bet

      @ turd be rolled

      Maybe it's part of gawd's mysterious plan to bring all you good christian folks home a little sooner.

      February 5, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
  5. whitepine

    Did you read the news about the Catholic churches' laundries in Ireland and how they abused women? Makes one thing religion is a fraud.

    February 5, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  6. Papa Snort and Praise

    truth be told

    I got something fer ya!

    February 5, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • truth be told

      You are not walking right with Jesus

      February 5, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • truth be told

      And neither are you and you probably never will. What is your current estimate of the time it will take for your first eternal scream when you are tossed into the lake of fire? My guess is you won't last a second.

      February 5, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • truth be told

      You are already practically wading in the lake of fire, I hope you know how to tread water.

      February 5, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • Bet

      @ tbt

      Weren't you just scolding Mr. N for not acting like a good christian? Makes you look like a bit of a hypocrite.

      BTW, there isn't any hell, so your threats are useless.

      February 5, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
  7. OMG

    All this tells me is: NEVER attend Church in Arkansas!

    February 5, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
  8. Rob

    Seperation on church and state. Just cause Arkansas allows it doesn't mean churches have to okay it.

    February 5, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • Pete/Ark

      hope they all say "no,thanks"

      February 5, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
  9. whitepine

    What God is not protecting them? Don't they trust their God to protect them?

    February 5, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • I wonder

      I know... and what about those guardian angels?

      February 5, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
  10. empresstrudy

    I'm a bit curious if there was a specific law that banned them before.

    February 5, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • Pete/Ark

      Yes, part of the concealed carry law passed a decade back...

      February 5, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • lewtwo

      Read the story:
      "In the previous law, people with a concealed carry licence could not carry in church. No carry was allowed"

      February 5, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • WeDontMatter

      yes several states specifically mention that you cannot carry a firearm into a church in there concealed carry laws

      February 5, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
  11. Bellezurdog

    Put you faith in God, but keep your powder dry or you automatic handy...

    February 5, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Gitter Dun

      Put you faith in God, but don't really, prepare yourself for violence and be ready to shoot first and never ask questions later or you just might feel guilty about it...

      February 5, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
  12. Christianity is a form of SEVERE mental illness

    Wow talk about lack of faith when Christians do not rely on their God to protect them.

    February 5, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • truth be told

      Wow talk about the fear of God put into some low end atheist with intent to harm innocents in church. Gutless wonder.

      February 5, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • tom

      Truth be told why don't you just pray that you are safe? If I'm not mistakin christians killed millions of people and forced them to believe. I've never heard of an athiest killing in the name of athiesim. Lol your brainwashed and scared.

      February 5, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • John B

      Are you so sure there's no God? It would really suck for you if you're wrong – eternity is an awfully long time...

      February 5, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • Bet

      Dumbass be trolled, I don't fear imaginary boogie men.

      February 5, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • truth be told

      Atheist Joe Stalin was responsible for over 60 million murders as an atheist. Atheist Mao was responsible for, by some estimates as many as 800 million murders as an atheist. Atheist adolf hitler was responsible for over 250 million deaths and murders as an atheist ... shall I go on?

      February 5, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • truth be told

      I can make up nonsense figures all day if you like

      February 5, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • tom

      and there lies the fear the living church members have put into about what happens when you die. you are full of fear.

      February 5, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
  13. Fubarack

    It was already legal, it's not a state issue.

    February 5, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Pete/Ark

      wrong...illegal here for about 10 years...

      February 5, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • Fupoosehwhiteboy

      ;)

      February 5, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
  14. Bellezurdog

    Just how paranoid are you that you have to take a gun to church with you. Note to self....self don't go to church in Arkansas!

    February 5, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Buck

      Your logic cracks me up. Ooooh guns are bad because criminals kill people with them! So let's limit where law abiding citizens can bring their guns! Yeah, that will make us all safe! Heck at the same time let's start making it impossible for law abiding citizens to own a firearm! Ridiculous.

      February 5, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • Buck

      Yeeeeeehaw I looooove guns!

      February 5, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
  15. Sane Person

    Wow, if you feel the need to carry guns into your church, why in the world would you attend that church?

    February 5, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • John B

      Could be some of the congregation need shootin'!

      February 5, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
  16. mario

    who needs a gun in church?...NOBODY needs a gun, but its good to have it for protection considering that most churches are gun free zones. Since 2000, there have been about 20 +/- church shootings. And I guarantee all the members never thought it would happen at their church. The number one common link of all victims....they never thought it would happen to them. If they did, they would protect themselves..End of Story.

    February 5, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • really?

      If people get shot while in church, God obviously wanted it to happen. Either ditch the guns or ditch the omnipotent, beneficient God myth.

      February 5, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • DumbIdea

      So what is preventing someone from throwing a smoke grenade in there and firing off a few into the air and sit back and watch all the muzzle flashes take each other out?

      February 5, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
  17. HotAirAce

    See http://www.carlchinn.com/Home_Page.html for church violence data. It appears churches have to protect themselves from their own members.

    February 5, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • captain america

      Tell US about your 2nd amendment rights in canada. Why not mind your own business ah. There's your sign

      February 5, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I misread the data. Most aggressors are not members.

      But most violence occurs outside a church after hours so there is less need to carry weapons during scheduled myth sharing sessions.

      February 5, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Mr. N.

      So, you misread the data, look like a fool, and then work up the nerve to insult those that have a different religious affinity that you?

      February 5, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • captain america

      Why haven't you shared your 2nd amendment rights with those you are criticizing, could it be you don't know what the hell you are on about. Try minding your own business. There's your sign

      February 5, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I provided a link to data (compiled by a delusional believer) and admitted my error. Did you even bother to look at the data? And can you provide a winning argument to counter my alleged insult? Will be interesting to see who is the honest one here.

      February 5, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • captain america

      You still haven't appraised US of your 2nd amendment rights in canada. Sounds like it is common sense that you do not have anything to say about American gun ownership or usage. There's your sign

      February 5, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Canada doesn't have and does not appear to need a 2nd amendment. And where have I criticized the USA's? You consistently allow your xenophobia to get in the way of your very limited reading and thinking ability. Now Fuck Off!

      February 5, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • sam

      Mr N...eat mor Chik-Fil-AAAAAAAAA

      February 5, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • Mr. N.

      HotAirAce,

      Way to avoid the issue there, bud. You insult others gratuitously and when someone points it out, you insult him, too.

      Ad hominem: The last refuge of the intellectually inept!

      February 5, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      What issue did I avoid? I did assume you didn't like my myth sharing comment, and asked if you could refute it. Apparently you cannot. What did I miss?

      February 5, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • truth be told

      Mr. N,

      You need to truly read the Bible and see Jesus' Truth, right now you are not acting as a good Christian.

      February 5, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • captain america

      You missed minding your own F'n business. You have nothing to say about 2nd amendment rights because YOU do not have any. Now be a good little canuk and F off. There's your sign.

      February 5, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      CA is such a predictable little Babble Humping Gun Loving Wind Up Toy, but ultimately boring.

      February 5, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • Bet

      Mr. N – what are you, Captain Murrica's big brother?

      He admitted his error, what more do you want? There was no "gratuitous insult". CA is a well known troll who's sole argument is "Murrica, love it or leave it." He refuses to consider any opinion other than his own and routinely insults anyone who isn't from the USA. That you rush to his defense is laughable.

      Either that or you're one of his socks.

      February 5, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • Bet

      truth be told

      Mr. N,

      You need to truly read the Bible and see Jesus' Truth, right now you are not acting as a good Christian.

      Hahahaha! Talk about the blind leading the blind!

      February 5, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • Johnnycomelately

      Oh you mean the 2nd amendment where it states we have the right to bear arms for the purpose of maintaining a well organized militia. In today's day and age the 2nd amendment has as much relevancy as the 3rd amendment (test – do you even know what the 3rd amendment is without google?). Ok see ya'll later, I'm going to go buy a tank and park it in my driveway since according you right wing jackholes the 2nd amendment allows me to have any weapon I want. Should I buy the tank with an anti-aircraft gun mounted to the turret?

      February 5, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
  18. Johnnycomelately

    arm altar boys to protect them from the priests!

    February 5, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
  19. jonnyboy

    "Turn the other cheek" was actually falsely translated from the original greek. It should have read, "bring an extra mag!"

    February 5, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
  20. lil

    God dont like ugly and we know what that mean. Cause guns sure are.

    February 5, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
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