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.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe is a Democrat. Please CNN, do better reporting.
"Matt DeCample, spokesman for Democrat Gov. Mike Beebe, told CNN the governor..." You might try better reading.
Pistol Packin' Padres ! I can't wait for the movie. In all the excitement, I can't remember if I loaded ... on 2nd thought,
yeah I did. Your luck's run out, p-unk, Pow, Pow and that's for damaging the stained glass.
Now,now,liberal crap news missed the Drone attack on USA "tax payers" with no trial by jury,or review by Congress. Can't you spell something fish-E even with head up Obama's @ ss !
Yo find that article and whine. this article is about something totally different.
I saw that story on the liberal news. Maybe you ought to watch it.
After all, Jesus was known as the "Prince of Guns".
Or was it Prince of "Piece"?
Now you can kill 2 birds with one stone. You go go pray that you'll never get shot in the US and you can carry a gun to be sure you wont be shot while praying you'll never get shot.
This type of law is one proof that a citizens arms race is coming. I should also point out that the weapons that people start caring in the near future will not be limited to projectile weapons. Some truly scary stuff coming down the line.
Guns in churches. Sigh. Isn't that kinda missing the point?
The old Confederacy needs to remember they lost. Why they keep voting Republican when blue states have a higher standard of living than red states. The second amendment calles for a "well-regulated militia". Well lets start regulating. How many guns would Jesus Christ own ? Swords in plowshares.
I believe it depends on your definition of "higher standard of living". Some people love cities like LA and New York. I'll take a little farm in the midwest over that in a heartbeat.
Doesn't Jesus say in Luke:22:36....If you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one?
Yes, Rosemary, we know Jesus was all about weapons and killing. Are you sure you're not reading the Koran?
Nothin' says Jesus like guns.
The Godless are so angry.
Religious people are such liars.
You're silly. No YOU'RE silly.
Something wrong if you need to carry a gun into church.
There may be good reason for it. Some large churches pass the offering plate and collect quite a bit. They could be protecting that money. I know of at least one church that was robbed during the offering that way.
Let's see....not safe in the Mall, School, World Trade Center, Federal Building, School Bus....Government building, Business buildings, transportation, school or shopping. Where else do we get together....oh yeah, church. I'll turn the other cheek for the first shot but only to prevent a second. Live by the gun, die by the gun. That choice was made long ago in America, shoot, it's how we became a nation.
Guns in church? Too funny.
Oh, ye of little faith...
I can tell you if my church allowed that – or I found out people were doing it – I would transfer my membership elsewhere.
You mine as well not go outside then. Many of us always have a gun on them, the fact it is concealed means you are not aware of it. Just on Odds alone everytime you go to one of your big box stores you are surrounded by them.
Don't try to argue, they get mad, Personaly if I need to pack everywhere I go I need to move!!
Let's put a gun on the alter and worship it.
Sadly, many people in the USA worship their guns more than they worship God or respect society.
Many already do that.
What was that famous quote ; "They cling to their guns and their religion..." Spot on I'd say.
Wow... needing to go to church for self-protection? No wonder atheism is growing! Religious worship is increasingly lethal.
They are already in the church in many states. My old and new church both had guys that carried in the services. You can tell you need it with the crazies above – Romans 2:8. Churches do not advertise it and sure aren't going to tell you but protection is provided in many churches – believe it. Praise the Lord and pass the bullets.
And you are a total idiot.
Asher's Barbie Jesus doll is Shoot First And Ask Questions Later Jesus
If I need to carry into a church, I'd move.
Yes, please tell me where you can move where no nut cases exist. I'd like to move there too, if such a place exists.
It's the people that are missing a few screws that concerns me. The freedom to attend church of choice wouldn't exist if it weren't for guns. Nothing against you or the British freeloaders like Peirs Morgan who think a gunless country is what's best for the USA. I suggest you study your history and learn why you have the freedoms you do.
The average person has no idea if they would need a gun or not. To assume one way or the other could mean life or death.
9 mm or .4, .44 or .45 cal? Sig Sauer or Glock or a 1911? Maybe a .50 cal Desert Eagle?
Sad that Arkansas fallen so quickly into dystopia.
Was Arkansas ever not a dystopia?
good for them, their still hypocrites though
Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”
or are they
He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.
Luke was not an eyewitness of the life of Christ. He was a companion of Paul who also was not an eyewitness of Christ's life.
Nice job cherrypicking parts of the gospel there. Luke 22:36 also goes on to say "...The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” “That’s enough!” he replied"
True, dat... But Representative King and his TEAparty homies only wave their Bibles, they don't ever read them.
Jesus would roll over in his grave, if he were only real.
...you have a scientific mind! Do not believe in fairytales- ony science! "God" is some intelligent design, who created the universe for reasons we don't know and as for "JESUS" well........as Thom' Jefferson & Paine, Napoleon, Sir Edward Gibbon, Bertrand Russell et al., all stated that he didn't exist, therefore, JESUS DID NOT EXIST! Don' t believe it?...well then pray to this character as he claimed he would answer all prayers! I haven't ONE prayer answered in my whole life, and I am 75 years old!
I don't like to be deceived by someone I trusted my whole life!
If he is real, he wouldn't be in a grave to start with. Nice try at trolling though.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.