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.
Massachusetts has an old law on the books that states: All men must carry a rifle to church on Sunday.
More proof history is cyclical.
Why won't the government allow guns inside the state house that way we can shoot them for allowing such a stupid idea
Gov. Mike Beebee is a Democrat; not a Republican as reported in the article on Arkansas Church Carry.
Are you a true Republican? Take the six part test to see if you are.
A Republican is characterized by the deficit of social emotions such as love, guilt, shame or remorse. According to the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, the Republican lacks "a sense of moral responsibility and social conscience." Republicans often scheme to manipulate others without regard to consequences of inflicting harm. It is the cold-hearted way the Republican reacts to his victims that illustrates his lack of moral compass and detachment from other human beings.
Steps to determine if a person is a Republican
Step 1 of 6
Observe the person in his day-to-day life to assess her interactions with others. Republicans may be charming, but their actions are calculated to manipulate others. Common behaviors include scams, fraud and deception and may include feigned emotions to appeal to the victim's emotions. (Reference 1)
Step 2 of 6
Watch for indications that the individual pursues anything they want at the expense of others. According to Austin Peay State University, the Republican's life revolves around meeting his own needs without regards to others. (Reference 2)
Step 3 of 6
Verify stories and information provided by the suspected Republican. Republicans typically concoct elaborate backgrounds, inflate their worth and experience and simply lie to convince others to give them what they want.
Step 4 of 6
Look for lack of expression of guilt or remorse for wrongful actions towards others. Lack of emotion and failure to express remorse typically signals Republican tendencies. Republicans convicted of violent crimes typically remain expressionless and exhibit a cold exterior.
Step 5 of 6
Assess whether the individual has the mental capability to understand their actions. Republicans typically understand their actions and know they are wrong or socially unacceptable but simply don't care.
Step 6 of 6
Arrange for psychological testing to determine the stability of the individual. Children may exhibit Republican traits in the early teens. Lying, stealing and violating laws may signal the onset of Republican personalities. Psychological testing rules out other psychological issues that may present with similar traits.
Funny, I could take out the word Republican and insert liberal and pretty much all these would fit. Except number 4. That would need to be changed to false outrage over situation X, then demands everyone change to accommodate their perception.
Liberal through and through.
so much for Jesus saves... just lost their minds
It's Jesus loves all ... his guns
Thank GOD I do not live in Arkansas!!!!!
I thank god you dont live in Arkansas either!
In the winter when wearing a long coat, you can have your AK47 concealed.
Hey punks! Do you feel religious today? Make my day and welcome Jesus, or else I will take my AK assault rifle and shoot everyone in the room. NDA paradise!
If you don't like it, stay up north!!
I will stay away from Arkansas!!!
Exactly what I intend to do. TYVM!
turn the other cheek, while firing back a quick 100 rounds, then change the magazine for a second burst.. Who cares about the 6th commandment, or the 9th, in the Great Red states.
I don't recall Jesus saying you had to give up your life to a murder.
Shocking! Shocking. Another reason not to move or visit that state.
Actually that's exactly what he said (and did). Remember what the cross stands for?
Jesus not only gave up his own life to a murderer, but he sat with the murderer and had dinner, invited him to eat his flesh and drink his blood, called him one of his elect, and kissed him.
Churches are one of the few places, concealed weapons make sense.
especially after that Christian murdered "Tiller the killer" in his
Sure. Sure. Also put traps, and have the grenades, mines, gas and zappers ready! In every Church, school, and stadium in the good old South. When there is talk about mental health issues, huge number of NRA supporters should be examined.
and the idiocy continues
What a goofy, scared country this whole place is becoming.
Wow! "Hellfire" could take on a whole new meaning. When was the last time there was a gunfight in a church?
Arkansas is just "nuckin' futz!"
Didn't Jesus chastise an apostle for cutting off someone's ear? Doesn't the 10 C forbid killing? I presume Pro Life is against killing an already born individual also; if so, where are the protests?
The church or state that allows this to happen does not understand spiriutality.
I once talked to a pro life person about gun control. He told me he would rather die than shoot someone else; why: he knows he would go to heaven, but if the other person remained alive, the gun person might later repent.
Read the last supper again. Jesus ordered his disciples to arm themselves.
The 10 C condemns murder, not killing.
Jesus packed heat. Read your Bible.
The South is full of crazies, guns in bars, Churches, Parks, etc.. these rednecks are paranoid idiots
The world is a dangerous place and not dangerous because of law abiding citizens.
And strangely enough, they have much higher crime rates down there.
The world is full of generalizations too. I would argue those are more dangerous.
At least im not from Chicago where over 500 people a year are killed, with the toughest gun laws are any where in the U.S.
You stay in your blue state , Ill stay in mine!
Hold on to your collection plates!
Awesome. Looks like a training manual for the not so distant future.
This is how I imagine Scientology meetings going...LOL!
Funny how some read this bill.... Here's how I see it! This bill is intended to help Jews & Muslims protect their places of worship from crazy Christians, who want to finish the Crusades, here in the south. This bill isn't to protect Christians... its to protect us religious minoroties FROM Christians.
This country is doomed.
Not doomed unless you think having more freedom is wrong.
I'd like the freedom to worship without being surrounded by guns.
In a free country can only have as much freedom as someone (and everyone) else. So that means you have to share rights, not try to control others to get more of yours. Childrens' rights to grow up (pro-life) shouldn't be put at risk so granny can have 6 AK47's lying in the coffee table for any nutty grandkid to pick up.
The problem isn't concealed weapons in churches – there's nothing inherently different about a church than any other place where people congtregate – the question is whether carrying a firearm at populated places (malls, schools, stadiums, churches, etc) is in the public interest.
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.