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.
So how many Churches in remote locations with limited access to Police services have been victims of a mass shooting? How many houses of worship in general have been attacked in a mass shooting? (I can think of one, but it was filled with brown people, so it was more of a racist than religious attack I would feel). This is a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.
For the vast vast majority of people who have them, concealed weapons are a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. Very few people actually are at risk enough to need a hidden Glock.
Gov. Mike Beebe is a Democrat, FYI
If someone could correct this story
Yeehaw! Keep it up Arkansas – you can pass Mississippi and Alabama to become #50 on the list of statewide education!
Thank God we can carry guns in churches! Those religious nuts are crazy and I feel the need to protect myself from their hatred, ignorance, intolerance and Honey Boo Boo fixations!
Drive through liquor stores, guns in church, abortion clinics in Jr high schools.
The first two exist. The last one never will. What was your point?
Hell yeah, GOD BLESS AMERICA!
Finally, some common sense....
Nothing makes me happier than seeing a bunch of liberals and athiests upset! Well, come to think of it, watching this community orgainizer fail at presidency makes me happier. What a wonderful day.
3.5 more years coming. Enjoy!
Sounds like poor JerrBear doesn't want his country to succeed. All because he knows, deep down, that this man-of-color is a bigger success than him in every possible fashion. Not very Christian of you, JerrBear!
Enjoy your red state, sir! We in the "maker" states in turn will enjoy you shooting your doctors and congregants before the eyes of the Lord.
Still, jerry, he defeated the conservatives and the born again crowd
Jerry.... your racism is apparent as is your lack of education.
Oh get off your "race card" high horses. I don't agree with Jerry either, but your bringing race into the discussion where he did not is ridiculous. I can disagree with Obama without being racist, Maybe it's because I don't agree with his POLICIES?! GASP!!
Your race argument is weak, simplistic, juvenile, and just plain wrong.
Liberals say "Take guns away, they kill innocent school kids."
The next day, liberals say "I enjoy my right to choose, now doctor, please kill my unborn baby."
I irony is amazing!
Concealed gun in churches did make confusion of the teaching failure ?
I'm sure if Jesus was alive today, he would be packing heat.
And he wouldn't tolerate any nonsense about limiting 30 round clips either.
Yes..Jesus would be carrying an AK47 as he preached to his followers. Anyone get out of line....bam!
Don't the Osama Bin Laden types preach with an AK-47 in hand? The armed Jesus imagery just got a whole lot scarier to me!
So the new motto in Arkansas, "Start shooting and let God sort 'em out!"
Guns do not belong in a church in any state!
So guns are like reason and rationality then?
So much for "In God We Trust". Better change it now to "In God and Smith & Wesson We Trust". And of course, this "will" now "stop" someone from ever shooting up a church, right? And, maybe even by a church member who just flipped out one day, but was still a CC permit holder and who was able to easily just stroll right on in locked and loaded. Oops. Back to the drawing board...
Your argument is pathetic. Absolutely pointless. Do you think the fact that it USED TO BE against the law would stop a deranged (probably liberal) person from coming in to the church? Get a clue – you will NOT win this fight.
Nathan....the only nutjobs are you right wing paranoid freaks who thinks that every problem can be solved with a gun. Funny how you dolts think that Jesus would be happy with having guns in his house of worship.
Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition! That was the first thing I though of. I don't see it as a problem but I probably wouldn't carry one into church even if I had a CCL. I know there are members of our church that are off duty police and FBI and that they are armed so I feel safe enough. It just seem surreal that it has come to this, not only in churches but in schools and businesses.
the entering the back of the church with an AR 15 needn't worry about the concealed weapons carriers, he will be behind them shootin away while the good citizens are trying to figure out what is going on. Having a concealed weapon in church isn't going to protect anybody
I don't know about you, but generally if I'm in a church I've got the added disadvantage of being very nearly asleep.
Not only asleep but very stupid.
more guns = freedom? Really? I'm embarrassed to be an American when I see this nonsense. The whole idea that more guns give us more freedom and allows us to protect us from an evil Kenyan president or some boogey man breaking in our houses is asinine beyond words.
Where do you get "more guns"?
ask the guy that tried to pull off a home invasion at my house how it worked out for him. Oh, wait, you can't....
Don't worry – we are just as embarrassed that you are an American as well.
We can't ask him because it never happened.
This is why I come to the Belief Blog. The stupidity unintentional humor that religious people are capable of knows no bounds.
It's a guilty pleasure, I must admit, but damn Christians are funny!
Amen! I agree.
I thought God would peotect them! Now when someone drops a gun and it goes off all Hell will break loose!
They don't work that way. Haven't worked that way in about 75 years...
Only in the USA could so many morons get elected to office.
The bill was originally sponsored by Republican state Sen. Bryan King from Green Forest, a rural town in northern Arkansas.
Rural Arkansas........that says it all.
Remember that nut job that shot up the Sikh temple and killed a bunch of people? To think no one will ever attack a church or any place of worship for that matter is just as stupid as the people who believe in God in the first place.
He didn't have a concealed gun, he carried it out in the open like nut jobs do.
To conceal a gun, you have to have a special permit.
It is physically impossible to conceal a gun without a permit.
I'm not sure that a bunch of untrained people shooting back won't just increase the body count of innocents. One of the key things in police training is knowing when NOT to shoot. Decades ago, police caused a lot of unnecessary deaths by shooting at people when others were around.
Oh, the Sikh Temple murderer was a Christian white supremacist.
He was also a Liberal. You realize an in-depth training class is required to obtain said permit, don't you? Or, are you just the typical Liberal talking head that can't see past his own bias and hatred?
He was a liberal? Really now. A white supremacist neo-nazi liberal.
R i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i ght.
That "in-depth" training? Security guards have in-depth training too, and you don't want those idiots pulling pistols and shooting either.
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.