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
[twitter-follow screen_name='DanMericaCNN']

(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. Shaun Pietrok

    Sugar also contributes to the moistness of desserts and their tenderness. The flour or starch component in most desserts serves as a protein and gives the dessert structure. Different flours such as All-Purpose Flour or Pastry Flour provide a less rigid gluten network and therefore a different texture. Along with flour desserts may contain a dairy product.^.

    Catch ya later

    May 2, 2013 at 11:26 am |
  2. roedygr

    Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
    ~ Napoléon Bonaparte (born: 1769-08-15 died: 1821-05-05 at age: 51)

    February 18, 2013 at 1:41 am |
  3. Simon

    When did "turn the other cheek" get thrown out of the window?

    What, exactly, do Christians stand for?

    February 17, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • End Religion

      They stand for the right to kill anyone else when they see fit, for whatever reason that seems fair to them at the moment, just like the bible says.

      February 17, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
  4. naturalist1

    As a non American I find it astonishing that people in the US live in such fear of their own people. What is so dangerous about US society that so many think they must carry a gun. Tragedies such as Newtown cause lobby groups such as the NRA to scream, "More Guns!" when the opposite is the logical thing to promote. The rest of the western democracies are becoming less violent...certainly here in Canada....the US seemingly more violent. Education is the key to happier, less violent societies.

    February 17, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • Damocles

      Shockingly, there are bad people who do bad things. I have the right to protect me and mine to the best of my ability. Do I carry a gun? No. Do I want that option should I choose to use it? Yes. Also, shockingly, laws have the amazing ability to not keep criminals from doing criminal things. More gun laws? Fine. Are they going to keep a criminal from getting a gun? No.

      I'm not saying I want every jackleg out there packing an Uzi and I totally agree that education is probably the best way to go, but I don't want my rights to be eroded away one at a time when it serves no purpose.

      February 17, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      The people in Canada have the balls to get rid of the damn guns. Gun violence cost us billions in hospital/insurance costs. When people finally realize the financial cost of gun violence. People will actually do something about gun violence.

      February 19, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
  5. John Dale

    Its a good first step. Now we just need to ban guns anywhere outside of a church and things will be perfect.

    February 17, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • fernando

      Perfect – couldn't agree more

      February 17, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
  6. D


    February 11, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
  7. ElmerGantry

    Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things stated again.

    Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things
    Pray without ceasing in 2013
    Prayer changes things.
    February 6, 2013 at 7:24 am | Report abuse | Reply


    Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things stated once again and again and again over and over; Ad Nauseum,
    "Prayer changes things"

    Earlier I challenged you to do something positive for humanity by praying to stop the international forced sëx trafficking of an estimatated 800,000 people.

    To wit,

    I see your prayers to stop the estimated 800,000 people who are forced into sëx traficking across international borders have not worked.
    Wait since prayer changes things that means you have not been praying to stop this scourge on humanity.

    Why won't you pray to stop this repulsive human abuse?

    Matthew 21:21:
    I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt,not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
    [A true believer can ask a mountain to throw itself into the sea, and it will be done. LOL!]

    Mark 9:23
    All things are possible to him who believes.

    Luke 1:37:
    For with God nothing will be impossible.

    John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

    John 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

    John 14:14 If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.

    Nothing could be simpler or clearer than Jesus' promises about prayer in the Bible.
    So there you have it, straight from Jesus in the New Testament in clear, simple, and unequivocal terms.

    You are a sincere believer are you not?

    So go ahead and do it. Pray to god to eliminate forced international sëx traficking, bacterial disease, genetic disorders, war, famine, etc.

    In Matthew 21:21 Jesus states; I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt you can do anything including making a mountain throw itself into the sea. You do have faith and do not doubt, RIGHT? So do it.

    Or perhaps your faith is not really up to snuff and you know that so you do not pray to end these human scourges but instead only come up with your usual wimpy statements and name calling.

    Sing it now,

    ♫♪ Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
    with the cross of Jesus going on before.
    Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
    forward into battle see his banners go! ♫♪

    February 9, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
  8. ElmerGantry

    Sing it now,

    ♫♪ Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
    with the cross of Jesus going on before.
    Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
    forward into battle see his banners go! ♫♪

    February 9, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
  9. GodFreeNow

    Is anyone here actually against Arkansas christians shooting each other?

    February 7, 2013 at 1:28 am |
    • sam stone

      not arkansas, not alabama, not mississippi, not georgia, not oklahoma, amd certainly not texas. there are more, but this will do for now

      February 7, 2013 at 6:00 am |
    • Dippy

      Any Christians, no matter where they live.

      February 7, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      But Chad says christian violence doesn't happen! If someone kills someone they automatically become non-christians. . .

      February 7, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
  10. hostgator coupon 40

    Hi there all, here every person is sharing such know-how, thus it's good to read this webpage, and I used to pay a visit this website every day.

    February 7, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • the colosseum is full

      Don't let me stop ya! but seriously I am puzzled about Christians and weapons ...See first of all Jesus said, "he that takes the sword shall perish with the sword." in Matthew 26:52. and we saw what he did to Peter after he sliced a guy's ear off. He took his little weapon away. Now why would Christians in this safe nation wanna carry guns to church? This is not the wild wild west. though with a lot of media, it might seem like it.. but it's not

      February 7, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • guitarbruce

      It's always interesting to see people try to take Scripture and isolate it to prove their point. These are usually people who have no intention of following any of the precepts within but want you to follow them when they think it agrees with them.

      The Old Testament (same God as the New Testament) is replete with laws pertaining to self-defense. The episode in Mark, chapter 14 is an admonition for Peter to cease and desist when it came to trying to stop the mission for which Jesus came to the earth; to give mankind an opportunity to be forgiven through His sacrifice. Jesus definitely didn't want Peter to waste time trying to thwart that.

      However, if you'd like to read a little further into Luke 22:35-36, Jesus tells the disciples to arm themselves, not for conquest, or vengeance as in Islam but apparently for self defense and the defense of others.

      It's disingenuous to think otherwise. And by-the-way, the majority of church shootings are perpetrated not by people that regularly come to that church but by disgruntled family members of people that do, or by outright strangers to the church.

      Shootings at churches usually happen because the church was, by law, a gun-free zone. Maybe the lifting of this naive idiocy will reduce the number of shootings of defenseless human beings. To my knowledge, no concealed carry permit holder has ever illegally fired a weapon in a church. In my state (KS) we've had this ability for years with no negative impact.

      February 8, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
  11. Always wondered

    If a weapon is conceled how does anyone know you have it?

    February 6, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      People talk, brag, show off and are dumb.

      February 6, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • ken

      Christians brag in church about what great dou.chebags, I mean "sinners", they are. Of course they'll brag about who has the bigger gun.

      February 7, 2013 at 12:00 am |
    • the colosseum is full

      Have you ever been to Church Ken? 🙂

      February 7, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Susan StoHelit

      When you accidentally fire it.
      When you go a bit nuts after a fight with the wife and she looks at you wrong and you shoot it.
      When you've lost your job and the pastor's sermon hits you wrong and you start shooting.
      When the guy who has been 'holier than thou'ing you for months shoves you getting into the pew, and you snap.

      That's when you see it.

      February 7, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • markbellis

      Because either you've got a gun in your pocket or you're really glad to see Jesus.

      February 9, 2013 at 9:01 am |
  12. Ken Margo

    If church goers feel they need to bring a gun to church, it proves once and for all that god doesn't exist. Why don't the church goers simply pray to god for protection during the service? Have the church goers lost faith in god? It sure looks that way.

    February 6, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • ken

      None of them wants to be a martyr.

      They just don't make Christians like they use to.

      February 7, 2013 at 12:02 am |
    • the colosseum is full

      touche Ken 🙂
      and to Ken Margo; I'm with you buddy today many Christian are not made like they were in the beginning..We're Americans and we are the product of many century's of false doctrine's and false ideas...more than 12 centuries of it... instead of producing sheep too many times we're producing goats.. in the end goats shall be separated from the sheep. .. won't be a laughing matter then 🙂 🙂 🙂

      February 7, 2013 at 11:21 am |
  13. The INFIDEL

    I have been a victim one, never again!

    February 6, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
About this blog

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.