The Arkansas House on Wednesday approved a bill allowing concealed handguns in churches, despite hearing arguments that lawmakers should put their faith in God, not guns.
The bill, which passed on a 57-42 vote and now heads to the Senate, removes churches and other houses of worship from the list of places where concealed handguns are banned. Currently, the only private entities where concealed weapons are banned are churches and bars.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Beverly Pyle, R-Cedarville, said she introduced the measure after a series of church shootings across the country. She said it would be up to each individual church whether to allow the concealed guns.
“It is time we changed our concealed-handgun law to allow law-abiding citizens of the state of Arkansas the right to defend themselves and others should a situation happen in one of our churches,” she said.
Pyle said at least 20 states have similar laws allowing churches to decide whether to permit concealed guns. …