Guns in churches bill clears first hurdle
The measure, which was vetoed last year, would allow concealed carry in houses of worship that also host schools, provided school's not in session.Posted — Updated
Guns are already allowed in houses of worship, provided church, temple, mosque, etc. leadership allow them. But current law forbids guns on school campuses, and religious campuses that have their own private schools qualify as school campuses.
This year's bill cleared the Senate Judiciary committee with at least some committee Democrats voting against it. There are several steps left before the bill is finalized.
A handful of pastors – some well known at the statehouse for lobbying conservative priorities – backed the bill Tuesday in committee testimony. They noted the disparate treatment houses of worship that have schools face compared with those that don't.
At least two pastors called on the legislature to go further than the bill does and allow guns on church campuses when school is in session.
"You are denying us the privilege of defending (parishioners and students)," said Rev. Richard Callahan, pastor of Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Archdale. "We can’t protect them Monday through Friday.”