|Updated: 2/02/2009 8:32 am
||Published: 2/01/2009 5:50 pm
We've heard the bone chilling stories about gunmen going on rampages during church services. Now one Arkansas lawmaker thinks she has the answer to stopping them: allowing licensed gun-owners to carry concealed handguns in church. But some think that solution would make Sunday morning service a lot more dangerous. We headed to the Church at Rock Creek Sunday morning to see what churchgoers think.
Pastor Mark Evans told FOX16, "I don't feel like there's any reason, any value, any long-term value to allowing people, to open up the door to allowing people to bring weapons into churches."
Some churchgoers agree. "I think this is the house of the Lord and you shouldn't have to bring a concealed weapon to church," Denise Thacker told us.
Pastor Evans says House Bill 1237 which would change the current law to allow concealed weapons in church would open up a Pandora's box of problems. How do you sort out those who have gun permits and those who don't? And Evans says even if all the gun owners are obeying the law won't there be accidents?
"If you're allowed to carry a concealed a handgun into church it could be used for good," said Jeremy Postlethwait. The church member is a licensed gun owner and says if someone opens fire at church people like him should be able to protect everyone else.
That's why the bill's author created the legislation. "I think this is a positive move to address this problem before we have something in our state," Representative Beverly Pyle told us. The Cedarville republican from District 83 says concealed weapon holders have gone through background checks and training. And she says they're the kind of people that should be allowed to carry guns in church. Pyle says her bill has support from democrats and republicans.
Pastor Evans says his church has a security plan in place including uniformed officers. He plans to leave the gun toting to the professionals. "We don't think the congregation should be our security force," Evans said.
Representative Pyle says the House Judiciary Committee will review the bill Tuesday. If it moves through committee it will go before the full house and then the senate.