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Bills Opening Way For Guns in Churches Near Schools Chambered For Floor Votes

| February 2, 2018

The sherine to Thomas a Beckett inside Canterbury Cathedral, where he was assassinated. He was not packing. (chris)

Measures that would help clear the way for people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry guns at churches and other religious institutions are ready to go to the House and Senate floors.

The Republican-controlled Senate Rules Committee voted 7-5 on Thursday for the Senate version of the measure (SB 1048). Earlier in the day, the House Judiciary Committee voted 13-6 along party lines to approve the House version (HB 1419).

Under current law, people with concealed-weapons licenses can carry guns at churches and other religious institutions, but they are barred from doing so if schools are on the property. The bills seek to address that school issue, though some details of the proposals differ.

Crafted with an eye on a church massacre in Texas, the House measure would enable churches, synagogues or other religious institutions to allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry guns on property “owned, rented, leased, borrowed or lawfully used” by the institutions.

The Senate bill, however, was changed last week to get it through the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has blocked gun-related measures in recent years. The Senate version includes restrictions, such as a prohibition on carrying guns during school hours or when school extracurricular activities take place on the property.

Beth Dumond of the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America argued the House language could allow people to carry guns at prisons where religious services are regularly provided.

“There is nothing in this bill that specifies it’s talking about churches that have private schools on their property,” Dumond told members of the House Judiciary Committee. “I understand that is what they’re talking about, but that is not what it says. It says churches that hold services on properties can make the decision to allow guns for their personal safety, notwithstanding anything else.”

Rep. Daniel Perez, R-Miami, responded that he didn’t see any language in the bill that specifies a person could carry a gun into a prison, as Dumond claimed.

Lawmakers backing the overall change continued to use a deadly shooting in November at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, as an example of why the change is needed.

“As recently as November in Texas, it was on full display how vulnerable our churches are,” said House co-sponsor Lawrence McClure, R-Dover.

Senate sponsor Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, said, “We can make a difference whether something is an incident or a massacre.”

On Nov. 5, 26 people died and 20 others were injured when a gunman started firing into a Baptist church from across the street, before making his way into the building. The gunman, who later died of a self-inflicted wound, was shot twice as he exited the Texas church.

–Jim Turner, News Service of Florida

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12 Responses for “Bills Opening Way For Guns in Churches Near Schools Chambered For Floor Votes”

  1. Born and Raised Here says:

    My Church loves it that I have there back.

  2. Paula says:

    This is a Steube bill. All you need to know.

  3. Dave says:

    What would Jesus do? He def would not carry a gun. If evil tries to kill your congragation it is Gods will, you do not kill others.

  4. GWOT Veteran says:

    I have always found that every time someone has tried to kill me, the best way of resolving that particular problem was to kill them first.

  5. Layla says:

    I’m sorry, Dave, but everything bad which happens in the world is not God’s will.

  6. Sherry says:

    Church. . . where the righteous who are filled with fear and hate are “locked and loaded”. . . what a world!

  7. just me says:

    A law saying one cant have a gun only stops people who FOLLOW laws NOT CRIMINALS.

  8. MannyHMo says:

    Most people are good however it’s extreme naivete to think that evil shouldn’t be faced.
    Airports were quite porous before 9/11. What’s needed is common sense security.

  9. Paula says:

    Let’s hope little kids won’t reach into their parents’ pockets/purses/jackets during church, pull out a loaded guy and shoot their little brother, sister, or whomever is around them. By accident, of course.

    “Of 23 high-income countries, 91% of children killed by firearms in 2010 were from the US, according to a study published in The American Journal of Medicine last year.” If you look at which countries had strong gun control laws and which do not, this is not a surprising statistic.

    Having loaded guns in church with cramped pews and inquisitive kids is a recipe for disaster. I’m assuming the guns are loaded, since this is how these gun-toters will supposedly “protect” the congregation.

    Another example of a Senator Steube bills that panders to one of his mentors – the NRA.

  10. Bubba says:

    Paula, regarding the statistic you quoted – what, according to the AJM, is a “child”?

  11. Dave says:

    Hire armed security if you want protection in church, last thing we need is wanna be vigilantes with concealed carry licenses in our congregation

  12. Paula says:

    Child…Up to age 17.

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