Congregations Have Mixed Opinions on Guns-in-Church Bill

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The Arkansas House and Senate passed a bill that would allow people with a concealed-carry permit to bring their guns inside churches.

“That's the house of the Lord and I don't think you should bring any kind of firearms into you know the Lord's house,” said Tyler Womack, who attends church in Alma.

Church goers have mixed opinions on the issue.

“I believe it's a good thing. I believe in the second amendment right that you should be allowed to carry guns,” said Bobby Bollinger, a church goer.

The Arkansas Senate voted 28-4 last week to allow guns in church. The bill passed in the House on Monday 85-8.

“This really is not going to change the way that we provide protection and security for our church,” said Pastor Pepper Bourlon, at First Baptist Church in Van Buren.

Bourlon says they already have a security team in place that is made up of active and retired law enforcement, and deacons in the church. “They monitor the parking lots,” he said. “They monitor the buildings. They monitor floors that are not being used. They monitor doors.”

The bill allows church leaders to determine who can carry a concealed handgun inside.

“I don't see a necessary need for it in this particular church right now,” said Bourlon.

Opponents say guns have no place at church. “I just don't think it's right,” said Womack. “Guns kill people.”

Supporters want firearms for protection. “God and guns, I think everybody will be alright,” said Bollinger.

The bill now goes to Governor Mike Beebe's desk for approval.