Speaker: Bill Allowing Guns in Churches Expected to Pass

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A Senate bill allowing people with a concealed-carry permit to take handguns into churches is expected to win approval in the Arkansas House of Representatives next week, Speaker Davy Carter, R-Cabot, said.

“I personally do not want guns in churches, but think the church has the right to make that decision,” Carter said Thursday (Jan. 31) in a text to 5NEWS. 

Carter said the bill could reach the Republican-controlled House by Monday for a floor vote. 

The bill, which has already been approved in the Senate, cleared the Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Bryan King, R-Green Forest.

Senate Bill 71, dubbed the Church Protection Act of 2013, would allow officials at a church or other place of worship to determine who can carry a concealed handgun inside. A church has the option to opt out.

“We need to be passing more citizen protection laws and less gun control,” King previously told 5NEWS.

Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, has indicated he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

The measure would take effect immediately upon the governor’s signature.