Governor Signs Guns-In-Church Bill Into Law

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Gov. Mike Beebe on Monday (Jan. 11) signed SB71 into law, allowing churches to decide whether concealed-carry permit holders can take handguns inside, Matt DeCample, the governor’s spokesman, said.

The law became effective upon the governor’s signature.

On an 85-8 vote, the Republican-controlled House on Feb. 4 approved the bill, which had already cleared the Senate, also under GOP control. Beebe is a Democrat.

The Senate vote, on Jan. 28, was 28-4.

Before the bill went to the governor, the Senate first concurred with a minor House amendment that added co-sponsors to the measure, said the sponsor, Sen. Bryan King, R-Green Forest. That procedural step occurred Feb. 5.

Dubbed the Church Protection Act of 2013, the law allows officials at a church or other place of worship to determine who can carry a concealed handgun inside. Gun would still be prohibited unless a church opts in.