Bill would allow concealed weapons in church
HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The "Church Protection" bill may allow people to take concealed guns inside a church. It was passed by a Mississippi senate committee on Thursday.
Senator Chris McDaniel said current open-carry laws allow people to take guns inside a church but bill 786 focuses on concealed guns.
The idea is to let churches set up security programs that allow a few licensed carriers to keep concealed weapons on them to protect themselves and others in case of an emergency.
"I feel a lot safer knowing one of my friends or church members, I feel a lot safer knowing that they are armed and if something lord forbid were to happen that they could defend me," said McDaniel.
The carriers would be approved by the church and be required to get a carrier permit. They would also be required to go through training with law enforcement or with someone from a military background.
However, this bill does not force churches to allow guns on their private property. Father Tommy Conway with St. Fabian church said he does not want guns in his church.
"If people have guns in their purses or persons in church that would be frightening to me," said Conway.
McDaniel said this bill protects the second amendment and would prevent tragedies like the St. Charleston shooting from happening.
"It will prove that the presence of weapons does not necessarily increase the chance of violence, just the opposite," said McDaniel. "Normally, the presence of weapons decreases the presence of violence."
This bill also allows people to carry concealed weapons in holsters or sheaths. The bill passed the House of Representatives with a 85-33 vote and will move to the Senate next.