BATON ROUGE, La. (RNS) — People qualified to carry concealed weapons should be able to keep them strapped on in a church or temple as a way to enhance security, a state House committee decided April 28.
The House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice voted 8-3 for bill that would allow a church to hire a security force or create its own by authorizing the church’s board or pastor to tap parishioners who have concealed weapons permits to bring them to church.
Louisiana law currently bans weapons in houses of worship. The bill, sponsored by Republican Henry Burns, does not force churches to participate.
“If we are going to turn a church into the wild, wild West, how can we put our hearts and minds into God's business?” asked Rep. Barbara Norton, a Democrat. “If we can’t feel safe in church doing the business of the Lord, where else can we feel safe?”