Senator Bryan King, as promised, has filed a bill to allow churches and houses of worship to decide for themselves whether or not to allow their members to carry firearms on their property. Currently, Arkansas law prohibits churches and houses of worship from making these decisions themselves which poses two problems: first, it is a violation of the 2nd amendment and secondly, it inappropriately involves the state in church governance.
Nicholas Stehle, member of the board of directors for Arkansas Carry, said the group will push for the bill’s passage:
“Arkansas Carry strongly supported a similar bill in the last legislative session. We strongly support this bill because it returns churches’ property rights to them. Churches should decide who can carry on their own property – not big government.”
Stehle said they expect the measure to pass the full legislature.
When asked for comment, Senator King said he is filing the bill because he believes we need more laws that allow citizens to protect themselves:
“President Obama has it all wrong — we need to be passing more citizen protection measure and reducing gun control laws. Once again, this bill lets each church decide their policy. They can not allow concealed weapons, they can allow only certain people to carry, or they can allow no one. It’s up to them to decide.”
Rep. Nate Bell, who will carry the bill on the House side, said he signed on to the bill to help equal the playing field between churches:
“I’m sponsoring the bill because I want smaller, less wealthy churches to be able to decide their own security policy. It’s fundamentally unfair for church members of less affluent churches to be denied the right to worship in a secure environment simply because they cannot afford to hire paid security.”