Thursday, March 22, 2018

Louisiana Senate Revives Bill to Allow Guns in Church

June 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles, World News


The Louisiana Senate revived legislation Tuesday that would allow congregants to carry concealed weapons on church property as part of a security force.

Senators voted 22-9 for the heavily amended House Bill 1272 by Rep. Henry Burns, R-Haughton, sending it back to the House for another vote.

The Senate Judiciary B Committee last week voted 3-0 to kill Burns’ House Bill 68 to allow mosques, synagogues and churches to authorize worshippers to carry guns.

Burns said last week that he probably would try to amend it onto another similar bill.

Sen. Joe McPherson, D-Woodworth, with Burns’ permission, seized House Bill 1272 and breathed new life into what has come to be known as the “guns-in-churches” bill.

Before McPherson amended Burns’ bill, it would have increased the length of time a concealed handgun permit is valid from four years to five years, and prescribed what kind of ammunition can be used to test shooting competency of the permit holder.

McPherson’s amendment kept those provisions in the bill and added the church security initiative.

As the bill returns to the House, which passed the original effort 74-18 last month, it keeps houses of worship gun-free areas unless the pastor or head of the facility allows them.

The amendment applies to any place of worship eligible for a federal tax exemption.

Officials of the religious institution must notify congregants of the security plan and that concealed weapons are being carried. The information must be publicly announced or published in a newsletter or bulletin.

The amended bill would prohibit carrying weapons into a church on school property, and would require eight hours of annual tactical training as well as passing the concealed weapons course and background checks for the armed members.

“This says if you have a concealed carry permit, you can take it (a firearm) with the authorization of the church leader and with the knowledge of the congregation, ” McPherson said.

Burns said he filed the bill to enhance the safety of worshippers, especially those in high-crime areas or where police response time is slow.

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