Reprinted by permission of the Christian Post
By Katherine T. Phan
Christian Post Reporter
Wed, Mar. 11 2009 10:01 AM EDT
In the wake of the Illinois church shooting, an Arkansas lawmaker said she will reintroduce a bill allowing concealed handguns in Arkansas churches.
The original bill, sponsored by Rep. Beverly Pyle, would have removed churches and other houses of worship from the state’s list of places where concealed handguns are banned in Arkansas. Only churches and bars are on that list.
The measure, HB 1237, was approved Feb. 11 by the Arkansas House on a 57-42 vote. The bill later died in the state Senate Judiciary Committee where it was stalled on a voice vote.
Pyle is now revising the measure and will run it back though that same committee next week hoping for more votes, Today’s THV reported.
“I have received numerous emails and phones calls concerning this wanting me to bring this back, none against it,” she told THV.
On Sunday, Terry J. Sedlacek allegedly walked down the aisle of First Baptist Church in Maryville, Ill., and fatally shot Pastor Fred Winters, according to state police. He later injured himself and two church members with a knife while the three wrestled.
The 27-year-old has been charged with first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated battery and is being held without bail.
Police say the suspect carried enough rounds of ammunition to kill at least 30 people.
Pyle originally introduced the bill after a series of church shootings across the country.
She said the central issue is not gun rights but “religious freedom,” whether a church has the right to decide its policy on concealed guns.
Opponents of the measure argue that allowing guns would disturb the sanctity of churches.
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