A Mississippi legislation that would make it easier for congregants to carry guns inside churches is moving through the state legislature. Also known as The Church Protection Act, House Bill 786 permits every house of worship to deploy its members as security guards, who after obtaining permits, could carry concealed weapons to protect congregants from secular or terror attacks. These security guards would be immune to lawsuits stemming from responding to a threat and they could also use their service in defending the church as a defense against criminal charges.
According to lawmakers who support the bill, the measure would help prevent attacks similar to the massacre that took place at a church in Charleston, South Carolina in June 2015, leaving nine dead.
While supporting it, Senator Sean Tindell, said that the bill would only give churches an alternative to create a security force.
“Gives members of the church, if they so choose, a greater ability to protect themselves and their families and their church,” he said.
However, opponents of the bill believe less good would emerge from its passage than bad.
Speaking against it, Senator Hillman Frazier drew a sword from its sheath at the Mississippi Capitol to make his point even more evident.
“We don't need to pimp out the church for political purposes,” Frazier said while citing a biblical story about a disciple cutting off a servant's ear. “If you want to pass laws to liberalize gun laws, do that. But don't use the church to do that.”
Earlier this month, the Mississippi Senate voted 36-14 in favor of the bill, which is now awaiting consideration at the House.
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a gun-control activist group, said that the proposed bill defies the will of a vast majority of voters in the state as they do not believe concealed carry permits are a priority in the state.
However, National Rifle Association lauded lawmakers for not paying heed to the demands of gun-control activists.
“The measure ensures that each Mississippian has the right to carry their firearm in the manner that best suits them,” NRA stated.
Photo Credits: Delta Daily News