Governor Mike Beebe says he will sign the bill allowing concealed weapons in Arkansas's churches if it reaches his desk. Both the Senate and the House have passed the legislation, with the latter approving it Monday.
The bill, proposed by Republican Senator Bryan King of Green Forest, lifts the previously established ban on guns in places of worship.Arkansas, along with nine other states, does not allow them. KUAR News called more than 30 churches with many pastors not wanting to comment on the potentially divisive issue.
Philip Brown, a pastor of the Higher Trails Cowboy Church in Paragould, says he and his congregation are in favor of the legislation, stating, “it is not wrong to have these [weapons], it is wrong to use them”.
There are other pastors and worship leaders who disagree. Rabbi David Lipper of Temple B’nai in Little Rock says that their building is very secure and does not see the need for the new legislation.
“I don’t think that churches, synagogues, and mosques are places where weapons should be brought. I view them as places of peace, not conflict” Lipper says.
The governor will work with legislators concerning details and wording prior to singing the bill into effect.