April 2009 Church & State | AU Bulletin

 Proposed legislation that would have allowed worshipers to carry concealed weapons in Arkansas houses of worship died in the state Senate Feb. 25.          

The bill would have removed language from the state’s concealed-weapons law that prohibits firearms in “any church or other place of worship.” 

Pastors testified both for and against the measure before it sailed through the Arkansas House of Representatives by a 57-42 vote. 

Bill sponsor Rep. Beverly Pyle said the proposal was about church-state separation. Churches should be able to decide for themselves whether or not to allow firearms in their buildings, she said, not the state. 

“The issue is that self-defense is a moral decision, and that decision should not be made for churches by the state,” the Arkansas Concealed Carry Association wrote on its blog. “Churches have the freedom to make this decision free of government coercion.”