LITTLE ROCK (AP) — A proposal to allow concealed handguns in Arkansas’ houses of worship is dividing religious leaders on whether easing the firearm rules would offer more protection to congregants or disrupt the sanctuary that they try to offer every week.
The Arkansas Senate plans next week to vote on a bill that would allow churches and other religious institutions to decide whether to allow concealed handguns.
The National Rifle Association says Arkansas is one of 10 states with a concealed handgun law that prohibits the firearms in places of worship.
Past efforts to remove that prohibition have failed, but gun-rights advocates believe they’re well poised to pass the measure now that Republicans control the Legislature. Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, has indicated he’ll likely sign the measure if it reaches his desk.