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Panel Expands Bill Allowing Guns In Churches On School Property

By Brandon Smith, IPB News | Published on in Faith and Religion, Government, Law, Statewide News
(Lucio Eastman/Wikimedia Commons)
(Lucio Eastman/Wikimedia Commons)

A House panel made changes Wednesday to legislation regarding guns in houses of worship on school grounds.

Current law allows guns in churches but largely bans them on school property. That means licensed gun owners are barred from carrying into church if it shares property with a school.

The legislation would change that, legalizing guns in churches on school property during worship services if the house of worship allows it.

A House committee amendment expands the bill. It says if you’re allowed to carry a gun during worship services, that also extends to other church activities on school grounds. Examples mentioned included a recreational basketball league run by the church or a community event sponsored by the house of worship.

Loren King is a deacon at Faith Ministries in Lafayette. He helped create the amendment.

“Our goal in bringing this forward was to eliminate those ambiguities for the folks that use our facilities because we don’t want a felony trap,” King says.

But Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) believes guns should be allowed on all church and school grounds. And he says the bill – and the amendment – don’t make things easier.

“I think this just creates another level of confusion to an already horribly confusing law,” Lucas says.

The committee unanimously advanced the bill.

In the opposite chamber, a Senate panel advanced legislation to eliminate the state’s license fee for lifetime handgun permits. A similar version of that bill passed unanimously out of the Senate earlier this session. But the measure yielded opposition this time around in the wake of a recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida.