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Concealed Guns in Churches Passes Arkansas Legislature
(CNN) - The Arkansas House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a measure that would allow concealed guns to be carried in churches and houses of worship, and the governor’s office says it plans to sign the bill.
The measure, which passed 85-8 on Monday, gives houses of worship the option of allowing concealed weapons.
Passed by the state Senate in an equally lopsided 28-4 vote last week, the bill states it is “immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health, and safety” because “personal security is increasingly important.”
“A person should be allowed to carry a firearm in a church that permits the carrying of a firearm for personal security,” the bill reads.
The bill was originally sponsored by Republican state Sen. Bryan King from Green Forest, a rural town in northern Arkansas.
Matt DeCample, spokesman for Republican Gov. Mike Beebe, told CNN the governor plans “to sign the bill as written” but also wants to “continue discussions with lawmakers to address concerns raised by the faith community.”
Religious leaders were primarily concerned about any effect the law would have on insurance rates for houses of worship that choose to allow concealed weapons, but proponents downplayed the concern, saying multiple states have similar laws.
“Additional language is definitely possible,” the governor’s spokesman said.
A number of churches, including one of the state’s largest Fellowship Bible Church, told CNN they were reserving comment until the bill is signed by the governor or church leaders have decided whether to allow concealed weapons.
When the bill becomes law, Arkansas would join a small number of states that have passed legislation specifically allowing concealed weapons in houses of worship. While about 20 states allow the practice because of “right to carry” laws, only a few states have singled out houses of worship in legislation.
In April 2011, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said that bringing a concealed firearm into a house of worship for protection purposes is allowed under Virginia law.
Posted: Monday, February 18 2013, 09:46 PM CST
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Tornado hits OKC suburb, kicking up debris
May 19, 2013 22:29 GMT
EDMOND, Okla. (AP) -- A tornado kicked up debris in an Oklahoma City suburb and threatened a number of tourist attractions on historic Route 66 before growing into a larger storm that rolled across rural parts of central Oklahoma.
Television footage Sunday showed a tornado at Edmond . The storm threatened a novelty soda-pop store and a historic barn in the small town of Arcadia, then grew into a larger storm as it moved northeastward a few miles north of the Turner Turnpike between Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
The Storm Prediction Center had forecast a moderate risk of severe weather in Oklahoma and adjacent portions of Kansas and Missouri.
TV video also showed power flashes from transformers blowing out as they were hit by high winds or debris.
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