JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Houses of worship could designate members to undergo firearms training and carry guns to protect the congregation, under a bill advancing at the Mississippi Capitol.
The House voted 86-32 Wednesday to pass House Bill 786, known as the "Mississippi Church Protection Act." The proposal moves to the Senate for more work.
Republican Rep. Andy Gipson of Braxton is an attorney and minister of a small Baptist congregation. He says he filed the bill in response to the church slayings last summer in Charleston, South Carolina.
It would provide the same sort of immunity from prosecution that state law has given for several years to a person using a gun to defend a home, vehicle or business, if threatened.
Some House members question whether the proposal could create safety hazards.