Just when you think that our state legislature has exhausted their capacity to craft unnecessary and sometimes mindless legislation, along comes proposed House Bill 1958 "TO ALLOW A CONCEALED HANDGUN LICENSEE TO CARRY A CONCEALED HANDGUN IN CHURCH OR OTHER PLACE OF WORSHIP". In truth, this bill just amends the current prohibition against carrying concealed weapons to church by allowing all churches and other places of worship to decide for themselves who may carry such weapons, but that does not make this legislation any less onerous Go to http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2011/2011R/Pages/BillInformation.aspx?measureno=HB1958 to learn more about this bill and its sponsors, as well as http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2011/2011R/Bills/HB1958.pdf for a copy of the bill itself.
What is it about the New Testament that the 65 members of the House who voted yea don't understand? I was always taught that it is, essentially, a message of love, tolerance, forgiveness and acceptance as described in various verses including 1st Corinthians 13:1-13 (the Love Chapter), Galatians 5:22-23 (listing the Fruits of the Spirit) and Matthew 5, 6 & 7 (The Sermon on the Mount), to name a few. So, what's next, preachers suiting up with ammunition belts crisscrossed against their chests holding a rifle much in the image of Pancho Villa just to set the tone of the service? Or maybe churches could sell guns and ammunition in their vestibules as fund raising events. It brings an entirely new dimension to the expression "Clinging to God and guns" which got so much attention in the 2008 presidential campaign. If there is one place on earth where we should all feel free of any possible chance of armed violence, it is sitting in our place of worship regardless of faith. If Jesus chased the moneychangers from His "house of prayer" for their contemptible acts, I wonder what he would do today with people packing heat in his temple?
And, finally, isn't it the responsibility of the state legislature to protect its citizens with prudent and reasonable statutes, rather than create the possibility of a "Gunfight at the OK Corral" environment, particularly in a place of worship? This is one really bad piece of legislation among some 3,235 total bills filed just this session (go look for yourself at http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2011/2011R/Pages/SearchBillsByRange.aspx ) that should immediately be, pardon the pun, shot down in my view.