Gov. Bobby Jindal signs bills allowing guns in church

| July 7, 2010

Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed into law one of the more controversial bills from the recent legislative session, one allowing guns to be carried into houses of worship.

Jindal's office said Tuesday the governor acted on the bill in the past few days after receiving it June 20.

Including the "gun-in-church" bill, House Bill 1272 by Rep. Henry Burns, R-Haughton, Jindal has signed into law 940 of the 1,067 bills the Legislature sent him, vetoed 12, and used his pen to line-item spending measures in four different budget bills.

Burns' bill would authorize persons who qualified to carry concealed weapons having passed the training and background checks to bring them to churches, mosques, synagogues or other houses of worship as part of a security force.

The pastor or head of the religious institution must announce verbally or in weekly newsletters or bulletins that there will be individuals armed on the property as members of he security force. Those chosen have to undergo eight hours of tactical training each year.

Burns' original bill was killed by a Senate committee but he tacked its provisions onto a related bill that started out changing the period to have a concealed weapon permit from four years to five years at a cost of $25 a year.

Burns contended that religious institutions in crime-ridden or "declining neighborhoods" need the added protection to ward off thieves and muggers.

The bill also allows a house of worship to hire off-duty police or security guards to protect congregants.

Opponents of the measure said that churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship should remain free of guns and violence and should focus on worship.

Burns' bill will go into effect Aug. 15.

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Category: Church Security

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