by Max Brantley
Rep. Bryan King won House committee approval this morning of his bill to allow concealed handgun permit holders to take guns into church. He defended the legislation as necessary so churches will have people armed for defense should somebody burst in and open fire. Surely it's happened at your church periodically. You never know.
Churches will be allowed to prohibit guns, as other private property owners are. But in today's Arkansas, this is perilous. It might reveal a whole line of suspect theology within. A church that would prohibit a pistol packer from entering probably also believes in universal health care or equal treatment of all humans or sex education or welcoming a doctor who provides a full range of medical services to women.
Given the advanced state of gun nuttery in the Arkansas legislature, I presume King has smooth sailing ahead. I think he's bad wrong, though, in saying churches need not post signs about gun prohibitions because concealed carry permit holders are responsible enough to know where guns are allowed. Randeep Mann, to name one, is an example of a concealed carry permittee. Also: what if you are a first-time visitor, just looking for a new church home? Why would you assume guns are not allowed? Some church-goers practice tough-love Christianity and some even handle snakes. Faith is one thing. Churchgoing naked of defense is another.