“Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant on Friday signed into law a bill that will allow members of some churches in the state to undergo training to carry guns inside houses of worship for protection, in response to last year’s massacre at a South Carolina church.
The Church Protection Act, as sent to Bryant’s desk, allows individuals selected by the church’s governing body to carry weapons into the church for protection purposes. It also does not require people to have a permit to carry a holstered weapon.
“The bill is effective immediately and, among other things, extends the protections of the castle doctrine to local churches who elect to establish a trained and licensed security team for protection of the congregation,” Republican state Rep. Andy Gipson wrote in a Facebook post. “Thank you Gov. Bryant!”
Gipson proposed the bill after nine people were massacred in a shooting spree at an historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Those opposing the bill, including the Mississippi Association of Police Chiefs, have argued that it removes important restrictions on who may obtain a permit.
“This bill would put law-enforcement officers and all Mississippians directly in harm’s way,” Ken Winter, the group’s executive director, said in February.”