Gov. Phil Bryant speaks during an event on Oct. 29, 2015 in Jackson, Miss.
Photo by Rogelio V. Solis/AP

Governor signs controversial ‘Church Protection Act’

Updated
If you’re of the opinion that there just aren’t enough guns in churches, you’re bound to like a brand new law in the state of Mississippi. The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson reported today:
Gov. Phil Bryant has signed into law the Mississippi Church Protection Act to allow churches to legally have armed security if they choose. Bryant signed House Bill 786 on Friday.
 
Bryant said in a Twitter post he signed the bill because “churches deserve protection from those who would harm worshippers.”
Regular readers may recall we talked about this bill a few weeks ago, and it’s a doozy of an idea.
 
Under current state law, people in Mississippi already have immunity from prosecution if they use a gun to defend their home or if their personal safety is threatened, but one of the principal purposes of the “Church Protection Act” would be to expand these legal protections: If someone were to use a gun to defend their house of worship, he or she would also be immune from criminal penalties.
 
Under the plan, ministries would “train members to carry guns and act as security guards during religious services,” knowing that if they opened fire in defense of the church, they couldn’t be prosecuted.
 
During the legislative debate, one Republican supporter told his state Senate colleagues, “This will allow a church to have a sergeant-at-arms to protect the church body, just like we have [in the legislature].”
 
Of course, ordinarily a sergeant-at-arms has a background in law enforcement.
 
And speaking of law enforcement, the Clarion-Ledger piece added that police chiefs in Mississippi were not impressed with the proposal.
The Mississippi Police Chiefs Association has express concerns about the bill, saying it will do away with a license to carry a concealed handgun in public and would put law enforcement and all Mississippians in harm’s way. […]
 
The Police Chiefs Association says the bill would lower the bar for who can carry a concealed, loaded gun in public to include violent criminals, some severely mentally ill people, and chronic alcoholics.
The Republican-led legislature and governor approved the proposal anyway.
 
 
 

Gun Policy, Mississippi and Phil Bryant

Governor signs controversial 'Church Protection Act'

Updated