La. Senate Committee Rejects Church Guns Bill

A Louisiana Senate committee has voted against allowing concealed weapons to be carried inside places of worship.

The 3-0 vote by the Senate Judiciary B Committee on Tuesday effectively shelved H.B. 68 after the legislation cleared the House in a 74-18 vote.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Henry Burns (R-Haughton), would have authorized the leader of any church, synagogue, mosque or other house of worship to designate individuals they deemed qualified to carry weapons inside their buildings.

The legislation also would have required those chosen to get an additional eight hours of tactical training each year to keep the security positions in their religious institutions.

Burns told the committee that times have changed and that churches are not the safe places they used to be.

"We do live in different times," Burns said, according to the The Times-Picayune of New Orleans. "I grew up in Mayberry and could ride my bike any time of the day or night. Why not be safe rather than sorry?"

He also noted that six states have similar laws to the one he was proposing, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In the end, however, three members of the committee voted against the bill. One, the chairman and sole Republican, objected to the motion to kill the bill but did not vote. Three other senators were absent.

Despite the vote, Burns has expressed hoped in getting the H.B. 68 into future legislation as an amendment. He said many senators were still interested in his bill.