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Bibles and Bullets: Bill would let worshipers bring handguns to church

Michigan law currently bans concealed pistols in a church, synagogue, mosque, temple or other place of worship unless allowed by the presiding official or officials.
Credit: WZZM
A Michigan House bill would allow people with a concealed pistol license to carry in places of worship.

LANSING, Mich. — Bringing a concealed handgun to church services in Michigan would be permissible under a bill recently introduced in Lansing.

House Bill 5433 would eliminate places of worship as ‘gun-free zones.’ It comes a month after an armed churchgoer killed a gunman in Texas.

As it now stands, property and buildings owned or operated by a church, synagogue, mosque, temple or other place of worship are off-limits for concealed weapons in Michigan. 

There is an exemption: concealed weapons are permissible if the presiding official or officials at the location allow it.

Similar measures introduced in previous years have failed.

The House bill was introduced Jan. 30 by Rep. Michele Hoitenga, R-Manton, a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. It has a dozen co-sponsors.

On Dec. 29, a man with an extensive criminal past opened fire on worshipers at a Texas church, killing two before he was shot dead by a congregant who fired back.

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Jack Wilson, a 71-year-old firearms instructor, shot the gunman once in the head at West Freeway Church of Christ, located near Fort Worth. More than 240 people were inside the church at the time of the shooting.

Michigan law now prohibits individuals with a concealed pistol license from carrying their weapon into schools, day care centers, sports arenas, entertainment venues that seat more than 2,500 people, hospitals and casinos.

Concealed firearms are also prohibited from a dorm or classroom of a community college, college or university and in taverns where the primary source of income is the sale of alcohol.

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