Target: Mississippi Speaker of the House of Representatives Philip Gunn (R-56th District)
Goal: Don’t allow churchgoers to carry concealed firearms into the building during services.
Mississippi churchgoers may soon be allowed to carry concealed firearms into the building during services, and church leaders would be allowed to designate and train members of the church to act as armed security guards during services. This is thanks to a new measure just approved by the Mississippi state Senate. We must take action to protect innocent churchgoers from this dangerous act.
The Mississippi Church Protection Act easily passed the state Senate by a vote of 36-14. Supporters of the bill in the Mississippi Senate also managed to fight off a proposed amendment that required churches to post signs if they were employing armed security under the provisions of the Mississippi Church Protection Act. Now, churchgoers in Mississippi will be attending church services among a sea of armed parishioners without knowing about it beforehand.
The Mississippi Church Protection Act has been denounced by the Secular Coalition for America, which called it the worst state bill in the United States. “This legislation would put ‘soldiers of God’ above the law, allowing them to act as judge, jury, and executioner,” executive director Larry T. Decker said in a Secular Coalition of America statement regarding the Mississippi Senate’s bill. “Religious institutions are already exempt from taxation, financial transparency, and many civil rights laws. The Mississippi Church Protection Act would constitute an unprecedented and dangerous next step. Belonging to a church should not afford anyone the same rights and protections as law enforcement.”
The bill also applies to church-sponsored events, even those held in public areas where firearms are prohibited. This means that “soldiers of God” can be at the ready in a park during a church picnic.
After having passed through the state Senate, the Mississippi Church Protection Act is set to be reviewed in the Mississippi House of Representatives, which boasts a conservative majority, and is expected to pass. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant is likely to pass it also, turning the Mississippi Church Protection Act — and all of the dangers that may come with it — into state law.
The population of Mississippi should not have their lives placed in danger because of a “safety” law that’s based on flawed logic.
Dear Speaker Gunn,
The Mississippi Church Protection Act is a dangerous piece of legislation, for it puts thousands of Mississippi churchgoers at risk when there isn’t any reason to do so. The bill is designed to establish armed security inside churches, as well as at public church-sponsored events, placing thousands more at risk when there isn’t any reason to do so.
Church parishioners are not judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to safety within churches and numerous materials do not support the idea that arming more people will keep people safe. A house of God is not a place for everyday citizens to act like law enforcement.
It is with this in mind that we urge you to not bring the Mississippi Church Protection Act up in the House. Just let the bill die. Safety should not be compromised in the name of safety, especially when the measures being taken to allegedly ensure that safety have been shown to be wildly ineffective.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Thomas R. Machnitzki