This week, the House Emerging Issues Committee heard HB 485, sponsored by Rep. Ben Baker (R-Neosho), which would allow concealed carry permit holders to carry a gun into a church without penalty. Current law requires concealed carry permit holders to obtain permission from the church pastor in order to carry a concealed weapon into a church. In this way, churches are treated in a similar fashion in law as schools, daycares, police stations, and riverboat gambling operations, among other places. If the bill were to pass, churches would have to post signs in a conspicuous place prohibiting guns in order to remain a gun-free zone.
The MCC testified in opposition to the bill, arguing that current law properly recognizes churches as gun-free zones and that churches are free to arrange for security teams to provide protection. The MCC also argued that requiring churches to post signs prohibiting guns on church property would infringe on the First Amendment right of churches to control their places of worship. The committee took no action on the bill.