Mississippi Legalizes Guns In Churches

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has signed a bill that enables church members to go through training and carry guns into the religious buildings. The bill was purportedly introduced as a response to the June 2015 massacre that killed nine people in a historic Charleston church. Called the Church Protection Act, the bill is effective immediately. Select members chosen by a church's governing body beforehand will be able to carry weapons without obtaining a permit for a holstered weapon. "The bill ... extends the protections of the castle doctrine to local churches who elect to establish a trained and licensed security team for protection of the congregation," Republican state Rep. Andy Gipson said on social media Friday. The legislation was opposed by the Mississippi Association of Police Chiefs, which argued that it does away with necessary restrictions on who is able to acquire a permit. The group's executive director said it would "put law enforcement officers and all Mississippians directly in harm’s way."