Got Guns? Church Carry Bill Passed By Senate Committee

Ar Local

Pine Bluff Senator Stephanie Flowersisn’t a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but she made it apoint to be there Wednesday.

Flowers was allowed to present anamendment to Senator Bryan King’s Church Protection Act of 2013,making churches carry $100,000 of liability insurance for churcheswho opt to allow guns.

“It wasn’t meant to be mean,”Flowers said. “It was meant to be protective. My main concern wasto give some protection for the public.”

Arkansas churches are protected bycharitable immunity, meaning they can’t be sued. But Flowers says ifchurches want to assume the additional risk posed by allowing guns,they should provide a safety net for parishioners.

“We have people who own vehicles. Werequire them to have liability insurance,” Flowers said. “So Idon’t think this is far-fetched. I think this is good public policy.”

Committee members voiced severalconcerns about Flowers’ amendment, but Senator Bryan King, the thebill’s sponsor, didn’t feel the proposed changes were mean-spirited.

“It wasn’t a hostile amendment in anymeans,” King said. “(Flowers) just had a different perspectiveand wanted to bring it to committee and present it.”

But King opposed the amendment, and thecommittee voted it down. Flowers hoped for a better outcome, but saysit’s not too late to make the change.

“I’m hopeful the sponsor, SenatorKing, might reconsider,” Flowers said.

King says it’s possible the Senate willdebate The Church Protection Act of 2013 as early as Thursday.

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