Lawmakers have until Wednesday to vote on bill to allow guns in churches

Statehouse debate heated up on Monday

INDIANAPOLIS -- There was lots of emotion and heated debate at the Indiana Statehouse on Monday as lawmakers heard discussion on a controversial bill that would allow Hoosiers to bring guns to church, even if that church is considered a school.

If approved, the bill would make it legal to bring a gun to church while attending a worship service, working, volunteering or participating in a program.

But the bill would also give church leaders the power to decide if they wanted to remain a “gun free zone.”

Supporters of the bill say allowing guns in church could deter future crimes like the one in Texas last year

“If someone thinks there might be someone who can shoot back, they might think twice,” said Barbara Maness.

Maness volunteers in a school that’s attached to a church and she says she carries a handgun in both places.

READ | Bill would allow guns in church and school grounds

“I feel that I have an obligation more than to just run and tell them to hide, but to stand and fight to save their lives,” said Maness.

Opponents of the bill, including Scott Severns of Saint Luke’s United Methodist Church, argue that churches should be a safe place.

“Since I can apply for that permit at age 18 – regardless of what happens in my life – I’m granted the right to carry a weapon that’s capable of killing 15 people without reloading,” said Severns.

The bill would also get rid of the fees to apply for a handgun license.

It’s expected to be approved, but lawmakers only have until Wednesday to act.

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