LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The possibility of church members bringing guns in the sanctuary is looking more likely. A House panel advances legislation that could allow concealed handguns in churches.
We're just one vote away from legalizing concealed handguns in churches. That plan is waiting on a vote from the House; the measure already passed the Arkansas Senate.
As we get one step closer, more preachers are considering how to handle the possibility.
Pastor Elmo Johnson started preaching in the late 80's. He says, "Sometimes you have to be prepared for what would happen because the world is different today."
It's that different world that Johnson says has him agreeing with possible legislation to allow someone to carry a concealed handgun in church. He says, "We need to make sure that we have adequate protection for yourself."
Protection in a place most feel safe; more than a year ago three men robbed the small Little Rock church during their morning worship service. Johnson says, "It was devastating, especially to the children."
Johnson says he'll never know if a member with a gun could have made a difference.
A few miles away, a much larger congregation with a different opinion met to worship. Alan Garland is a Security officer with Second Baptist Church. He says, "We have several security personnel on campus so just bringing extra guns in the sanctuary, that's not a good idea."
Some of their personnel is in uniform and some are not. Garland says, "They just walk the perimeter of the church, we want everyone to feel comfortable when they come on our campus."
It's the same goal but a different way of achieving it. Johnson says you won't find him carrying a gun at the pulpit but he wouldn't mind a member with a permit carrying a weapon. He says, "The preacher's job is to use the holy spirit to protect us."
The guards at Second Baptist church go through monthly training exercises. As far as the measure goes, we could know something by next week.