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State Lawmaker Wants to Reconsider Virginia's Ban on Guns in Churches

Do guns belong in churches and synagogues? Lawmakers are about to take up that issue in Richmond.

Republican Senator Dick Black of Leesburg wants to repeal the prohibition against carrying a gun into a place of worship during services. That’s an effort gun rights supporters have wanted for years. But Kim Bobo with the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy says that would be a terrible idea.

“Pastors understand that we need to take security seriously, but arming people in worship doesn’t make us safer. Having more guns around doesn’t make us safer.”

Darcy Hirsh with the Jewish Community Relations Council agrees that guns do not belong in places of worship.

“Certainly some houses of worship may feel more comfortable with armed security, but we need to ensure that security is part of the plan of the synagogue rather than an individual acting in his or her own personal capacity.”

The religious community is split on this issue, though. The Virginia Baptist Association supports Senator Black’s bill as a way for churches to do what’s in their best interest to protect their congregations.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.
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