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Mississippi Senate passes bill allowing armed security teams in churches

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JACKSON, Miss. — Asked to choose between a Christian spirit of peace and a God-given right of self-defense, Mississippi senators are overwhelming favoring the latter.

The Senate voted 36-14 Tuesday to pass House Bill 786, known as the Mississippi Church Protection Act. The bill returns to the House.

It says places of worship could designate members to undergo firearms training and carry guns to protect the congregation.

The bill also allows people to carry guns in holsters without a concealed weapons permit, expanding on last year’s law allowing people to carry guns in purses without a permit.

Finally, the measure asserts no state official can enforce any federal executive order or administrative rule that violates the U.S. or Mississippi constitutions. It’s a challenge to the principle that federal law overrides state law.

“Unfortunately, our nation has seen tragic incidents carried out in places of worship,” Lt. Gov. Reeves said in a statement. “Mississippians should be able to attend church knowing they have security measures in place to protect them from anyone trying to do them harm.”