- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 5, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Churches in Mississippi could let some members carry guns inside to protect the congregation under a bill heading to the governor.

House Bill 786 would allow places of worship to designate members to undergo firearms training and carry guns to protect the congregation. The bill would also allow people to carry guns in holsters without a concealed weapons permit.

The House voted 85-35 Tuesday to send the bill to Gov. Phil Bryant for final approval or a veto.

Rep. Andy Gipson of Braxton says he authored the bill in response to a church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. He says the bill gives small churches and other houses of worship an extra option for security.

Legislators who oppose the bill say it uses religion as an excuse to loosen gun laws.

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