- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 8, 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has expanded the state’s “stand your ground” law to allow people to use deadly force in church.

The Republican governor signed House Bill 2632 on Monday to add places of worship to the list of locations where Oklahoma citizens have a “right to expect absolute safety.” The list already includes a person’s home and place of business.

The law allows someone to use deadly force against anyone who enters those locations “unlawfully or forcefully.”

Fallin signed the new law about six months after a gunman walked into a church in the Texas town of Sutherland Springs and fatally shot more than two dozen people before killing himself.

Republican Rep. Greg Babinec, who introduced the Oklahoma bill in January, has said the legislation was designed to protect churchgoers and was “necessary based on what we’ve seen in the past.” He didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment about the new law Tuesday.

Fallin has not said whether she will sign “constitutional carry” legislation that would authorize people age 21 and older, and military personnel who are at least 18, to carry a handgun openly or concealed without a state-issued license or permit. The legislation is similar to laws in effect in a dozen other states.

Guns rights advocates and several Republican candidates for governor have urged the term-limited Fallin to sign the bill. But the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, which issues handgun licenses in the state, has expressed concerns. The agency argues the bill eliminates the training requirement for carrying a firearm and an extensive background check process that includes mental health and court records.

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