On Wednesday, a bill authorizing designated members of churches in Mississippi to carry firearms and protect the congregation was advanced at the Mississippi Capitol. The bill, known as the Mississippi Church Protection Act (House Bill 786) was voted by the House 86-32. With this vote, the bill has been proposed to move to the Senate for further evaluation.
The author of the bill, House Judiciary B Committee Chairman Andy Gipson, is both an attorney and a small Baptist church minister. According to ABC News, Gipson filed the bill as a response to the slayings that happened last summer in a church in Charleston, South Carolina. Gipson shared that “a number of congregations don’t have the resources to hire professional security.” This prompted him to author the bill and propose it to the congregation. Gipson’s own rural church has around 100 members.