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      Arkansas State Senate Approves Bill that Would Allow Firearms in Churches

      LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - Arkansas lawmakers are tackling a controversial topic where religion, personal freedom, and individual protection collide. A senate bill that would let religious leaders decide whether guns should be permitted inside churches took a big step towards becoming law.

      This bill floundered in committee two years ago, but today the Senate{}passed the proposal on to the Arkansas House emphatically.{} Legislators debated the bill at length on the senate floor this afternoon, but in the end the measure carried through following a 28-4 vote.{}

      The proposal would allow churches to let folks with concealed carry permits bring firearms inside, but each individual religious leader can decide what's best for their house of worship.{} If the bill becomes law church officials will essentially have three options:{} they can continue to ban firearms inside, choose to allow just one or a few people to carry guns, or they can let anyone with a concealed carry permit bring weapons to their church.

      Now the House will have to decide whether the bill reaches Governor Beebe's desk.