Couple witnesses church shooting, sounds off on guns in churches

Could guns be making their way to your church congregation?

Arkansas Senate Bill 71 was passed by the Arkansas House of Representatives Monday. Now, it's only a formality until the bill becomes a law, allowing churches to decide whether people with concealed carry permits can bring in a gun or not.

We found a Benton couple who experienced first-hand a tragic event in church.

September 15th, 1999, nearly five months after the Columbine High School shooting, a man walked into a Fort Worth, Texas church firing shots everywhere. Daniel and Laurie Cox, who now live in Benton, were there to witness the horrific shooting.

"You know 15 years later, I still look through windows at church," said Daniel Cox. "I feel 100 percent comfortable at church, but that is one thing that has changed with me."

While Laurie was in the back of Wedgwood Baptist Church working with children, Daniel heard gun shots and witnessed 47-year-old Larry Gene Ashbrook kill seven people and injures seven others before taking his own life.

"Very quickly I realized someone was shooting at us," Cox continued.

With an 85-8 vote for Monday, the Arkansas house hopes now giving churches an option will help prevent such a crime.

"I'm against having guns in the church, but I'm in favor of deferring that decision to the churches," added Speaker Davy Carter with Arkansas House of Representatives.

It's a decision churches around the state will soon be making. Most we spoke with remain undecided, but expect to meet soon to figure out what to do. As for the Cox's their first hand encounter offers up this view.

"It doesn't matter where you are, there are going to be bad things that happen. I think this is just one way that we can be proactive and be prepared," said Laurie Cox.

This bill still has to be signed by Governor Mike Beebe, but all indications show he will pass it to make it a state law.