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FL – SELF-PROTECTION – Bill Would Make it Legal to Bring Guns to Houses of Worship Attached to Schools

Under Florida law, it’s illegal to bring a weapon into a house of worship that’s on the same grounds as a school. But a bill going before the Florida House for a final vote would allow people with a concealed carry permit to bring guns into churches, synagogues, and other religious institutions.In Central Florida, the bill is dividing lawmakers and religious leaders. Inside the Islamic Center of  Orlando, dozens of men are kneeling in a row silently saying the early afternoon prayer. Imam Tariq Rasheed recites the Quran. Rasheed says he’s split on allowing guns at his mosque. He says guns can save lives like they did during the 2019 West Freeway Church of Christ shooting in Texas. The gunman had killed two congregants before he was shot down by an armed volunteer. “This way he was able to stop that killer from killing more people. If he was not there with a gun yes he would have caused more damage.” But Rasheed says the presence of guns can make some people feel less safe. The mosque is next to the Muslim Academy of  Greater Orlando. That makes it a third degree felony to carry a weapon on site. The Safety of Religious Institutions bill would change that. People could bring a gun to a house of worship for safety or personal protection even if there’s a school attached. Across town is Congregation Ohev Shalom in Maitland. It’s connected to the Jewish Academy of Orlando. Rabbi David Kay joins children singing a prayer before lessons. Kay says he can understand why some congregants might want to carry a gun into the sanctuary especially after the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh in 2018 and the Poway shooting in California in 2019. “So, there’s deep concern. At the same time, there’s deep concern by many people in the community that we don’t want our religious institutions to turn into fortresses.”  [full article]



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