Push To Ban Guns In Illinois Churches
By Amanda Vinicky, with additional reporting from The Associated Press
Illinois' new concealed carry law forbids people from bringing guns into schools, hospitals and casinos. A group of religious leaders say they want the same protection for places of worship.
Rev. Alice Harper-Jones is a pastor at the Kenwood United Church of Christ, in Chicago. She said it is a place where members of the congregation and visitors alike come to pray, to be consoled, to receive encouragement.
"We not only meet on Sunday but we have people coming in throughout the week in various capacities," Harper-Jones said. "We want to be able to create a safe and secure space for people to worship and to address personal issues and discuss personal concerns."
This sort of secure space, she said, is where a gun should never be permitted.
Several states, including Nebraska, South Carolina and North Dakota, prohibit carrying concealed guns in churches, and State Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) wants Illinois to be added to that list.
Kotowski, who is a former gun control lobbyist, said he does not agree with a provision in the state's new concealed-carry law that allows guns in churches, temples or mosques. He filed an amendment to the law Monday to change that policy.
Illinois was the last state in the nation to approve concealed-carry legislation this month.