WEST FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A law that takes effect Thursday in North Dakota allows permitted parishioners to pack a gun in church.
The legislation sponsored by Rep. Kim Koppelman states that someone with a concealed weapon permit can be armed in church if church officials allow it. Local police would also have to be notified whom the church has authorized to carry a weapon.
Churches can remain gun-free zones if that's what their leaders prefer. But Koppelman says, "If there is a threat at the church, now someone can do something about it. In the past, they haven't been able to."
He suggests all churches will be safer because would-be attackers can no longer assume a congregation is unprotected.
Koppelman says a pastor from western North Dakota, where the oil boom has attracted outsiders and crime has increased, testified passionately in favor of the new law.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)