IL religious leaders want concealed-carry changes

Jul 15, 2013

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.  IPR’s Amanda Vinicky has more.

Rev. Alice Harper-Jones is a pastor at the Kenwood United Church of Christ, in Chicago. She says it's 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.  And 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."

The sort of secure space, she says, where a gun should never be permitted.

Harper-Jones backs legislation that would put a blanket, statewide ban on guns in any place of worship. She says it doesn't cross the line separating church and state.  She says lawmakers crossed that line when they passed a statue that lets people carry firearms into churches, mosques and synagogues.

Under Illinois' concealed carry law, Harper-Jones's church does not have to allow guns -- it's up to any private establishment if they're allowed or not.