Virginia Senate passes bill to allow guns in churches

File (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Virginia Senate has passed legislation aimed at allowing guns in church in the wake of a deadly church shooting in Texas.

The Republican-controlled chamber voted along party lines Tuesday to approve the measure, which would repeal a state law prohibiting weapons in a place of worship during a religious service.

A state Attorney General’s opinion from 2011 says current law already allows Virginians to carry guns in churches, subject to a church’s permission. But GOP Sen. Ben Chafin, the bill’s sponsor, said the legislature needed to clarify and cement the right to carry a gun in church into law if a church allows it.

Last year, a gunman opened fire during a Sunday service at a Baptist church in Texas, killing more than two dozen worshippers.

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