Church Protection Act Advances in Alabama

Church Protection Act Advances in Alabama
Church Protection Act Advances in Alabama

Arizona -( An Alabama representative, Lynn Greer (R), has filed a bill to clarify Alabama law to include churches with dwellings that have protection under the law to use deadly force to protect the people inside from attack.  On 15 February, 2018, the bill was passed with overwhelming support, 40 to 16, in the House.  39 Republicans and 1 Democrat voted for the bill, 2 Republicans and 14 Democrats voted against it. From

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Lynn Greer, R-Rogersville, would add houses of worship to the state’s 2006 law, allowing a person to use physical force against anyone committing a crime, attempting a crime or attacking an employee, volunteer or member of a church.

“If you have someone coming into a church with a gun that starts shooting folks, you want to have someone that’s going to shoot back,” Greer said during the debate.

The House approved the measure 40 to 16. In the Montgomery delegation, Rep. Reed Ingram, R-Pike Road voted for the bill; Reps. John Knight and Thad McClammy, both D-Montgomery, voted against it. Reps. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery; Kelvin Lawrence, D-Hayneville; Dimitri Polizos, R-Montgomery and Chris Sells, R-Greenville were listed as not voting.

The bill extends the protection to offsite church social events and does not specify that the protection of church members needs to take place in a church itself, and opponents of the legislation have said it would extend Stand Your Ground well beyond houses of worship.

The bill is one of a number of legislative measures to remove legislative obstacles that prevent effective means to self-defense and others in “gun free” zones.

From the bill, HB 34:

“(2) CHURCH. A bona fide duly constituted religious society or ecclesiastical body of any sect, order, or5denomination, or any congregation thereof.

(2)(3) DEADLY PHYSICAL FORCE. Force which, under the circumstances in which it is used, is readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury.” 

(3)(4) DWELLING. A building which is usually occupied by a person lodging therein at night, or a building of any kind, including any attached balcony, whether the building is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night.

It was not entirely clear that churches would be included as “dwellings” under the old law. The intent of HB 34 is to amend the law to insure that churches  have the same protection as dwellings, under the law.  From

The bill says a person is presumed justified in the use of deadly force if they reasonably believe someone is about to seriously harm a church member at a church function.

Rep. Lynn Greer said he proposed the bill at the request of a church in his district after shootings in other states.

The Alabama Legislature is pushing to restore Second Amendment rights in the state.  Alabama approved of a strong state constitutional amendment protecting the right to keep and bear arms in 2014.  From ballotpedia:

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that every citizen has a fundamental right to bear arms and that any restriction on this right would be subject to strict scrutiny; and to provide that no international treaty or law shall prohibit, limit, or otherwise interfere with a citizen’s fundamental right to bear arms.

Earlier in 2018, Senate Bill 3 was introduced to make Alabama a Constitutional Carry state.

To become law, HB 34 will have to be passed in the senate, and signed into law by Governor Kay Ivy.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

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About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.