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Bill passes OK House to allow “Stand Your Ground” law to include places of worship

OKLAHOMA CITY -- House lawmakers have passed a bill expanding the Stand Your Ground law into places of worship.

House Bill 2632, authored by Rep. Greg Babinec, R-Cushing, passed the floor by a vote of 62-21.

"This is about protecting my family and my church family in a place of worship​," Rep. Babinec said during debate.​

The Stand Your Ground law currently allows people to use deadly force if they believe their lives are in danger.

The bill will not force churches and other places of worship to allow weapons inside, and only applies to those that allow conceal and carry-permitted weapons.

Speaking in favor of the bill, Rep. John Bennett, R-Sallisaw, argued that people have both a constitutional and biblical right to defend themselves.

"Because of this evil world we live in, we have to run bills just like this. It’s unfortunate, but it’s a good bill. It’s for a good reason, and it’s clearly justified in scripture and in our constitution," said Rep. Bennett.

However, opponents urged members to carefully read the language, particularly Section F on page 3, which states that a person who uses deadly force is "immune from criminal prosecution and civil action."

Rep. Collin Wallke, D-Oklahoma City questioned who would be responsible if an innocent person was shot.

"This not about being anti-gun. This is not about being anti-second amendment," said Rep. Walke. "If you have a gun in a house of worship, somebody comes in and they start shooting, and then you shoot at the intruder and miss, and they hit your child, your daughter, your son, your wife, my wife, who’s a minister, I can’t pursue that person in the court of law. That’s what this bill says."

The bill now heads to a Senate committee.