Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Karla Pomeroy

Area pastors mixed on concealed carry legislation

WORLAND — Area pastors aware of House Bill 141 that would allow concealed weapons in places of worship don’t see a need for it and have concerns about the legislation.


March 6, 2018

WORLAND — Area pastors aware of House Bill 141 that would allow concealed weapons in places of worship don’t see a need for it and have concerns about the legislation.

HB 141 has passed the House of Representatives and passed Committee of the Whole in the Senate Monday. There will be two more readings.

Current Wyoming statute prohibits a concealed weapon in “any place where persons are assembled for public worship, without the written consent of the chief administrator of that place.”

The new legislation repeals the restriction on carrying a concealed weapon into any place where people are assembled for public worship.

Pastor Mabel Rangel of the Church of God Prophecy said, she has mixed emotions on the legislation. She said if it is people she knows and trusts that come into church with a concealed firearm that would probably be fine, but what about visitors that you don’t know.

She said not knowing if someone is bringing a weapon into her church is also a concern. She said church leaders should be made aware if someone has a concealed weapon in church.

Rangel said she understands that part of the rationale behind the legislation is shootings in churches over the past few years.

“The congregation in Worland, we’ve been discussing different safety issues. You think well it’s Worland, nothing ever happens in these remote towns, but my goodness, you never know, it could. And if it does, what would a person do, how would they handle it?”

She said they have discussed asking the Worland Police to come and do a presentation about what they can do.

“If they are allowed to carry it and it’s concealed, I think they should tell you when they come,” Rangel said. “I think you should be aware of whoever brings a gun in, who it is and do you trust them.”

Pastor David Villa of Victory Christian Center Foursquare Gospel expressed similar concerns about not knowing who might have a concealed weapon in church.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea in the church. I just got to trust in God,” Villa said.

He said violence in the church is something he can relate to personally. He related a story when he and his brother pastored in San Antonio and there was a shooter taking shots at pastors.

“My brother, he never carries a New Testament in his pocket,” but on the day the shooter came to their church he had one and it saved his life, with the bullet ricocheting off the New Testament and putting a hole in the wall.

Pastor Harvey Seidel of First Baptist Church in Thermopolis said he likes the law as it is currently.

“We do have several in our church who do carry and have gotten permission,” Seidel said.

As for the proposed legislation to remove the restriction of written permission, Seidel said, “I really don’t care for that to be honest, it is a better idea that we have some control on it. I don’t object to it, but I want the ones who are [carrying] to have an understanding of the proper decorum.”

“I like the law as it is written now,” he emphasized.

Grace Lutheran Pastor Tim Trippel said he is aware of the legislation. “I’m not really for it or against it. I don’t find it necessary.”

He said he knows some churches are exploring security procedures but Grace Lutheran is not at this time.

Worland United Methodist Pastor Steve Brown said he was not aware of the current proposed legislation.

He did note, “I am 100 percent opposed to assault weapons, anywhere.”

Local legislators Rep. Nathan Winters, R-Thermopolis, and Rep. Mike Greear, R-Worland, both supported the legislation in the House.


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2017