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Oklahoma Lawmakers Close to Extending "Stand Your Ground" Protections to Churches

Clifton Adcock/Oklahoma Watch

A movement continues to extend “stand your ground” protections for self-defense shootings to places of worship.

The Senate voted 42–1 on Thursday for House Bill 2632, which makes places used either part- or full-time for religious services covered by the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act.

The shooting still must be done because of reasonable fear of harm or death or to prevent a violent felony.

"That makes it clear that there has to be some reason that you felt that you were threatened and needed to use that defensive force, or that someone else is threatened and that you needed to use that force," said Sen. Micheal Bergstrom.

If the bill becomes law, it doesn’t mean churches will suddenly have to allow congregants to carry guns.

"Those that have the ability to restrict the rights of carrying guns within buildings, it doesn’t change it whatsoever. No change whatsoever," Bergstrom said.

Sen. Randy Bass was the lone vote against HB2632, which now goes back to the House for final approval because the Senate amended it.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.