By Matthew Burns

Raleigh, N.C. — Concerns over a proposal to allow concealed weapons at schools that are used for religious services prompted a heated exchange Wednesday between two House members.

Guns are prohibited on school grounds unless they are secured in a locked vehicle, but House Bill 174 aims to carve out an exception for “educational property [that] is the location of both a school and a building that is a place of religious worship.”

Sponsor Rep. Rena Turner, R-Iredell, said the measure would let concealed carry permit holders take their guns with them to religious services if it was “outside the operating hours of the school” and a representative of the educational property gave them prior authorization.

Rep. Graig Meyer, D-Orange, asked that the language be clarified that it targets religious schools and not public schools that rent space to churches for weekend services.

When Rep. Ted Davis, R-New Hanover, chairman of the House Judiciary I Committee, said that could be hashed out with Turner before the bill is debated on the House floor, Rep. Grier Martin, D-Wake, questioned why the bill couldn’t be kept in committee for another week to hammer everything out.

“It’s our job, it’s staff’s job, to get this right before that,” Martin said.

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