Arizona state Sen. Sylvia Allen (R), during a committee debate on gun legislation Tuesday, got a little off-topic, telling appropriations committee members that she believes Sunday church attendance should be required by law for every American.
“It’s the soul that is corrupt. How we get back to a moral rebirth in this country I don’t know, since we are slowly eroding religion at every opportunity we have,” Allen said in a statement captured in part on video. “Probably we should be debating a bill that would require every American to attend the church of their choice on Sunday, to see if we can get back to having a moral rebirth.”
The bill being debated, HB 2320, would allow a person to keep their gun on them in a public establishment or event so long as that person has a valid concealed carry permit. Currently, the operator of a public establishment can request that an person with a firearm forfeit the firearm, if the operator has a temporary and secure storage area to keep the weapon.
The bill makes an exceptions for public places with metal detectors or security staff.
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Allen, who made her way into the Arizona senate as an appointee after the death of state Sen. Jake Flake, won election in 2008. She’s a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Allen said that because legally required church attendance “would never be allowed and we would not even be debating that,” she would “vote yes that people who are responsible and have a [concealed carry] permit don’t have to worry about their gun as they’re out and about doing their business in whatever building they’re in,” according to the blog of Allen’s colleague, Democratic state Sen. Steve Farley.
Allen later expounded on her comments, said Farley, comparing society to what she described as the morally superior moment of the late 1950s and early 1960s, when she could take the bus to the soda fountain with her friends without fear of violence.
Farley, who posted Allen’s original statement on Twitter, wrote in a blog post that “had Sen. Allen been African American in the South at the same time, she and her girlfriends would have had to ride in the back of the bus and been refused service at the soda fountain. Different people see the moral standing of the 50s and 60s in somewhat different ways.”
The bill, which passed the house this month in a 25-2 vote, was approved by the appropriations committee on Tuesday in a 5-3 vote.