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OKLAHOMA CITY -- A state lawmaker is pushing to include churches under the “Stand Your Ground” law. Rep. Mike Ritze (R-Broken Arrow) wants to give people clear legal authority to respond to dangerous individuals who threaten the safety of people at a place of worship.
"They don't have to do it, we are not mandating it. It just recognizes the right that they can do it just like they can in their homes, vehicles, and businesses," Rep. Ritze said.
The lawmaker points to the murder of a pastor in Anadarko and the recent bomb threat at Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond as the reasons for the law.
Pastor Paul Blair with Fairview Baptist says criminals are unpredictable and people have the right to defend themselves.
"I certainly want to make sure members are able to protect themselves when they come to worship on
Sunday morning," Blair said.
Imam Imad Enchassi, with the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, didn't know there was a need for the law because he thought the current law covered places of worship.
He believes people would naturally react if someone walked into a church or mosque and threatened lives.
"Somebody walks into the mall or somebody walks into a mosque or any worship place, the natural reaction would be to subdue that person," Imam Enchassi said.
The lawmaker who authored the original “Stand Your Ground” law says people are allowed to defend themselves in deadly situations anywhere in Oklahoma.
He believes the new law is just another way to clear up any confusion.
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