By Pat Warren

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A Maryland lawmaker wants to pave the way for churchgoers to carry guns to their services.

There was the deadly Texas shooting at First Baptists Church of Sutherland Springs, where 26 people were killed in Sunday service. Then there was Charlotte, North Carolina in June 2015, nine people were killed in bible study at Emmanuel AME Church.

“I don’t want to wait until we have that happen in Maryland,” said state Del. Kathy Szeliga (R) of Harford and Baltimore Counties. “What are we going to say when we have a church in Harford County that experiences what happened in Texas and we didn’t take our opportunity to allow our congregations to be safe.”

Harford County would be a pilot program.

“This is again enabling legislation that would let the churches put their rules, regulations, policies and procedures training requirements, whatever they deem as a business owner can,” Harford County Sheriff Jeff Gahler said. “They can begin to work on those by enabling them to have the right to do this. The legal right to do this.”

The bill would apply to all places of worship and none is forced to participate. Members would need permission from the church to attend services armed and must be legally able to carry a firearm.

This is one of about a dozen firearms-related bills heard in the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday.

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