LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A gun-toting Kentucky pastor says it's OK to bring weapons to church — at least for one day.
Ken Pagano asked his flock to bring their unloaded handguns — in holsters — to New Bethel Church in Louisville for a celebration of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Consitution that guarantees the right to bear arms.
More than 200 people answered his call. There was just one rule for the several dozen who brought their guns along: No bullets.
The "Open Carry Celebration" included a handgun raffle, patriotic music and screening of gun safety videos. Some gun owners carried old-fashioned six-shooters in leather holsters, while others packed modern police-style firearms. Kentucky allows residents to openly carry guns in public with some restrictions.
Across town, a coalition of peace and church groups concerned about Pagano's appeal to gun owners staged their own gun-free event.
"I think when people first learned about this invitation to wear guns to church, many people were deeply troubled," said Terry Taylor, one of the organizers. "The idea of wearing guns to churches or any sacred space I think many people find deeply troubling."
Pagano's event also troubled his church's longtime insurance carrier, which declined to insure the event and informed him it won't renew the policy. He found a new carrier at a cost of $700 for the day, but guns had to be unloaded.
Kentucky was virtually solid for McCain in 2008.