CONCORD, New Hampshire — The U.S. Senate has passed a bill cosponsored by Sen. Maggie Hassan to ensure that small states get funding to improve security at houses of worship.

Religious leaders across the country have been grappling with how to respond to gun violence spreading to houses of worship after shootings in churches in Texas and South Carolina, a synagogue in Pittsburgh, and a mosque in New Zealand.

In past years, only religious centers in major metropolitan areas were eligible for grants to protect against potential terrorist attacks. Congress recently began distributing money to smaller cities and rural areas, but it wasn’t permanent.

The bill cosponsored by the New Hampshire Democrat makes that change permanent. It was passed Thursday and sent to President Donald Trump.

“Terrorist threats are not confined just to big cities, and our efforts to prevent and mitigate attacks must not be either,” Hassan said in a statement.

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