RALEIGH, North Carolina — Concealed weapon permit holders could carry handguns on North Carolina private school campuses when separate church services are happening onsite in legislation approved on Tuesday by a state Senate committee.

The measure largely follows portions of a 2020 gun bill that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed. Republicans ultimately failed to gain enough Democratic support to override the veto.

Bill supporters, which include leaders of many conservative Christian ministers, say the measure seeks to improve internal security for churches that also operate schools. Current law allows standalone churches to let concealed weapon holders carry a handgun, but not at churches that hold services at the same location where the school operates.

The legislation states the permit holder would only be able to carry the gun outside of the school’s operating hours. And these churches could choose to opt out of the measure by posting a sign prohibiting concealed weapons.

The measure, which cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee with a couple of “no” votes by Democrats, now heads to another Senate panel.