The 11th circuit court of appeals heard arguments in a suit brought by georgiacarry.org challenging the constitutionality of Georgia’s law designating churches, mosques and synagogues in the Peach State as
free-fire zones gun-free havens of peace and tranquility. “We’re not trying to force churches to allow guns in their sanctuary,” said Kelly Kennett, a gun owner who is president of GeorgiaCarry.org. “Churches should be treated like any other private property owner. Why are you treating people at churches differently than how you’d be treated at a store, at a bank, at a club?” But as the AP reports, from the pointed questioning georgiacarry.org’s attorney took from the three-judge panel, the gun rights group appears to have a tough row to hoe…
It seemed the biggest stumbling block was the group’s decision to target the state but not the local prosecutors and authorities who would actually enforce the law. Judges pounced on GeorgiaCarry.org attorney John Monroe as soon as he began making his arguments.
“We’re not asking you to put in more defendants,” said Circuit Judge Gerald Bard Tjoflat. “What we’re saying to you is there’s nothing we can do for you.”
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of the Baptist Tabernacle of Thomaston, where the Rev. Jonathan Wilkins said he wanted to have a gun for protection while working in the church office. The judge also questioned how banning firearms in a place of worship violates religious freedoms.
At one point, Circuit Judge Ed Carnes questioned whether there’s any passage in the Bible that allows guns in churches. Did any challenger, he wondered, argue: “Thou shalt have the right to bring a gun to church?”
GeorgiaCarry.org attorney John Monroe said his client quoted scripture that underpinned his beliefs on firearms, but he wasn’t able to offer any of the quotes at the hearing.
The state, meanwhile, chose the old bob and weave defense.
State attorney Laura Lones, meanwhile, countered that the law only minimally restricts gun rights in churches. She argued the law can be interpreted to allow gun owners to bring their weapons into houses of worship as long as they have permission and keep the weapons secured. Carnes, though, called it a “creative” interpretation of the statute.
This all seems like a tempest in a teapot, really. Everyone knows shootings never take place in churches. Aren’t common-sense restrictions of second amendment rights a small price to pay for a quiet place to pray once a week?
Pastor Bradley Schmeling of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Atlanta is a big fan of the gun ban. As he put it, “It seems to me that churches and synagogues and mosques ought to be able to be places of peace, because our society needs that.”
We’d agree with the good pastor, and he’s welcome to restrict his flock to non-carriers as he sees fit. But using the power of the state to force Pastor Schmeling’s view on every other house of worship in Georgia seems a touch heavy-handed for a man of God.
This pastor will be bumming when some wacko wipes out half his church and no one will be able to defend themselves.
Does this mean there are churches that want guns? Is that your point? And those poor churches that WANT armed parishoners are being unfairly treated?
“But using the power of the state to force Pastor Schmeling’s view on every other house of worship in Georgia seems a touch heavy-handed for a man of God.”
I’m sure you google-guys could find some church somewhere that does want exactly that, but generally speaking, preachers and ministers and priests have a better grip on reality than you guys do. Just like College presidents, they realize the fewer guns the better.
I haven’t seen a church which prohibits guns. In my state, Kansas, all a church has to do is use proper signage just like any business, government building, community center etc. to let it known that guns are not allowed. I ain’t saying there aren’t church’s which object, just haven’t seen one.
On a Conceal Carry site I frequent many church goers and some pastors talk about carrying in church. It’s their church and nobody else has any business telling them otherwise.
I hope that mikeb’s family gets accosted at a college of thier choice. CC should be allowed at colleges if the person has a permit. College presidents are NOT the smartest people, and because they are president doesn’t mean they know whats best. Look at the women that got raped in tenn. Wake up buddy!
I go many places armed; restaurants, theaters, drug stores, malls, why not church? Why armed? Because I choose to be responsible for the safety of myself and my family. Either I’m responsible or I’m irresponsible. I choose responsibility.
Stick to what you know Mikey – whatever that may be…
There are many churches that are very conservative religiously and politically. Mine is one of them. As a senior pastor, I warmly welcome anyone that chooses to exercise their RKBA. It goes deeper though to basic human decency. Since the real world clearly shows that churches and vestments do not prevent or protect against bad guys, then I want my people to be able to defend themselves.
I think the idea though is that churches should be allowed to make the determination. In the case of the pastor who wants to be able to defend himself, he should be able to exercise his Constitutional rights in accord with his beliefs.
The Pastor will be bumming when half the contributions fail to arrive due to the death of the contributors!
Untill recently (meaning pre 1964 commie take over of the East Coast Elite) there were still laws on the books that required the adult males (14 and over) of a family to carry arms to and from church specificly to defend from attack.
The arms were listed in order of preferance. Muskets, pistols, swords, Billhooks, axes.