Court Upholds Georgia Ban on Guns in Church
Religion TodayReligious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
- 2012 Jul 26
A federal appeals court has upheld Georgia's ban on bringing guns into places of worship, the Religion News Service reports. The Rev. Jonathan Wilkins, a Baptist pastor, and the gun-rights group GeorgiaCarry.org had argued that church members should have the right to carry guns into worship services to protect the congregation, but the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled July 20 that a Georgia law adopted in 2010 does not violate the Thomaston congregation's First and Second Amendment rights. "A place of worship's right, rooted in the common law, to forbid possession of firearms on its property is entirely consistent with the Second Amendment," the court ruled, adding that wanting a weapon for self-defense is a "personal preference, motivated by a secular purpose." Jerry Henry, executive director of GeorgiaCarry.org, said his organization and Rev. Wilkins were considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. "We think they've got it wrong again," he said. "The church's First Amendment right prevails over the state right to tell them what they can and cannot do."