Guns In Church: Georgia Court Hears Arguments To Overturn Law Against Weapons In Religious Establishments
There's freedom of religion and the right to bear arms, but should guns be allowed in places of worship?
A Georgia gun activist group is trying to overturn a state law that prohibits people from bringing guns into religious establishments, and the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta heard their case Thursday.
The group, GeorgiaCarry.org, says a 2010 law, which prohibits guns in places of worship, violates the first amendment. Instead, they're calling to allow individual churches to make the decision for themselves, the International Business Times reports.
“This is more of a First Amendment case than a Second Amendment case," Kelly Kennett, president of GeorgiaCarry.org told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s about whether or not the government should be making laws dealing with churches."
"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?," Kennett told the Associated Press.
A judge pointed out that he was unclear as to how the law affected the freedom of religion, the Associated Press reports.
The organization points to numerous church shootings as reason to let individuals carry the weapons for means of self defense. However, lawyers point out that if guns were allowed, people would not be able to focus on "spiritual activities," the Atlanta Journal-Constitution explains.
State such as Arkansas, Mississippi and North Dakota also have laws prohibiting weapons in church, the Associated Press reports.
The court isn't expected to make a decision for a few weeks, but the International Business Times points out that either side could ask for an appeal following the outcome.