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< Church Graduations
Jul 24, 2012 12:28
Category: Religious News

Guns in Church

ATLANTA (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld Georgia's law banning guns in churches and other places of worship.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision, published Friday, upholds a lower court's dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the law.

The lawsuit was filed by a gun rights organization — GeorgiaCarry.org — and the Rev. Jonathan Wilkins of the Baptist Tabernacle of Thomaston. Wilkins had said he wanted to have a gun for protection while working late in the church office.

The 11th Circuit rejected arguments that Georgia's ban violates the plaintiffs' First Amendment right to freedom of religion and Second Amendment right to bear arms.

John Monroe, a lawyer for Georgia Carry, said Monday the plaintiffs hadn't decided whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The lawsuit centered on a long-running fight between gun owners and state lawmakers over where firearms are allowed. Most gun rights advocates cheered when Georgia lawmakers lifted restrictions in 2010 that had long banned them from bringing their weapons into public gatherings.

Critics of the law argue that churches shouldn't be covered by the restrictions, which mostly apply to public buildings.