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Controversial Gun Bill Allows Weapons in Churches

A Georgia Senate bill would allow loaded guns in churches and by a designated employee on college campuses. One minister said lawmakers need to instead focus on good jobs, schools and medical care.

A Senate bill would allow loaded guns in churches and by a designated employee on college campuses. File|Patch
A Senate bill would allow loaded guns in churches and by a designated employee on college campuses. File|Patch

A sweeping gun bill approved by the Georgia Senate late Tuesday has some controversial features: allowing guns in churches and permitting school districts to designate an employee who can carry a gun while decriminalizing guns on college campuses.

The bill, as changed, would allow guns in churches but make the provision an “opt in” — meaning church leaders don’t have to act unless they want to allow guns in churches. Original wording by the House would have lifted the state’s ban of guns in churches unilaterally unless leaders vote to prohibit them on individual church properties, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

According to language added by the Senate, someone caught with a gun in a church that didn’t allow it would face a misdemeanor charged and a $100 fine.

The Georgia House voted 119-56 to approve the bill.

State Rep. Rick Jasperse, the man behind the measure, told WGCL TV his bill would let law-abiding gun owners defend themselves if a criminal opens fire inside a sacred space before police have a chance to respond.

"It gives you the opportunity to take into your own hands," Jasperse said. "It opens up where they can defend themselves, when they choose to."

The Rev. Gary Charles, pastor of Central Presbyterian Church in downtown Atlanta, said the bill would make houses of worship more dangerous.

"When people come into houses of worship, they come into sanctuaries," Charles said. "They don't need to come into a place where people are fearing they are carrying loaded weapons."

Charles said lawmakers should focus on what he believes are more important issues: good jobs, schools and medical care.

The bill now heads back to the House, which can agree or disagree to it before the session ends Thursday.

Al Liram March 27, 2014 at 03:31 PM
@Sally F: Uhh, Sally, that's what liberals do. They are incapable of debating based on facts or logic, so they resort to lies and childish jabs. There are stupid people who, to their credit, realize they are stupid and know to keep their mouths shut. E Pluribus Unum is not one of them.
Sally F March 27, 2014 at 03:42 PM
!Al: That's the way it always seems to go with anti-gun positions. They start out with valid concerns of "there will be blood in the streets", "children will be murdered", etc. and, when you point out that none of this stuff has ever happened and there really is no issue, it quickly changes to idiotic things like "guns cause crime", "guns kill", or whatever other credit they want to assign to inanimate objects. I don't mind a logical argument, and I respect Maurice's opinion and faith, but childish jabs will never advance any argument.
Maurice Walker March 27, 2014 at 04:15 PM
This is a debate that is full of emotions on both sides. But I think that my points were made and the points contrary to my views were made and heard as well. Therefore, I will withdraw from furthering this discussion.
"E Pluribus Unum" March 27, 2014 at 04:55 PM
Two kicked dogs yelping...hehehe.
Rob March 28, 2014 at 04:28 PM
When you are in Dunwoody, say at the Walmart, and the DPD is no where around as usual, you will be glad for the right to carry! NRA --YES!

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