Georgia lawmakers still debating guns in churches laws - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgia lawmakers still debating guns in churches laws

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The debate continues over where gun permit holders should be allowed to carry their weapons.

A bill approved by the State Senate would let the owners or members of a church decide whether to allow guns in their place of worship.

Gun rights activists it's a good step forward, but many church leaders say they still don't want guns in their churches.

Senate bill 102 was approved by a vote of 41 to 11, but has not been passed by the House. Instead of a statewide ban of guns in churches, it would let each church decide for themselves, like any other private property.

Keyioca Rod trains with her .380 handgun, which she has a permit to carry.

Rod said "Now a days you never know. People are going in churches, going in grocery stores. There is stuff happening everyday."

In church is not the big issue, for guns rights organizations like Georgia Carry.org They want permitted gun owners to be able carry their weapons in their everyday lives, and not be barred in many areas.

Georgiacarry.org board of directors member Chuck Turney said "We want to carry, to work, on the way back and forth to work. That kind of thing. Just be able to carry wherever we need, because the Police can't be everywhere."

Second Mt. Zion Baptist Church Pastor Reverend Theodus Drake has a permit to carry a gun, and does so. But he thinks churches should still be gun free zones.

Drake said "the only people who are carrying guns within the Church ought to be authorized personnel, for security purposes only. And they ought to be trained people."

And Reverend Drake does not like the idea of having to put up a sign on his church door saying no guns allowed.

Turney said "You are never going to keep guns out of place by having a law against it. You are just going to keep law abiding citizens from being able to defend themselves in those places."

Rod trains with her gun, and says she should be able to carry it where she decides, not state lawmakers.

Rod said "If the bad guys can have one, why can't we legally have one."

State legislators are debating that point again, knowing that many Georgians want to keep their guns close just in case, even in church.>

GeorgiaCarry.org is opposed to one of the amendments to the Senate Bill, that would allow elected officials to carry a gun in government buildings. The group says politicians should not be given special privileges denied to other citizens.

So far this year 400 people have applied for gun carry permits in Dougherty County probate court.

Georgia carry dot org says its membership is growing because people want to defend their Second Amendment rights.

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