Court upholds GA's law banning guns in churches - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Court upholds GA's law banning guns in churches

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More questions are being raised about gun rights in wake of the Colorado shooting that left 12 people dead.

Just recently a federal appeals court upheld Georgia's law banning guns in churches. The court dismissed an appeal that claims the ban violates constitutional rights to freedom of religion and bearing arms. The decision came down the same day a gunman walked into a movie theater and opened fire.

In the wake of a mass shooting in a Colorado movie theater, a federal appeals court in Atlanta upheld Georgia's law banning guns in churches.

The lawsuit was filed by a gun-rights organization, GeorgiaCarry.org and Reverend Jonathan Wilkins. On Friday, the court rejected the minister's argument that gun carriers had a constitutional right to bring sidearms to worship services.

Georgia's law restricts firearms in religious services and requires owners to get permission from the church.

"The supreme court has determined that the right to carry arms does not infringe upon your right to worship, so it is kind of a separate issue," says Father Stephen Pontzer\St. Teresa's Catholic Church.

Like movie theaters, a church is a place where people feel safe.

"We would like to think that we are safe everywhere, our homes, our churches, but the reality is we live in a violent world," says Pontzer.

Father Stephen Pontzer grew up around guns, and even has a permit to carry a weapon.

"I grew up with it, when we were in high school the guys used to have their rifles in the back of their trucks, for after school, we would go out deer hunting," says Pontzer.

And he says he doesn't have a problem with someone carrying a gun in church.

"If someone feels like they are in need of carrying a firearm for personal protection then they have that right under the constitution," says Pontzer.

After all he says it is the person behind the gun, who pulls the trigger.

"It is not the actual item that really causes the trouble it is actually the people who would misuse them," says Pontzer. 

As the ban continues in churches, more questions around gun rights are being raised after the Colorado Massacre.

Georgia law states firearms are banned from places of worship, government buildings, schools, nuclear power plants and bars without the owner's permission.

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