Eleventh Circuit Hears Church Gun Ban Arguments

By Robyn Hagan Cain on October 12, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Remember when then-Senator Barack Obama ran into trouble on the 2008 campaign trail because he told attendees at a San Francisco fundraiser that people in small town Pennsylvania “get bitter” and “cling to guns or religion?”

Fox News went crazy covering the story. Actually, every media outlet went crazy covering the story; it was an explosive sound bite.

Now it’s the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals’ turn to determine if people in Georgia should simultaneously cling to God and guns. Last Thursday, the Eleventh Circuit heard oral arguments in a challenge to a Georgia law that bans firearms in churches.

GeorgiaCarry.org, the group that initially brought the lawsuit, claims that the church gun ban stifles religious freedom. The group says that churches should be allowed to decide whether they want to allow guns inside, citing examples of church shootings as support for why worshippers should be allowed to bring guns to church, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Pro-gun churchgoers note that churches are open, vulnerable, and prime targets for criminals looking for a quick cash grab.

The state, on the other hand, claims that permitting guns in houses of worship supplants the spiritual experience with an atmosphere of "protective vigilance," according to the Christian Post.

The Eleventh Circuit's decision could have an impact on future challenges in the Eighth and Fifth Circuit Courts; Arkansas, Mississippi, and North Dakota have adopted similar church gun bans, according to the Associated Press.

How do you think the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals will rule on Georgia's church gun ban? Should incidents like the December 2009 Colorado Springs church shooting, in which an armed churchgoer stopped a gunman, influence the court's opinion?

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