Clever lawsuit from Georgia Carry
Petition for cert. here. It stems from a challenge to Georgia's ban on carrying in churches. Ordinarily, I'd not give that much hope of success. But Georgia Carry recruited a church pastor who wanted church goers to carry. Now it becomes a first and second amendment case, with the government telling a minister how to conduct worship services.
I've never understood why churches should be singled out for special protections "from" firearms carry. I'm not going to say that a LOT of people at my smallish church (in WA state) carry, but I know of at least four, and no one bats an eye when I open carry.
Posted by: Sig at October 16, 2012 07:51 PM
I was told once that the church prohibition had racist roots, and was the same basic rationale as the prohibition (in Georgia at least) against carrying in public gathering places. Whites didn't want free blacks being armed in places where many whites gathered, nor did they want large groups of free blacks being armed.
Posted by: Joshua at October 16, 2012 08:40 PM
Many colonial statutes required individual arms-bearing for public-safety reasons—such as the 1770 Georgia law that "for the security and defence of this province from internal dangers and insurrections" required those men who qualified for militia duty individually "to carry fire arms" "to places of public worship."
The 1770 GA law mentioned can be found on Google Books. Guns in GA churches aren't new, but carry haven't been allowed for some time. Seems if the law was mentioned in dicta shaping what was understood of the 2A then it's generally OK. I'd really like to see GCO's case accepted.
If I were a betting man, I think several 2A cases which pivot on the interpretation of "most acute in the home" can be addressed together, much like Scneider v. Town of Irvington (308 US 147).
Posted by: Scott at October 17, 2012 06:59 AM
And to the extent prohibitions were racially motivated, they often (usually? always?) went UNenforced against whites.
Posted by: wrangler5 at October 17, 2012 07:29 AM
This case has more to do with private property rights than carry restrictions:
"Although the statute generally prohibits persons with valid Georgia Weapons Licenses from carrying a firearm in a place of worship, the statute also provides that the prohibition on carrying in the unauthorized locations listed in subsection (b) does not apply to, inter alia, “a license holder who approaches security or management personnel upon arrival ... and notifies such security or management personnel of the presence of the weapon ... and explicitly follows the security of management personnel's direction for removing, securing, storing, or temporarily surrendering such weapon.” O.C.G.A. § 16–11–127(d)(2). As a result, the statute would allow Wilkins to keep a firearm in his office if he obtained permission from security or management personnel of the Tabernacle and kept it secured or stored as directed. If management or security personnel at the Tabernacle, which presumably includes Wilkins as CEO, did not grant him permission to secure or store a firearm in his office, then that would be at their discretion. Plaintiffs do not argue, however, that they possess a constitutional right to carry a firearm onto private property against the wishes of the owner or controller of the property."
GeorgiaCarry.Org, Inc. v. Georgia, 764 F.Supp.2d 1306, 1320 (M.D.Ga.,2011).
So, "secure" the weapon on your person and have a nice day. Or get out of my church because I don't like guns. Either way, the choice is the church's.
The Eleventh Circuit relied even more heavily on this rationale in upholding the law.
Posted by: Jim at October 17, 2012 12:53 PM
Why are churches being singled out by criminalizing otherwise legal behavior based soley on the fact that they're churches?
Why is the exercise of religious freedom being dampened by criminalizing self-defense at churches simply because they're churches?
Why are houses of worship placed at increased risk for armed robbery and other mayhem for no other reason than that they're houses of worship?
Why are certain private property rights taken away from churches just because they're chuches?
Posted by: No One at October 18, 2012 08:10 PM
Churches should retain private property rights. That should include the right to allow/prohibit as they see fit the same as any private property owner.
Posted by: MB at October 19, 2012 09:57 AM
[quote]So, "secure" the weapon on your person and have a nice day. Or get out of my church because I don't like guns. Either way, the choice is the church's.[/quote]
No GA Weapon License holder wants to be the test case for this rational especially knowing the intent of the GA legislature was to explicitly prohibit by law weapons at places of worship.
Posted by: MB at October 19, 2012 10:02 AM
Note that all of "No One's" and others' comments are made in a context of a marked hostility by the nation's elites towards the nation's majority religion, one that seems to filter down to disturbed individuals who have or how have tried to commit more than a few mass murders at churches.
Because of that context and those events I view these modern laws as more than a little sinister.
Posted by: Harold at October 19, 2012 10:08 AM