Should guns be in Church?

An outside shot of Victorious Life Church. / Allen Carter

Update: Turns out you can bring a gun into places of worship as long as the leadership permits. That's what a state attorney argued Thursday.

The suit was brought on by the gun rights group saying the gun ban was a violation of the first amendment. Assistant Attorney General Laura Lones said the group was misreading the law.

Still a three judge panel from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to rule on the case at a later date.

Studies have shown that Georgia has some of the most relaxed gun laws in the country. But there are still certain places you can't tote a firearm. Churches are included but a gun rights group was to take it off the list.

"You're restricting people from being able to defend themselves in a specific place and it's been proven time and time again that when you do that those places become soft targets," said Chuck Turney of the group suing claiming Georgia's prohibition on guns at places of worship are a violation of the first amendment.

"It's private property. Why is the government getting involved in what the government can and cannot do on private property that should be the owner's decision?" said Turney.

Members of the clergy say they do understand people's need to feel protected, even in church, but they say bringing firearms into the sanctuary is probably better left to the professionals.

"If you have properly trained security, then I think that the guns should be in their hands not the hands of the parishioners," said Nathan Paige, pastor at Albany's Victorious Life Church.

Paige does have security but says his main concern is making sure that his congregation can worship comfortably and in peace."

"I don't want to worship next to someone and they're lifting their hands and I see a gun. That can cause a little fear," said Paige.

"I'm sure that right now there are a lot of people that carry in churches illegally for one reason or another that people don't even know they're there," says Turney. "There has always been this argument of what if they go crazy and do something. You know they have been saying that for years but it hasn't happened."

A three judge panel will rule on the case at a later date.

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