Separation of Church and Second Amendment?

Does the state of Georgia trust bar owners and patrons more than it trusts ministers and church-goers? That's one way to read the fact that Georgia allows bars to set their own rules about allowing licensed gun owners to bring in firearms while churches are forbidden from doing the same thing. As Greg Bluestein of the Associated Press reports, the gun rights organization GeorgiaCarry.org is now challenging that gun ban at the federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals:

If Thursday's arguments are any indication, the challengers are facing a tough fight. All three judges on the panel raised technical legal concerns about the lawsuit targeting the 2010 law that banned people from carrying weapons into houses of worship....

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of the Baptist Tabernacle of Thomaston, where the Rev. Jonathan Wilkins said he wanted to have a gun for protection while working in the church office. The judge also questioned how banning firearms in a place of worship violates religious freedoms.

At one point, Circuit Judge Ed Carnes questioned whether there's any passage in the Bible that allows guns in churches. Did any challenger, he wondered, argue: "Thou shalt have the right to bring a gun to church?"

Bradley Schmeling, pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in Atlanta, told the Associated Press he thinks guns should not be allowed in churches, mosques, and synogogues, which he said should be "places of peace." Should the state of Georgia be allowed to force others, including Rev. Wilkins, to share Schmeling's view?

Read more of Reason's ongoing coverage of the Second Amendment in court.

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  • Anonymous Coward||

    At one point, Circuit Judge Ed Carnes questioned whether there's any passage in the Bible that allows guns in churches. Did any challenger, he wondered, argue: "Thou shalt have the right to bring a gun to church?"

    Jesus. Temple. Moneychangers. Whip.

    Thanks for playing.

  • strict constructionist liberal||

    A Whip is not a firearm!

  • ||

    But, it was like over 100years ago and they didn't even speak english back then. (this technique works both ways, right?)

  • Anonymous Coward||

    How about a spear?

    When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family. 2 But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram[a] and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes, who were about to be murdered. She put him and his nurse in a bedroom to hide him from Athaliah; so he was not killed. 3 He remained hidden with his nurse at the temple of the LORD for six years while Athaliah ruled the land.
    4 In the seventh year Jehoiada sent for the commanders of units of a hundred, the Carites and the guards and had them brought to him at the temple of the LORD. He made a covenant with them and put them under oath at the temple of the LORD. Then he showed them the king’s son. 5 He commanded them, saying, “This is what you are to do: You who are in the three companies that are going on duty on the Sabbath—a third of you guarding the royal palace, 6 a third at the Sur Gate, and a third at the gate behind the guard, who take turns guarding the temple— 7 and you who are in the other two companies that normally go off Sabbath duty are all to guard the temple for the king. 8 Station yourselves around the king, each of you with weapon in hand. Anyone who approaches your ranks[b] is to be put to death. Stay close to the king wherever he goes.”

    9 The commanders of units of a hundred did just as Jehoiada the priest ordered. Each one took his men—those who were going on duty on the Sabbath and those who were going off duty—and came to Jehoiada the priest. 10 Then he gave the commanders the spears and shields that had belonged to King David and that were in the temple of the LORD. 11 The guards, each with weapon in hand, stationed themselves around the king—near the altar and the temple, from the south side to the north side of the temple.

    12 Jehoiada brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him; he presented him with a copy of the covenant and proclaimed him king. They anointed him, and the people clapped their hands and shouted, “Long live the king!”

    13 When Athaliah heard the noise made by the guards and the people, she went to the people at the temple of the LORD. 14 She looked and there was the king, standing by the pillar, as the custom was. The officers and the trumpeters were beside the king, and all the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets. Then Athaliah tore her robes and called out, “Treason! Treason!”

    15 Jehoiada the priest ordered the commanders of units of a hundred, who were in charge of the troops: “Bring her out between the ranks[c] and put to the sword anyone who follows her.” For the priest had said, “She must not be put to death in the temple of the LORD.” 16 So they seized her as she reached the place where the horses enter the palace grounds, and there she was put to death.

    -2 Kings 11

  • Pontius Pilate||

    Rodeo Jesus fashioned a whip to get animals out of the temple, not shoot people.

    Although he did overturn John Galt's money table.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    I was wondering if every single State makes these stupid exceptions for houses of worship. In both the North and South they restrict how close a new bar or liquor store can be to houses of worship. Are there any States that treat Churches the same as skate board shops?

  • robc||

    KY originally banned concealed carry from churches, but ministers complained and they corrected it.

  • JD||

    Same in Texas. Part of the impetus for change was a church shooting (7 killed) in Fort Worth in 1999.

  • ||

    Ed Carnes evidently doesn't read his Bible. He seems to think his god is a pacifist.
    Matthew 10:34 - “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
    Luke 22:36 - He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.

  • Zeb||

    A marvelous thing about the Bible is that you can find quotes to support just about any position.

  • teh rael o2||

    the pastor is an employee of the church. therefore restrictions on guns in the workplace apply also.

  • sarcasmic||

    Dumb Laws in Maine
    Shotguns are required to be taken to church in the event of a Native American attack.

    http://www.dumblaws.com/laws/united-states/maine

  • robc||

    After January 14th you will be charged a fine for having your Christmas decorations still up.

    As dumb laws go, that one doesnt seem so bad.

  • BB||

    Not really. A large chunk of Orthodox Christians don't celebrate Christmas until January 7 on the civil calendar.

  • robc||

    That gives them 7 days.

  • BakedPenguin||

    It is illegal to gamble at the airport [in Biddeford]

    Frankly, I'm surprised Biddeford, ME., even has an airport. Also, I wonder if this means it's okay to gamble in other parts of the town.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Define Christmas decorations. What if my string of lights on the patio are beer garden lights, not Christmas lights?

  • John Tagliaferro||

    Finally, something to like about Maine.

  • MNG||

    I was at a eatery the other day and two cops came in and ate their lunch with their sidearms and I wondered, if an establishment had a sign saying "absolutely no firearms allowed" could they bar cops from wearing their guns when they came to eat?

  • ||

    No. I would imagine any law against open carry contains a LEO exception.

  • sarcasmic||

    I would imagine any law against open carry contains a LEO exception.

    ftfy

  • juris imprudent||

    That is a standard 'feature' of every CA gun law. Oh, and movie productions are typically exempted too.

  • Zeb||

    I think that the question is whether the owner of the premises has the right to forbid guns on their premises, even if the gun is carried by a cop, regardless of what the laws about concealed or open carry are. I would think that the owner of the premises ought to be able to forbid even police from carrying on their premises, except, of course, when official duties require the officer to be there.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    No cops in my bar without a warrant. If I had a bar.

  • Zeb||

    Seems like a sensible policy.

  • sarcasmic||

    derpy derp a derp

  • T||

    A serious answer: I don't think Texas law allows you to ban firearms in toto. You can ban concealed carry , but the sign has to be the exact legal language. AFAIK, the signs that have the handgun with a circle through them have no legal force.

  • ||

    A few years ago, when my state had approved concealed-carry (with a local option), my (wargaming) Democrat friends were convinced that a bloodbath was imminent. One of them, an attorney, tried to get me and others interested in offering to restaurant- and bar-owners professionally-produced No Guns Allowed signs.

    Leaving aside the merits of the broad issue, I asked my friend why I would spend my own money to help people better off than myself. It was self-evident to him, but I never did see it.
    (OTOH, he IS probably better off than most restauratours . . .)

    Most of them agreed that they would simply not patronize businesses that allowed CC. I'm not sure how that worked out for them, but I didn't change my dining-out habits in the least.

  • ||

    True story.

    Last year I was working in Houston (from Calif). In the lobby of the hotel was a sign that stated that weapons were not permitted in the lobby/common area. So far, so good.

    Below the writing on the sign was a section (that must have read the same as the other part of the sign) in Braille.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    I'd sure hope they wrote it in Braille too. Otherwise innocent people might get upset by a blind, furious Rutger Hauer swinging his sword around the lobby.

  • Ray||

    They could just ban cops.

  • MNG||

    Or would that only apply to "little people?"

  • sarcasmic||

    Jobs have perks.

    Work at a restaurant and you often eat for free.

    Work for an airline and you get discounted or free travel.

    Work in law enforcement and you can flout the law.

  • BakedPenguin||

    IIRC, the cops in this movie were able to bring their guns into bars and the like.

  • JD||

    At least for Texas, the signs only apply to the little people.

    -Licensed concealed carry can only be prohibited by the legally prescribed signs in the specific trespass statute for concealed carry (Penal Code §30.06).

    -Legal unlicensed carry (no unlicensed open carry in Texas, but no license required to carry long guns concealed or openly) can be prohibited by any sign, under the general trespass statute.

    -There is a specific exception to the trespass statute that the person excluded is a peace officer and the reason for exclusion is that they are carrying a firearm, whether or not they are on duty at the time.

  • Barry Loberfeld||

    Bradley Schmeling, pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in Atlanta, told the Associated Press he thinks guns should not be allowed in churches, mosques, and synogogues, which he said should be "places of peace" — and should be made such by state violence.

  • BILL3||

    Guns should be allowed everywhere. Planes, churches, the post office, hospitals, etc, etc, etc. Remember, we have a RIGHT to bear arm, it's not a privilege, it's a RIGHT.

    "the pastor is an employee of the church. therefore restrictions on guns in the workplace apply also."

    ---Churches are not workplaces, they're free to discriminate against people they don't like.

  • o2||

    whoa - u mean allowed regardless of the owners wishes?

  • Tuscaloosan||

    “At one point, Circuit Judge Ed Carnes questioned whether there's any passage in the Bible that allows guns in churches. Did any challenger, he wondered, argue: "Thou shalt have the right to bring a gun to church?"

    I would really want to respond, “No sir, I don’t believe so. But there sure are passages in several Supreme Court opinions that say an Article III judge may not question the sincerity of a citizen’s expressed religious belief...you dick.”

  • ||

    The judge may not be able to question the sincerity of an expressed religious belief, but as your own quote shows, he wasn't questioning their sincerity -- he was questioning whether they had even made the argument in the first place.

  • T||

    So when I start up my Mithraic Revival Church Gun Range & Saloon, which has sacraments of shooting firearms and drinking whiskey, I can sue based on religious freedom, right?

    I think I'm gonna go start that church. I think I need to work in strippers and weed somehow. I'm gonna be richer than L. Ron Hubbard.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    For the win.

  • The Art-P.O.G.||

    I wish to tithe to your church, and do you have a newsletter perchance?

  • Kristen||

    Where do I sign up? I assume when you say strippers, you mean naked men, right?

  • T||

    The doctrine is not yet settled, but yeah, I think we can work that in.

  • GILMORE||

    I'll be the first to be washed in the blood of the lamb. Literally. I'll shoot the fucking lamb. Light up the grill...

  • T||

    Beef, Gilmore. We eat of the flesh of the cow to commemorate Mithras slaying the bull.

    But bring the lamb, we'll throw it on the smoker, too.

  • Brett L||

    Church of Hank Williams requires drinking and dancing at honky-tonks. (From the song "The Lord Loves the Drinking Man" by Kevin Fowler(?)). Dude used to be KVET in Austin's mascot or something. They were always playing that song. (10 years ago)

  • ||

    +666

  • kilroy||

    I'm pretty sure the law in GA states that any private property can be made a gun-free zone by posting a sign. Would that not apply here due to some ruling that church property isn't private property?

  • ||

    Rev. Jonathan Wilkins said he wanted to have a gun for protection while working in the church office.

    Sounds like the preachin' racket still pays pretty well.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...which he said should be "places of peace."

    All they have to do is make it known to parishioners and armed interlopers alike that the church is a place of peace, and pow, Bob's your uncle, you're safe as houses. How many times has a simple sign saved a unarmed group from gun violence?

  • ||

    How many times has a simple sign saved a unarmed group from gun violence?

    This is giving me an idea for a new comic book hero...

  • GILMORE||

    Does the state of Georgia trust bar owners and patrons more than it trusts ministers and church-goers?

    See, bar patrons are drunk...

    But churchgoers are *crazy* :)

  • ||

    But churches serve wine. So, in a sense, they're legally analogous to bars.

  • ||

    Some churches, that is.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I asked a friend of mine who is a district attorney how the Church gets away with serving wine to underaged Catholics. I don't remember the specific answer (because I was drunk on the blood of Christ (pre-transubstantiation)) but I think it was something about church property having some kind of immunity to drinking laws. Sounded Friday fishy to me.

  • T||

    Parental consent. Most states allow the underaged to drink as long as mom or dad say it's okay.

  • ||

    Legally, a law of general application--Thou Shalt Not Drink Under the Age of One Score and a Half--could restrict churches just like anyone else. In practice, though, no one in their right mind is going to touch this. I also think the parental consent argument is valid in many jurisdictions.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    In practice, though, no one in their right mind is going to touch this.

    I am surprised how many times rely on law enforcement to be in their right mind with regard to reasonable execution of their duties.

    Parental consent is a thing? I'm sure I've read about parents busted for providing their kid alcohol. In any case, a youngster receiving Communion on his own, without parent present, could be setting clergy up for criminal prosecution?

  • robc||

    In WI, its a huge thing. Even beer fests explain how if you want your 14 drinking with you, how they have to buy a full price ticket but YOU, the parent, have to hand the empty glass to the server and how you have to hand the full glass to your kid.

    Same for restaurants, you order the drink and hand it to your kid.

  • robc||

    14 year old, that is.

  • robc||

    From the FAQ for Great Taste of the Midwest:


    Children under 16 are admitted to the festival for free. Children 16 and over must purchase a designated driver pass to enter the festival grounds. They're driving you home, aren't they? And since this IS Wisconsin, children whose attending parents wish their children to sample beer must pay the full admission price. Parents of consuming children cannot allow their children to ask for pours. The parent must hand the minor the drink and must remain with the minor at all times. No exceptions!

  • T||

    Alcohol is a state thing, Fist, and states like contradictory laws. So while it may be perfectly legal under the alcoholic beverage code to give your kid a sip every now and then, it could be considered child abuse by CPS. Isn't this a fun game we all get to play?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Huh. It's almost as though lawmakers have lost the handle on their own regulations.

  • ||

    Or maybe he's expecting a visit from a disgruntled former choirboy.

  • Tuscaloosan||

    I'm going to go with minister of music.

    http://blog.al.com/live/2011/0.....ice_8.html

  • ||

    This is clearly a restriction on free exercise, as it places a restriction on church buildings that does not exist for secular buildings. If they passed a law banning non-pink shirts and non-yellow pants from churches, but not secular gathering places, could they plausibly claim they were not interfering with free exercise? Pretty sure there's no bible passages about shirt color.

  • ||

    And lo, did the Lord declare that pink shirts were offensive upon Him, and an unnatural abomination; thus did He smite them with a great smiting.

  • ||

    And truly did the meterosexuals know that they had been smotten.

  • ||

    Ye, 'twas a great smoting.

  • Skeletroll||

    "This is clearly a restriction on free exercise, as it places a restriction on church buildings that does not exist for secular buildings."

    But a lot of government buildings have this restriction, which makes me wonder if there is a distinction between churches that pay taxes and churches that do not.

  • ||

    The govt owns govt buildings, so that's a case of the owner deciding.

  • robc||

    [Futurama hippie voice]
    government cant own things.
    [/Futurama hippie voice]

    In at least one sense, I agree with said hippie.

  • ||

    If you want to be a pedant, Govt manages govt buildings on behalf of the people.

  • kilroy||

    Posted this yesterday in the open carry thread.

    The sordid history behind Georgia's anti-open carry law. [PDF]

    That's some old timey media bias right there.

  • Annointed Mark||

    Guns are very dangerous.

    Only good, smart, special people like me and my security detail can be trusted with them.

    This is only for your protection.

    It is because I care so much about each and every one of you. Guns aren't the only dangerous things that simple people like you need to be protected from. You also need to be protected against things like capitalism, property rights, and political speech.

    So don't worry your simple little minds one bit more about it - just hand over those dangerous guns to your nearest governmental authorities and remember that Annointed Mark loves you all and watches over you.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    PISTOL-PACKIN' PASTOR

    (apologies to Al Dexter: http://www.luftex.com/aldexter.htm)

    Drinkin' beer at the honky tonk
    Everything was going great
    Until one night I heard my minister say,
    "You stole from the collection plate!"

    Lay that pistol down Reverend,
    Lay that pistol down,
    Pistol Packin' Pastor, Lay that pistol down.

    He shot holes in all my tires,
    Yet his anger was not sated,
    He sung the fifty-ninth Psalm, and said I was wrong,
    And that I was excommunicated.

    Lay that pistol down Reverend, etc.

    Drinkin' beer in the honky -tonk,
    Payin' hookers with the church's tithes,
    Until the pastor caught me,
    And pulled out his gun and knives.

    Lay that pistol down Reverend, etc.

    I'll pay back all I stole, Rev,
    I'll give to the poor all day,
    I'll contribute to the Building Fund,
    If you'll put that gun away.

    Lay that pistol down Reverend, etc.

    Now down there was old Al Dexter, He always had his fun,
    But with some lead. he shot him dead,
    His sacrilegious days are done.

  • MJ||

    "At one point, Circuit Judge Ed Carnes questioned whether there's any passage in the Bible that allows guns in churches."

    A better question is there any passage in the Bible that disallows guns in churches? An even better question, does the state have any authority to make carrying guns in churches illegal beyond the church's own policy on that behavior?

  • freeforall232||

    Bars are houses of worship, it's just a different god.

  • juris imprudent||

    And ye shall call the porcelain god by His name - RALPH!

    And if ye are full of the spirit, you shall be granted relief.

  • Warty||

    Sometimes Jesus-people need shot, too.

  • ||

  • cynical||

    If the law restricts the people's rights when they're in a church, isn't that violating their religious rights on its face? I mean, if they passed a law saying the government could seize all your shit when you step into a synagogue, that seems like a pretty straightforward civil rights issue.

  • ||

    If you want to prohibit the possession of firearms in your restaurant, or your church, that's just fine -- it's your private property. But I sure as shit don't plan to eat there, and I'm an atheist, so whatever.

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