6 years, 2 months ago
A gun rights group filed a notice Wednesday that it will appeal a federal judge’s dismissal of a suit challenging a state law banning weapons in churches, mosques and synagogues.
John Monroe, the attorney for GeorgiaCarry.org, filed a notice that he plans to ask the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review U.S. District Judge Ashley Royal’s decision. Royal ruled Monday that a 2010 law that lists places of worship among locations where guns are not allowed did not violate the First Amendment right to freedom of religion or the Second Amendment guarantee of a right to bear arms.
The lawsuit — brought by GeorgiaCarry.org, the organization’s past president and the minister at the Baptist Tabernacle of Thomaston — challenged the inclusion of places of worship on a list of places where guns are not allowed — government buildings, courthouses, jails and prisons, state mental hospitals, nuclear power plants, bars without the owner’s permission and polling places.
The suit called the handgun “the quintessential self-defense weapon in the United States.” Former GeorgiaCarry.org president Ed Stone and other worshipers argued that they should be able to arm themselves “for the protection of their families and themselves” without fear of arrest and prosecution on a misdemeanor charge. The Rev. Jonathan Wilkins of the Baptist Tabernacle said he wanted to have a gun for his protection while working in his church office.
The church claimed members’ efforts to practice their faith had been “impermissibly burdened” because they felt they needed to be armed but feared being arrested if they brought their guns to services.
And Stone wrote in a filing that his “motivation to carry a firearm as a matter of habit derives from one of my Lord’s last recorded statements at the ‘last supper,’ that ‘whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one … I believe that this injunction requires me to obtain, keep and carry a firearm wherever I happen to be.”
Jesus told us that “The things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man” (Matt 15:18). Man is no tabula rasa, but guns are what theologians call adiaphorous, or morally neutral. Christ knew that his people would need protection, and thus he commanded that self preservation come even before clothing.
That’s the key, isn’t it? It’s something the pro-gun control lobby doesn’t get. Ownership of firearms has nothing to do with wishing others harm or even in inflicting harm. It’s always best if a weapon works as a deterrent. But a man’s life is worth so much that God expects us to do our utmost to preserve and protect it.
Unfortunately, Judge Royal’s decision isn’t based on the idea self preservation. This church (along with others like it) is now the most vulnerable place around for a perpetrator of a crime to cause carnage and take innocent lives. The Judge doesn’t intend it, but she has made those parishioner’s time at worship much more dangerous.
Christ said “let him who has no sword sell his robe and buy one” (Luke 22:36). Judge Royal has now come in between these men and their God-given duty to protect their families.
UPDATE: Thanks to Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit for the link.