A Georgia gun-rights group has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve differing decisions on whether states can ban firearms in places of worship, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. GeorgiaCarry.org asked for a hearing before the high court on the basis that there is a split between the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 3rd and 11th Circuits on the issue.
In 2010, the Georgia legislature replaced the prohibition against guns at “public gatherings” with a list of specific kinds of places where people cannot carry their firearms. One of those was places of worship. GeorgiaCarry.org and a Baptist minister from Thomaston said the prohibition interferes with the free exercise of religion promised in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The 11th Circuit rejected the contention that worshippers had the constitutional right to arm themselves for their own protection while they are in a church, synagogue, or mosque. GeorgiaCarry.org, the Baptist Tabernacle, and the Rev. Jonathan Wilkins said the Third Circuit said it is unconstitutional to discriminate against any “religiously- motivated conduct” in instances where it is not specific.