Attorney: Church gun ban infringes religious liberty - CBS46 News

Attorney: Church gun ban infringes religious liberty

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

The controversy continues for gun owners who want to arm themselves inside places of worship. Georgiacarry.org already lost their battle at the state level and also lost at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Now they're taking their fight all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

Attorney and Georgiacarry.org member John Monroe filed a 100-page petition with the Supreme Court earlier this week. Monroe says when the state keeps people from carrying a weapon inside a church or other places of worship, it violates their religious freedom.

 "We have a law that targets religion because it says you can't carry your weapon in a place of worship," said Monroe.

The Georgia Assembly revamped the state's gun laws back in 2010 and now the law prohibits anyone from taking a weapon or gun in certain locations - places of worship, government buildings, courthouses, state mental health facilities, polling places, nuclear power plants or bars which serve alcohol unless the establishment's owners specifically allow weapons.

Monroe wants the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the issue of weapons in worship. His petitioners have already lost their bid to overturn the law in lower court hearings.

"Are you stipulating that a weapon is an integral part of worship?" asked reporter Steve Kiggins.

"No, the weapon doesn't have anything to do with worship," replied Monroe.

But not everybody thinks a church is any place for a firearm.

"Guns and church don't mix," said Shannon Johnson. "I don't believe that you should have any kind of violent weapons near a church.

"If you need a gun to go to church, you don't need to be there," added Ronnie Russell.

Ian Kilov trains hard at the Sandy Springs Gun Club, and he also carries a 9mm handgun in a holster at all times, except when he enters his synagogue.

"It's quite scary in a way," said Kilov. "Not that everything's ever happened at our synagogue or church - but if it were to, I would feel very foolish."

Monroe says the issue isn't about the weapons, but rather the state infringing on Georgian's rights to do what you choose inside a church.

"This isn't a Second Amendment thing, it's not really a gun issue," said Monroe.

Monroe said his petition is a long shot, and the Supreme Court reviews only about 2 percent of all the cases submitted. But, if it does, he hopes the justices might look at the case as early as January.

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