A controversial bill that would expand gun rights took one step closer to becoming law.
The Georgia House voted 119-56 to approve a proposal that would allow guns in houses of worship and permit school districts to designate an employee who can carry a gun while decriminalizing guns on college campuses.
State Rep. Rick Jasperse, the man behind the measure, said his bill would let law-abiding gun owners defend themselves if a criminal opens fire inside a sacred space before police have a chance to respond.
"They cannot be everywhere they're not everywhere. It gives you the opportunity to take into your own hands," Jasperse said. "It opens up where they can defend themselves, when they choose to."
The Rev. Gary Charles, pastor of Central Presbyterian Church in downtown Atlanta, said the bill would make houses of worship more dangerous.
"When people come into houses of worship, they come into sanctuaries," Charles said. "They don't need to come into a place where people are fearing they are carrying loaded weapons."
Charles said lawmakers should focus on what he believes are more important issues.
"Carrying guns into houses of worship not even on the list. Our members are asking for good jobs and schools and medical care," Charles said.
The bill goes to the Senate for debate.
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