Should guns be allowed in churches?

By Laura Ann Sills - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Gun Rights groups say the government should not make decisions about religion. went before a three judge panel for the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday in Atlanta arguing the ban violates religious freedom and the first amendment.

The state says worshipers should be able to focus on the service, and that is why they banned guns in church.

The gun rights group says the number of shootings in churches are examples of why guns are needed.

"Church shootings with pastors standing in the pulpit preaching God's word have been gunned down in the pulpit as well as the parking lot and other places," said Pastor Tommy Henschel of Cornerstone Baptist in Harris County.

He believes responsibility is key when talking about guns.  "I do not think we can be too careful. I think we need to be very wise and follow the laws but also have trained security and trained law enforcement personnel to be our backups," said Henschel.

The question on everyone's mind - would those shootings have been avoided or less deadly if someone in the church was carrying a gun?

The Georgia law prohibits guns in several places, except those carried by a law enforcement officer or a licensed security guard.

Herschel says he has several law enforcement officers who attend his church and enlisted some security for the staff and his parishioners.

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