Berean Baptist Church is an unassuming white building just off Interstate 20 in Social Circle. The church is fairly young, having taken over the property from another congregation a few years ago. But the decision to allow guns onto their grounds come July 1, could put Berean Baptist on the map.
"The way the law is written, whatever the governing body of a church is has to make that decision and so our governing body has made the decision, but we still feel like that the process needs to include the congregation,” explained Pastor Tom Rush. “We need to get feedback from them and so that's what we're in the process of doing right now. I anticipate that on July 1st, our church will be one that will opt in, but we're not at that point yet."
Rush is a military veteran and a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment. Under current Georgia law, the only people allowed to carry firearms onto church property are law enforcement officers. Rush says one of the members of his church is in law enforcement and people feel safer when that officer is in church.
"I think sometimes people get the idea that if we allow guns in church, it's gonna be like some scene from the old west and everybody's gonna be sitting here with a shotgun across their lap and that's not gonna be the case,” Rush said. “But we have people who are more than capable of providing the same kind of security that our off-duty law enforcement personnel can, but under current law they're not allowed to.”