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Monday, October 10, 2011 - 12:50am

Can Georgia Ban Guns In Church?

Gun rights group wants a U.S. appeals court to overturn a state ban on guns in places of worship.

The sides made their cases to a federal appeals court last week. Executive Director Jerry Henry said the group does not necessarily want guns in churches, synagogues or mosques. But it wants each place of worship to decide what it will allow.

At issue is a 2010 Georgia law that prohibits carrying firearms in eight places, including government buildings, courthouses, bars, polling places and places of worship.

The Georgia Attorney General’s Office would not talk about the case while it’s ongoing.

But in court documents, the state argued the law only bans firearms at places of worship that prohibit them. But if a church or mosque consents to their presence, firearms are allowed -- if they’re secured.

“That doesn’t say you won’t get arrested,” Henry said. “That just says that that is now an affirmative defense, which means you still can be drug through the court system, up in front of the judge, and pay a lot of money for lawyers, for them to say, ‘oh, well he was legal, the guy said he could carry it.’”

A lower court dismissed’s suit earlier this year.

There’s no word on when the appeals panel will make a decision.