Religious leaders fight against guns in churches

Updated:

Lawmakers are working on a bun bill that would ban guns in churches, unless church leaders decide otherwise.

ATLANTA - There are just three days remaining in this year's legislative session, and Republican lawmakers are working behind the scenes to come up with a compromise on a bill that expands the rights of legal gun owners.
   

Channel 2 political reporter Lori Geary has been following the issue for months. She was at the state Capitol, where supporters and opponents weighed in on the issue Monday.  

“Bring your Bibles to church, but leave your firearm at home,” said Frank Brown, president of the Concerned Black Clergy.

That's the message to lawmakers from a group of religious leaders from all over metro Atlanta. They're lobbying lawmakers to kill the controversial gun bill that would expand legal gun owners’ rights to carry on college campuses and in churches.

“How is it that guns are not allowed in the State House and not allowed in the courthouse, but guns are allowed in the Lord's house?  It is a contradiction with tragic implications,” said the Rev. Raphael Warnock with Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Concerned Black Clergy members have been pleading with lawmakers, telling Republican leaders pushing the bill that they never asked for it. The bill initially allowed permitted gun owners to bring their weapons into houses of worship, but lawmakers changed it, banning guns unless church leaders decide otherwise. 
    
Gov. Nathan Deal told Geary that idea is more acceptable.

“I have always favored the opt-in position. Rather than, for example, my church that I do not think would vote to have weapons in our church, rather than having to post a sign saying that they opt out of a right to carry,” Deal said.

But that option still has some opposition.

“We did not ask to opt in to have guns in our sanctuary,” Warnock said.



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