Georgia gun rights bill triggers debate - WRBL

Georgia gun rights bill triggers debate

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If bill approved, church leaders can allow guns in their church If bill approved, church leaders can allow guns in their church
COLUMBUS, Ga. -

A Georgia gun rights bill will expand your right to carry a gun into a church, bar or airport if approved. House Bill 60 passed in the House and Senate and sits on Governor Nathan Deal's desk to be signed into law.

The bill removes the blanket restriction for firearms in churches, bars and airports. Under the current state law, firearms are banned from churches and bar. If the bill is approved, churches and bars can choose to allow weapons, or keep them banned in their establishments. 

Reverend Willie Phillips, as associate minister at Gethsemane Baptist Church, has been at the forefront of the "Stop the Gun Violence" movement in Columbus. He says if the bill passes, his church will not allow guns because they would be a distraction.

“I could see the congregation looking around, saying 'I wonder who beside me has a gun on them or in their purse',” said Phillips.

Reverend Phillips is also against allowing guns in bars, saying he's concerned there would be more night club shootings like the one at Majestic Sports Bar last year that killed 1 and injured 6.

State Senator Josh McKoon voted in favor of the bill, saying he believes it would actually keep you safer. 

“A criminal is not going to be concerned about a law that says you can't carry a gun in a particular area,” said McKoon. “So the impact of these laws is that they cause law-abiding citizens to voluntarily disarm themselves and be sitting ducks if there was a situation where a criminal started shooting.”

State Senator McKoon says he believes our 2nd Amendment right to "bear arms" applies to this bill.

“This is a common sense solution that I think increases public safety, recognizes individual liberty through the 2nd Amendment and it's a common sense policy that makes sense for the citizens of Georgia,” said McKoon.

Rev. Phillips agrees with 2nd Amendment rights, but doesn't think these rights should extend to bars and churches.

“In your home, you have those rights. In your automobile, you have those rights. To walk around the street, you have those rights; but we need to leave the church and nightclubs out of it,” said Phillips.

State Senator McKoon told News 3 Governor Deal will most-likely sign the bill. You can read House Bill 60 here.

David Hurst

David Hurst, a graduate of the Univ. of Georgia, focuses on how your tax dollars are being spent.
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