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Group says guns, God a good mix

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

Christians love their guns, the church and NRA. Pray for their salvations.

— NOFX

The state of Georgia is currently one of four states in the union that prohibits or restricts firearms in churches, synagogues and mosques.

If the by-God, right-thinking folks in GeorgiaCarry.org have their way, though, gun-owners in the state won’t have to suffer the embarrassment of being bunched in with those wimps from Mississippi, Arkansas and North Dakota much longer.

GeorgiaCarry is leading the fight to do away with this silly gun prohibition, which, the group claims, infringes on Americans’ right to bear arms as well as their right to freedom of religion.

A couple of things here: 1) I don’t know if I’m more alarmed by the fact that this group equates being allowed to strap on their .357 Magnum with freedom of religion, or 2) that people feel so unsafe in this country they are compelled to attend their houses of worship armed.

(Georgia, incidentally, does not completely ban guns in churches. The state’s attorney general filed a brief with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals saying a church can consent to allowing guns on its premises, but the weapons must be secured. Kind of like having one of those fifth-Sunday dinners on the ground but not being allowed to eat anything.)

As lawyers for GeorgiaCarry argued their point before a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court last week, support came in from all over. One Methodist minister in Gainesville said, “I have said for many years that churches are very vulnerable places on Sunday mornings because people are unarmed. You could have an armed man coming in and (he) could take up a collection and leave with a pretty good heist.”

Thanks, Rev. What you’ve done with your comment is give petty crooks, most of whom aren’t exactly known for their tactical brilliance, an idea for a new venue in which to practice their vocation. Oh, and I find it pretty disturbing that you’re worried about the possibility of being robbed during the hour or two a week that you work, purportedly intent on saving the souls of the lost and the wicked.

(Note to self: Mark St. Paul Methodist in Gainesville off places to visit on Sunday mornings.)

Others, like the group Georgians for Gun Safety, say guns should be banned in all public places, particularly those whose very reason for being is an antithesis to the presence of weapons.

“There are places we believe that guns do not belong for any number of reasons,” a GGS spokesman said as the controversy surrounding the subject built toward what will no doubt be a loudly hailed and equally soundly criticized decision by the federal court. “Sometimes safety, sometimes sensitivity of the location (are reasons), and churches are one of (the latter).”

I’ve discussed in this space before — and been subject to a stinging backlash from groups and individuals across the country who disagreed with me — my skepticism over this desire by many to carry a deadly weapon with them everywhere they go. If, I believe, they are that scared to walk around in a public place or are that paranoid, perhaps they’d be better off if they had all their necessities delivered. I’ll chip in on the phone and delivery bills.

I do agree, I must admit, with the assessment of most gun supporters when they say “99.9 percent of the people who are licensed to carry weapons have them only for their own protection.” And I believe 99.9 percent of that 99.9 percent would only use their weapons in an extreme emergency.

But, see, I’m not worried about that 99.9 percent. It’s the 0.1 percent that’s just looking for a reason to pull out their weapon and prove their manhood — or womanhood, don’t want to discriminate — that scares the (expletive) out of me.

So, we’ll find out pretty soon whether the Georgia gun lobby is successful in marking another “no weapons allowed” target off its list. If so, along with the benediction and the spirited “amens” that ring out on Sunday mornings, we’ll also get a good dose of “praise the Lord ... and pass the ammunition.”

Email Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com.