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Victory For Gun Control In Georgia Dwarfed By Reality In Aurora

Victory For Gun Control In Georgia Dwarfed By Reality In Aurora

It seems almost inconceivable, but on the same day the country was reeling from the Aurora theater shooting a federal appeals court in Atlanta upheld a Georgia ban on guns in places of worship, giving gun control advocates a rare and much needed victory.

The 2010 law bans guns in churches, synagogues and mosques. A minister challenged the law arguing he had a First Amendment constitutional right to bring sidearms to worship services. The challenge emerged after the Georgia Legislature eliminated a firearms ban at generic “public gatherings” and replaced it with a list of eight specific places where firearms would not be permitted. Wilkins argued the new list forced him to choose between his First Amendment religious freedom guarantees and the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals flatly rejected that claim holding that the pastor, Jonathan Wilkins of the Baptist Tabernacle of Thomaston and the gun rights group GeorgiaCarry.org had not shown how the law interfered with his sincerely held religious belief.

The court also rejected the Second Amendment challenge holding that the group’s belief that there is an individual right to carry a gun into a place of worship did not trump a private property owner’s right to exclusively control who is allowed on their premises and under what circumstances.

Appeals Court Gerald Tjoflat, writing for the panel wrote that the Georgia gun law was written with certain places banned because the Legislature was “concerned that the carrying of weapons … would likely present an unreasonable risk of harm to people who assemble in eight specific locations” places of worship, government buildings, courthouses, prisons and jails, state mental health facilities, bars without the owner’s permission, nuclear power plants and polling places and their immediate surroundings.

The Second Amendment argument that the preacher and GeorgiaCarry.org made, Tjoflat wrote, asked the court “to destroy one cornerstone of liberty the right to enjoy one’s private property in order to expand another the right to bear arms. This we will not do.”

At least the 11th Circuit has given some indication as to the limit of individual gun owner rights in the eyes of the federal judiciary. It would appear that those diminish where private property rights begin. And with nearly 10,000 gun-violence deaths a year, it’s long past time we started to dictate the limits of those Second Amendment rights.

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Photo from mista stagga lee via flickr.

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80 comments

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4:01AM PDT on Aug 21, 2012

The answer is not to deny the rights of law abiding citizens the right to bear arms. I do believe that checks and balances need to be in place when someone goes to purchase a gun. There will always be a way for criminals to get their hands on guns even if you have guns outlawed. Looking at the bigger picture, we need to ask ourselves, what does a disarmed population really mean? What is the real political agenda?

2:50AM PDT on Aug 3, 2012

Bob W- I couldn't agree more. Particularly where the constitution is concerned. More people have tried to get into America to live, for it's freedom (which is based on these "worthless papers") than into any other country in the world. There is no more important document in existence, written by man.

5:44PM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

Troy G, My friend, I send you a Green Star for the quotes.

I did enjoy a few of the quotes that I had not heard for some time and those that I had never heard, yet, I was left wondering. Is the only answer to this monumental problem, the open display of weaponry?

In all the years of my life, my instructors, kindly advised that to pull a weapon is to invite the need to use it.

What do all of you think?

6:33AM PDT on Jul 25, 2012

@ Will R.

"You dimwits should put those outdated scraps of 200 year old paper called the constitution in a museum where it belongs and write something new that has relevance in the modern world."

Sorry, but I do not take advice on giving up my rights from people who are denied those rights. That scrap of paper means a lot more to us than the ramblings of subjects in a less free nation. I one time swore defend that scrap of paper. Don't remember anyone talking about the oath being void just because I took off the uniform.

We have a problem with violence in this nation; hopefully we can find a solution. In the mean time, our citizens are allowed the right of self-defense.

Don't know why we should care one bit about the opinions of a subject from a nation that jails people for defending their homes and families.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2000/apr/20/tonymartin.ukcrime3

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-143147/Father-jailed-killing-burglar.html

1:10AM PDT on Jul 25, 2012

Dr C. You're wrong! England and America do not have the same murder rates per 100,000. You have made that up. We do kill each other, but without guns we have to make a real effort, we have to get close and personal. Random motiveless killings or robbery /murder is rare and you can easily live your whole life in England and never see an illegal gun. I personally have never seen a gun that wasn't held by a member of the armed forces or a gun policeman. And I have never heard the sound of a gun being fired in real life. Sensible and clever people know that when you live in an area, or even a country, that if you need a gun to survive or even feel safe, then you are living in the wrong place. Move! Re-locate! Get out of there! Don't live anywhere where you need a gun to feel safe! You're not. Imagine if Britain suddenly allowed our populace to possess guns, our murder rate would go up, but idiots would deny that guns have anything to do with murder rates, even though guns are designed to shoot people! 
You dimwits should put those outdated scraps of 200 year old paper called the constitution in a museum where it belongs and write something new that has relevance in the modern world.

2:55PM PDT on Jul 24, 2012

@Robert H

First of all thank you for your service.

Secondly, you say "Gun free zones keep careless killing to a minimum."

How exactly? Do you mean by reducing the chance for an accident? Because legal ghuns will not be present?

I also agree and disagree with much of the rest of that.

"Nothing can keep you safe from a person who is truly intent on hurting us with a gun, Bob W even if you have a gun he is intent on doing the damage and by time you know it its really too late most of the time."

I agree with part of this. If someone wants to kill, it is difficult to stop until he starts. My argument is that an armed populace may serve as a deterrent (most of these shootings are in gun free zones) or may reduce the total death toll. I do not believe a firearm is a magic talisman any more than a sign.

"Gun free zones keep careless killing to a minimum. Your question is a loaded question."

Did not mean it to be. People support GFZs. Trying to find out why as they seem valueless to me.

"There is no way to be truly safe from terrorists or anyone else. Our desire to be safe at all times is stopping away our freedoms."

Totally agree with this. Franklin's quote about freedom vs safety should be put on billboards. That is part of why I support gun freedom and oppose the stupid patriot act.

"Guns don't make you more free or more safe."

Totally disagree with this. Guns do not make you free or safe, but they increase the odds of both.

12:00PM PDT on Jul 24, 2012

Nothing can keep you safe from a person who is truly intent on hurting us with a gun, Bob W even if you have a gun he is intent on doing the damage and by time you know it its really too late most of the time. Gun free zones keep careless killing to a minimum. Your question is a loaded question. There is no way to be truly safe from terrorists or anyone else. Our desire to be safe at all times is stopping away our freedoms. Guns don't make you more free or more safe.I haven't had a gun in my hands since I left Nam. And I have seldom felt unsafe. If you feel unsafe enough to carry a gun wherever you go then by all means do it. LIFE is dangerous. Being alive is dangerous deal with it.

7:01AM PDT on Jul 24, 2012

We have wandered a bit back and forth across the topic here and I have yet to hear an answer to my question.

This author and many here support 'Gun Free Zones'. How does the creation of a gun free zone keep you safer?

1:16AM PDT on Jul 24, 2012

In intentional homicide rates per 100,000 , the United States and the UK are nearly equal, despite the UK having strict gun laws. This would tend to support the opinion that in the absence of firearms , people in the UK simply grab the next available tool and continue killing anyway.

12:16AM PDT on Jul 24, 2012

Rose check these facts. In 2009 USA had 9500 gun related murders Britain had 63. Japan had even less and Germany slightly more than the UK.2009 is used as it is a year that full statistics are available.
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/jan/13/frank-lautenberg/frank-lautenberg-says-us-has-9500-gun-murders-year/

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