Concealed Weapons in Church
Rich Hammar discusses an important Georgia ruling for churches.

In 2010, the state of Georgia enacted a law prohibiting a person with a concealed weapons permit to carry a concealed weapon into a place of worship. A lawsuit was filed challenging the constitutionality of the law. Hear what the state's court decided, and Rich Hammar's analysis of that decision and its implications for churches and church leaders:

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."


Displaying 1–9 of 9 comments


March 30, 2011  4:33pm

If a man came into the church to steal the offering or shoot the pastor would anyone bother to call the police? If the police came while the man was still there would you all want the cop to be armed or unarmed? An armed security volunteer simply fills in the gap until the police can get there, which is usually after the offering is gone and the pastor is dead.

Report Abuse

Rob Paris

March 08, 2011  9:16pm

Does the law prevent people from carrying unconcealed firearms?

Report Abuse

Mark Adams

March 08, 2011  10:44am

I am sorry to see the court rule in this way. I am a pastor of a small church and I would feel more comfortable if I or fellow church attenders could be armed. Yes, God can protect those attending church, but sometimes He may chose to do so through using individuals who are armed. If is one thing to willing submit to death because of your beliefs, it is something else to meekly stand by while a crazed person kills you just because he wants to.

Report Abuse


March 05, 2011  7:25am

As to arguments, all I have heard from those who favor guns in church is that they are a source of protection. My trust is in the Lord. Psalm 20:7. The story of this pastor is not one that I find moving. Sorry.

Report Abuse


March 04, 2011  7:12pm

The poster above fails to defend his point of view. Merely saying you do "not agree with these comments" is not an argument. Why is the church "no place for firearms"? Why do you believe this? What is the basis for your objection? I would recommend he read the story of the Rev. James Caldwell, "The Fighting Chaplain", who was not the only minister to keep a gun at the pulpit during America's war against Britain: "In September of 1776, he left the brigade and returned home. He did not stay long. Fort Washington fell to the British. Washington began his long retreat across New Jersey. With Cornwallis hot after him, residents evacuated Elizabeth Town, including Caldwell and his family. While on the run he provided intelligence to the army, writing letters to Gen. Charles Lee. When he returned home a month later he found the town in shambles. Orchards were destroyed. The town plundered. His study ransacked, papers missing and the church vandalized. With willing hands the church was quickly restored. He held services the next Sunday. He mounted the pulpit, pulled out loaded pistols and sat them next to his Bible "while sentries were posted on the belfry to watch for enemy raiders." Read the story about this American patriot here:

Report Abuse


March 04, 2011  7:03pm

Dumb martyrs of the early Church, if they just had enough common sense to arm themselves and fight against all those who wanted to kill them for all the wrong reasons. Who needs God when you have a Colt 45 or a shotgun?

Report Abuse

Mark A. Cody

March 03, 2011  9:09pm

I'm afraid that I cannot agree with these comments. The church is no place for firearms. To suggest that church attenders should be armed only goes to show how far we have strayed from the faith.

Report Abuse

Bob Chauncey

March 03, 2011  10:46am

It is sad to see courts and government using the limiting of law abiding citizens, especially those with concealed carry permits, to try to claim they are protecting citizens when in fact they are putting them in danger by not allowing them the right to carry a firearm to defend and/or protect themselves. The idea of "Gun Free Zones" being safer has been proven to be incorrect by looking at the many incidents of these very areas being the scenes of shootings, and no one able to defend or protect themselves or others since they could not carry the firearm that they could use to stop the shooting. There are many examples that show a armed, law abiding citizens have used their firearms to stop a shooter and protect themselves and others. And in several cases where they could not carry on their person, such as a teacher or adult student in a school or class, they were able to go to their vehicles and retrieve a firearm, going back to help stop or control a shooter or other serious problem inside. Law abiding citizens, especially those who have a permit to carry, which shows they have gone through a background screening, are not the criminals. And the criminals, who do not and the courts have ruled can not be made to undergo background screenings, do commit the crimes, usually against citizens who have no way to defend or protect themselves. Criminals will not obey the laws regarding buying, owning, carrying and illegally using a firearm, and have no problem stealing them from those who have them, even law enforcement officers they steal them from, seem to be free more than the law abiding citizens. This is the wrong message to send.

Report Abuse

Pastor Ian

March 01, 2011  10:05am

As a Georgia pastor, I must say I am disappointed in the Court's ruling. I am particularly confused at the Court stating that it understands this law doesn't preclude the crazed person that enters a church and starts shooting. It only prevents minimizing the subsequent bloodshed because no law abiding citizen is allowed to carry in the church. It used to be that as the pastor I could authorize people to carry within the church. That apparently changed with this decision. I'll have to look into it a bit further.

Report Abuse
Recent Posts
Subscribe to Church, Law & Tax
Board Basics for Safe Churches

Board Basics for Safe Churches

From church records to legal risks and liabilities-what your church board should know.
Dealing With Dangerous People

Dealing With Dangerous People

Goes through safety measures to ward off dangerous individuals from entering your church.