« Pay Raises for Pastors and Church Staff in 2011? | Main | The Fall-Out from 'Natural Decrease' »

March 1, 2011

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:

Related Tags: church law, church shootings, Richard Hammar, risk, risk management, safety, security, violence


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.

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.

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.

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?

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:


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.

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.

Does the law prevent people from carrying unconcealed firearms?

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.

Post a comment:

Verification (needed to reduce spam):