Churches The Next Battleground In Post-Tucson Gun Rights Debate

WASHINGTON — The shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and 18 others in Tucson nearly three weeks ago may have seemed like the sort of incident that would incite a push for stronger gun-control laws. But in certain parts of the coun…

WASHINGTON — The shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and 18 others in Tucson nearly three weeks ago may have seemed like the sort of incident that would incite a push for stronger gun-control laws. But in certain parts of the country it’s had just the opposite effect, inspiring increased sales of firearms and new legislative efforts to expand gun rights.

The most remarkable recent illustration of this trend could be Georgia, where a state-level campaign has begun invoking the Tucson shootings to advance legislation that would permit firearms in churches, synagogues, mosques and the like.

Earlier this week, Bobby Franklin, a Republican member of the Georgia State Assembly, filed House Bill 54. The legislation, according to an assembly official, literally crosses out language in the current law that lists “a place of worship” as an “unauthorized location” for a person to carry “a weapon or long gun.” Other locations where firearms are prohibited, locations that Franklin’s bill leaves untouched, include government buildings, courthouses, jails, and state mental health facilities.

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