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Georgia gun ban misfires: The Church of England Newspaper, May 9, 2014 June 2, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, The Episcopal Church.
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An American bishop has banned the possession of firearms on all church properties following the enactment of a state law permitting churches to regulate handguns in churches. On 28 April 2014 the Bishop of Atlanta, the Rt. Rev. Robert Wright issued a pastoral directive to the diocese stating: “My judgment, charge and directive – as the ecclesiastical or governing authority, of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, is that with the exception of on-duty law enforcement officers, firearms are not permitted in church buildings or on church property.” Issued in response to a Georgia law which permits licensed gun owners to bring firearms into the state’s churches, provided that an individual place of worship allows it, the bishop’s letter extends the ban to all church property – including rectories.  Canon lawyers believe the bishop’s letter oversteps his authority. Allan Haley noted the statute makes the “governing authority of the place of worship the entity to decide whether guns shall be allowed.” However, the “governing authority of a parish is it’s rector and vestry, not the bishop. Even the cathedral is governed by its dean and not the bishop” under canon law, he noted. What the bishop has done here is assume authority that he does not have under the national canons, and which the statute does not grant him,” Mr. Haley said.

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