Lawmakers did not vote on the legislation.
Current state law allows parishioners to carry weapons only if the place of worship’s governing body lets them. Few have decided to “opt in,” gun rights advocates said.
Courtney Spriggs, a retired law enforcement officer and volunteer with gun control group Moms Demand Action, said allowing parishioners to be armed in places of worship makes it dangerous for first responders.
“A law enforcement officer can’t be expected to quickly ascertain whether a person with a gun is a congregant, pastor, a teacher or student, or suspect,” the Forsyth County resident said.
A separate bill that aims to allow anyone to carry their firearm in Georgia if he or she has a permit in their home state cleared a House panel.
Georgia currently operates under what is known as “reciprocity” — where only people from states that allow those with Georgia gun permits to carry the weapons there can bring their guns here. Georgia has the “reciprocity” agreements with 32 states ranging from South Carolina to Wyoming.
State Rep. Mandi Ballinger, a Canton Republican who sponsored the legislation, said she is not aware of any instance in which someone from another state was prosecuted for carrying a weapon in Georgia illegally unless he or she already was charged with other crimes.