A new bill in the Georgia General Assembly would, if enacted into law, remove places of worship from a list of unauthorized locations where people in the state may carry weapons or long guns.

Representative Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper) (pictured above) is the primary sponsor of the bill, HB 1378, according to the Georgia General Assembly’s website.

Georgia law currently says that people may carry firearms in places of worship only if the church leadership permits it and only if those people are licensed to carry those weapons.

Jasperse’s bill also would provide ways for people to apply for weapons carry licenses and renewal licenses online, according to the language of the bill.

Other bill sponsors include:

• Representative Alan Powell (R-Hartwell)

• Representative Mandi Ballinger (R-Canton)

• Representative Jason Ridley (R-Chatsworth)

• Representative Steve Tarvin (R-Chickamauga)

• Representative Matt Barton (R-Calhoun)

Last year, the quick actions of a Nashville pastor and several of his parishioners saved a church from violence.

Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) officials said Dezire Baganda, 26, was sitting at the front of the Nashville Light Mission Pentecostal Church when he pulled out a gun and walked up to the altar where the pastor was praying with several members.

“Baganda told everyone to get up while he waved and pointed the handgun at the congregation. The pastor quickly tackled Baganda before any shots were fired. Several church members jumped in to assist in disarming Baganda and held him to the ground until officers arrived on scene,” MNPD officials said at the time.

“While Baganda was not a member of the church, the pastor said he had attended services before.”

In 2017, a gunman opened fire on the congregation of the First Baptist Church in the tiny Texas town of Sutherland Springs.

Twenty-three deceased victims were found inside the church.  Two deceased victims were found outside the church, and one severely injured victim died in transport to the hospital.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star and The Georgia Star News. Follow Chris on Facebook, Twitter, Parler, and GETTR. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Rick Jasperse” by Danny Cruikshank. Background Photo “Handgun” by gmsjs90.