The great state of Georgia passed a law in 2010 which bars the carrying of weapons or long guns in eight designated places, including a government building, a bar, on the premises of a nuclear power facility, within 150 feet of any polling place, and places of worship, without the proprietor's permission. Basically, when you show up at one of these facilities, the law commands you to tell the security person that you're carrying a weapon, and stow and secure it however they order. Failure to comply is a misdemeanor offense.
Edward Stone and Jonathan Wilkins sued to have the law declared unconstitutional, alleging that they regularly attend religious services, possess a weapons carry license, and would like to carry a handgun while worshipping, arguing that the law violated both their First Amendment right to free exercise of religion and their Second Amendment right to bear arms.
In July 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit agreed with the district court below and dismissed the complaint, as summarized by these excerpts:
We searched the Amended Complaint to no avail in an attempt to find factual allegations that could possibly be construed as alleging that the Carry Law imposes a constitutionally impermissible burden on one of Plaintiffs’ sincerely held religious beliefs. At various points, Plaintiffs allege that they would like to carry a handgun in a place of worship for the protection either of themselves, their family, their flock, or other members of the Tabernacle. Plaintiffs conclude by alleging that the Carry Law interferes with their free exercise of religion by prohibiting them from engaging in activities in a place of worship when those activities are generally permitted throughout the State. That Plaintiffs “would like” to carry a firearm in order to be able to act in “self-defense” is a personal preference, motivated by a secular purpose. As we note supra, there is no First Amendment protection for personal preferences; nor is there protection for secular beliefs.
To state a facial challenge, therefore, Plaintiffs must take the position that the Second Amendment protects a right to bring a firearm on the private property of another against the wishes of the owner. Put another way, Plaintiffs must argue that the individual right protected by the Second Amendment, in light of Heller and McDonald, trumps a private property owner’s right to exclusively control who, and under what circumstances, is allowed on his or her own premises. ...In its petition for a writ of certiorari, the plaintiffs asked the supremes to explore the question this way: "Does a state criminal law that targets religion, and is neither neutral nor generally applicable, pass strict scrutiny muster under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment?" The supremes didn't bite.
[P]roperty law, tort law, and criminal law provide the canvas on which our Founding Fathers drafted the Second Amendment. A clear grasp of this background illustrates that the pre-existing right codified in the Second Amendment does not include protection for a right to carry a firearm in a place of worship against the owner’s wishes. Quite simply, there is no constitutional infirmity when a private property owner exercises his, her, or its—in the case of a place of worship—right to control who may enter, and whether that invited guest can be armed and the State vindicates that right.
A place of worship’s right, rooted in the common law, to forbid possession of firearms on its property is entirely consistent with the Second Amendment. Surely, given the Court’s pronouncement that the Second Amendment merely “codified a pre-existing right,” Plaintiffs cannot contend that the Second Amendment in any way abrogated the well established property law, tort law, and criminal law that embodies a private property owner’s exclusive right to be king of his own castle. By codifying a pre-existing right, the Second Amendment did not expand, extend, or enlarge the individual right to bear arms at the expense of other fundamental rights; rather, the Second Amendment merely preserved the status quo of the right that existed at the time....
An individual’s right to bear arms as enshrined in the Second Amendment, whatever its full scope, certainly must be limited by the equally fundamental right of a private property owner to exercise exclusive dominion and control over its land. The Founding Fathers placed the right to private property upon the highest of pedestals, standing side by side with the right to personal security that underscores the Second Amendment....
Plaintiffs, in essence, ask us to turn Heller on its head by interpreting the Second Amendment to destroy one cornerstone of liberty—the right to enjoy one’s private property—in order to expand another—the right to bear arms. This we will not do. If, as Blackstone argues, our concept of civil liberties depends on a three-legged stool of rights—personal security, personal liberty, and private property—it would be unwise indeed to cut off one leg entirely only to slightly augment another. Rather, our task is to read the Second Amendment’s preexisting right alongside the equally important rights protected by the Constitution in order to strengthen all three legs and thereby better secure the foundation of our liberty.
The Court has accepted no cases on the interpretation of the Second Amendment for this term; I would not be surprised if next term, the Court takes up the Illinois case I referenced last month, regarding whether the Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms in self-defense outside the home, and not just within it.