Posted: 5:28 pm Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Into the weeds: Exploring the edges of Georgia’s new gun law 

By Jim Galloway

We are 72 hours into Georgia’s new concealed-carry law, and questions that were once theoretical are sprouting like weeds.

All of us have a steep learning curve in front of us, including the firearms enthusiast in Valdosta who wasn’t sure that the fellow in front of him at the local convenience store was, in fact, a good guy with a holstered gun.

The enthusiast drew his own weapon and demanded the other’s carry permit. And was then arrested for disorderly conduct. Under Georgia’s new gun statute, you see, no one can require the display of another’s carry license without cause. Not even police.

It was once simply impolite. Now, it’s unlawful, too.

Chances are that larger educational opportunities will be conducted in a more civilized fashion. Which is the polite way of saying that lawyers will be involved. Armies of them.

We might as well introduce you to two lawyers who are already figuring into the discussion.

House Bill 60, signed by Gov. Nathan Deal this spring, clears the way for concealed weapons to be carried in a number of new venues – some churches, all bars, and many government office buildings. The measure also allows local school boards to decide whether to arm qualified teachers and administrators.

Phil Hartley serves as general counsel for the Georgia School Boards Association. His Gainesville firm also advises local school systems throughout the state.

So far, Hartley said, not one of Georgia’s 180 school systems have made any moves to arm educators. Nada. The culture that rules school systems isn’t the same one that reigns over the state Capitol.

A few systems with isolated schools might ultimately decide to arm their personnel, but they will proceed slowly. “I don’t expect you’re going to see much of that,” Hartley said. “Most educators simply are reluctant to put into place any kind of program that would introduce more guns and weapons into the school setting – except strictly in the hands of law enforcement.”

Another reason: Insurance companies have yet to say whether a teacher or principal with an authorized Glock on campus would result in a premium increase, Hartley said. And money is tight.

But here’s an area where Hartley could face a challenge from Second Amendment enthusiasts. His reading of H.B. 60, the attorney says, indicates that local board of education meetings conducted on school-owned property can still bar all weaponry – whether or not building security is in place.

“We believe that the statute is clear that the criminal provision that prohibits weapons, including guns, in school safety zones, applies to the school board offices as well,” Hartley said.

Look for a fight over this.

Another legal trouble-maker is Crystal Jones, a senior assistant attorney for Macon and Bibb County’s consolidated government. Previously, Georgia law allowed the private renter of public property to determine whether weapons would be allowed at a venue.

According to Jones’ reading, that’s no longer the case. The private operator of Macon’s Cherry Blossom Festival, held each year at a city park, can no longer bar concealed weapons. The private company operating the Macon-owned Centreplex can’t bar concealed weapons from concerts – which could send some entertainers elsewhere. “We want to ensure the safety of our citizens, but at the same time we want to comply with the law,” she said.

Jones even offers up this ironic wrinkle: Many private gun shows rent government-owned space. Such events also have a standard prohibition on bringing loaded weapons inside. But no more. At least, not in publicly owned auditoriums in Macon.

“As long as you’re a licensed weapons holder, you have a right to bring in your weapon,” she said.

This is no rogue opinion. At the state Capitol, we have legal sources telling us that Jones could very well be right in her interpretation. We have Second Amendment friends telling us the same thing – and that the provision could have implications for Atlanta’s largest publicly owned and privately operated entertainment venues.

Think Philips Arena and Turner Field, which currently have prohibitions on weaponry — bans that remain in place until someone in authority says otherwise.

All of these questions — and many, many more besides — have no final answers. At least, not now, and certainly not here. But they’re being shoved in the direction of Attorney General Sam Olens, whose summer vacation may have ended on the day the Safe Carry Protection Act went into effect.

91 comments
Mitchellbrooks
Mitchellbrooks

Just so I understand, you're perfectly OK with concealed carry, but not open carry? 

mrob
mrob

What a mess Georgia's "Dangerous Governor Deal and his dangerous lawmakers friends" proudly created.

Entertainment is dead for those that does not open carry and sure as hell, will rise for does that do.


Boycott any and all business that allow open carry. They want get my money and I will asked if they allow open carry. It;s best to look for the sign of "No Guns Allowed" at the entry point.

DohBee
DohBee

Health Insurance Rates/Liability, with already some of the highest rates in Georgia, will be skyrocketing higher.  The GA Insurance Companies will LOVE the Increased Premium Payments!

SamTheSham
SamTheSham

My only issue is that Georgia does not require ANY firearms training to carry (like other states do).  Something simple like a one time four hour class on how guns work, how to properly carry and shoot one, and legal liability should be a regulation for a carry permit.

SMH

PoliticalOutsider
PoliticalOutsider

We are only about 60 days away from the start of the college football season and I cannot wait to go to my favorite sports bar, proudly wearing my trusty sidearm, spend a few hours drinking and trash talking the other fans, and then wait for the ensuing gun battle. Aaaaah, what better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than in a bar full of Auburn and Alabama fans, drunk and rowdy and armed to the teeth.

Has Las Vegas put out the over/under for the first bar shoot out in Georgia yet? Here's a tip....take the under.

EdUktr
EdUktr

Going on three days later ... concealed carry still hasn't resulted in the spontaneous mass mayhem liberals loudly predict. They're STILL forced to point to ("gun-free") Chicago as an example of what to expect. What's up with that, Jim?

And also—Is it true Chicago is Democrat-run?

Ficklefan
Ficklefan

Shar 1:  Tell it all brother/sister . . . . tell it all.  Absolutely correct. If the state legislators who passed this bill and the governor who signed this idiocy into law are not they, themselves,  willing to live in  the midst of it - where they go to work - licensed carry in the statehouse, legislative office buildings, and in and around the governor's office, governor's mansion, etc. then their hypocrisy is astounding. Which it is, of course.


Now I guess that we can read with bated breath about the ever more contentious school board meetings, and county commissioner hearings on controversial topics (e.g. building new sports stadiums for billionaires to own for millionaires to play in) and wonder if a shooting was part of the debate -- assuming any debate was allowed. I'll bet county commissioners will be a little more wary of denying attendees the right to speak in the coming months.  


And this  first case was in a store. Wonder if the story might have ended differently  had it occurred in a bar? 


We had better get used to this. Barney Fife LIVES! He was born too early in the 60's, but now "Old Barn" has risen with from the dead with a vengeance. And guess what, there are now thousands of Barney Fifes out on the street, and and now they all have more than just one bullet in their buttoned down shirt pockets. Not good. Not good at all. 

Bhorsoft
Bhorsoft

Some government museums and archives are also struggling with the question.  I'm guessing now you can conceal carry in the GA State Archives when doing genealogy research or in the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw (appropriate since Kennesaw residents are required to own a firearm) or in the Cyclorama or Zoo Atlanta. 

hamiltonAZ
hamiltonAZ

The ridiculousness of this enterprise is enormous. Horrors to think what it will take to bring people to their senses. Having been raised in a house where a gun was a tool, not an idol to be worshiped, this distemper of gun lust is not easy to understand.


People thought the Beatles were plain weird when they sang the lyrics, "Happiness is a warm gun..."


What to people think now?

BigHat
BigHat

Bang bang you shot me down
Bang bang I hit the ground
Bang bang that awful sound
Bang bang my baby shot me down

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Readers, please read the following about ALEC and the NRA being in cooperation re: gun laws. (Source: www.alecexposed.org) Georgia's legislature has the 3rd greatest number of ALEC members in its legislature of all the state legislatures in the nation.  All ALEC members in Georgia's legislature are Republicans.  Vote these Republican legislators out of office.  These Republican legislators also refuse to expand Medicaid (a Republican goal to dismantle the ACA), which, more than likely, will cause some Georgians to die when hospitals are cut back, as a result of this lockstep decision. 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

From ALEC Exposed:


"Spotlight on Gun Bills
For many years, until this spring, the National Rifle Association (NRA) actually co-chaired the ALEC "Task Force on Public Safety and Elections." (The election bills are discussed in the section of this site titled "Democracy, Voter Rights and Federal Power.") ALEC bills include "model" legislation that advances the constitutionality of an individual's right to bear arms, an argument vindicated by a recent ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court. The legislation also would likely benefit the firearms industry closely connected to the NRA.

Bills or resolutions in this area:

CuriousPrime
CuriousPrime

When you look at the laws passed by the GOP like the open carry, no wonder they haven't come up with an alternative to Obamacare.  What a mess.

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

A bit late to the game, but can someone tell me exactly what problem this law was designed to solve?

Mitchellbrooks
Mitchellbrooks

@SamTheSham 

I don't believe training, or even licensing for that matter, should be required to practice a constitutionally protected act. 

honested
honested

@EdUktr 

Give it a few weeks.

Auslander rednecks have an enormous propensity in this state to behave in the most abhorrent manner possible and be surprised when anyone calls them into question.

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

Hey the authors  have a new post up - you need to rush over to that one and say this same thing - could be there's one reader who hasn't seen your post yet.

And it's so brilliant that we wouldn't want anyone to miss it...

Mitchellbrooks
Mitchellbrooks

@LookbeforeIleap


I'll speak to one portion of it.  The state legislature decided to codify the 4th Amendment into GA code because we had law enforcement officers and judges ignoring case law based on the 4th where the mere presence of a weapon being used as RAS for detention and seizure of law abiding carriers. 

EdUktr
EdUktr

@CherokeeCounty

I'm devastated that you still see the issue differently. Please reconsider.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Mitchellbrooks 

 What?  Open Carry is not something new, passed by the GOP. 

Where was it posted this was "new"?

Just askin'.

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

@Mitchellbrooks 

Thanks that was eloquent and useful.

How many cases in the past 10 years where an otherwise law-abiding citizen was detained simply for displaying a firearm?

honested
honested

@EdUktr @CherokeeCounty 

You might want to get out more.

It might help you see just how few self-blindered individuals are there in the room with you.

Mitchellbrooks
Mitchellbrooks

@Kamchak 

It (open carry) predates the GOP in GA. 
There's plenty of people acting as if it is something new.

Mitchellbrooks
Mitchellbrooks

@LookbeforeIleap 

I'd guess low 10's that actually led to something more significant like false arrests, temporary incarceration, loss of jobs, significant legal expenses, etc. Several can be found on a GA based website that promotes weapons carry and 2nd Amendment rights.      



Kamchak
Kamchak

@Mitchellbrooks 

Then show your proof.

You can either back up what comes out of that pie-hole of yours, or you can't.

It's not complicated.

AvailableName
AvailableName

Open carry has been around for decades. The new, and in my view stupid law, extends the ability to carry into churches, bars, government buildings and the airport with certain minimal restrictions.

Mitchellbrooks
Mitchellbrooks

@Kamchak

I can't show you something that has never existed. 

Open carry has never been illegal in GA. 

Mitchellbrooks
Mitchellbrooks

@honested  

I didn't write the legislation, so I don't know.  I'm sure if you reached out to the law's authors they could fill you in on the purpose behind each and every line of code. 

Laws get passed because constituents lobby their legislators.   This law was no different.  Someone lobbied their representative to codify the 4th Amendment into GA code.


Oh, and I'm not a gun nut, or even a conservative.  

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Mitchellbrooks 

I can't show you something that has never existed. 

Too funny!

First, you post that you have proof, then you post that you don't.

First day with that brand new Acme goalpost mover?

Mitchellbrooks
Mitchellbrooks

Here is a typical example - 



"Went to the Peacock Festival in Pavo,Georgia this morning. Lots of cool vendors and good food. I was OC and enjoying the parade when a Thomas County Deputy walks up behind me and asks if he can talk to me. I step back with him and he instructs me that he has been told to tell me I can't open carry there. I politely told him that he was wrong and that I was allowed to open carry anywhere that is not specifically prohibited by Georgia law. I then told him that I would pull my shirt out to cover it because he was very polite(which he was). I know I'm going to get flamed for complying, but the guy was nice and I saw a teaching opportunity unfolding.
He walked away and moments later I saw him talking to an older sergeant, so I pulled out a couple of GCO cards and walked over. I spoke directly to the polite young deputy and told him about GCO and how informative the website is. The sergeant then pipes up and asks me if I have a weapons license. I said yes and handed him the other GCO card. He proceeds to inform me that the weapons license that I carry is concealed carry only and does not allow me to open carry. I smiled and told him he was wrong and asked him to take a look at the GCO website the first chance he got. I thanked him and walked away.
Just bothers me that many LEO don't know the law as they should. I know that there are a lot of laws to know, but still....it's their job. "  __________________

honested
honested

@Mitchellbrooks 

You help point out the danger caused by our radical, activist Supreme Court in slowly drifting toward a system of 'one dollar-one vote'.

This legislation was passed as a result of huge financial involvement from the gun manufacture and marketing industry and most certainly NOT as a result of massive public involvement.

I did reach out to the laws authors and received the reception one gets when a bill is already 'bought and paid for'.

Mitchellbrooks
Mitchellbrooks

@Kamchak

That is my proof; the fact that it has never been illegal in GA. 

Proving it would be like me asking, "Is it legal to enter a bank and not rob it?"  You answer, "Yes", and I say, "Prove it."  

Mitchellbrooks
Mitchellbrooks

@honested 

I didn't realize that being naked in public was legal. 

That "I don't care if it's legal or not, it should be illegal because I don't like it" attitude is a big part of the problem.

I'm surprised that so many people feel a person doesn't have a right to self-defense.

honested
honested

@Mitchellbrooks 

What bothers me is the number of kooks who feel the world is impinging their self-deluded notion of 'rights' by suggesting they leave their guns at home when they are out among evolved, civilized people.

Mitchellbrooks
Mitchellbrooks

Here is one that goes more to the particular subject of needing RAS before detaining a person and demanding to see a license. 


"This afternoon I was illegally detained by Stone Mountain Park Police today, and was not free to go until they were finished with me. The total encounter was just under six minutes, but the officer admitted on tape that I was detained for doing an activity that he admitted was not illegal.

To the lawyers here: If you feel that I have a case to sue, and want to represent me, please PM me.

This happened today in the Cross Roads parking lot just across from the Barnyard playground I was taking me son to (I didn't know at the time that the Barnyard was closed).

I was pushing my baby daughter in her stroller when a police car was coming down the line between the parked cars. I was walking across several feet in front of him perpendicular with my strong side to him, so I knew he saw my pistol, but didn't know if he'd stop me. I had just turned on my voice recorder before getting out of my car.

Here's the transcript:

Me: Hey, how're you doin'? Hey, how's it going?

Officer: You got a permit?

Me: Yes sir, I sure do.

Officer: May I see it please?

Me: Um, respectfully I don't consent to any searches or seizures of my person, papers, or property. Am I free to go?

Officer: No.

Me: Why are you detaining me officer?

Officer: [Mumbles, then calls for backup]

Me: Officer, may I ask please what is your reasonable articulable suspicion for detaining me is, sir?

Officer: [silence]

Me: Are you suspecting me of committing a crime? I don't consent to having my rights violated.

Officer: I understand. Your rights are not being violated. I've asked you for your permit.

Me: Is there a law that requires me to show it to you?

Officer: Yes sir, there is.

Me: What law it that sir? What's the statute?

Officer: I'm gettin' my supervisor over here and we'll explain it to you.

Officer: [speaking to his supervisor on the radio]

Me: I've open carried here many times, past several police officers and no one's ever stopped me. Why are you stopping me today, sir?

Officer: I'm stopping you because you're carrying an open weapon.

Me: That's not against the law.

Officer: It is not against the law, but I have the right to ask for your permit.

Me: If you don't suspect me of committing a crime, you don't have the right to detain me. Are you familiar with USC Title 42, Section 1983, sir, that gives me the right to sue you and your department in federal court for violating my rights? You are detaining me illegally without reasonable articulable suspicion or probable cause.

Me: What's your name officer?

Officer: [Gives his name]

Me: And how do you spell your last name?

Officer: I'll give you a card.

Me: Ok, thank you sir.

Me: [speaking with officer to verify spelling of his name - this is for the benefit of the recording]

Me to 2nd Officer that's now on the scene: How you doin'?

2nd Officer: Very good.

Me to Original Officer: This must be a training issue officer.

Officer: A training issue?

Me: It must be a training issue, yeah. Police officers that know the law don't detain people without reasonable articulable suspicion or probable cause. You're illegally detaining me. I'm asking you again, am I free to go?

Me to Wife: They're about to get sued, honey. I got 'em on tape. I'm recording. [Don't know if the officers heard that. Said some other things to my wife while the officers were busy either on the radio to others or talking with themselves.]

Me to Sergeant [Watch Commander]: How you doing officer?

Sergeant: Fine, I'm the Watch Commander today.

Me: Yes sir, what's your name please sir.

Sergeant: Gives his last name.

Me: [I spell his name for the recording]

Me: What's your first name Officer ____?

Sergeant: [Doesn't give his first name] I'm Sergeant _____ of the park police. The reason I'm here...

Me: [Interrupts] Yes sir officer. Badge number ___ [I say the badge number out loud]

Sergeant: You can read, I'm impressed.

Me: Thank you sir. [I laugh]

Sergeant: Once again, if you keep interfering, I will have an obstruction charge. Are you clear? Yes or no?

Me: I, I...

Sergeant: [Louder] Yes or no?

Me: At this time I exercise my right to remain silent.

Sergeant to Original Officer: All right, here's what's gonna happen. We're gonna bird-dog him while he's here. He can be here legally, but because he's gonna be drawing a big fuss in a park like this, we'll just let the rest of the agents know...

Me: Officer, I've carried here many times openly, and no one's ever bothered me...

Officers Then Started to Leave:

Me: Thank you officers, thank you for letting me go."




honested
honested

@Mitchellbrooks 

Defense from what?

If one fears demons under every rock or 'thugs' among everyone who does not consult with them over style of dress, they have already stepped beyond the bounds of judgement required to be entrusted with lethal force in public.

For there to be a need of 'self-defense' logic dictates there needs to be a demonstration of 'offense'.

I would hope for expansion in the education budget to help identify those sufficiently deranged as to fear everything in their early youth and ensure they receive the help they so desperately need.

honested
honested

@Mitchellbrooks 

What is missing is the information on how old the subject was when he received the head injury that made him such a sniveling coward he was unable to be out among civilized people without a lethal weapon?

Coastalbreeze
Coastalbreeze

@Kamchak @Mitchellbrooks Open carry in GA has never been illegal for white men. Concealed Carry was for outlaws and thieves. In 1833 Ga enacts a law that provides, "it shall not be lawful for any free person of colour in this state, to own, use, or carry fire arms of any description........"


Then in 1868 we had the Camilla Massacre.   "In 1868, the white members of the Georgia House of Representatives and Senate expelled the 32 black members on the grounds that the state constitution did not recognize the right of black citizens to hold office.  Following the expulsion, several hundred Blacks and Republicans marched 30 miles from Albany, Georgia to Camilla Georgia for a political rally in support of removed black Legislators and presidential candidate Ulysses Grant. Many of the Blacks were armed with walking sticks, shotguns and other various firearms."  They were gunned down by the Sheriff and his posse. 


Two years later (1870) Ga passed the Jim Crow "Public Gathering" clause, which by the way was finally repealed in 2010 by SB 308.


"In 1910, the General Assembly imposed licensing requirements with the intent to disarm blacks by using the same seemingly non-discriminatory manner that successfully disenfranchised Blacks two years earlier. To possess a firearm a license issued by the Ordinary (now know as probate judge) must be applied for and granted. Applicants had to be: a) at least eighteen years old or over b) give a bond payable to the Governor of the State in the sum of one hundred dollars, AND c) a fee of fifty cents.22  $100 in 1910 is equivalent to over $2000 in 2007 dollars.23 In the unlikely event a black man could post the bond, the Ordinary, who was always white, since blacks could not hold office, could be counted on to deny the application. Judicial Immunity applicable to the Ordinary meant that Blacks were unable to challenge the license denials."  Open Carry was still legal, but you now had to possess a license.  Concealed Carry was still prohibited. 


In 1976 there was a signification rewrite to the carry laws and OC and CC were both legal with a firearms license.  So, OC has never been illegal in Ga.


I could go on and on, but all the research and References for the history of Georgia's Carry Laws are right here: http://www.georgiacarry.org/cms/georgias-carry-laws-explained/history-of-georgias-carry-laws/

Mitchellbrooks
Mitchellbrooks

@Kamchak 

Oh well, I'll try not to lose sleep over it.