Atlanta Falcons Told Recent Court Ruling Invalidates Stadium Gun Ban

Sign outside Cleveland’s First Energy Stadium mandates same NFL rules enforced by the Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Photo: David Codrea)

U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- The attorney who was successful in persuading the Georgia Supreme Court to send a gun rights case back to the lower courts has put the Atlanta Falcons on notice that its ban on guns is not permitted under state law.

“In light of the Court’s ruling, the Falcons may not prohibit firearms at Mercedes-Benz Stadium,” John Monroe, writing on behalf of his clients, GeorgiaCarry.Org, Inc., wrote on Oct. 22 to Michael J. Egan III, Senior Vice President and General Counsel.

The ruling Monroe referred to is from Georgia Carry’s complaint against Atlanta Botanical Garden.  The issue is that while private property owners may ban customers from bringing guns onto their premises, entities that lease public property may not do so.

“The case stems from an incident involving Phillip Evans, a firearms license holder from Gwinnett County, who was escorted off the grounds of the Atlanta Botanical Garden for bringing a gun in the holster of his waistband,” the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported. After a series of back-and-forths with the lower courts over the past five years that resulted in the Georgia Court of Appeals upholding the gun ban, “the state Supreme Court declared the Court of Appeals should not have dismissed the lawsuit by summary judgment rather than considering the merits of the case.”

“[T]here are an awful lot of leases of public property out there, and I'm wondering if each one must be litigated. I suppose so it would seem,” Evans wrote on his Pursuit of Patriotism blog. “Four times the word, ‘private’ was inserted before ‘property’ in the weapons law (OCGA 16-11-127), in order to ensure that local governments could not do an end-run around state preemption by leasing public property to a private entity. Looks pretty clear, right?”

“I understand that the Stadium is owned by the Georgia World Congress Authority and Licensed to the Atlanta Falcons Stadium Company as a usufruct,” attorney Monroe explained to Egan. “Based on that information, it is a violation of Georgia law for the Falcons to ban holder of Georgia weapons carry licenses (‘GWLs’) from carrying weapons at the Stadium.

“I am writing to request that you eliminate your policy so that this matter may be resolved without litigation,” Monroe concluded. “I request a response by November 1, 2019.”

Expect the response to reflect the Falcons’ and the NFL’s utter hostility to guns in private hands. After all, we’re talking about a league that bans its own personnel from having the means of defense in “workplace settings.” The NFL allows its licensed trademarks to be used to promote fan disarmament. The NFL and the Falcons reiterate their distrust of those who pay the bills by making them carry clear plastic bags into the stadium. And in a move that can only politely be described as “ironic,” the NFL hired former ATF Director (and Fast and Furious lead apparatchik) B. Todd Jones as counsel for player misconduct.

“Things are looking up for liberty here in Georgia,” gun owner Evans, optimistic from his win, tells AmmoLand Shooting Sports News. “Let's just hope the Georgia General Assembly has the fortitude to allow liberty to continue to bloom, and not pour any poison on it.”

As he implies, hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

I’d expect the Falcons and the NFL to marshal all the resources they can to fight this in the courts and to press for legislative change. In the meantime, I sure wouldn’t be the one to try and test Mercedes-Benz Stadium security, but then again, why any gun owner would pay for the “privilege” of swapping unalienable rights for trivial bread and circuses is something I have never grokked in the first place.


About David Codrea:David Codrea

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

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tomcat
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tomcat

More gun free zones. Doesn’t that just make you feel warm and fuzzy all over. Good places to be from, as far away as you can get. Look at the economics of all this. The goons that play are paid outrageous salaries, the owners hall in big bucks and the advertisers get well off of it. On the other side, we “spectators” buy tickets to get in while risking our lives and we buy the products that are advertised. That’s kind of like looking down the business end of a double barreled shotgun. Would we be any worse off without… Read more »

dbeall
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dbeall

It would seem that the Atlanta Braves may also be subject to this law.

AnotherLEO
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AnotherLEO

Same thing in Florida. I went to the gun show a couple weeks ago at Florida State Fairgrounds. They said concealed carry was not allowed. Rather than cause a big scene at the entrance I told them I wasnt carrying and went on in. If it went further i was ready to reign down some hell fire. I’m retired LE… so my carry privileges are protected under LEOSA… but it’s still disgusting that so many places are eager to violate the CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS of its customers/patrons…
https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/resources/ccw_reciprocity_map/fl-gun-laws/

MICHAEL J
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MICHAEL J

If a law that is challenged in court and proven to go against the Constitution it is essentially an illegal law. Those that push for ordinances, codes, policies and illegal laws must be labeled as an enemy to the the people. This includes Governors, attorney generals, county supervisors, sheriffs, mayors, council members and city attorneys.  These politicians and bureaucrats all swore an oath to support, protect and defend the Constitution and yet some of them do exactly the opposite, we have them on record for for doing so. These individuals must be removed from office and banned from any future… Read more »

Green Mtn. Boy
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Green Mtn. Boy

Tyrannical Commies never learn from their failures,they just keep repeating them expecting a different result.

Gdubb
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Gdubb

Another great article, thank you David. You gave the real Americans another reason to continue our boycott of this disgusting socialist organization. Fuck the NFL – such a disgrace to our country.

Wild Bill
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Wild Bill

@Gdubb, Well and poetically said!

Possum1500
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Possum1500

wouldn’t hurt my feelings one bit if the NFL crumbled….bunch of over paid babies anyway!

Wild Bill
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Wild Bill

@Possum, Kapperdick almost crumbled the NFL all by his constantly, malcontented self.

Bill
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Bill

I haven’t bothered to watch NFL games since they tolerate disrespect for our Flag. I enjoy college games, especially Ohio State (I bleed Scarlet & Gray). I also generally avoid buying Pepsi and Pizza Hut. Let them move to Australia!

DC
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DC

At least MLB appears a little more patriotic: haven’t seen many players not standing for the national anthem. I imagine having a lot of latino players who count it a blessing to get to play here has a little to do with that. Guns are probably banned in most MLB parks, though. I remember after 911, “God Bless America” was sung in the 7th inning stretch, but not so much lately. By the way, the original start date of universal open carry is approaching here in OK. A petition to put it back out for a stae vote got only… Read more »

SgtJUSMC
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SgtJUSMC

Referees will be under more pressure now. :0

Alan1018
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Alan1018

The NFL is an anti-American institution. I wouldn’t give them a nickel and wouldn’t take a leak on one of the stadiums if it was on fire.

Bowserb46
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Bowserb46

I’ve got to look into Texas law on this. I don’t care personally about pro sports, but there are many other places where city or county property is leased to parties who ban guns. Houston Museum of Natural Science and Museum of Fine Arts Houston is another. Houston Zoo is another.

Terry
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Terry

In the world of vastly overpaid piss poor examples to today’s young people the NFL is #1!

Wild Bill
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Wild Bill

@Terry, Yes, and the NBA is a close second.

Terry
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Terry

@ Bill
And I guess we should give the Kardashians an honorable (or dishonorable) mention.

Wild Bill
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Wild Bill

@Terry, No, when say the K word out loud, I I get a funny plastic taste in my mouth that I can only get out with pickled herring or luta fisk!

ras52
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ras52

Wild Bill, NFL, NBA, tied for 1st place.

Will
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Will

@ras52,don’t forget NASCAR !

Mack
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Mack

Now you two have me wondering…

Could the NFL be considering a Franchise in Communist China?

Phil1979
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Phil1979

Great article, David!

Heinz Field in Pennsylvania, the home of the Steelers, doesn’t seem to ban firearms carry. At least their website doesn’t mention it along with their long list of rules, and state law allows licensed carriers to carry openly or concealed in all cities.

If anyone else knows of other such professional football or baseball stadiums, please post them in the comments.

Phillip Evans

Gindy
Member
Gindy

Phil, not sure about Heinz Field, in which I’ve never been simply because we’ve turned the NFL off four years ago, but metal detectors are in place in PPG Arena. The few times we were there I’ve never seen anything that would indicate a CCW person could be accommodated. Therefore we don’t drive the two hours to see the Penguins play. (Not that it was anything we’d miss) As far as my wife and I are concerned professional sports could disappear and we wouldn’t notice.

Arny
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Arny

Judge just struck down Pittsburgh Gun control ordinances after synagogue shooting yesterday. Banning assault style weapons & ammo. Hopefully we will prevail on the red flag laws also. I not in Pittsburgh area but it does affect the whole state. I they would have succeeded it would have spread like wildfire across the state. Philly is another issue that needs to be addressed. IMO https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2019/10/29/judge-strikes-down-pittsburgh-gun-control-laws/

AnotherLEO
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AnotherLEO

Good for him/her!! A spine and respect for Constitutional rights is becoming a rare commodity in politics and throughout much of the legal system.
And just as they mentioned in the article.. the City Council KNEW it didnt have the authority to pass those ordinances… there should be legal ramifications for those in positions of authority who willingly and knowingly violate the law and the rights of the community. The continuing FAILURE to hold these violators accountable will eventually result in others enforcing the needed repercussions…

Ansel Hazen
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Ansel Hazen

Just fantastic. I hope the NFL is pissing themselves.

Will
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Will

@AH,two sports I no longer watch,,NFL,NASCAR !

RoyD
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RoyD

I resemble that remark.

Ansel Hazen
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Ansel Hazen

Nor do I purchase gatorade sports drink. They were silent throughout the kneeling fiasco.

ras52
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ras52

Will, I hear ya brother!