Georgia – -(AmmoLand.com)- Under our Georgia’s weapons preemption law a person licensed to carry a weapon may do so in all places of the state except for certain spelled out locations such as courthouses, jails, schools, “government buildings” when screening is in place, etc. See OCGA 16-11-127.
However, up until 2014 there was a loophole that allowed anyone in control of property (presumably any property at all, including public property), to ban firearms. That meant that a private sponsor could lease a public park for a weekend for a public event, and ban lawful carriers of firearms.
That loophole was closed by HB 60 in 2014 when the word “private” was inserted three or four times into the weapons law, meaning that a private entity could now only ban guns if it had rented or leased private property.
Well, the problem is that it didn’t quite close the loophole because private entities claimed that their leased public property was in fact magically transformed into “private property” merely because a private entity was leasing it.
I tested that law shortly after it was passed by carrying my holstered sidearm openly at Atlanta Botanical Garden, which is 12 acres carved out of Piedmont Park, a City of Atlanta park. The land is owned by the City but leased by the Garden, a private entity.
Since this court case was settled, at least on the issue of what private entities can do on public property depending on what type of lease they hold, it has been a constant battle fighting local entities who STILL believe they have the authority to ban firearms from public property if the property is leased by a private entity.
My latest win is over the Richmond Hill City Chamber of Commerce who thought it could ban guns at the Ogeechee Seafood Festival held at J.F. Gregory City Park. I got a copy of the lease via Georgia’s Open Records Law, then emailed the City Manager and Police Chief explaining the law and pointing out my Georgia Supreme Court win.
The website for the festival was quickly changed to omit any prohibition of weapons or firearms.
Another win in the works, but at the moment I’m typing this the website has not been updated, is over Atlanta’s MARTA. They presented through their website that they could ban firearms for their Nov. 3rd, 40th Anniversary Festival. One of their customer service reps admitted to me on the phone that the website prohibition on weapons was merely a “suggestion”. I told her that it should be worded that way, instead of as a prohibition. Please contact them and tell them to update their website warnings. [email protected]
So you see, it’s not beyond local governments to spread disinformation when their agenda is to try and skirt state law, just because they don’t like the law. And it seems that in all cases where they don’t like thSigning-GCA-govte law is when the law upholds liberty for us mere citizens.
So who else out there needs a phone call or email from me?
This is one Georgian who is serious about defending his rights, and yours too. I suspect a lot of these shenanigans will continue, and my time and energy are not unlimited.
Please search these offenders in Georgia out and let them know you have rights under the new law clarification.
Another way you can help is to join Georgia Carry, the organization that brought suit with me against the Atlanta Botanical Garden. It is the best $20 per year you can spend to further our carry rights here in Georgia.
About Phillip Evans: