Georgia group takes local bans down

  • Follow Metro

ATLANTA --- What began a few years ago as an online forum for gun-rights advocates has exploded into the leading group for expanding Georgia's gun laws.

Since its incorporation in 2006, Georgia Carry has fired off a steady stream of lawsuits against local gun bans by leaning on a state law that bars any entity but the General Assembly from regulating the carrying and possession of firearms.

Georgia Carry appears to be winning the fight against Georgia's restrictions, which it calls the most stringent in the country, according to John Monroe, the group's vice president and attorney.

Restrictions on where permitted gun owners can carry weapons in public seem to be on the wane, especially since Gov. Sonny Perdue signed legislation in May allowing the state's estimated 300,000 concealed-weapons permit holders to carry in public transit, state parks and restaurants that serve alcohol.

"If our recent experience is any indicator, I think they are leaning to being more favorable to people who have an interest in carrying firearms to protect themselves," Mr. Monroe said.

The group has beat back several bans on weapons in parks, including those in Coweta, Forsyth, Fulton and Athens-Clarke counties, and is suing Atlanta after officials for the city and city-owned Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport threatened to arrest anyone who carries a gun on airport property.

Gun-control advocates question the need to loosen restrictions without strengthening the vetting process for permits.

"We don't see any common sense rationale for their positions, given that there are so few requirements, so few responsibilities that concealed-weapon carry permit holders have in Georgia," said Alice Johnson, the executive director of Georgians for Gun Safety.

The permits are granted by probate courts without knowledge or input from local law enforcement.

Ms. Johnson said her group wants law enforcement to have a say in the process, which would allow officers to raise a red flag if they know the applicant has shown a propensity for violence but hasn't committed a crime that would halt the permit process.

"If you have no significant criminal history and you have $50 dollars, you can get a permit," Ms. Johnson said.

She said applicants should also have to receive training and show proficiency with the weapon, as several states in the Southeast require.

Also, the lack of a statewide database on who has a concealed-carry permit prevents tracking permit holders who might or have posed a danger, she said.

"The idea that none of them have anger-management issues, that none of them periodically get drunk or get high or have some emotional issue -- I think that is a pretty wild claim that none of those 300,000 have been in that situation," Ms. Johnson said.

Permit holders aren't the "gun nuts" gun-control groups often make them out to be, said Kevin Lamons, a 35-year-old Athens resident and permit holder.

Mr. Lamons said he trains with his weapon, took firearms classes and has passed the same firearm proficiency tests law enforcement officers are required to take.

Though the ban on guns in parks has been repealed, Mr. Lamons said he has yet to carry his weapon into one.

"It's not about wanting to carry a gun in a park. I don't think parks are necessarily less safe than anywhere else in the community," he said. "We have a right to carry a gun."

GEORGIA CARRY is poised for another victory Aug. 5, when the Athens-Clarke County Commission will consider removing language in an ordinance that gives the county manager the authority to close guns shops in the event of an emergency.

The change is the result of a lawsuit Georgia Carry won in February against the county's gun ban in parks, Mr. Monroe said.

For Athens-Clarke County's gun prohibition, the writing was on the wall after Georgia Carry's victory in the state Court of Appeals in December forced the repeal of a gun ban in Coweta County, according to Athens-Clarke County attorney Bill Berryman.

The court ruled that state law pre-empts local jurisdictions from enacting ordinances on how firearms are carried.

"Once that came out, we didn't feel like we had any alternative," Mr. Berryman said.

Reach Jake Armstrong at (404) 589-8424 or jake.armstrong@morris.com.

WEAPONS PERMITS

Georgia has an estimated 300,000 holders of concealed-carry permits, which are good for five years. The number issued or renewed by local probate courts in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007:

COURT - PERMITS

Burke 180

Columbia - 760

McDuffie - 125

Richmond - 1,034

Statewide - 56,833

Source: Administrative Office of the Courts

Comments (54) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
RAWR
0
Points
RAWR 07/28/08 - 12:46 am
0
0
Ugh. When will the media get

Ugh. When will the media get it right? Its not a concealed weapons permit. It is a Georgia Firearms License. Which allows the holders of the license to carry openly or concealed. $50 for a license? That is against the law ...

Riverman1
93482
Points
Riverman1 07/28/08 - 05:31 am
0
0
I don't see how any state or

I don't see how any state or local government can impose conditions on a Constitutional right.

Ole School
1
Points
Ole School 07/28/08 - 05:43 am
0
0
I keep mine ! and have been

I keep mine ! and have been trained on it ! I reserve the right to take it with me ! when I feel I should , but I park? nah, I don`t think i need it there .

ripjones
2
Points
ripjones 07/28/08 - 06:25 am
0
0
My only wish is that Georgia

My only wish is that Georgia would adopt a certified traning program like SC has. Then, I could legally carry my weapon, if I so choose, from GA, all the way through to VA. I would be willing to give up my Saturday, and a few extra dollars for that.

HYPOCRITES 08
7
Points
HYPOCRITES 08 07/28/08 - 06:26 am
0
0
I believe that a carry and

I believe that a carry and concealed are two different permit. A license to carry, only allows you to carry it on your person as long as it is visible. A concealed permit, allows you to put it under a coat or jacket, out of the view of the public. When you are licensed to carry, you are not automatically allowed to carry concealed.

Riverman1
93482
Points
Riverman1 07/28/08 - 06:29 am
0
0
I understand about being safe

I understand about being safe with guns, but those are still conditions imposed that impinge on a Constitutional right. Many have trained in the military and other places, many grew up in rural areas and have used guns all their lives. Taking a rinky dink safety course should be up to the gun owner instead of being imposed by a state.

ripjones
2
Points
ripjones 07/28/08 - 06:32 am
0
0
Sorry, I missed a paragraph

Sorry, I missed a paragraph of the story. Ms. Johnson is dead wrong. Yes, the Probate Court grants licenses, but we are checked through both GCIC and NCIC, before a permit is granted. We are checked by both State and Federal governments. The local law enforcement doesn't know everyone that has a driver's license either.

Riverman1
93482
Points
Riverman1 07/28/08 - 06:42 am
0
0
FireFighterhamer, you are

FireFighterhamer, you are wrong. The Georgia law allows the weapon to be carried openly or concealed, as Trulyelite said in the first post.

williammorriss
2
Points
williammorriss 07/28/08 - 06:57 am
0
0
Does anyone know if the names

Does anyone know if the names of the registered holders of permits is public record; and if it is public, would the newpaper be willing to publish a list of the names, county by county?
Just wondering.

Dark Lord
2
Points
Dark Lord 07/28/08 - 06:58 am
0
0
The permit to carry is not a

The permit to carry is not a permit to conceal or hide your weapon. Yes everyone has the right by constitutional right but like so many other rights some idiot(s) always comes along and "F" it up. NO ONE needs to be drinking and flashing a gun in a room full of people. There is NO REASON for people to walk around the airport, bank, or club with a loaded gun. GUNS and LIQUOR are a bad combination. YES, people are going to do it anyway but me or my family should not have to worry about get shot by a stray bullet from some untrained idoit who thought someone else was a threat.

Dark Lord
2
Points
Dark Lord 07/28/08 - 07:02 am
0
0
Since Gov. Purdue thinks is

Since Gov. Purdue thinks is OK to carry a gun anyway then why want he allow you to carry one in the Gov's mansion? Because he knows there are some idiots out there who are dangerous and only want a reason to have a gun to do wrong. The next time you see the Gov flash or wave your gun a see what happens next (lmao).

Uncle Remus
0
Points
Uncle Remus 07/28/08 - 07:14 am
0
0
The exception to this law is

The exception to this law is no permit shall be required for persons with a valid hunting or fishing license on their person or for persons not required by law to have hunting licenses who are engaged in legal hunting, fishing, or sport shooting when the persons have the permission of the owner of the land on which the activities are being conducted; provided, further, that the pistol or revolver, whenever loaded, shall be carried only in an open and fully exposed manner.

Uncle Remus
0
Points
Uncle Remus 07/28/08 - 07:17 am
0
0
The exception to this law is

The exception to this law is no permit shall be required for persons with a valid hunting or fishing license on their person or for persons not required by law to have hunting licenses who are engaged in legal hunting, fishing, or sport shooting when the persons have the permission of the owner of the land on which the activities are being conducted; provided, further, that the pistol or revolver, whenever loaded, shall be carried only in an open and fully exposed manner.

darktall
0
Points
darktall 07/28/08 - 07:30 am
0
0
Another exception is law

Another exception is law enforcement can carry on or off duty in any state. Only some federal buildings are off limits. So go get a low paying job in LE if you wanna be strapped 24/7.

intheknow
16
Points
intheknow 07/28/08 - 07:49 am
0
0
Riverman1 since you feel I am

Riverman1 since you feel I am wrong, check out the 8:02am post and the 8:14 and 8:17am posts.

soldout
1283
Points
soldout 07/28/08 - 07:50 am
0
0
More guns will equal less

More guns will equal less crime; it is a good thing

mojo
0
Points
mojo 07/28/08 - 08:16 am
0
0
Reading the article and

Reading the article and comments it's surprising how misinformed people are on this subject.

HYPOCRITES 08
7
Points
HYPOCRITES 08 07/28/08 - 08:26 am
0
0
What are we not

What are we not understanding? I have a concealed permit, so I do know the difference between a carry and conceal permit.

uptheseventhplanet
1
Points
uptheseventhplanet 07/28/08 - 08:28 am
0
0
For the info of those who

For the info of those who have the permit but don't need to carry their firearm in a park, bank, airport or club--just yesterday two people died and four are in critical condition because someone opened fire in a Knoxville church.

JackBootedThug
0
Points
JackBootedThug 07/28/08 - 08:32 am
0
0
If you apply the rationale of

If you apply the rationale of Alice Johnson to licensed drivers, you can truly see how ridiculous her thinking is. There are many more licensed drivers, many more cars, and many more deaths due to car accidents. Why don't we revoke the driver's license of all people who have a propensity to speed, drive recklessly, or have a wreck?

HYPOCRITES 08
7
Points
HYPOCRITES 08 07/28/08 - 08:36 am
0
0
So, now what? Everyone should

So, now what? Everyone should carry a gun in the Church? Maybe we should arm the Deacons? Try as we might, you cannot prevent every act of violence. I believe in a right to carry, but I also know that even if every person over the age of 18 carried a weapon, crime will still take place.

mojo
0
Points
mojo 07/28/08 - 08:45 am
0
0
firefighter - here are some

firefighter - here are some examples...first in the article the gun control advocate makes several erroneous statements about the requirements for a concealed carry permit - specifically that require fingerprints and background checks. I have this permit and don't remember the process exactly but it took something like 3 months to obtain - it's not a permit you can get over a weekend. As for parks - the change in law refers to state parks where folks go to camp - it seems like a good idea to be able to protect yourself once they've locked the gates on hundreds of acres miles away from emergency services. I'm not aware of Georgia (or any other southern state) requiring any permit to openly carry a firearm - in fact this was one of the municipality rulings just struck down by the us supreme court. These are just a few of the statements that show me how misunderstood this issue is.

HYPOCRITES 08
7
Points
HYPOCRITES 08 07/28/08 - 08:57 am
0
0
I know for a fact, well

I know for a fact, well unless they have changed it, in SC you must keep it in the glove compartment or the trunk. Now I do not know about you, but what good is it if it is in the trunk. Oh, I know, Mr. Carjacker I need to get something out of my trunk, do you mind waiting a minute while I get it?

mojo
0
Points
mojo 07/28/08 - 09:03 am
0
0
firefighter - SC has

firefighter - SC has different laws and unfortunately does not accept Georgia's permit for concealed carry. This is particularly bothersome as we're so close.

Brad Owens
4906
Points
Brad Owens 07/28/08 - 09:06 am
0
0
I just pulled out my 'Georgia

I just pulled out my 'Georgia Firearms Licence' and it IS the so-called 'Concealed Carry' permit. On the back it has a section of law right one it 16-11-127 (GCA 26-2901) Deadlt weapons at public gatherins. The ONLY one you can get is this one and it IS the permit to carry a concealed weapon. I have had it for many years and I have always carried my pistol concealed with it. I'm also a registered Recovery Agent with the Sheriffs Dept and they require us to have this permit if we are going to carry weapons while we serve warrants or arrest bond defaulters. So I am not sure what is so confusing about all this but I do know I had to submit fingerprints, have a local, state, and federal law enforcment background check before I could get my permit. So all that BS about the local law enforcment not knowing who has them is just that, BS. The Sheriff Dept is the agency that DOES the backgound checks for the Probate Court. They even are the ones who TAKE the finger prints for the checks, so once again as usual the media has got it wrong when it comes to gun law and our rights. And to those decrying having these guns in 'public' I say, you can choose not have one if you want, that's freedom

RAWR
0
Points
RAWR 07/28/08 - 09:22 am
0
0
Carrying a pistol without a

Carrying a pistol without a license: You must have a license to carry a handgun, openly or concealed, outside of your own home, place of business, and motor vehicle. If you are carrying a handgun to or from your home or place of business and cross over any property not owned by you, then you would be in violation of carry a pistol without a license if you did not have a license. This law only applies to carrying handguns and does NOT apply to rifles or shotguns, so a person could carry a rifle or shotgun openly, not concealed, in public and not be in violation of the law. The only exception to this law is no permit shall be required for persons with a valid hunting or fishing license on their person or for persons not required by law to have hunting licenses who are engaged in legal hunting, fishing, or sport shooting when the persons have the permission of the owner of the land on which the activities are being conducted; provided, further, that the pistol or revolver, whenever loaded, shall be carried only in an open and fully exposed manner. Violation of this code section is a misdemeanor for a first offense and a felony for a 2nd or subsequent offense.

Bommer
0
Points
Bommer 07/28/08 - 09:29 am
0
0
Brad you beat me to it.

Brad you beat me to it.

jack
10
Points
jack 07/28/08 - 09:35 am
0
0
Having to pay for gun

Having to pay for gun training under SC's carry law is the same as charging me to vote-both are unconstiutional. I am for the training, but not the cost. Let law enforcement officers give that training for free on a first come, first trained basis.. SC does not even allow carrying hand gunds in the open. It must be in your glove comparrtment.

frirefighterhamer
0
Points
frirefighterhamer 07/28/08 - 09:36 am
0
0
Supposedly to be working in

Supposedly to be working in the public sector, you sure are ignorant, firefighter!

Back to Top

Top headlines

Ex-superintendent to write of miraculous recovery

Taking his doctor's advice, former Richmond County school superintendent Frank Roberson has nearly finished writing a 150-page book about his remarkable recovery from brain trauma.
Search Augusta jobs