GCO and Athens have been called to court by the judge presiding over the lawsuit challenging the Athens Clarke County preempted ordinance banning guns from its parks. In the wake of the Georgia Court of Appeals ruling holding that the “plain language” of the state preemption statute bans local governments from regulating “in any manner” the “carrying” of firearms, Judge Jones set a hearing for January 4, 2008.
The Athens Banner Herald ran an article this morning announcing the news.
The Georgia Court of Appeals ruled against Coweta County on Dec. 4 in a similar challenge filed by GeorgiaCarry.org, a Fayetteville-based group that advocates more freedom for gun owners. A three-judge panel unanimously overturned a June Coweta County Superior Court decision upholding the Coweta County law.
The appeals court decision sets a statewide precedent, but Athens-Clarke Attorney Bill Berryman said he thinks Coweta officials may ask the appeals court to reconsider its decision or ask the state Supreme Court to issue a final ruling.
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GeorgiaCarry.org asked Athens-Clarke officials in November to lift its ban on guns in parks on behalf of Donald Walker, a retired Athens police officer. The organization says state law prohibits cities and counties from restricting where people can carry guns.
In most of the dozen communities where GeorgiaCarry.org has challenged gun restrictions, officials decided to ditch the law. But Athens-Clarke Mayor Heidi Davison and commissioners decided to fight the year-old group’s efforts to overturn the law in Athens.