GCO Asks Court to Reject MARTA’s Firearm Policy

GCO has filed a motion in its federal lawsuit against MARTA, seeking, among other things, an injunction against MARTA’s policy of detaining everyone seen carrying a firearm.  In its motion, GCO quotes MARTA officials who testified that MARTA has a “procedure” to detain anyone seen carrying a firearm to check for ID and GFL.  MARTA police stopped GCO member (and GFL holder) Christopher Raissi who carried a holstered handgun in the Avondale train station.  Police seized Raissi’s handgun and did not return it until the detention ended in a non-public area of the station to which they had moved Raissi.  The officers who stopped Raissi admitted that Raissi was not suspected of any criminal activity other than the possibility that Raissi was carrying without a GFL.  They stopped him for the sole purpose of checking to see if he was licensed to carry.  Comparing the facts of this case to a United States Supreme Court opinion that it is unconstitutional to stop a motorist just to see if he has a driver’s license, GCO argues that stopping someone just to see if he has a GFL violates the Fourth Amendment.

GCO’s motion also asks the court to rule that MARTA officials violated the state Open Records Act multiple times.  Raissi sent the chief of the MARTA police a certified letter asking for records related to his detention.  MARTA admits receiving the request and that it failed to respond.  In another request, GCO lawyer John Monroe made an oral request, followed by multiple email followups, to the assistant police chief, asking for MARTA’s policy pertaining to people carrying firearms on MARTA post-HB 89.  The assistant chief admits he received the emails, but denies that an ORA request can be made via email.  He admits he did not respond to the request, primarily because MARTA has a “procedure” for dealing with people carrying firearms but not a “policy.”

The documents in this case may be viewed here.

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11 Responses to “GCO Asks Court to Reject MARTA’s Firearm Policy”

  1. RangerHAAF Says:

    John, Ed you guys keep up the heat on MARTA; they know they’re wrong but GACarry is going to have to drag them into compliance with GA state law and it might cost them financially. I hope it does as I’m tired of these squeamish, anti-gun, non-elected bureaucrats telling me where I can and cannot exercise my constitutional rights to protect myself when I’m out in public.

  2. n9351q Says:

    Will someone please provide an update on the Atlanta Airport situation. I visit there regularly and have to drive through other than spending additional time with loved ones traveling. This is the worst case of abuse of power I have ever seen. The city of Atlanta is clearly disobeying state law, and the Federal court should have no jurisdiction in the unsecured area owned by the City.

  3. ArmedCitizen Says:

    Here we are again!
    Only the “Deputy Dawgs” are breaking laws. Time for them to pay big time.
    Legally armed, honest citizens are the only targets for these uniformed “Barneys” who remain ignorant of the law … ?
    Ever hear “ignorance of the law is no excuse?” Yep, it’s the “Barneys” very own words. Now make them pay. They won’t be there to “protect or serve” when you need them, so why continue to let them commit these crimes against honest citizens without being arrested?
    Communism you say? … You bet it is.

  4. rudytheraven Says:

    This not only happens at Marta, but it happens in quite a few towns. The lawman sees a gun on your hip and they instinctly yell a preditermined word and their parner instinctly acts! This should be stopped! If a hefty law suit is filed on each Law Department and officers when this happens, it would soon stop.

    They all think they are above the law!

  5. rustygray Says:

    I read the news daily from all over the country and the world. I do not think a day goes by without an article from some where indicating a law enforcement officer has broken the law.
    They are people, just like we are, they have emotions and ego, good days and bad days. The difference is they are sworn to uphold the law, serve and protect. It is unfortunate that mixed in with honest officers are weak individuals who seek to express their weak ego through their badge and gun. We the people, who are legally allowed to carry weapons, who obtain permits and purchase the weapons legally should have nothing to fear to from law enforcement. Unfortunatley they do not see us as an asset, they see us as competition or a threat.

    I also read the articles and blotters about the “weak” arrests. Macon is full of murders, robberies, rapes, and home invasions, but our local PD has a 42 man task force to bust Asian spas. They put more time and effort into a safe venture, than to go into the thug infested areas and roust the criminals. My opinion and theory, is that they are afraid, afraid that if they pull over someone who looks like a thug, that they might be a thug, they might get shot, they might have to arrest the guy for possession of drugs or a gun, or they fear the public racial outcry and accusations of profiling. As I said, they are just people. It is easy to see how pulling over the minivan mom or suv is safer than pulling over the 24″ chrome rimmed hooptie with 5 guys all wearing red bandanas. We are all motivated by emotions, and fear is very powerful. There is also the rumor that the police have been advised not to mess with certain areas. Is there corruption? I cannot say, as I said before it is only my opinion and theory. I am aware of some really good cops, and I have met some truly sorry individuals wearing a badge.

    We the people, citizens, should start going out in groups or pairs, and make our presence as high profile as possible. I would like to see how they respond to a group of 3 or 4 of us, riding the train, all clean cut, wearing decent clothes, but carrying legally obtained, registered firearms. I think the Marta cops, went after Christopher Raissi becuae he was alone. A single easy target. I am not saying we should not be able to go places alone, I am saying the scenario screams oppression and abuse, by a “police force” that has less then average officers, and may not be seen in the same light as city or county law enforcement. They knew Christopher Raissi was legally carrying. They knew Christopher Raissi was a safe target. Thye knew thet had notjhing to fear from him, but make it appear they had neutralized a threat. Perception is a powerful thing.

    GCO is nothing short of impressive in its support of its members. I am behind Christopher Raissi 100% and think he should take legal action against MARTA, the individual officers and the chain of command. We the people, citizens, should not have to fear the police, and they should never be alarmed or feel threatened by us. I venture to guess most of us shoot more often than the police. That should make them feel better knowing we are out there and will back them up. Why don’t the local police departments offer some get togethers and allow us to use their facilities to do some training? They would get to know us, and would realize we are an asset, and not a threat.

  6. bmccutcheon Says:

    I must first say that I absolutely stand behind Georgia Carry on this issue, but I have a question. I think that the premise of stopping a driver does not correctly apply in this case. Point in case is that it is perfectly legal for police officers to setup random checkpoints to verify compliance of Georgia law, eg, valid drivers license , insurance. and Alcohol. Honestly I am happy that they do these things. If a Marta officer See’s me carrying a weapon and wants to check my GFL in a calm courteous manner, I have no problem with that. I see thugs violating the carry law in Atlanta all the time. If their checking takes a few of those clowns off the street, I’m not going to complain. I just want to be treated with the dignity and respect that all of us deserve.

    Bill

  7. Ed Stone Says:

    Bill, thank you for posting. The interesting thing about your position is that you are perfectly free to show your license to any officer that asks for it. GCO’s position, however, is that if the officer wants to force the issue, then he must comply with the Constitution, specifically with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment. We do not think demanding that officers comply with the Constitution is too much to ask. Have you seen Tuesday’s federal court order out of New Mexico yet? There is a link here.
    http://www.examiner.com/x-2782-DC-Gun-Rights-Examiner~y2009m9d9-Federal-judge-rules-police-cannot-detain-people-for-openly-carrying-guns
    I hope you find it helpful.
    On the roadblock situation, I would venture to guess that if the police wanted to set up a “sidewalk block” and ask for firearms licenses from every passerby under the same strict guidelines that apply to motorist roadblocks, well, that would probably be upheld. Of course, that is not what we are talking about here, is it?

  8. Gunstar1 Says:

    n9351q:

    GCO lost the Hartsfield case. http://www.georgiacarry.org/cms/category/action-items/hartsfield-airports-firearm-ban/

    It boiled down to a judge saying that “public transportation” means government owned. It did not matter that the law that was exempted was under the article name “offenses against public transportation” and included under that article was privatly owned trasportation (airplanes).

    So until the law is changed again, it is illegal to carry there unless you are in transit (flying somewhere) and have the firearm unloaded and locked in a case as per the TSA guidlines for flying.

  9. djwages Says:

    Thanks GCO for keeping up with this and looking out for everyone.

    My question here is that MARTA keeps claiming that they are not a government agency yet they want to detain people. Is it legal for a non-government group to detain someone or is that false-imprisonment? Do they have authority to arrest?

  10. GunOwnersFellowship.com Says:

    The Gun Owners Fellowship (www.gunownersfellowship.com) would like to say thank you to Georgia Carry for its relentless defense of gun rights. Too often the only remedy for situations like this is the courtroom — thank you for having the courage and resolve to take it there.

    This is a perfect example of why we started the Fellowship. When law-abiding citizens are harassed, detained, arrested, prosecuted, etc, just because they’re exercising their right to keep and bear arms, something has to be done. We don’t tolerate it, and we’re glad that Georgia Carry doesn’t either!

    Let MARTA know that if they hassle one of our members, then they’re picking a fight with all of our members.

  11. awhite Says:

    Gentlemen: I am a career law enforcement officer and I have been reading of some of the problems that GFL and indeed, all weapon permit holders encounter. I agree with a lot of the comments about LEO stopping them, but disagree with most of the assertions that labels LEO’s as “Barney’s”. The LEO see’s a firearm and will investigate, however some LEO’s have not been trained to recognize a CWP and disengage gracefully and continue to patrol for crime. We cannot stop the “24 chrome rimmed hoopie w/5 red bandanna wearing subjects without cause just as we cannot stop YOU without cause.
    Society has programmed people that guns are bad and, like it or not, the police have to recruit from the human race. Training in the academy touches on the subject of legal carry, but not enough. Request legislation for mandated traning at the academy level just like the stupid “antiprofiling” training they put us through. Also remember, the police are administered to by people {chief, sheriff, etc} that are controlled by anti-gun politicians and they may push that attitude onto their troops. Best advice and practice [I carry too! always!] is to invest in quality holsters designed for concealment and make every effort to conceal the weapon. I have been “made” three [3] times in 25 yrs. of carry, two were by professionals and one alert teen who saw the weapon when my jacket rode up. Please use common sense, concealed means concealed, at all times. Should you be stopped, be professional and polite. Some of us appreciate the trouble a CWP holder goes through and make every effort to be respectful of your rights. I’m also sending a link to this site to my two brothers who also carry so they can be better informed about concealed carry and legal issues.
    As always…Be safe
    Alan White
    BTW-If the uniform has police on it anywhere-they can detain and arrest. If in doubt, ask them.