GCO has settled its long-standing case against Coweta County for banning firearms in county parks.¬† GCO originally lost the case in Coweta County Superior Court, but the Court of Appeals of Georgia reversed the lower court, ruling that the county was prohibited from regulating carrying firearms “in any manner” and that it was error for the lower court to have ruled otherwise.¬† On remand, the Superior Court granted GCO’s motion for summary judgment (in which GCO sought a declaration that the ordinance was preempted and an injunction against Coweta County from enforcing it).¬† Coweta County repealed its ordinance and agreed to pay GCO’s attorney’s fees and costs.
Archive for the 'Coweta County Preemption' Category
The Superior Court of Coweta County granted GCO’s motion for summary judgment in GCO’s lawsuit against Coweta County challenging the county’s ordinance banning carrying firearms in county parks.
Consistent with the decision of the Court of Appeals in this case, the superior court has found the ordinance to be unlawful and preempted by state law.
The court’s order may be found at the bottom of the Coweta case page.
Since GCO’s victory in the Georgia Court of Appeals, it has been difficult keeping up with posting the news articles. Here are several from the last few days.
Court of Appeals Rejects County’s Firearms Ordinance?Fayette Citizen, December 6, 2007
Coweta Ruling Bodes Ill for Ban on Guns in Parks Athens Banner Herald, December 7, 2007
Thompson: Looking at the World through a Gun Sight?Athens Banner Herald, December 9, 2007 – In this opinion piece, Thompson implies that we are all paranoid and delusional for thinking that we might be the victim of a criminal attack in a park.??Thompson states, “GeorgiaCarry.org, a gun-rights group claiming several hundred members, is working – successfully, as it turns out – to force its sad vision of how people should have to live on a number of communities, including Athens-Clarke County.” Forcing our vision?? I thought it was the gun banners who wanted to put people in jail for carrying firearms?in parks. Is anybody proposing jailing people for not carrying a firearm?? Which side is “forcing” its vision on the other?
The Newnan Times Herald reported GCO’s victory in the Georgia Court of Appeals, and the county attorney is quoted indicating that he will present the court’s decision to the Board of Commissioners before any decision is made on appealing to the Supreme Court. From the end of the news story:
“We are pleased the court of appeals saw the clear and obvious preemption of Coweta County’s ordinance by state law,” said John Monroe, lead attorney for Georgia Carry.
“Coweta County residents and park visitors all can feel safer now, knowing that the county’s attempt to make its parks ‘victim disarmament zones’ has been thwarted.”
The order is still subject to review, said Lee, though he doesn’t expect any major changes. When a final order is issued, he will present it to the commissioners, who will decide whether to appeal the decision.
Georgia has a statewide preemption law, but a small minority of Georgia cities and counties insist on violating it by enacting local ordinances regulating the carry and possession of firearms. GCO has been alone on the front lines of enforcing the state preemption statute against recalcitrant local governments. As a result, on December 4, 2007, a unanimous panel of the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a concise opinion holding that the preemption statute means exactly what it says in “plain language.”
[W]e are mindful of the “golden rule” of statutory construction, which requires that we follow the literal language of the statute unless doing so “produces contradiction, absurdity or such an inconvenience as to insure that the legislature meant something else.” And the plain language of the statute expressly precludes a county from regulating “in any manner [the]. . . carrying . . . of firearms.” Under these circumstances, the preemption is express, and the trial court erred in concluding otherwise.
(Emphasis added). You may read the entire Court of Appeals opinion here. GCO wishes to thank attorney John Monroe for his diligent efforts on behalf of GCO and the right to bear arms in Georgia.
GCO has filed its reply brief in its appeal of a Coweta County Superior Court ruling that Coweta County may ban the carry or possession of firearms in its parks.† The case is now fully briefed in the Court of Appeals of Georgia, with a decision expected in the first quarter of 2008.† The brief may be viewed here:
Coweta County has filed a brief in response to GCO’s request for the Court of Appeals of Georgia to overturn a ruling of the Coweta County Superior Court.† The Superior Court dismissed a case brought by GCO to have declared unlawful a Coweta County ordinance banning the carry of firearms in county parks.† The briefs may be viewed here:
GCO has filed its brief in the Court of Appeals of Georgia, in the case where the Coweta County Superior Court ruled that Coweta County may ban guns from county parks.† GCO filed the lawsuit when Coweta County refused to repeal the ordinance, despite clear preemption by state law.† The brief may be viewed here:
The Newnan Times Herald published a story today (June 25, 2007) regarding the ruling on Coweta’s preempted ordinance and GCO’s notice of appeal.†
Coweta County Assistant Attorney Nathan Lee argues that the law is not preempted by state law.† The county’s rule is authorized by state law and does not conflict with it, he said. †”The county can enact laws that enhance state law,” Lee said on Friday.
(emphasis added).† Well, no, the preemption statute says no such thing.† It states that “No…county” “may regulate in any manner”… the carry or possession of firearms.†† The article notes that Coweta County takes the position that another law, the†public gathering law, O.C.G.A. 16-11-127, permits it to ban guns in its public places.
Monroe [GCO's attorney]†took issue with that statement in his response to Lee’s motion.
“Defendant quoted all but the last sentence of the subsection, which would have shown defendant’s argument to be legally frivolous.”
The last section of that law reads: “Nothing in this code section shall otherwise prohibit the carrying of a firearm in any other public place by a person licensed or permitted to carry such firearm by this part.”
And the paper observes a rather fundamental error on the court’s part.
According to Monroe, after Lee filed his motion, Monroe should have had 30 days to file a response. “Just a couple of days later, and without giving us the 30 days to respond to the county’s motion, the judge denied our motion and granted the county’s,” Monroe said.
As noted in the article, GCO is appealing this decision, and the law is so clear in this area that GCO is fully confident†that the Georgia Court of Appeals will reverse the opinion of the Coweta County Superior Court, which ruled in Coweta County’s favor.† All of the relevant†pleadings are available here.†
Judge Jack Kirby, Superior Court of Coweta County, issued yesterday (received today) an Order in the preemption lawsuit†in Coweta County.† To read the Order, go to the Coweta preemption pleadings page.† GCO has already filed a Notice of Appeal.