GeorgiaCarry.Org Requests Governor Kemp to Suspend OCGA 16-11-126

As many of you already know, the Probate Courts are backlogged and are not responsive in meeting the requirements of O.C.G.A.§ 16-11-129 – Weapons carry license, temporary renewal permit; mandamus; verification of license due to the shutdown of the court system in the State of GA. This delay is unacceptable to our members and all citizens who must obtain a license to carry a firearm for self-defense.

On August 28, 2020, our Attorney, John Monroe sent the following request to Governor Kemp requesting, once again, that he suspend the enforcement of O.C.G.A.§ 16-11-126 – Having or carrying handguns, long guns, or other weapons; license requirement; exceptions for homes, motor vehicles, private property, and other locations and conditions

The letter:

John R. Monroe

John Monroe Law, P.C.

 August 28, 2020

The Honorable Brian Kemp, Governor

RE:          Second Request of GeorgiaCarry.Org, Inc. to Suspend Enforcement of O.C.G.A. § 16-11-126 During COVID-19 Emergency

Dear Gov. Kemp:

As you may recall, I wrote you in March to request that you suspend enforcement of O.C.G.A. § 16-11-126 during the state of emergency because probate judges were refusing to issue Georgia weapons carry licenses (“GWLs”).  Although you took no action at that time, you may have believed that the situation was very temporary, and no action was warranted.  While I initially had that hope as well, that has not turned out to be the case.

Although many probate judges have resumed at least nominally issuing GWLs, in practice the most populous counties, which also are the counties with the greatest levels of civil unrest, continue to be counties where GWLs are difficult or impossible to receive.

In Fulton, Clayton, Gwinnett, Cobb, DeKalb and Chatham Counties, and no doubt others, applicants must either make appointments or wait in line on a first come, first served basis.  While either option may sound plausibly reasonable, neither is working in practice.  In Fulton, where applicants must wait in line, I am told that arrival after 7:30 a.m. (which is even before the office opens) normally will result in being too late.  For those that do get in line early, they are told (after the office opens) that their wait may be five hours or more.  North Fulton residents who do not happen to live in Alpharetta or Sandy Springs must go downtown to get a GWL.  Even though they can apply at the North Annex in Sandy Springs, both police departments that do fingerprinting for GWLs (Alpharetta and Sandy Springs) refuse to do fingerprinting for non-residents of those cities.  Most applicants cannot afford to take a whole day off work in order to get a license to exercise their constitutional rights.

In other counties, it is necessary to make an appointment, but there is such a pent-up demand for GWLs that appointments are not available at all in 2020.  In some counties, all 2020 appointments were booked up weeks ago.

In short, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to obtain a GWL in the population centers of Georgia.  You were elected by many voters because of your ostensibly strong stand in support of individual gun rights.  I implore you to create a record that reflects your campaign promises and take the simple action of suspending enforcement of O.C.G.A. § 16-11-126 until the backlog for GWL applicants has been cleared.

Thank you in advance for your consideration and your leadership during this emergency, and please contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

John R. Monroe

Vice President, GeorgiaCarry.Org, Inc.

It should be noted that the Governor has previously stated that he did not have the power to suspend enforcement of O.C.G.A.§ 16-11-126 but has previously suspended enforcement of O.C.G.A.§ 16-11-38 – Wearing mask, hood, or device which conceals identity of wearer 

The letter can be viewed here.

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