Archive for the 'Athens-Clarke County Preemption' Category

GCO Settles with Athens-Clarke County on Parks Ban

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Athens-Clarke County has followed through on its promise to repeal its ordinances regulating firearms in establishments that sell alcohol and its emergency gun store powers.  These actions follow ACC’s repeal of its ordinance banning carrying firearms in parks.  ACC also has reimbursed GCO for its costs in bringing a lawsuit against ACC to accomplish these repeals.  GCO therefore has withdrawn its case against ACC, which now is closed.  GCO applauds ACC for taking these common sense actions in the face of overwhelming legal authority against it.


Athens-Clarke County Agrees to Repeal Emergency Powers

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

In order to settle a GCO lawsuit against Athens-Clarke County, the county has agreed to repeal an ordinance giving the city power to close gun stores in an emergency and prohibiting firearms in establishments that are licensed to sell alcohol.  The mayor and commission are scheduled to consider the repeal at their August 5 meeting.


Court Enjoins Athens-Clarke From Enforcing Gun Ban in Parks

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

The Superior Court of Athens-Clarke County has issued an injunction against Athens-Clarke County, prohibiting the county from enforcing its ban on carrying guns in county parks. The temporary injunction was consented to by the county as it contemplates repeal of its ordinance in light of the Court of Appeals Opinion that a similar ordinance in Coweta County is preempted by state law. Here’s the injunction.


Man Brutally Beaten with Crowbar Near Athens Park

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

While Athens Clarke County consolidated government fights in court to maintain its ban on peaceable citizens possessing firearms in its parks, a man walking to his car near Bishop park was attacked by four men using a crowbar.


GCO Amends Complaint Against Athens-Clarke County

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

GCO has filed an amendment to its complaint against Athens-Clarke County and its ban on carrying in parks. The amended complaint adds additional claims, including civil rights violations. The amended complaint may be viewed here.


GCO And Athens Go To Court

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

GCO and Athens have been called to court by the judge presiding over thelawsuitchallenging 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 Jonesset 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, 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.

. . . 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 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.


Two Letters to the Editor in Athens

Friday, December 14th, 2007 wrote:
James Garland: Defending gun lawsuit will waste tax dollars
Story updated at 6:07 PM on Thursday, December 13, 2007
I certainly hope my tax dollars will not go toward defending the Athens-Clarke County government’s prohibition of the otherwise legal practice of carrying firearms in local parks.

As a legal matter, the pre-emption statute incorporated into the state code is clear and unambiguous, as is an unofficial opinion issued by the state attorney general’s office and existing case law. Thus, I have every confidence the challenge to the local ordinance will be successful.

However, given the dictatorial attitude and willingness of the unified government to pursue losing – and expensive – causes in the courts (cases involving the rental registration program, the condemnation of the land for the eastside park, and appointments to the hospital authority come immediately to mind), I am not optimistic.

James Garland

Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on 121407 wrote:
Terry Joe Sprinkle: Athens-Clarke is wrong on issue of gun control
Story updated at 6:07 PM on Thursday, December 13, 2007

With regard to its prohibition of guns in public parks, the Athens-Clarke County government is substituting its judgment for state law., which has filed a legal challenge to the Athens-Clarke ordinance, is just asking the county to follow state law as written – no more, no less.

The major reason the pre-emption law with respect to firearms was passed in the Georgia legislature was to keep local municipalities from enacting conflicting or arbitrary laws on firearm sales, transfers, Georgia firearm licenses, transport and local ordinances. The latter is exactly what Athens-Clarke County has done.

There are only three ordinances dealing with guns that are within the purview of local governments: reasonable regulations on not shooting in the city limits; on not shooting near major roads; whether government employees can carry weapons or not, and the right to require, or not, that a firearm be in all homes.

Athens-Clarke County clearly has not complied with clearly written state laws on the issue of guns in public parks.

Terry Joe Sprinkle

Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on 121407


GCO in Press Over Lifting Gun Bans

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

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, “, 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?


Athens-Clarke County files Answer

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

Athens-Clarke County has filed their answer in to GCO’s complaint regarding their ban of firearms in parks. Their answer is basically that the ban is a proper exercise of their legislative powers under GA’s constitution. They deny everything in relation to Georgia’s law preempting cities and counties from banning the transport of firearms. Their answer can be viewed here.


Athens-Clarke Refuses to Repeal Parks Ban, GCO Sues

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

Athens-Clarke County has refused to repeal its ban on carrying in county parks, according to a letter from the county attorney to GCO’s attorney. The county also disagrees that its ban is preempted by state law. GCO has filed a lawsuit against the county, seeking a declaration that the ordinance is illegal and an injunction prohibiting the county from enforcing its ordinance. The county attorney’s letter and GCO’s complaint can be viewed here: