Kennesaw considers throwing out no-guns-in-parks rule


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USMC - Retired
August 9, 2007, 06:17 PM
Another victory for GeorgiaCarry.Org!

http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/cobb/stories/2007/08/09/guns_0810.html

Kennesaw considers throwing out no-guns-in-parks rule

By BILL HENDRICK
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 08/09/07

Attorneys for the city of Kennesaw, where residents are required by law to own and maintain a firearm, said Thursday they are asking local officials to throw out an ordinance that bans people from toting guns in city parks.

The gun-in-parks ordinance violates state law, which preempts the Kennesaw ordinance, said Stuart Sims, an attorney for the city of Kennesaw.

He said the recommendation was made to comply with a Georgia law that stipulates only the state has the power to determine where guns may be carried or transported.

The action by Kennesaw's attorneys came in response to a letter from firearms right organization GeorgiaCarry.org, which pointed out that the revised state law preempted the council's prohibition on guns in parks.

He said in a letter to GeorgiaCarry.org's attorney, John Monroe of Roswell, that the mayor and City Council of Kennesaw have agreed to consider repealing the ordinance and that therefore, "no legal action is necessary to cure this contradiction between the preempting state statute and this city ordinance" and that Kennesaw now considers "this matter closed."

Fred Bentley Jr., of the Marietta-based Bentley, Bentley & Bentley law firm that represents the City of Kennesaw, said he did not know how long the Kennesaw ordinance has been on the books but the Georgia Legislature has reserved the right for itself to determine where firearms can be carried.

"The state law says the state is the only one that can control where weapons are controlled," Bentley said. "The city's powers come through the sate. Now we are trying to avoid a lawsuit. The city is not happy about it."

GeorgiaCarry.org President Ed Stone said "we believe it is important for Kennesaw and other cities to comply" with state law.

"Georgians should not have to research the minutiae of local ordinances while visiting cities and counties throughout Georgia," he said.

Since the city of Kennesaw has complied with his group's demands, he said no legal action will be taken. He said his group has similar litigation against Coweta County pending in the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Bentley said the city of Kennesaw believes "it is in the best interest of the city to be able to decide where guns can be carried, to protect children. We believe the state law is absolutely wrong, that you ought to be able to ban guns from parks. We don't want to have guns in parks. It's not safe."

He said he couldn't remember when or why the Kennesaw ordinance was passed but he thought it was in response to a parent toting a gun at a football or basketball game

"The city certainly still believes in upholding the right to bear arms," Bentley said. "But the state law says no city or county may pass an ordinance with respect to guns in pubic places."

He said the city had been threatened by a federal court suit "to challenge our right to control weapons in city parks."

Bentley said it is his understanding that even when the ordinance is repealed, law enforcement officers and people who have obtained permits to carry guns will be allowed to do so in city parks.

The city ordinance bans firearms or knives, said Sims, who works for the Bentley firm.

Monroe said the state law allows cities and counties to regulate the discharging of firearms, the carrying of firearms by their own employees, and allows cities to require heads of households to own firearms.

"Other than that," Monroe said, "state law doesn't permit firearm regulation in any way at all."

He said GeorgiaCarry.org is a nonprofit group whose members believe in the right to keep and bear arms. He said his letter to Kennesaw attorneys, which led to their appeal to city officials, had nothing to do with the 1982 Kennesaw law requiring heads of households to own firearms.

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B618
August 9, 2007, 09:09 PM
One more win for the good guys!!!!

USMC - Retired
August 10, 2007, 08:44 AM
The Marietta Daily Journal is reporting it as well.

http://www.mdjonline.com/89/10269001.txt

Kennesaw considers about-face on guns rule

Friday, August 10, 2007 3:13 AM EDT
E-mail this story to a friend | Printable version



By Ashley Hungerford

Marietta Daily Journal Staff Writer

KENNESAW - After a recommendation from a city attorney, the mayor and City Council will consider repealing a city rule that prohibits firearms possession in public parks.

GeorgiaCarry.org, an organization dedicated to preserving Georgia's right to keep and bear arms, sent a four-page letter through its attorney, John R. Monroe, on July 23 to Kennesaw City Attorney Fred Bentley Jr. asking that the City Council repeal an ordinance that prohibits people from carrying firearms in public parks.

The organization asked for the city to repeal the ordinance because "it is in violation of state law," citing a state statute, the state Constitution, case law and the opinion of the Georgia Attorney General.


The parks ordinance in question, adopted Aug. 4, 2003, states, "it shall be unlawful to - have in their possession any weapons or firearms including but not limited to handguns, rifles, air gun or any knife that could be used as a weapon."

On Aug. 6, Assistant City Attorney Stuart Sims sent a reply letter to Monroe and GeorgiaCarry.org.

"The Mayor and council of the city of Kennesaw have agreed that the current version of this ordinance should be repealed and are planning to adopt a revised section," Sims said in the letter. "As such, no legal action is necessary to cure this contradiction between the preempting state statute and this city ordinance."

Kennesaw Mayor Leonard Church said Bentley advised the council on action regarding the ordinance at its Aug. 1 work session.

He said the city has started the process to repeal and adopt a revised ordinance, including scheduling the necessary public hearings.

"We can't supersede the state law," Church said. "The state decided it was OK to carry a gun in (public) parks. "

While Church said he understands the city must follow state law, he said the safety of children in parks should be a top priority.


"It really makes no sense because I don't think we need guns in the park where kids are playing," he said. "I still think the safety of our kids should be paramount. I think we need to be a little more restrictive, but the state thinks not."

GeorgiaCarry.org President Ed Stone said he is pleased to see Kennesaw take steps to change its ordinance, but said the organization would pursue legal action if the city failed to act.

"We will of course follow up to see if they follow through with the attorney's recommendation," he said. "We will be present at City Council meetings."

GeorgiaCarry.org is presently suing Coweta County over a similar ordinance. The suit is pending appeal in the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Stone said the organization has contacted several other Georgia cities and counties about changes to similar firearms ordinances. He said Gwinnett, Forsyth, and Lee counties have each repealed their ordinances.

"We're not ashamed of anything we're doing," he said. "We think it's important for people to protect themselves while visiting state and local parks. Georgia firearms license holders are notoriously safe."

Stone said GeorgiaCarry.org pursues changing city and county ordinances as organization members bring issues to their attention.

"Every one we pursue is for the benefit of a member who was affected by this," he said.

Malum Prohibitum
August 10, 2007, 01:24 PM
"We will of course follow up to see if they follow through with the attorney's recommendation," he said. "We will be present at City Council meetings."

;)

armedandsafe
August 10, 2007, 07:50 PM
You just don't get it, do you. Children are SOOOO much safer when there is no adult around with the ability to protect them. [/sarcasm]

Pops

armedandsafe
August 10, 2007, 08:04 PM
You just don't get it, do you. Children are SOOOO much safer when there is no adult around with the ability to protect them. [/sarcasm]

Pops

armedandsafe
August 10, 2007, 08:11 PM
You just don't get it, do you? Children are SOOOO much safer when there is no adult around with the ability to protect them. [/sarcasm]

Pops

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