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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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I don't mind you asking. Going to take me a while to answer those questions. Probably do it tonite
 

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I will do my best.
We are a full service agency with primary LE functions in a county of 30K population. The City of Watkinsville has a well run police dept and patrols and has original jurisdiction in the City. We do the rest.

I have signed every Form 4 I have been asked to sign, I am friends with the local class 3 dealers, and I shoot MG's with several local NFA owners. My record in that regard is clear. Its your money, if you want one it 's fine with me.

Let me answer the rest of the questions in a group. I don't necessarily agree that the "public gathering" section of the law is any necessarily vague. I am not sure how it could be written to accomodate every forseeable circumstance. I think if you read it for context, the legislative intent can be determined. Schools and school functions, churches, places that serve alcohol, political rallys (read demonstrations as well) seem to give me a pretty good direction at what they had in mind. However, there is an out for anyone who forgets and wants to surrender a firearm for the duration of the event. It ain't WalMart or the mall....it is a open gathering of people where there is a likelyhood of an expression of disagreement or , put even more clearly, a "target rich environment" among people who are very likely to have their guard down. Bars, well that speaks for itself. The legislature has decided that everyone needs to be disarmed in a bar. OK. So, your question has to do with training. To me it isn't a function of training, it is understanding the intent....but even more than that....

What was someone doing to draw attention to themselves?? We have a guard line at the jail. You drive up with your gun in the car, we aren't gonna search it. Bring it in the door then you have a problem. Bring it in the door yelling that you want your brother out of jail...bigger problem. Leave it in your car and then try to give your brother a doobie while he is on work detail...there you go, you have a problem now....not only for the dope but for the gun and any other violation we can make.

I almost took a picture today of a local citizen standing in the lobby of the SO with an AR 15 over his shoulder. Not an LEO, just a local citizen wanted one of the deputies to look at it for him. A crime??? Damn right. But a chickencrap one since he was just visiting and had a gun he wanted checked out. Arrest him??? Naw.

Now, if you come running in the door waving it around, after we finish shooting at you we are gonna lock you up. It's called discretion. It has to do with intent....are you selling drugs carrying a gun?? Or are you on vacation and just happened to get stopped for speeding??
Same with knives, etc....are you at a High School football game with your folding knife in a belt sheath, or are you reaching for it cause some dude knocked your Coke over in the stands....

That is how we do it....

Forgot about the exemptions. They aren't that hard. Seems like a lot of writing, but it pretty much comes down to LE, Military, DA's, those folks...as far as verifiying, if we have a doubt about who someone is we would check...it has never come up.

One more thing, I think a small percentage of gun owners are unnecessarily paranoid about the average steet cop. MOST cops (not all obviously) are not looking to see what kind of humbug they can put on a law abiding taxpayer. Now, if you are a convicted felon in a stolen car with a pound of crack...well, you get it by now.

Open carry??? Honestly I can't imagine why someone thinks it is a good idea. Why let someone who has evil on their mind see who his obvious targets are??? I think it is a bad idea, but I don't care. If we get a call we will check it out. It happens all the time here and no one seems to care
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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Open carry??? Honestly I can't imagine why someone thinks it is a good idea. Why let someone who has evil on their mind see who his obvious targets are??? I think it is a bad idea, but I don't care. If we get a call we will check it out. It happens all the time here and no one seems to care
Sheriff, I really appreciate the time you are taking to offer responses to some of our questions. It's great to have the perspective of a law enforcement professional on the forum.

As far as open carry:

Openly carrying a firearm is a way to demonstrate to the public that people still exercise the right to carry a handgun.

Rights that are not exercised tend to be the first to be obliterated. By openly carrying a gun, we remind the public that there are those of us out here still exercising what is left of this right.

It's a way to say to the public, 'I legally carry a gun and am not ashamed of it'. In a world that is increasingly hostile to the idea of personal responsibility and the armed citizen, this is an effective way to make an important statement.

It almost always results in a conversation where someone uninformed learns something about Georgia's laws concerning the carry of firearms.
 

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GAGunOwner said:
As for the "public gathering" law I'm going to have to respectfully disagree and assert once again that it is entirely too vague and draconian in nature.
You asked him for his opinion, and he gave it! And his opinion seems to line up with what I know about it and what the AG has opined. He doesn't pass the laws, he just enforces them!

As with many LEOs, they sometimes look the other way at some of these violations (as I admit I did when I was an active LEO). Can your rely on that? No!

What does your representative think of the public gathering law? That is a far more important question, since your representative is in a position to do something about it.

:D

Caveat: In the interest of full disclosure, I, too, think the public gathering law too vague, which could be cured simply by eliminating the phrase "but shall not be limited to" as well as perhaps the words "to or" from the "to or while at" phrase. Draconian? No, it's just a misdemeanor!
 

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GAGunOwner said:
One more question about the exempted people (16-11-130). Do you consider the non-LEOs to be exempt from the "school zones" section of the law or basically just the "public gathering" part of the law?
This question is not very clear. Do you mean people like judges and military? The statute says they are exempt from 126 through 128, which would include 127.1, except that 127.1 was passed after 130. On the other hand, 130 was amended just this year. There is no case law interpreting this exact statutory provision.

There is no difference between the LEO and non-LEO exemptions in 130. The LEO exemption in 127.1 is a little narrower, I think.

What a mess, huh? :D

There is a maxim of law that states something to the effect that a more specific provision controls over a more general one, which would mean any off duty police officer at a school not picking up or dropping off his kids (or even picking up or dropping off his kids but not in possession of a GFL) would be subject to prosecution on a felony charge.

:shock:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
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There is an AG opinion on military. I will see if I can dig it up.
 

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Your wish is my command!

UNOFFICIAL OPINION U97-13

To: Judge May 9, 1997
Probate Court of Houston County

Re: Under Georgia law, active duty military personnel are exempted from the requirement of a firearms permit. The exemption is not limited to the performance of military duty. These personnel may, upon request, obtain a firearms permit if otherwise qualified. Their dependents may be issued a permit if otherwise qualified only upon establishing residency in this state. Law enforcement officers are also exempt from the requirement to obtain a permit.

This unofficial opinion is issued in response to the questions you have raised concerning the proper application of O.C.G.A. § 16-11-130 to military and law enforcement personnel. For clarity, I have set forth each of your questions and responded seriatim.

First, you have inquired if active duty military personnel are exempt from the permit requirements. The exemptions are set forth in O.C.G.A. § 16-11-130. I note that this Code Section exempts certain persons from "Code Sections 16-11-126 through 16-11-128." Thus, persons so exempt are exempted not only from the requirement of a permit to carry a firearm (O.C.G.A. § 16-11-128), but are also exempt from the provisions regarding the carrying of concealed weapons (O.C.G.A. § 16-11-126), carrying deadly weapons to or at public gatherings (O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127), and carrying weapons within school safety zones or at school functions (O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127.1) But see O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127.1(c)(3), which appears to limit the exemption to persons actually participating in military training programs.

Under prior versions of this statute, it was clear that the exemption applied only to the performance of official duties. See, e.g., Talley v. State, 129 Ga. App. 479, 481 (1973); 1987 Op. Att'y Gen. U87-28. However, at that time the exemptions applied to these persons while engaged in the pursuit of official duties or when authorized by law. Since that time, the statute has been amended. Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 16-11-130(a) now provides that the exemptions apply to "persons . . . employed in the offices listed below." Persons in the military service of the State of Georgia or of the United States are among those so listed. O.C.G.A. § 16-11-130(a)(3). Thus, it is my unofficial opinion that active duty military personnel are exempt under Georgia law from the requirement for a firearms permit.

Secondly, you have asked if the exemption is limited to the performance of military duties on the base. As noted above, under the current version of the statute, persons so employed are exempt; the statute no longer limits the scope of the exemption to the performance of official duties. Thus, my response to your question is in the negative.

In your third question, you ask if active duty military personnel may, notwithstanding the exemption, apply for and be issued a firearms permit. Permits may be issued only to a resident of this state whose domicile is in the county of application. O.C.G.A. § 16-11-129(a). Generally, military personnel are not residents of Georgia and thus they were not eligible for the permits under a former version of the statute. See 1976 Op. Att'y Gen. U76-71. Under the current statute, however, an active duty member of the armed services who, although not a domiciliary of this state, resides in the county or on a military reservation in the county may nevertheless obtain a firearms permit if otherwise eligible. O.C.G.A. § 16-11-129(a). Thus, it is my unofficial opinion that a member of the armed services may, provided that he is otherwise eligible for the permit, apply for and be issued a firearms permit notwithstanding the fact that he is not domiciled in Georgia.

Your fourth question concerns the residency requirements for an active duty military applicant. Under the plain language of the statute, a member of the armed services may, if otherwise eligible, obtain a permit if he resides in the county of application or on a military reservation located in whole or in part in that county at the time of application.

Fifth, you inquire regarding the eligibility of a spouse for a permit. As noted supra, military personnel (and their dependents) are generally not residents of Georgia and thus the dependents are not eligible for the permits. See 1976 Op. Att'y Gen. U76-71. However, this is not an ironclad rule; a member of the armed services may choose to establish a domicile in Georgia and, if this is done, the member's dependents would be eligible for a permit if otherwise qualified. In making a determination of residency, the Probate Judge should consider such factors as payment of Georgia income or property taxes, place of residence, registration to vote, registration of automobiles, whether the dependent is licensed to drive by this state, and other similar factors. See, e.g., 1981 Op. Att'y Gen. U81-26. If satisfied that the dependent has established residency in this state, the Court may consider the application for a firearms permit.

Finally, you have inquired about the scope of the exemption from the concealed weapon, public gathering, school zone, and license provisions applicable to full-time peace officers. Peace officers are exempted from these provisions by O.C.G.A. § 16-11-130(a)(1). The scope of the exemption is the same as that for active duty military personnel. Thus, it is my unofficial opinion that the exemption for peace officers is not limited to their duty hours.

In sum, it is my unofficial opinion that active duty military personnel are exempt from the requirement of a firearms license. The exemption is not limited to military activity on the military reservation. Although not domiciled in this state, active duty military personnel may nevertheless obtain a firearms license if they are otherwise qualified. Dependents of military personnel are not eligible for a firearms license unless the Probate Judge first determines that they have established domicile in that county. Full-time peace officers are entitled to the same exemption as are active duty military personnel.

Prepared by:

NEAL B. CHILDERS
Senior Assistant Attorney General
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
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We posted at the same time, so you missed my post above yours.

Anyway, here is a link to the actual opinion. U97-13

Also, for future reference, this website is not just a forum, but a vast collection of information relating to firearms law in Georgia. I fear that too few visitors pay any visits to the reference sections here, which are excellent (case in point - see the objective rating system for Georgia politicians).

Anyway, here is a link to this site's compendium of gun related AG opinions.
 

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GAGunOwner said:
But if you are talking about the AG Opinion that says "Active duty", that one, I'm afraid won't do much good. This is often misunderstood. Some LEOs, ones that I've actually spoken with, think that only "active duty" military are exempt, and not people in the Guard, reserves, etc.
But that is the question the AG was asked!

Ignorance is curable, but I can't do anything about deliberate ignorance.

The opinion itself quotes the statute itself, which says persons in the military service of the State of Georgia or the United States. So, the question for your LEO friends is, um, what do they think in the military service of the State of Georgia means if it does not even include those serving in the Guard?

:D

Sometimes a good question is better than a good argument!
 

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Or how about "Retired" military which is not actually a retirement at all since you can be called back to active service at any time. My actual status is considered "Inactive Reserve". I'm not saying that I should have any more rights than any other law abiding citizen, I just want to know why if a retired LEO is afforded the same rights as his active counterpart why not the same for military?
 

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That would not apply, USMC Retired, because the law requires that one be "employed" in one of the offices listed below . . .

GGO, this also answers the question, at least from the AG's perspective, of whether the exemption also applies to 127.1, which contains its own, narrower expemption. According to the AG, the broader 130 exemption applies even in schools, if I am reading this correctly.
 
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