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Discussion in 'GENERAL EVENTS' started by thebugman, Dec 10, 2005.
Anyone going to this? I think I'll head over there Sunday morning when it opens.
I have not been impressed with any of the eastman shows. The last one I went to was pretty empty.
I went yesterday. I had heard the same thing about shows being a little light on vendors. I was pleasantly surprised. The entire building had vendors. I didn't find what I was looking for but bought a Kel Tec P3AT. I am going to the range tonight to see if I like it.
Maybe since the crap in New Orleans, there has been a rebound in the attendance of dealers at the shows? I hadn't been to one in a while, so I think I missed the slow period. Anybody go to a show that is bigger than an Eastman show?
I went to the Eastman's Gun Show this past weekend at the Cobb Civic Center. They had a pretty good amount of stuff, compared to last show(s) that some have mentioned in this thread. I purchased close to 2000 rounds of ammuntion and also got my hands on a Bushmaster XM15 rifle ( the equivilant to the M4-A2 ) for $850 brand new, which I though was a pretty good deal. I have never seen those rifles go for below $1000. The background check was painless. Didn't have to pay $5 and only took a few minutes. Still a little tear came to me eye when it was now futile to whip out my firearms license and bypass the background check.
What I thought was interesting is that at the door, they had signs that said; GEORGIA LAW WITH OR WITHOUT A CARRY PERMIT - NO LOADED FIREARMS AT ANY PUBLIC GATHERING - YOU CAN BE PROSECUTED! NO EXCEPTIONS!
Now the gun show was a public gathering by virtue that it was being held in the civic center which is a public building owned and operated by the county. But if I recall, the code section doesn't distinguish between loaded and unloaded firearms in regards to carry to a public gathering. Firearms are prohibited at a public gathering period. So technically, those who brought a firearm to the show to sell or trade, was breaking the law. As well as I when I came into possession of my new rifle at the show. This may all be pointless ranting, but I was wondering what other posters would think about this. What would happen to someone who was actually arressted in this situation? How would it play out in court? Food for thought.
(d) It is an affirmative defense to a violation of this Code section if a person notifies a law enforcement officer or other person employed to provide security for a public gathering of the presence of such item as soon as possible after learning of its presence and surrenders or secures such item as directed by the law enforcement officer or other person employed to provide security for a public gathering.
I assume that you did so.
Cops At Entrance
Every gun show I've ever been in, there have been law enforcement officers on duty at the public entrance, who would insist on taking your gun from you, verifying it to be unloaded, putting a plastic cable-tie strap thru the action, and then returning it to your custody. At that point, I think because the officer has temporarily taken actual possession of your gun and has shown his ability and intent to restrict your use of the instrument to his terms, even though you can physically tote it around the gun show, the officer would still be in "constructive possession" of it. Thus, you have already "surrendered" your gun to the cop and are now only holding it jointly with him or even as his agent. This ought to satisfy the new law about turning weapons over to cops at public gatherings.
As for all the hudreds of thousands of people who may have violated the old law at gun shows in the past -- just try to find a prosecutor interested in taking on that case. Go on, see if you can get any cop to make an affidavit to a magistrate to get an arrest warrant!
Nonsense. No need to go through "constructive" anything. Rather, you may simply "secure such item as directed by the law enforcement officer or other person employed to provide security." If he directs you to put a zip tie on it and carry it, and you do so, then you have complied.
I don't want to sound like a broken record, but this brings up the affirmative defense vs. immunity problem. Securing the weapon as directed by security provides an affirmative defense, not immunity from prosecution. So, if there were an arrest, for whatever reason, the defendant could still have to go through booking, incarceration, first appearance and bond hearing (hopefully he can afford to make bond), hiring a lawyer, being arraigned, and going to trial before he could raise his affirmative defense. Sure, it's possible he could get his case dismissed or dead docketed if the solicitor were so inclined. But, in a populous county like Fulton, where the solicitor's office is jammed with cases, once the process is started, it's very hard to derail it. The unfortunate reality of the situation is that the path of least resistance for the (usually young and new) working in the solicitor's office is to keep cases moving. Dismissing a case is taking a risk. Keeping a case moving is SOP. If there were immunity from prosecution, at least there would be a procedural safeguard in place to force inquiry into the case before it went to trial. A couple thousand dollars and a lot of anxiety later, the guy who just took a gun to a gun show could be a free man.
Yeah, I guess that COULD be a potential problem in State court if the case is prosecuted as a misdemeanor. On the felony side, even though technically an "affirmative defense" which is the defendant's burden to raise, a case cannot come within the jurisdiction of the Superior Court without some kind of charging instrument-- usually an Indictment (by the Grand Jury) or an Accusation (a charge filed by the DA's office, on information and belief, called an "Information" in most other states). I undertand that misdemeanor violations can be charged on a ticket/summons/citation which does not have to allege the manner in which the law was broken, or that every element of the crime has been completed.
But for felonies, the prosecutor could not in good faith sign his name to an Indictment or Accusation that alleges that the defendant "unlawfully" possessed that gun..."contrary to the laws of this state, the good order, peace and dignity thereof" if the prosecutor knows that some of the facts of the case are flatly inconsistent with guilt under the statute, and unless the State has information that those are NOT the facts of this case or that under some other law those facts do not matter and have no exculpatory effect, I think it would be a violation of the prosecutor's Oath of Office to sign such a charging instrument.
Maybe the best thing to do about all of these gun-free zones in Georgia is to create an exception all of them (except the secure "sterile" areas of airports & courthouses) for anybody (even a non-permitee) whose weapon is either fully unloaded and separated from the ammo, or effectively disabled with a trigger lock or internal disabling device.
What I mean by the suggestion about disabled guns above is that it may be the best REALISTIC thing for us to aim for right now, given the political climate and the general public's distrust of armed civilians in public places (home & car, fine, but ordinary Georgians are not generally in favor of packing weapons on your person on a daily basis).
The genuine BEST THING to do is to eliminate the public gatherings law and the school safety zone law entirely, and to say that if a person gets a permit and some training, they can carry anywhere a cop can carry. But I don't think that's likely to pass, at least not as long as the current firearms license is so easy to get and has no training requirement.
But the "disable your gun in gun-free zones" law is a form of disarmament (instead of having a working gun, you have an expensive short club) that does not interfere with your ability to have your gun in working order in places where weapons are allowed, and even though you could choose to break the law and re-activate your gun by taking the trigger lock off in the gun-free zone, under the current law you could choose to break the law by simply carrying your gun, loaded and ready, concealed in almost any of the gun-free zones that do not have "sterile" secure areas.
While I would trade a training requirement for unrestricted carry other than the sterile area of airports and courthouses (and even then they should have gunlockers where one can check in the firearm), I fear that is not what would happen.
Of course, the training should be the completion of one day's steel plate competition!
As long as the passing score was 300 and under.
But, seriously, what I really think would happen is that the training requirement would be tacked on with no significant exchange of liberty gained (in the sense of places where one may carry). I would wait on supporting training requirements for a bill to come along that we could support, rather than proposing it ab initio.
I don't want to give anybody any ideas.
You are correct about the misdemeanors, and carrying to a public gathering is a misdemeanor. But, even for the felonies, my observation has been (and again, this is in very busy counties like Fulton) that police put into the affidavit exactly what they need to address the elements of the crime, and then get a warrant. DAs use accusations that are based solely on the affidavit (or perhaps the police report, and they don't tend to include much exculpatory information). At this point in the process, there really has not been an opportunity to point out the existence of an affirmative defense. That is not likely to happen until an all-purpose calendar call at the very earliest, and the DA may or may not want to discuss a case in that level of detail when he has to make initial plea offers on another 50 cases that morning. I'm guessing (and hoping) that it doesn't work that way in rural counties.