GA Ct of Appeals: Cannon Are Indeed Banned from Campus

Discussion in 'Places Off-Limits' started by Malum Prohibitum, Feb 14, 2018.

  1. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Boatwright v. Copeland, 336 Ga. App. 107 (2016).

    Cannons, of course, will usually qualify as “weaponS” within the definition of the statute. A “weapon” is defined as including “any pistol, revolver, or any weapon designed or intended to propel a missile of any kind ...” OCGA § 16–11–127.1(a)(4). Cannons are generally designed to propel missiles, and this is precisely what the cannon at issue here is alleged to have done; that it allegedly fired a rod by accident, instead of a cannonball on purpose, is of no moment to a definition focused on general design. . . .
    . . .

    he plain text and structure of the (a)(4) exception is limited to classroom work done with the authorization of a teacher. This is not a blanket exception for all school-related—or even school-authorized—uses. Whether or not the exception requires classroom work to be done in the classroom, it clearly requires the work to arise from the classroom environment and with the authorization of the classroom teacher. There is no allegation or argument that the use of the cannon did so here. Not even the greatest possible respect for the life lessons learned through the game of football can warrant interpreting the statutory term “classroom work” as applying to firing a cannon on a football field as part of a football game without any relation to a classroom or a teacher. The (a)(4) exception is not applicable.

    . . .

    The trial court held that Defendants had discretion to conclude that it would be absurd to read OCGA § 16–11–127.1 as (1) allowing teachers to bring cannons into classrooms while (2) prohibiting administrators from allowing cannons to be present outdoors. But as we have already explained, that is precisely what the text of the statute means. Defendants lack the authority to construe it otherwise, so they cannot be granted immunity for having done so.