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The following "Opinion" piece by AJC staffer, Maureen Downey appeared in this mornings AJC.

Guns, Parks Don't Mix

Guns, parks don't mix
Law ought to let cities, counties outlaw firearms in public places

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 08/23/07

GeorgiaCarry.org is a pro-gun group with a dangerous agenda that would appall most Georgians: It wants gun owners to be able to strap on their pistols and bring them to church, to county commission meetings and to your child's Little League game. It wants bans lifted on guns at bars, political rallies or even at the annual Georgia-Georgia Tech showdown.

Its Web site does not mince words:
EQUAL TIME:
• Law-abiders should feel safe in parks

"All we want is to be able to move freely about our society, welcomed by our community as armed men and women."

To that end, a GeorgiaCarry lawyer is threatening suit against communities that ban guns from parks for protection of the children who play there, including Kennesaw and Coweta County. GeorgiaCarry.org argues that only the state can regulate firearms and that any local ordinances outlawing guns in parks are illegal.

Kennesaw capitulated to the group's demand, rescinding this month its ordinance banning the carrying of firearms in parks. While the Cobb community vows to fight the issue in the Legislature, it would have been better off to have followed Coweta County's example and taken the dispute to court.

Coweta has won the first legal round, winning a summary judgment in defense of its ordinance in Superior Court. GeorgiaCarry.org is now appealing that decision to the state Court of Appeals, which ought to rule in the county's favor given Georgia law.

Georgia law does prohibit local governments from enacting their own gun regulations. However, since 1870, Georgia has also had a law in place prohibiting the possession of guns at public gatherings, and the local ordinances in question are consistent with that provision.

According to Georgia Code 16-11-127, it is unlawful to carry or possess any firearm at a public gathering, including athletic or sporting events, churches or church functions, political rallies or functions, publicly owned or operated buildings, or establishments at which alcoholic beverages are sold for consumption on the premises.

Clearly, the Legislature regards guns and parks as incompatible since it outlaws firearms in state parks and historic sites. Georgia Code 12-3-10, which governs behaviors in state parks, states: "It shall also be unlawful for any person to use or possess in any park, historic site, or recreational area any firearms, bows and arrows, spring guns, air rifles, slingshots, or any other device which discharges projectiles by any means."

Nathan T. Lee, the attorney representing Coweta, argues in his brief to the Court of Appeals that GeorgiaCarry.org expects judges to believe "that the public would be more safe if the county's walking trails, Little League fields, gymnasiums, 4-H parks and senior citizens' center were full of people carrying pistols."

That's the standard assertion of the gun lobby. The lobby clings to the fiction that more guns equal more safety despite all the evidence to the contrary. Georgia is awash in privately owned guns, yet the state has one of the nation's highest rates of firearms violence.

GeorgiaCarry.org contends that more liberal gun carrying laws could have prevented such heinous crimes as the 1999 murders of Whitney Land, 22, and her daughter, Jordan, 2, who were abducted from a park in Clayton County and shot.

But guns in parks would likely cause more crimes than prevent them. A few years after the young mother and her baby were murdered, 4-year-old Trevon Wilson was shot through the heart as he rode his bicycle in another Clayton park, caught in the crossfire of warring gangs.

Certainly, there are instances where a gun can prevent a crime, but those occasions are far rarer than gun advocates would have the public believe. According to the FBI's report, Crime in the United States, for every time in 1999 that someone used a handgun to kill in self-defense, 48 people died in handgun homicides.

State lawmakers often contend that the best government is the one closest to the people and that it's local officials who know best what's needed to improve their schools or keep their streets safe. If they believe their own rhetoric, they ought to clarify state law to resolve any doubt that counties and municipalities can enact the gun laws they deem necessary to protect their constituents.

Coweta and Kennesaw have determined that their citizens are safest when guns cannot be brought into their local parks. Indeed, the state feels the exact same away about its own parks.

â€" Maureen Downey, for the editorial board
 

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It like an endless battle it makes me sick people are so F'n stupid and you know what all the damn soccer moms read this crap and believe every word without knowing a thing....

And you know what the worst thing is people dont want to spend the $25 to join an org like GCO who stands up for our rights....and i know it first hand i have those type people in my family too "they'll never ban my guns etc...." I would like to be more active i wasnt even able to come to the meeting casue im was working but i can guarantee I'll be spending my money and voting for people who will stand up or our constitution.

Rant Over!
 

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I sent this as a letter to the editor this morning, but I'm not holding my breath on it getting published:
Concerning the recent editorial regarding Kennesaw's efforts to ban guns in their city parks, I offer these rebuttals.

The writer cites a case involving a gang shooting in a Clayton county park. Does the editorial board really think that gang members care whether or not they can have a gun at a park or anyplace else that firearms are prohibited? Only law abiding citizens will obey the law and thus disarm themselves.

The writer also cites a 1999 FBI report (killing in self-defense), but not all self-defense uses of a firearm end with the criminal dead. What about the case in Memphis in July of last year, when an armed citizen stopped a knife-wielding robber without ever firing a shot? Surely this case would count as a proper use of a firearm in self-defense, yet it would not be recorded or reported in the FBI's report because the perpetrator was not killed.
Ms. Maureen Downey and I went a couple of rounds a while back about the "stand-your-ground" law, and I called out her using faulty cases to support her stance then - it didn't make it in the paper either, but it was probably because I used welllll over the 150 word limit. This one clocks in at 156. Again, I'm not holding my breath.
 

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Bulldawg182 said:
But guns in parks would likely cause more crimes than prevent them. A few years after the young mother and her baby were murdered, 4-year-old Trevon Wilson was shot through the heart as he rode his bicycle in another Clayton park, caught in the crossfire of warring gangs.
Because so many gang members are GFL holders and gang members who are willing to shoot each other and 4 yr olds in the cross fire really care about a no firearms law!

<Guinness> BRILLIANT</Guinness>
 

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Georgia law does prohibit local governments from enacting their own gun regulations. However, since 1870, Georgia has also had a law in place prohibiting the possession of guns at public gatherings, and the local ordinances in question are consistent with that provision.

According to Georgia Code 16-11-127, it is unlawful to carry or possess any firearm at a public gathering, including athletic or sporting events, churches or church functions, political rallies or functions, publicly owned or operated buildings, or establishments at which alcoholic beverages are sold for consumption on the premises.
Nice to see an author referring to the law instead of making stuff up.

Clearly, the Legislature regards guns and parks as incompatible since it outlaws firearms in state parks and historic sites. Georgia Code 12-3-10, which governs behaviors in state parks, states: "It shall also be unlawful for any person to use or possess in any park, historic site, or recreational area any firearms, bows and arrows, spring guns, air rifles, slingshots, or any other device which discharges projectiles by any means."
Does GCO have a rebuttal to this argument?

That's the standard assertion of the gun lobby. The lobby clings to the fiction that more guns equal more safety despite all the evidence to the contrary. Georgia is awash in privately owned guns, yet the state has one of the nation's highest rates of firearms violence.
Awash? More than DC?

But guns in parks would likely cause more crimes than prevent them. A few years after the young mother and her baby were murdered, 4-year-old Trevon Wilson was shot through the heart as he rode his bicycle in another Clayton park, caught in the crossfire of warring gangs.
This crime would not have been prevented by the type of ordinance in question. In fact, it might have been prevented if it were known that peacable citizens were allowed to carry.

Certainly, there are instances where a gun can prevent a crime, but those occasions are far rarer than gun advocates would have the public believe. According to the FBI's report, Crime in the United States, for every time in 1999 that someone used a handgun to kill in self-defense, 48 people died in handgun homicides.
I'd like to see a break down of these data.
 

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Fact is,that people who say guns are bad are weak and would rather cower before a threat instead of defending themselves.They rely on the govt or police to protect them when thats not gonna happen.How many times have we seen that the police and govt are there only after the fact and not before.I dont have a problem with LEO's whatsoever but citizens need to learn and protect themselves.They dont seem t understand that criminals dont care about gun bans and will carry them any where they want to.What does it take to get people to understand that??They just rather give up there freedoms for the promise of safety from somebody that cant defend them.
 

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mzmtg said:
More ink for GCO! :righton:

At this point in GCO's evolution, any publicity is good publicity.
You are correct. I think now is a good time for GCO to publish a set of guidelines or talking points for membership to push when in conversation with others. Presenting a unified front is critical.

What I like to stress when talking with other individuals is that thru my GCO envolvement, I can get firearm ownership treated like any other matter of constitutional law.
 

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I sent Ms. Downey a polite and reasoned response showing her the error of her ways in comparing GFL holders to criminals. I also pointed at the estimated number of civilian uses of firearms in preventing crime that did not involve firing a shot. I doubt I will get a response or even change her mind, but it at least made me feel better.
 

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Georgia law does prohibit local governments from enacting their own gun regulations. However, since 1870, Georgia has also had a law in place prohibiting the possession of guns at public gatherings, and the local ordinances in question are consistent with that provision.
Is it me or does someone have a reading comprehension problem?

As a matter of law, Y cannot do X.
[next sentence]
Y is ok to do X.
 

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We all know that this piece is based on emotion rather than fact. She states an FBI report regarding handgun homicides, but this point becomes moot when if they were to produce numbers showing how many of those firearms used in the commission of homicides were obtained legally.

We can all get angry, or we can use this as an example of why we all must agree to disagree (OC vs CC, Glock vs 1911) and come together to ensure that our rights are preserved.

As MP stated in another post, we need to take the moral high road here and refute emotion with facts. Facts are stubborn things in that they just don't like to change.
 

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Rammstein said:
Georgia law does prohibit local governments from enacting their own gun regulations. However, since 1870, Georgia has also had a law in place prohibiting the possession of guns at public gatherings, and the local ordinances in question are consistent with that provision.
Is it me or does someone have a reading comprehension problem?

As a matter of law, Y cannot do X.
[next sentence]
Y is ok to do X.
It seems to me that the author is trying to equate parks, etc. as a public gathering (as opposed to a place where the public lawfully gathers) and that the local municipalities are simply reiterating in their ordinances that which the state is already regulating. Wsweeks2 pointed this out in a another thread where Forsyth county is seeking to do just that.
 

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Equal Time...

Don't forget that one of our own was published under the "equal time" segment:
Law-abiders should feel safe in parks

By BEN BRYANT
Published on: 08/23/07

The hard truth of the matter is that parks, like almost every other public venue nowadays, have become more dangerous.

As far as I know, law-abiding citizens, such as myself, who carry concealed weapons are the last group of people that government should be concerned about.

To legally qualify to carry a concealed weapon, one must first be a law-abiding citizen without a criminal felony record .

I live in Decatur, which is in Dekalb County. I have personally never had a problem with law enforcement or park authorities within my county about carrying weapons, but other people who I know have run into problems with their right to legally carry.

The authorities should be more concerned about the predators â€" both two- and four-legged who have attacked and killed innocent people in parks.

Whitney and Jordan Land, mother and young daughter, were murdered in 1999 after being abducted from a Clayton County park.

There are other numerous examples of violent attacks in parks or along running trails, such as the Silver Comet Trail.

Law-abiding citizens who choose to protect themselves and their families from bodily harm with a concealed weapon while enjoying the amenities of our parks should be allowed to do so without fear of any kind of legal or civil sanction being brought against them for exercising a constitutionally guaranteed civil right.

â€" Ben Bryant is a member of the group GeorgiaCarry.org.
whoops..forgot the link:

http://www.ajc.com/opinion/content/opin ... _0823.html
 

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Bulldawg182 said:
Georgia is awash in privately owned guns, yet the state has one of the nation's highest rates of firearms violence.
Let's ASSUME we are awash in guns. Maybe we have high rates of violence because we're not allowed to carry them anywhere to prevent or counteract violence.

If we could carry everywhere except gov't buildings, bars and schools, then the criminals would have fewer GUN FREE ZONES to work in.
 

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zxd9 said:
Bulldawg182 said:
Georgia is awash in privately owned guns, yet the state has one of the nation's highest rates of firearms violence.
Let's ASSUME we are awash in guns. Maybe we have high rates of violence because we're not allowed to carry them anywhere to prevent or counteract violence.

If we could carry everywhere except gov't buildings, bars and schools, then the criminals would have fewer GUN FREE ZONES to work in.
While I don't mind criminals preying on the government (since that might actually result in better laws), bartenders and students should not be made into easy targets.
 

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:ditto:

What he said. Every day when I drive to UGA I have to make the decision, do I take a tool that could protect myself and possibly others, or do I allow the government to disarm me, making me just another target to the criminal element?

As to government officials, if they want to disarm themselves, like Budder said, I could care less.
 

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Good Job Ben!!!! He was only given a couple of hours notice to write his response. It was short sweet and to the point.

I think now is a good time for GCO to publish a set of guidelines or talking points for membership to push when in conversation with others. Presenting a unified front is critical.
I'd hate for GCO to say .... you must say X, Y, and Z. Your opinions and feelings are just as important as the next guy. In fact, we all learn alot from other perspectives. I think you should be able to express your views in any manner you wish without worrying about what will MP say. Just be polite. Our audience isn't the AJC, they will always be against guns. Our audience is the public and the Legislature.

Clearly, the Legislature regards guns and parks as incompatible since it outlaws firearms in state parks and historic sites. Georgia Code 12-3-10, which governs behaviors in state parks, states: "It shall also be unlawful for any person to use or possess in any park, historic site, or recreational area any firearms, bows and arrows, spring guns, air rifles, slingshots, or any other device which discharges projectiles by any means."

Does GCO have a rebuttal to this argument?
Yes, we want this ban lifted as well. To do that we need to have the law changed which takes a little longer.

Certainly, there are instances where a gun can prevent a crime, but those occasions are far rarer than gun advocates would have the public believe. According to the FBI's report, Crime in the United States, for every time in 1999 that someone used a handgun to kill in self-defense, 48 people died in handgun homicides.

I'd like to see a break down of these data.
That is likely true data. BUT, it doesn't count the times the presence of a firearm prevented a crime with it being shot nor does it consider over 60% the murderers of the 48 had prior criminal convictions and thus weren't allowed to possess a gun. What that shows is that people who carry for self defense are very unlikely to whip it out and shoot up the town.

Notice she doesn't mention the crime rate for Firearms Licensees.

GCO wants gun owners to be able to strap on their pistols and bring them to church, to county commission meetings and to your child's Little League game. It wants bans lifted on guns at bars, political rallies or even at the annual Georgia-Georgia Tech showdown.
Yep, many other states allow that so why not Georgia. We are not in the lead, we are following many other states.

Boy, the AJC doesn't think much of Georgians. They think that Aunt Sally, despite being law abiding for over 40 years, will lose all self control at the sight of the Tech Bubble bee. She'll whip out her pistol and cap that ugly bug. That is extremely insulting arguement. Not surprising, coming from the paper that incited the Atlanta Race Riots.
 
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