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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need a good legal mind on this incident and public gathering.

I was open carrying a 6 inc hunting knife at Waffle House and I had a firearm plus a K-Bar knife in the car.Thier was a fight that broke out when I was there and carrying a knife. I was out in the parking lot talking to a couple of friends waiting for the food to be cooked to order.A lot of people was gather around the fight that was about 20 feet a way from me and my car.I hate to think that if a lawful person is carrying and something like this happens you could be thrown in jail because someone starts a fight and you was not even in it and the public gathers around the fight and you with a deadly weapon.

Can this be a public gathering
 

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If you do the right thing and leave as soon as you see trouble brewing, then you don't have anything to worry about.
 

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i agree with leaving ASAP but I thought a public gathering was people there for a common cause and applied more to organized events like rallies, parades, etc. I don't think an impromptu butt-kicking would apply.

Any thoughts MP or GS1?
 

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glockgirl said:
i agree with leaving ASAP but I thought a public gathering was people there for a common cause and applied more to organized events like rallies, parades, etc. I don't think an impromptu butt-kicking would apply.

Any thoughts MP or GS1?
Afraid it is.

Farmer was also the main case relied upon in the auto auction case. Jordan v. State, 166 Ga. App. 417 (1983). In this case, the defendant was convicted based upon a crowd that gathered around him in the parking lot. From my reading, it appears the crowd gathered because of a shooting, and the defendant waited there under orders from the police!

See also Farmer v. State, 112 Ga.App. 438, 145 S.E.2d 594 (1965) wherein appellant's conviction was affirmed. He carried a shotgun in his car and parked it on the V.F.W. Club grounds. A fight began in the parking lot and appellant returned to his car, got the shotgun, loaded it and stood the attackers off. The evidence here shows that Jordan possessed a loaded weapon on the auction grounds and that many people were present in the parking lot when it was removed from his person.
 

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glockgirl said:
I am not good at case law but it seems the auction itself was a public gathering
I would have to agree with you there. The same scenario happened in the Hubbard case in 1993. An altercation broke out in the parking lot of the Elk's Lodge which coincidently served alcohol for consumption on the premises, thus making the building itself and the parking lot it was situated on off-limits.

However, I would not totally dismiss what Gunstar1 posted. In the Wynne vs. State case (1905), Mr. Wynne was just retrieving his firearm from a friends house which just happens to be across the street from Hillman (Taliaferro County) town square. As he was leaving his friends house with his gun in tow, a riot broke out in the town square from a 4th of July BBQ that was being held there. Mr Wynne was arrested and charge with carrying a deadly weapon to a public gathering even though he was not a participant in either the BBQ or the Riot. He just happen to "be there".

Bad law and bad caselaw all around ladies and gents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So ICP_Juggalo mean that if I stayed till the police showed up I could be arrest but I had no part in the fight I was just there.I thought that waffle house was not off limits place the public might gather there.I went inside till my friend told me to leave because he knew I had a gun in the car. I had it on the seat of the car open to view.He didn't want the police show up with me having three weapons around me.

Glockgirl I'm not so good about case law too but I'm with you I thought I was legal to stay and eat my food with a knife on me.A public gathering is like a st. patrick day parade that you know it will happen which makes it a public gathering .
 

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so if I am eating at a waffle house and I am attacked in the parking lot and I defend myself and then others stay as witnesses I will go to jail?

In Jason's case I could see where he could just opt to leave but if he had been the one being attacked he might not have been able to leave so easily.

:banghead: I think I need a tylenol
 

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It's probably up to the DA to figure out if you could actually be sucessfully prosecuted or not. I doubt it.

Having a firearm is no different from openly carrying a knife, even if it could be for offense of defense.

(O.C.G.A.16-11-126) states that a person commits the offense of carrying a concealed when such person carries on about her person, unless in a open manner and fully exposed to view.... a knife designed for the purpose of offense and defense...

Given that you were open carrying, the offensiveness or defensiveness of your knife doens't come into play. The only thing that does come into play was "is it a public gathering?" The AG has ruled, in the past, that McDonalds is NOT a public gathering. I think the Waffle House would be in the same general category... especially since they don't serve booze. Of course, who knows, the law sucks as we all know. If the Waffle House shares a parking lot with a bar... well.... you could be charged, even for just 'standing around'. One thing I do know is that it wouldn't make a difference if you had a 9mm or a K-Bar on your hip.

Regardless, if I read your post correctly, you would have been OK, from what I know, and I'm no lawyer. The cops might show up to ask you questions, and if you weren't involved, I doubt they would worry about the "public gathering law", especially since you wouldn't clearly meet the definition. I'm sure one of the cops could have an attitude and bring you in, but I doubt it would go much further than that.

Stay away from fights. Get a GFL and carry a handgun. If you're going to use a knife to protect your life, you might as well use a handgun to do it more effectively. If you see trouble brewing, go away and call the cops if necessary. People tend to rubberneck and watch things turn sour, but if you're carrying weapon, you pretty much need to take the moral high ground and alert those that can effectively stop it... before you somehow get involved. My .02. If you don't need a 6" knife, I wouldn't carry one either. If you DO need one, I guess carrying it open would be your best bet.

Waffle Houses are probably one of the most dangerous places in Georgia... anyone else notice this? Them and Marta.
 

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I am in no position to give legal advice, but I feel in this situation it could easily swing either way. One thing to note however, is that in the Farmer case (The auto auction), the Jordan case (VFW fairgrounds case), and the Hubbard case (the Elk's Lodge case) all 3 appealants were up to no good anyway.
 

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So let me get this right.....

I could be eating my meal, minding my own business, and then charged with a "public gathering" violation because some folks "assembled" to watch a fight that occured on the premises that I had absolutely nothing to do with?:(
 

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ICP_Juggalo said:
In the Wynne vs. State case (1905), Mr. Wynne was just retrieving his firearm from a friends house . . .
Anybody have any idea how to find out what color was Mr. Wynne? I know the crowd was mostly black ("with some whites"), but the case does not indicate the color of the defendant.

I am just wondering whether the public gathering law was being enforced against whites in 1905, as it was already decades old at this point. I believe the licensing law to carry was generally not enforced against whites until pretty recently.
 
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