IS A FLEA MARKET CONSIDERED PUBLIC GATHERING?

Discussion in 'General GWL Questions' started by Watch_Their_Hands, Apr 21, 2007.

  1. Watch_Their_Hands

    Watch_Their_Hands New Member

    775
    0
    0
    In light of GAGunOwner's statement to me in the Open Carrying thread, regarding me OCing in a crowded flea market today:

    "That took some courage. That might be close to a PG. Probably close enough for the cops to bust you and for the court to add this type place as a PG through case law."

    I am asking the question. Does carrying in a flea market fall under Public Gathering? And if you think so, why?

    I know there are several of you that post regularly and know much more than me concerning the legalities of this. I don't want to break any law while carrying, and as the Public Gathering laws are so ambiguous, (FREEDOM!!! :banghead: ) I would welcome any advice based on law or law interpretation. Sometimes I wonder if our law makers sit on their thumbs and spin, letting whatever garbage falls from their mouths be written into law. :shakehead: Thanks.
     
  2. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

    5,798
    0
    0
    I do not believe a flea market is a public gathering; and here is why:

    A flea market is basically like a mall. Malls are not off-limits.

    I do however think it would be wise to have a copy of the GA AG's unofficial opinion about malls with you. Ya never know if you are going to run into the cop that thinks public gathering means anything with more than one person.
     

  3. Watch_Their_Hands

    Watch_Their_Hands New Member

    775
    0
    0
    Good point. I will make a copy now. :D
     
  4. Watch_Their_Hands

    Watch_Their_Hands New Member

    775
    0
    0
    How's this:

    Office of the Attorney General of the State of Georgia.
    U84-37 * Opinion No. U84-37 - 1984 Op. Atty Gen. Ga. 261
    September 7, 1984

    Honorable Wesley Dunn
    State Representative
    73rd District
    House of Representatives
    Post Office Box 1014
    McDonough, Georgia 30253

    RE: A person who has properly obtained a license to carry a pistol or revolver under O.C.G.A. § 16-11-129 may legally carry a pistol or revolver at a shopping mall without violating O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127, which prohibits the carriage of firearms to or while at a public gathering.

    OPINION
    In your recent letter you requested an unofficial opinion as to whether a person who has properly obtained a license to carry a pistol or revolver may legally carry a pistol or revolver at a shopping mall. The fundamental issue your inquiry raises is whether a shopping mall is a “public gathering†within the meaning of O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127(a), which provides that it is a misdemeanor for a person to carry to or while at a public gathering a firearm designed for the purpose of offense and defense. “Public gathering†is defined at O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127(b) as follows:

    “. . . [P]ublic gathering†shall include, but shall not be limited to, athletic or sporting events, schools or school functions, 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.â€

    Since â€shopping mall“ is not specifically enumerated in this statutory definition, we turn next to an examination of the nature of the statute, rules of statutory construction and interpretations of this statute by our courts. Official Code of Georgia § 16-11-127(a) is clearly criminal in nature. Criminal statutes are strictly construed against the State and liberally in favor of human liberty. Knight v. State, 243 Ga. 770, 257 S.E.2d 182 (1979); Gibson v. State, 38 Ga. 571, (1869). Moreover, when terms in a criminal statute are ambiguous, such terms are construed in a manner most favorable to the accused. U. S. v. Slater, 524 F.2d 987 (5th Cir. 1975). The Supreme Court of Georgia has recognized that the purpose of this statute is to protect the public against the danger arising from allowing persons to carry deadly weapons to any public gathering. Wynne v. State, 123 Ga. 566, 51 S.E. 636 (1905) (construing an earlier version of O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127 which appears at 1870 Ga. Laws 421 (amended 1878-79, 1895) (Penal Code 1895, § 342)). However, the Georgia courts have repeatedly recognized that this criminal statute should be strictly construed. See generally Byrdsong v. State, 245 Ga. 336, 265 S.E.2d 15 (1980); Culberson V. State, 119 Ga. 805, 47 S.E. 175 (1904); Modesette v. State, 115 Ga. 582, 41 S.E. 992 (1902); Farmer v. State, 112 Ga. App. 438, 145 S.E.2d 594. (1965). But cf. Jordan v. State, 166 Ga. App. 417, 304 S.E.2d 522 (1983). For example, in Modesette, 115 Ga. at 583, the court found that coming into possession of a pistol at a public gathering was not carrying a pistol to a public gathering.

    Therefore, it is my unofficial opinion, based on the foregoing, that a person who has properly obtained a license to carry a pistol or revolver under O.C.G.A. § 16-11-129 may carry a pistol or revolver at a shopping mall without violating O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127, which prohibits the carriage of firearms to or while at a public gathering. Please be advised that this opinion does not address the legality of carrying a firearm with a license to a shopping mall at which at least one of the activities enumerated in the statute as a â€public gathering“ occurs.

    MICHAEL J. BOWERS, ATTORNEY GENERAL
    Prepared by: JENNIFER L. HACKEMEYER, Attorney
     
  5. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

    5,798
    0
    0
  6. Watch_Their_Hands

    Watch_Their_Hands New Member

    775
    0
    0
    GAGunOwner, I talked about it with my wife. It was the White County Rotary Club having the flea Market today. Many different organizations have yard sales/flea markets in that spot on various weekends. 129 North just outside Cleveland.

    I think, based on living in Hall County for 22 years, that things are a bit more relaxed, not in the Gainesville area so much, but in our area of Clermont, and points north. The same families have lived here for years. It's kinda like Mayberry, except for much more $$$. Hall County is one of the most in demand retirement places in NE GA. The $$$ pours in here and land sells for a mint.

    The populace here doesn't like to be told what to do, especially by the Police. About three years ago, my wife and I watched from our front porch as our 75 year old neighbor walked down his driveway with a 12 gauge shotgun and over to a cop that was sitting in his vehicle close to our neighbors driveway. I heard him tell the cop, "I don't know who you are waiting for, but you need to get off my land." The cop and he exchanged a few more words I could not hear, then the cop drove away. No joke. Our neighbor just happens to own 300 acres at the foot of Wauka Mountain, which is about 1 mile behind our home.

    This is how things work here. It's hard keeping up with the Jones...oh, and the Whitmire’s, the Xavier Robert’s (Cabbage Patch Kids) and others. :lol: My parents and family are friends with him, and other $ burners up this way. We have eaten at both his homes many times. He's generous, but quite odd. So I suppose it's a little bit of who ya know.

    We know most everyone around us, all the store and shop owners, and I met many, many people here, when I was a franchise consultant for Subway, before I became a writer. Met many cops as well. :wink: Fed 'um for free every time, too. :wink: This may be the difference. I can't say I wouldn't carry open at that flea market again. I probably would. :D

    I am familiar with the State v Burns case. Ya gotta be. :wink:

    My thinking is this: smile a lot, be friendly, be non-threatening, and things will fall into place. This has always worked for me. :D
     
  7. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

    5,798
    0
    0
    Telling the cop to get off his land, shotgun in hand? That takes some balls.


    It works for me as well.
     
  8. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday New Member

    633
    0
    0
    I went to one a few weeks ago. I was kinda confused as well. I will not say if I did or didn't take my Kel-Tec P3AT that day because this is a public forum and I do not wish to make any statement which might incriminate myself. :lol:
     
  9. Watch_Their_Hands

    Watch_Their_Hands New Member

    775
    0
    0
    Sure does, Ramm. But that was Mr. Garrison. He died last year, but that old gentlemen was a handful. :lol: Didn't take no crap. He didn't point the shotgun at the cop, but his message was clear.
     
  10. glockgirl

    glockgirl New Member

    997
    0
    0
    I think a flea market is like a mall...
     
  11. Adam5

    Adam5 Atlanta Overwatch

    13,209
    28
    48
    +1 :righton:

    I agree with you on that one. There are other amendments to the costitution than the 2nd. Sometimes I excercise the 5th one. :D
     
  12. ahlongslide

    ahlongslide New Member

    2,937
    0
    0
    Every flea market I have ever been to you had to either pay to park, or pay to enter... I've never been to a mall that I had to pay to park or enter.

    But I've only been to 2 flea markets...

    and only 1 mall.

    It seems like an event, but I would carry like it's a mall.
     
  13. Hawkeye

    Hawkeye New Member

    11
    0
    0
    The above letter from MICHAEL J. BOWERS, ATTORNEY GENERAL, clearly states malls are not defined as public gatherings. Flea markets are clearly analagous to malls.

    There's only thing that no one seems to be catching. Malls and flea markets are typically private property. Therefore, the owner(s) of that property has every right to ask of you, or demand of you, that you not carry firearms, concealed or otherwise, onto their property. The same goes for any private property, anywhere.
     
  14. Watch_Their_Hands

    Watch_Their_Hands New Member

    775
    0
    0
    Words are falling out of your head, but they are redundant. :lol: I can't remember, before you typed your dribble into this thread, that anyone had stated that he/she wouldn't leave a Mall or Flea market if asked. :shakehead:

    Perhaps you need to troll back over to Yahoo Chat. :twisted:
     
  15. Mastino177

    Mastino177 Member

    586
    0
    16
    I don't know about your flea markets, but the one between Carrollton and Bremen as well as other I've been to are held in permanent structures, and opened on fixed schedules with tenants paying on a schedule to be there.

    As far as country living, the elderly that are dying off now and recent years are a different breed. They grew up differently, especially in that neck-of-the-woods. I'm from a similar setting myself. The land a man owns might be the only thing that is of any value to him, except his family. He takes great pride in it and sees to it that no one takes it. They are kind of like the two old guys in the movie 'Second Hand Lions'.