Origin of the "public gathering" wording

Discussion in 'GA Laws and Politics' started by Broadside Bob, Jan 15, 2006.

  1. Broadside Bob

    Broadside Bob Member

    I've been wondering about the origin of the "public gathering" wording that has caused so much debate and mental anguish on this site (and others, I'm sure). Also, is the ambiguous "public gathering" wording peculiar to GA?

    Is it intended to be a catch-all phrase to virtually prohibit carry in public places that are not explicitly named? If that was the intent, why the need to enumerate sporting events, church carry, and establishments that serve alcohol if some or all of these would already be prohibited?

    Is it possible that this law was actually somewhat thought out (albeit having adverse and unintended results)? What I'm driving at is might the wording have been intended to address the meetings of one specific organization, with it's origins in the Deep South 140 or so years ago? Since this particular organization had a well deserved reputation for violence, might it make some sense to outlaw the possession of weapons at their meetings and activities?

    I'm definitely not writing in support of the wording if for no other reason than I think it leaves far too much up to the police officer, the prosecutor, the judge, and the jury. Just thinking out loud.

    Any thoughts?

  2. ICP_Juggalo

    ICP_Juggalo Professional Troll

    As far as I can tell, in my research endeavors, is that the "public gathering" law came about in 1870, 2 years after the state constitution was amended to cite; "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; but the general assembly shall have power to prescribe the manner in which arms may be borne."

    This was known as the act of October 1870 which the new law stated; "No person in said state shall be permitted or allowed to carry about his or her person any dirk, Bowie-knife, pistol or revolver, or any kind of deadly weapon, to any court of justice of any election ground or precinct, or any place of public worship, or any other public gathering in this state, except militia muster grounds."

    It looks to me as it was to prohibit carry of weapons anywhere the public was present. I am not totally sure, but I have a distinct feeling the "public gathering" provision came about because of the rise of the KKK and the rallies they held. Members of the KKK, from what I have come to understand, were notorious for packing the heater while attending the rallies. In my research, I have came across a KKK website based in GA and in the "rallies" section of that page, they have a warning about GA law and the public gathering law is one of them. So that leaves me to believe that the public gathering provision came about because of klan rallies and how violent they became. But I could be wrong. :?

    I believe there is a court case questioning the constutionlity of that law. Hill v. State I believe is the correct case. I have found a link that goes into more interesting detail about this law.
    Hill v. State

    As far as your inquiry as to if any other states have the same law prohibiting carrying weapons at public gatherings. I have found 2 so far. They are Illinios and North Dakota. Illinois is really a moot point seeing how carrying a weapon, concealed or otherwise, is prohibited by law. North Dakota's law is scarily similiar to ours :(

  3. thebugman

    thebugman New Member

    Suprised they didn't make carrying a rope illegal.