Parking Lots of Prohibited Areas?

Discussion in 'Places Off-Limits' started by GAGunOwner, Jan 27, 2006.

  1. GAGunOwner

    GAGunOwner Active Member

    Is it legal to have a gun in your car while parked in the parking lot of somewhere that is a prohibited area? I'm not saying carrying the gun, just having it in the car.

    Can I park in the parking lot of a government building and leave a gun in the car?
    Can I park at MARTA and leave a gun in the car?
    Can I park at a church and leave a gun in the car?
    Can I park in the parking lot of a bar or resturant that serves alcohol with a firearm in the car?

    My interpretation of the whole ruling that says that parking lots of "public gatherings" are also considered "public gatherings" is that they meant actually carrying the gun in the parking lot, not necessarily having a gun in your car.

    Any clarification would be appreciated.
     
  2. ICP_Juggalo

    ICP_Juggalo Professional Troll

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    Since O.C.G.A. 16-11-127 says " a person is guilty of a misdemeanor when he carries to or while at a public gathering..." I have interpreted that to mean that if your final destination was a public gathering and you have a deadly weapon in your possession, whether or not you actually carried it into the public gathering, you are still in violation cause you brought it to the public gathering.

    MARTA is governed by another law on the books. O.C.G.A. 16-12-122 defines MARTA as a "transportation terminal" which "includes a reasonable area immediately adjacent to any designated stop along the route traveled by any coach or rail vehicle operated by a transportation company or governmental entity operating aircraft, bus, or rail vehicle transportation facility and parking lots or parking areas adjacent to a terminal." And unlike the "public gathering" restriction, Carrying a firearm or dangerous weapon into a transportation terminal is a felony, unless the weapon is unloaded, encased, and seperated from its ammunition and checked in with the appropriate transportation company. So in other words, you can't go to the airport or to a MARTA station with a weapon in your car unless it is unloaded and encased to be transported with the transportation company.

    In short, the answer to all your questions is a resounding NO

    I am not a lawyer and this is my hypothesisized opinion and it is worth for what you paid for it.
     

  3. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Do you actually know anyone who does not have a gun in their car at each of these locations on the occasion of parking there?

    Me either. :roll:
     
  4. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, so much for practice. What is technically the law? Well, as stated, the statute outlaws carrying "to" the public gathering as well as carrying "at" the public gathering, two different prepositions ostensibly chosen for their different meanings.

    Elk's Lodge:

    Hubbard v. State, 210 Ga. App. 141, 143-44 (1993)

    Appellant contends that he was not guilty of carrying a firearm at a public gathering because he did not carry it inside the Lodge where alcoholic beverages were being sold. However, we have held that the offense of carrying a firearm at a public gathering may occur in a parking area on the grounds of and in close proximity to a public gathering. Moreover, there was testimony from which the jury could conclude that the "younger crowd" who could not go into the Lodge often gathered in the Lodge's parking lot on Saturday nights and that on the Saturday night of the incident a large number of people were gathered there, "hanging out," eating and talking. From this, the jury could reasonably find that the parking lot itself was the site of a public gathering, so that appellant brought the pistol to a public gathering when he brought it to the parking lot regardless of whether he took it inside the building.

    Citations omitted.

    So we have the "close proximity" test and the bored teenagers test . . .
     
  5. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Excuse the old statute citations, but that is the way they were numbered back then:


    BY the way, is carrying "to" different from "at?"

    The case of Modesette v. State does not require a reversal. There it was held that where one goes to a public gathering with no pistol upon him at the time he arrives but afterward becomes possessed of one, whether innocently or designedly, he is not guilty of an offense under Penal Code § 342 (now Code § 26-5102 [my note: now section 127]). Rather, the facts here are controlled by Wynne v. State, holding that if a person carries a deadly weapon to a place near a public gathering so that it will be accessible, and while the gathering is in progress goes to the place of deposit and obtains actual possession of the weapon and carries it to the gathering he is guilty of the offense.

    This statute (Code § 26-5102) is very similar to Code § 58-603 by which it is made unlawful to carry any liquor or intoxicating drink to a church or other place where people may have assemblies for divine worship. In Bice v. State, it appeared that the defendant carried a bottle of whiskey to a church, where people were assembled for worship, in his buggy and the buggy was left standing from 100 to 200 yards from the church. His conviction was affirmed, and in doing so the court observed that 'a fair and even strict construction requires us to hold that, when it forbids carrying intoxicating liquor to a church, it means also to forbid its introduction to a place in such immediate proximity to the church building as to make it readily accessible to those who may desire to use it.'
    It there be any difference in the carrying of a bottle of liquor in a buggy to a church gathering and the carrying of a sawed-off shotgun in an automobile to a V.F.W. dance, we are unable to discern it. This is particularly true when it appears that the defendant, after arriving at the V.F.W. Club grounds, went to his car and got the gun from under the seat, thus having it 'about his person' at the gathering.

    Error is assigned upon a portion of the charge in which the court informed the jury that while it is an essential element of the offense that it be shown that the defendant did carry the weapon to a public gathering, in doing so the 'possession may be actual or constructive.' We find no error in this charge. This the sawed-off shotgun was under the seat of his automobile rather than in his hands in the carrying of it from Monroe to Athens can make no difference. The gun was nevertheless in his possession. It was gun, his automobile and he was driving it. It cannot be doubted that he knew that the gun was in the car, for it is undisputed that when trouble appeared to be arising he went to the car and got the gun from under the seat.
     
  6. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    The quote is from Farmer v. State, 112 Ga.App. 438 (1965), involving a shotgun brought to the grounds of a VFW Lodge inside which alcohohlic beverage were sold. Defendant argued that he was not guilty because he did not go inside the lodge.

    Farmer is the main case relied upon by the court in the Elk's Lodge case.
     
  7. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Farmer was also the main case relied upon in the auto auction case, which is 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!

    Here is a quote:

    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.

    (I added the italics for emphasis)

    Many people were present?

    Unless you think I am exaggerating the facts, the case says, "The deputy told them to remain where they were while he went to try to locate the man who had been running. When he returned, the couple had crossed the road and were standing beside appellant's pickup truck in the auction's parking lot."
     
  8. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    I guess my main point in posting these last two is that many parking lots may be off limits even if they are not the parking lot of a public gathering. Ever pulled into a parking lot with a small gathering of bored teenagers? I have.

    Granted, it is unlikely that any police officer would enforce this (or even know about it), but, if you were arrested, would you like to be defending yourself in front of a judge on the ground that it was not a public gathering when the prosecutor is quoting these cases to the judge?


    This is the main reason I am skeptical about the incremental approach. We need to get rid of the "public gathering" law, not make a few exceptions to it.
     
  9. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm not your lawyer, but, again, how would you like to be defending yourself on the ground that you were not in a "reasonable area immediately adjacent to any designated stop?"

    The parking lots are obviously off limits, but I wonder if you have ever tried to walk down Peachtree Street without coming into a "reasonable area immediately adjacent to any" bus stop? They are right there on the sidewalk!

    What are you supposed to do?

    Plenty of other states (Texas comes to mind) allow carry on mass transit with no difficulties encountered whatsoever. Other states allow carry into terminals so long as one does not try to go past the metal detectors.


    This is a bad law.


    It is also bad to have to look in so many places to figure out what the law is.

    And what is "reasonable," anyway?
     
  10. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    GAGunOwner, I hope you don't find my response to be too much, but I just can't help myself. I want people to see this. Many people never encounter this stuff unless it is publicized in a forum like this.
     
  11. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    Remember This Discussion

    Remember this discussion the next time somebody from "our" (pro-gun, NRA supporter) says "Before we talk about passing new gun control laws, how about we get strict enforcement and mandatory prison terms for violations of the gun control laws we already have on the books?"

    For Gawd's sake, I'm glad that most of the laws of this state, and the federal government, are obscure and un-enforced. There's way too much crap on the statute books out there to "vigorously enforce" even a single category of offenses.
     
  12. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Not completely unenforced. If it was, then there would not be case law regarding it. Remember, even the only case I can think of, ever, holding a place not to constitute a public gathering (the McDonald's case, State v. Burns, I think), involved somebody who was stopped by an officer, placed in handcuffs, taken to jail, put in a cell, prosecuted, tried, &c.

    Even if you win, could you imagine how stressful, expensive, and time consuming that would be? What if it happened in front of you four year old son?

    This is real stuff that can affect real people who do not mean any harm to anybody.
     
  13. Sharky

    Sharky Active Member

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    I agree. It would really help to get some of these bills passed so places like restaurants arent a problem. Seems more I carry I notice certain places I enter knowing I really shouldn't. Like if you're at the mall and wish to eat lunch or dinner in the adjacent establishment. You technicaly have to disarm right?

    So off to car through the parking lot. Then back, unarmed, eat, then unarmed again to get the gun? :?

    How messed up is that? How many of us actually do the above, yeah right. Order a sweet tea, keep is hidden and just go about our business. GA is one very confused and messed up place when it comes to our laws. I sort of understand why LEO may have difficulties around GA. I haven't had any experiance with LEO encounters. And hope to never!
     
  14. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    I had the occasion only yesterday when I had to actually enter the restaurant before I could determine whether they served alcohol. They did not, whew, but at that point, if they did, I would already be a violator.

    I'm such a recidivist . . . :cry:

    I will try to be a good boy in the future.

    That's almost as bad as the time I walked out onto Peachtree Street without realizing a parade was going on.

    Public gathering! I fled the scene, and no police were able to catch me . . . well, either that or they did not know I was carrying :wink:
     
  15. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    The Attorney General believes parking lots to be off limits as well as the public gathering itself:


    Finally, I would note that a parking area on the grounds of and in close proximity to an area which is a public gathering is a part of the public gathering and is thus subject to the prohibitions of this Code Section. Hubbard v. State, 210 Ga. App. 141 (1993).


    Link: http://www.state.ga.us/ago/read.cgi?sea ... val=U96-22
     
  16. Dan4010

    Dan4010 New Member

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    I really look forward to our efforts this year to change these laws. I am very hopeful GCO can influence our lawmakers that these laws need changing. I can say one thing, I was working on changing a state rule last year. And I was told many times that Georgia legislators want Georgia to be laike Florida. So when I did my presentations I was instucted to always say "This is how they do it in Florida". Hopefully that will help our cause too.
     
  17. GAGunOwner

    GAGunOwner Active Member

    This thread shows me how much I have learned since I've been reading this website. :wink:
     
  18. Crazydave

    Crazydave Member

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    My wife and I will eat at Mad Cactus in Conyers sometimes and I never realized that they sold alcohol before until the last time we were there.Ooops....what a law breaker I've become.We ate at Dairy Queen about a week ago while I was OCing and she asked me If I was sure I could carry openly in there because I was getting bug eyed looks from the employees.If my pistol is'nt on my side than its in the car,the law should be more specific of public gatherings/parking lots.
     
  19. merlock

    merlock Active Member

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    :ditto: