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I really hope there's more to why this guy was arrested! If not, this is VERY bad.

It's already bad enough that some people have to call the cops because they see a big bad meanie gun that might "go off". Let's hope there's more to come...

Anybody know how to find the official statements from the judge. All I've seen is what is on THR.
 

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Where did all the additional details on the High Road come from, such as the Judge's statements?
 

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:puke:

That is all I can manage right now... just sickening.
 

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Magistrate's Comments

From The High Road article linked above, this is what a judge (the same magistrate judge who signed the defendant's arrest warrant shortly after the cop arrested him and took him in? Or some other judge?) had to say about the definition of "public gathering" :

long-time judge here in town said if you were in line with two other people at a water fountain you were at a public gathering, two or more people gathered together for a common purpose, to get water.

I had both an experienced Officer and also the Chief of the Cobb County Police Department tell me the same thing in the early 1990s, regarding whether it was legal to have a gun while walking down a public sidewalk. Their opinion was that if you were alone, fine, but if you met a friend on the sidewalk and went walking together, then "two or more persons" have gathered in a public place for a common purpose. If you just happened to pass a stranger on the sidewalk, that would not be illegal because the people "gathered" did not have a "common purpose."

I have no idea where they got that idea from. Maybe it's something they teach at cop conventions and seminars. Maybe it's just their layman's interpretation of the law. After all, if you didn't read Attorney General Opinions and carefully research caselaw on the subject, you would not be able to differentiate between a public place, private property accessible to the public, and a public gathering, would you? I would not. The words themselves are vague, and must be interpreted and defined to have any useful meaning to the reader.

LESSON TO REMEMBER: Some cops think that if you agree to meet your wife in the bedroom of your home 123 Any Street for the "common purpose" of making love, you are at a public gathering. If you bring your gun into the bedroom and stick it in a dresser drawer before you get down to it, you have carried a deadly weapon "to" or "while at" the public gathering. For that matter, some cops interpret the law to mean that if you go plinking at a local target range with a group of friends, you have violated the law. You are part of a group who have gathered for a common purpose, and you are not a competitor in an "officially sanctioned" target match or tournament.

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Just got off the phone with Belinda @ the Neal Boortz Show. I asked if Neal would speak with me about Georgia's awful carry laws. She said no that he can't do that since they are a national syndicated radio show...

Whatever the hell that means :roll:
 

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ICP_Juggalo said:
Just got off the phone with Belinda @ the Neal Boortz Show. I asked if Neal would speak with me about Georgia's awful carry laws. She said no that he can't do that since they are a national syndicated radio show...
You might have better luck calling between 9 and 10 as he's mostly just on in Atlanta at that point. From 10am after is when he starts on all the syndicated stations. 9-10 is kind of his local stories hour.
 

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this is what I am talking about:
State v. Burns, 200 Ga. App. 16 (1991). It is only two paragraphs, so here it is in full.

Appellee was arrested at a McDonald's restaurant for the offense of carrying a concealed weapon (OCGA § 16-11-126); however, the State did not pursue the charge upon discovering that appellee had a valid gun permit. Instead, he was charged with carrying a deadly weapon to a public gathering (OCGA § 16-11-127). The trial court granted appellee's motion to dismiss the accusation, stating that McDonald's was not a public gathering as contemplated under the statute, and the State appealed.

OCGA § 16-11-127(b) provides that a "public gathering" includes but is not 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." The State argues that the statute seeks to protect people from injury at public gatherings, caused by others who bring deadly weapons to such places and does not exclude an establishment such as McDonald's, which is a place where the public lawfully gathers. However, this broad interpretation equates "public gathering" to "public place" and blurs the distinction we must assume the legislature intended to make in specifically referring to gatherings in OCGA § 16-11-127 and by limiting its restriction to gatherings as opposed to proscribing the carrying of deadly weapons in public places as defined by OCGA § 16-1-3(15). We agree with appellee that such a construction would render licensing statutes unnecessary because of the potential of violating the statutes by carrying a weapon outside one's household, in public, where the possibility exists that people might gather around someone carrying a weapon. We have held that a conviction was authorized when a weapon was brought to a place where "people were present" (Jordan v. State, 166 Ga.App. 417(4), 304 S.E.2d 522 (1983)), and it appears from reading subsection (b) and giving the words their ordinary meaning that the statute should apply, in addition to the situations described therein, when people are gathered or will be gathered for a particular function and not when a weapon is carried lawfully to a public place, where people may gather. Accordingly, the focus is not on the "place" but on the "gathering" of people, and in our view, the court did not err in dismissing the accusation because appellee's possession of a weapon and mere presence in a public place did not constitute a violation of OCGA § 16- 11-127.
Judgment affirmed.
 

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Is it possible to get the NRA, SAF, or GOA involved in getting our silly carry laws changed?
 

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Re: Magistrate's Comments

gunsmoker said:
From The High Road article linked above, this is what a judge (the same magistrate judge who signed the defendant's arrest warrant shortly after the cop arrested him and took him in? Or some other judge?) had to say about the definition of "public gathering" :

long-time judge here in town said if you were in line with two other people at a water fountain you were at a public gathering, two or more people gathered together for a common purpose, to get water.
Yeah, that is what I am talking about! Is the poster on the High Road a witness to the actual court proceeding? Anybody know?

Is the arrestee still in jail?

mzmtg, are you a member over there, and, if so, wyould you find out for me?

Thanks.
 

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I think it's better than nothing. I pretty much carry everywhere i go except the restaurants we go to on the weekends and an occasional gun show.
 

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No. I am aware of where i can and cannot legally carry. I just don't go to those places often. I do not go in to government buildings, use public transportation, etc.
 

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My point is that you could step into a public gathering without even knowing it because the law is so vague. This guy went to walmart, where I've been man y times, and got arrested for violating the public gathering clause.
 

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Thats B/S !......

I know where that Walmart on Bullsboro BLVD. in Newnan is at.
I was just in there not too long ago, and yes....I was packin' my Taurus 85 in a nemesis pocket holster. Of course, I wasn't "busted" with it either.
I don't know if the person was guilty of a threat of some sort or like to brag and show , or ?
 

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PUBLIC GATHERING

OKAY, so we all agree the "public gathering" phrase in our law is just about useless. Some of the examples are clear enough to understand (not that I support banning guns in all those places, but at least it's not vague when the law says I can't carry in a place that serves booze to consume there), but even some of the examples are vague and confusing and begging for further definition (e.g. sporting events-- would that include meeting five members of your neighborhood running group for a 5-mile jog together?)

Now I realize that the BEST SOLUTION to the problem is to just get rid of the current law entirely, or at least make it non-applicable to people with a GFL permit. But that solution fundamentally changes the law. It's not a refinement or a more accurate restatement of the law, but rather a drastic revision that makes many more activities clearly legal that are presently clearly illegal.

What, I ask, would be the best way to rewrite 16-11-127 to capture the IDEA behind it and give it as much force and effect as possible while only refining the law enough to de-criminalize those close cases which the legislatures of the last 30 years did not envision or predict when they had the opportunity to revise the statute? Can we come up with some alternative words and phrases that define what is a "public gathering" is that would, for example, include professional NBA basketball games without having to resort to a supplemental list that has an entry for "sporting events?" Or should we give up on the "public gathering" phrase entirely and simply come up with a list of specific types of establishments and gathering places, and say that you cannot carry in any of them?

How about a definition of "public gathering" that requires BOTH a dense concentration of people (lots of people in small area) and a common purpose --- one that involves either interaction with each other or being an audience for a presentation, movie, or performance of some kind? This way, a shopping mall would not be off-limits even when crowded because the people are shopping for different items at many different stores throughout the mall, and if you and five co-workers agreed to meet at Cold Stone Creamery in the mall at 7 pm to get ice cream cones and shakes together, this would not be a "public gathering" because of the small number of people who shared this "common purpose."

I suppose one could argue that because there is really no rhyme or reason to the current law, and because it makes no logical sense to ban guns from church functions but not (explicitly) movie theaters, or to ban guns from restaurants that serve alcohol but not those that don't when the legislature has already made it illegal to discharge a gun while intoxicated and could easily make it a crime to handle or carry a gun while intoxicated.... how can we "clarify" the law without greatly expanding or restricting the number of places a GFL holder can legally "pack" right now? Who can even say with confidence that they KNOW what places are off-limits to gun-packing civilians right now? Unless you are talking about a place that is specifically named in the statute itself or one of the very few appellate cases applying this law, isn't it really up in the air?
 

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This has me a little angry. :x

Was he charged with a violation of OCGA 16-11-127, or not?
 

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This will be my last post on the subject. As some of you know, I live in Coweta County, so I took this thread rather personally, thinking officers in my county might be arresting people for public gatherings when in fact they are simply in public places (run a search on State v. Burns on this site for the distinction).

I have spoken to one of the arresting officers, who informed me of what occurred. I judge him by the conversation to be honest and forthright about what occurred. The officers dispatched to the scene were informed by the 911 dispatcher that a man took out a gun and stuck it in his waistband and went into Walmart. The officers must respond to a call like that (I used to have to do so). They approached, Mr. Wieda in Walmart where he was looking at DVDs.

They announced themselves as police officers and asked to speak to him. Mind you, there was one guy in uniform (no way to mistake a Newnan uniform for anything other than what it is) and two detectives with badges displayed on necklaces and radios in their hands.

What would be your response upon being confronted in WalMart by three police officers?

Keep your hands out in the open? Declare that you have a firearms license? Ask, "what is this about, officers?"

According to the officer, Mr. Weida's response was to drop his CDs and reach for his gun, actually putting his hand on the butt of his gun!

The detective nearest to him swiftly dropped his radio and grabbed the hand that was on the gun. An arrest was then made.

The arrestee's excuse was that he believed a friend was playing a joke on him. I submit that even if that excuse is truthful, placing your hand on your gun in a public place (not a public gathering!) is not an appropriate response.

The public gathering charge was the result of some confusion, but is likely to go away in the near future.

I would let this one rest if nothing further or different comes out.
:wink:
 
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