Fayette eyes ban on guns, slingshots in all rec areas

Tue, 05/08/2007 - 4:17pm
By: John Thompson

Slingshots and otherwise legally permitted firearms could soon be banned as illegal in solidly Republican Fayette County’s parks.

That’s part of a county ordinance that would restrict residents carrying weapons into Fayette’s parks and recreation areas. But the ordinance could face a long uphill legal battle.

The ordinance on the agenda at tomorrow night’s County Commission meeting would also prohibit the use of fireworks in the county’s parks, historic sites and recreation areas. But the issue that is likely to come under legal fire is Section 14.2 of the proposed ordinance.

The section stipulates that it shall be unlawful for any person to possess any firearms, bows and arrows, spring guns, air rifles, slingshots or any other device that discharges projectiles, unless the device is unloaded and stored so it’s not readily accessible or unless the use has been approved by the Fayette County Commission.

However, state law already allows the carrying of a firearm — including a loaded handgun — by any person with a state permit in such areas.

Fayette commissioners need only look to neighboring Coweta County’s adoption of a similar ordinance, which is already involved in litigation.

Last year, Coweta County passed an ordinance that prohibits firearms, air (or spring-loaded) rifles/pistols, fireworks, and any device firing or propelling a projectile in the county’s recreation facilities, sports fields, or any surrounding areas that are the property of the county.

The Coweta ordinance also stipulates that a violation shall be punished as a misdemeanor in the same manner as are other ordinances of the county with a fine of not more than $1,000 and a maximum term in the county jail of not more than six months.

The county is being sued by resident Edward Stone and Georgiacarry.org, a gun rights advocacy group.

In the complaint filed in Coweta County Superior Court, the plaintiffs cited a section of the Official Code of Georgia 16-11-173 as one of the foundations for the lawsuit.

In section (b)(1) the code reads:

”No county or municipal corporation, by zoning or by ordinance, resolution, or other enactment, shall regulate in any manner gun shows; the possession, ownership, transport, carrying, transfer, sale, purchase, licensing, or registration of firearms or components of firearms; firearms dealers; or dealers in firearms components.”

When told about Fayette’s proposed ordinance, Georgiacarry.org’s attorney John Monroe was very succinct in his opinion.

“That ordinance would be pre-empted by state law,” he said.

Currently, Monroe said, he knows of eight counties in Georgia that have enacted similar ordinances. Two counties have voluntarily repealed the ordinance and the other counties are having discussions with the gun rights group. Currently, Coweta County is the only county involved in court litigation.

“There are only three areas local governments can regulate firearms: The carrying of weapons by employees, the requirement of ownership by the head of a household and the limiting of discharging firearms within its jurisdiction,” the attorney added.

In the lawsuit with Coweta County, Monroe is asking for the ordinance to be voided.

Coweta County answered the complaint in late February by maintaining its ordinance is not pre-empted by the state statute.

Fayette County’s discussion of the ordinance is at 7 p.m. tomorrow night at the administration building on Stonewall Avenue in Fayetteville.

login to post comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Submitted by PS1441 on Wed, 05/09/2007 - 11:47am.

At this rate, Fayette is not so far from being South South-Fulton County. As a resident in Northern Fayette, I have already been informed by my state representatives from Riverdale, that they do not represent my views or my ideals. Apparently my locally elected officials see no problem with trampling on our rights.

Cowetta will lose its court fight, and Fayette will lose if it is stupid enough to pursue this.

cowtipn's picture
Submitted by cowtipn on Wed, 05/09/2007 - 9:12am.

Ah yes, the eternal struggle with the second amendment and those who naively think they can create a utopia and those who fear that would create a dystopia. Up next: abortion.

Submitted by 30YearResident on Wed, 05/09/2007 - 7:22am.

Thanks to Linda Wells, it is unlawful to discharge a rifle or pistol on less than 25 acres and unlawful to discharge a shotgun on less than 10 acres.

I'd like to see that ordinance repealed by the commissioners rather than create more "gun free" zones.

As in the ABC News 20/20 report by John Stossel, criminals don't pay attention to gun free zones or restrictions... that's why they're called "Criminals"... HELLO !!!

It's the law abiding citizens that get caught "unarmed" in these areas and situations.

Question: If you have a CCW and are in a gun free zone and happen to have your personal protection pistol in your pocket. Then a bad guy pulls a gun and either starts shooting or threatening and you pull your gun and stop him.... would the county call you a hero or procecute you for violating the gun free zone ordinance?

What would a jury do?

Submitted by skyspy on Tue, 05/08/2007 - 11:26pm.

Riiigghhhtttt that will really be enforced.....hmmmmmmmm. Sure it will, just like the ordinance in PTC that says no gunfire in the city limits unless your life is threatened.

I bet this county ordinance will be enforced just about as often as PTC ordinance is enforced.......as in NEVER!!
Take last Sat. night(when all of the cool kids were at prom) on Braelin Golf course by Morallion Hills for instance.......after the first half hour you get used to hearing gunfire. It's kind of comforting in a way.....As long as I can defend myself and my property it's all good.
Enforce the laws we already have.

Submitted by swmbo on Tue, 05/08/2007 - 10:26pm.

I could swear that there is a Georgia Code section that makes it a felony to bring a firearm to a public gathering. It's in Title 16 and "public gathering" has been very loosely interpreted. So, this is kind of unnecessary, isn't it?

If you and I are always in agreement, one of us is likely armed and dangerous.

ilockemup's picture
Submitted by ilockemup on Tue, 05/08/2007 - 4:26pm.

The article just says that this gun control measure is an "ordinance on the agenda at tomorrow night’s County Commission meeting". It doesn't say who is behind this. Is it our County Attorney from New York wanting to give us some of the superior wisdom of Chuck Schumer?

I say enough of this.

If those students at Va Tech had been carrying the death toll would have been 3 or 4.

I want to know who is behind this gun control law.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.