Kennesaw reinstates law allowing guns in parks By BILL HENDRICK The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Published on: 08/21/07
Kennesaw Mayor Leonard Church said today that his city "against our will" has made it legal again for "practically anyone" to carry guns in city parks.
Church said Georgia law gives only the state the power to regulate where firearms may be carried, and that the Kennesaw City Council rescinded its ordinance banning guns in its parks under threat of lawsuit from an organization called GeorgiaCarry.org.
John Monroe, a Roswell attorney who represents the pro-gun organization, said the suit was filed last week against Fulton County and six of its cities — Milton, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Atlanta, East Point and Union City —that also have ordinances that ban the carrying of firearms in parks.
State law permits people to have guns in their homes, cars and places of businesses and anywhere else if they have a license to carry a firearm, Monroe said. He said a suit also has been filed in Coweta County, which also restricts firearms in public parks.
"The state law says no county or local governments can regulate this," he said. "It's a blanket prohibition against counties and local governments from regulating firearms at all. They can regulate the discharge of firearms, the carrying of firearms by their own employees, and they can require heads of households to own firearms."
Church said the Kennesaw City Council felt it had no choice but to rescind its ban on firearms in parks, but will now pressure its representatives in the General Assembly to change the law.
"We passed an ordinance banning firearms, and the state in its infinite wisdom passed a law saying people can have guns in parks and endanger our kids," Church said. "We are going to challenge that. We think we ought to have the right to protect our kids and our citizenry."
Kennesaw passed a law years ago requiring landowners to own and maintain a firearm, but doesn't want anyone to be allowed to tote guns in parks, Church said.
"It was emotional for us," he said of the City Council's meeting Monday night. "We are trying to protect our kids, and that should be our right."
Monroe had notified Kennesaw it was not in compliance with state law, and had threatened to sue, said city spokesman David Layman.
Monroe said that when http://www.GeorgiaCarry.org
began its campaign to overturn local ordinances like Kennesaw's, eight counties had similar rules.
"We are down to six counties now and quite a few cities that tend to be in more urban areas," Monroe said.
Those counties are Fulton, Athens-Clarke, Coweta, Floyd, Glynn and Henry.
"All have similar ordinances," Monroe said. The purpose of GeorgiaCarry.org "is to protect the right of its members to keep and carry arms," Monroe said.
"There is no registration of firearms in Georgia. It's against the law in Georgia to carry a firearm outside your home, auto or place of business without a license. If you have the license then you can carry it anywhere except where state law prohibits, and those places are fairly lengthy. But only the state can say what those places are."
Church said GeorgiaCarry.org is a group "that doesn't have anything better to do than to endanger our kids" in Kennesaw and other cities.
Monroe said the Coweta County Superior Court ruled that the county could ban the carrying or possession of firearms in its parks, but that case has been appealed to the state Court of Appeals. A decision is expected in the first quarter of next year.
He said GeorgiaCarry.org "did commence action in Gwinnett" to force it to rescind its no-guns-in-park ordinance but dismissed the suit when Gwinnett repealed its ordinance.