Lawsuit Challenges Limitations on Guns on School Property

September 4, 2014 9:30 am

by Jon Richards · 7 comments

In the 2014 Georgia General Assembly session, legislators passed two bills relating to second amendment rights: House Bill 826 and House Bill 60, known colloquially as the “Guns Everywhere Bill.” Except that everywhere doesn’t really mean everywhere, including in many cases if the property owner chooses to prohibit guns.

The Gwinnett Daily Post reports that a Snellville man has filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn a decision by Gwinnett County Public Schools that he could not bring his weapon onto school property.

Phillip Evans, whose child attends Centerville Elementary, seeks an injunction from being arrested, cited or prosecuted for carrying a weapon on property owned or leased by the school district.

In the 27-page lawsuit obtained by the Daily Post, Evans said he asked district officials if his Georgia Weapons Carry License would be recognized on school property. Jorge Gomez, the district’s executive director of administration and policy, said it would be a crime if Evans carried a firearm on school property, according to the lawsuit.

The school district would also seek to prosecute Evans, and issue a criminal trespass warning against Evans “from entering all Gwinnett County School District property.”

At issue are conflicting provisions in the two gun bills. HB 826 appears to allow guns to be carried in “school safety zones.” HB 60 limits the same code subsection to note that it’s only permitted to have a gun in one’s vehicle while parked at or driving through a safety zone. The Georgia Attorney General’s office produced an opinion that since HB 60 was signed after HB 826 was, its language takes precedence. Others, including Students for Concealed Carry, argue that the language in the two laws should be merged since there are portions that are not in direct conflict with each other.

Evans’s lawsuit, along with a similar one filed last month in Douglas County, will let the courts decide the outcome. Or, depending on how quickly the lawsuits get heard, we could see a new gun bill during the 2015 legislative session.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

tmoore912 September 4, 2014 at 12:02 pm

On LexisNexis:
“(7) A person who is licensed in accordance with Code Section 16-11-129 or issued a permit pursuant to Code Section 43-38-10, when such person carries or picks up a student within a school safety zone, at a school function, or on a bus or other transportation furnished by a school or a person who is licensed in accordance with Code Section 16-11-129 or issued a permit pursuant to Code Section 43-38-10 when he or she has any weapon legally kept within a vehicle when such vehicle is parked within a school safety zone or is in transit through a designated school safety zone;”

HB 826 struck out when such person carries or picks up a student. The Governor signed it. The next day, he signed HB 60. HB 60 did not add that language back in.

The Governor claims that HB 60 voided HB 826.

The AG put out an “FAQ” sheet that said HB 60 voided HB 826.

The code revision commission followed its marching orders and wrote the code the way that the Governor wanted it.

The law is what the legislature passed, not what the code revision commission puts out as the OCGA.

blakeage80 September 4, 2014 at 2:44 pm

I want a new bill call “The Guns For Real Everywhere Bill”. Also, that ‘the Governor signed it second’ line is really a bad policy that allows for confusing and/or lazy lawmaking.

AM1 September 4, 2014 at 3:15 pm

What I find most interesting (and somewhat amusing), is that of the two bills, while HB60 got all of the press, HB826 was actually the more earth-shattering of the two, simply because of what it allows (licensed carry on any K-12 or college campus at anytime), and yet it passed the Legislature FAR more easily than HB60 did. HB826 passed the House 170-0 and passed the Senate 44-2, virtually unanimous! So, that leaves the Democrat caucus, which touts gun-control as one if its bedrock pillars, looking mighty incompetent. On the one hand, they knew exactly what the bill said and voted over-whelmingly in favor it anyway, thus having to explain to their base how they could do such a thing, OR, on the other hand, they never read it at all and voted on it blindly, thus having to explain to their base how they could do such a thing. Hilarious! If one will think on it for a moment, this is much bigger black eye for the Ds than it is for the gun friendly Rs, which is why me-thinks you will not hear much about these lawsuits or the bill from the minority party.

AM1 September 4, 2014 at 3:24 pm

In my previous comment, I intentionally said ‘lawsuits’ (plural), due to the fact that as of this submission, there are now 3 lawsuits filed, with certainly more on the way.

oscardagrch September 4, 2014 at 4:59 pm

AM1, here is the thing. The bill passed the Senate on the last night of the legislative session, when, most of the time, no legislator has the time to read the bills dropped in front of them. Sure it would be nice if they all read the bills and had time for a detailed legal analysis…and that applies to both parties…but that is not the system we have…sadly.

Second, if you watch the video of the bill being presented in the House (Wed. Feb 19. http://www.house.ga.gov/Committees/en-US/CommitteeArchives179.aspx) the author specifically states: “What this bill does is it seeks to not to address firearms, but it does address knives, razors, clubs, bats.”

He repeatedly makes comments that firearms are not being addressed and that it still will be a crime. I have no idea what was said in Senate Committee because the Senate does not record its meetings. That said, in the House, the author told the committee something that was not true, whether he knew it or not. So maybe your real question should be directed as to why the bill was presented in the way it was.

Dave Bearse September 4, 2014 at 9:44 pm

I’m tired of the lame excuse they didn’t have time too read a bill they voted on. Each House of the Georgia General Assembly should implement rules that require three days between a change in an act and a vote. As to the end of the session, have the penultimate day on a Friday and the last day on a Monday, or penultimate days on Monday or Tuesday.

It isn’t a rule that will be adopted because it makes representatives accountable.

Harry September 5, 2014 at 1:29 am

That’s a very pesky fact.