I like to think of my home state of Georgia as being pro-gun, but for a long time, there were a lot of funky gun control laws in the state. These were a holdover from the days when gun control laws were passed as applying to everyone, but they only really applied to black folks. As segregation went away, those laws began applying to everyone and then it became something of a problem.
Now, thanks to groups like GeorgiaCarry.Org, those laws are mostly gone.
However, in Atlanta, the local government has continued to try to find ways around Georgia’s preemption law. A prime example was the recent ruling about the Atlanta Botanical Garden.
It also seems that the Atlanta Falcons have learned their own gun ban is null and void.
The attorney who was successful in persuading the Georgia Supreme Court to send a gun rights case back to the lower courts has put the Atlanta Falcons on notice that its ban on guns is not permitted under state law.
“In light of the Court’s ruling, the Falcons may not prohibit firearms at Mercedes-Benz Stadium,” John Monroe, writing on behalf of his clients, GeorgiaCarry.Org, Inc., wrote on Oct. 22 to Michael J. Egan III, Senior Vice President and General Counsel.
The ruling Monroe referred to is from Georgia Carry’s complaint against Atlanta Botanical Garden. The issue is that while private property owners may ban customers from bringing guns onto their premises, entities that lease public property may not do so.
“I understand that the Stadium is owned by the Georgia World Congress Authority and Licensed to the Atlanta Falcons Stadium Company as a usufruct,” attorney Monroe explained to Egan. “Based on that information, it is a violation of Georgia law for the Falcons to ban holder of Georgia weapons carry licenses (‘GWLs’) from carrying weapons at the Stadium.
“I am writing to request that you eliminate your policy so that this matter may be resolved without litigation,” Monroe concluded. “I request a response by November 1, 2019.”
Of course, the NFL has generally taken an anti-gun stance and there’s no reason to expect this to be any different.
As an Atlanta Falcons fan, though, I feel obliged to say that it really is a non-issue right now. The way the Falcons have played is doing more to keep guns out of the stadium than a law ever would. After all, I’m not paying those kind of ticket prices to watch the Failcons lose another one.
More seriously, though, this isn’t a ruling that directly impacts the Falcons and I expect the team to fight back. However, based on what we saw with the Atlanta Botanical Garden, I don’t expect them to win it, even with the league’s money behind them. It’ll be yet another loss for the Falcons this season, something the team really ought to be getting used to this year.
The truth of the matter is that it’s not like those you have to worry about were going to pay any attention to the rules anyway.