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Clarification on “Mixed Victory”

I should note for some commenters, that I should have acknowledged what an improvement SB308 makes to Georgia’s carry laws. I did not mean to overlook the significant improvement that represents for Georgia gun toters. The reason I focused heavily on the airport issue is because it has implications outside of Georgia. Some might recall a few years ago HB89 was passed, which specifically allowed for carry on public transit. Pretty soon after the bill was signed into law, the City of Atlanta declared that the new law did not apply to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. GeorgiaCarry.org, joined by pro-2A Representative Tim Bearden quickly filed suit in federal court. You can see all the pleadings and briefs for the case here.

To make a long story short, since I covered some of this in the previous post, the City of Atlanta proffered two arguments to keep their ban on carrying of firearms. The first argument was that HB89 did not apply to airports. The second, and far more worrisome argument was that federal law authorized local authorities to enact security measures, including banning guns if they felt it was necessary, and thus, through the Supremacy Clause of the constitution, was beyond the reach of state law. To clarify something that was misleading from my previous previous post, the the District Court only addressed the first argument, and dodged on the second. On appeal, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals made reference to the federal preemption argument in a very brief ruling. It should be noted that this is not law, but if such an argument were to be upheld, it would apply to Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, all of which reside in the 11th Circuit. Fortunately for us, the Courts did not need to reach whether federal law empowering airport operators to implement a security plan can trump state law in matters of regulating non-sterile areas of an airport.

So in short, I’m happy for Georgians that some of their bad law was fixed, but there’s a giant can of worms that still exists with this airport since Perdue vetoed SB291. It’s an issue that warrants extreme caution going forward, not only for Georgians, but for the other states in the 11th Circuit, and for the country as a whole if a case goes that far.

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