Today, I spoke with a young lady at the Garden City, GA Police Dept., having been transferred there by City Hall. She relayed to me that according to Cpl. Wesley Soroken, firearms are not permitted in city parks or recreation areas, even for those with a "permit", due to their city ordinance.
The Park at Sharon Park, photo by Bellemare, Creative Common License 3.0
Where have these people been? Georgia has had state preemption of firearms for decades.
And were Garden City (located in Chatham County near Savannah) to be relying on the "public gathering" law, which debatably did not even apply to public parks, that law was repealed in 2008 with the signing of SB308 into law by Gov. Perdue.
Cpl. Soroken relayed to me via the young lady that a firearms carrier could "receive a citation".
Well, it's at least a relief that ignoring an unenforceable ordinance would not presumably risk a face-planting, handcuffing arrest and trip to jail.
I would accept a piece of paper from them if all it stated was, "Please refrain from peacefully carrying a self-defense firearm in the park, even though we have no authority to prevent you, as much as we'd like to have that authority." Because that's all they can legally give you now, and of course, you wouldn't have to sign it.
So, hypothetically, what would happen if a lawful carrier refused to sign their actual citation for carrying a firearm in a park there? An arrest? Who knows? People have been arrested, and sometimes in a violent manner by armed enforcers of the law who did not know the law, and were later successfully sued for damages.
Georgia law permits the use of reasonable force to resist an unlawful arrest. I'm not a lawyer, but I'm thinking if I was unlawfully grabbed by the arm by an officer, I could pull myself away without incurring a charge of resisting arrest. Not sure I'd want to risk injury though.
Keep in mind those unlawfully writing you a ticket or arresting you merely for exercising your rights are making a mockery of the U.S. Constitution that they swore to uphold.
For at least a minimum of 15 years Garden City has had the chance to get up to speed on state law. Are they that cash-strapped to be bilking their citizens with false citations? What other ways are they abusing their authority?
Perhaps the Georgia General Assembly should enact heavy fines and removal from office for local government officials that thumb their noses at state law.
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