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Mayor Kautz: No gun ban proposed for Snellville park

SNELLVILLE -- Just to clarify: Snellville Mayor Kelly Kautz was not proposing a gun ban in her city's park.

An item included on a work session agenda earlier this week -- and the subsequent discussion prior to Monday's city council meeting -- drew the ire of some residents who feared Kautz was attempting to take away their right to bear arms at Briscoe Park, the only public park under the city's jurisdiction.

Kautz, though, said the discussion was merely that. The city received an email from the Georgia Municipal Association regarding a recent flap in Sugar Hill, where a man arrested for carrying a licensed gun at Gary Pirkle Park is pursuing a lawsuit.

Kautz said she was just asking City Attorney Tony Powell to research the incident and see if anything needed to be done to prevent such action against her city.

"I put it on (the work session agenda) more just for educational purposes for our council, our police department and our parks staff," Kautz said. "We put things (on the work session agenda) just for discussion."

In the incident in Sugar Hill, Christopher Proescher was arrested on April 20 while walking around the city's Gary Pirkle Park with his handgun in a belt holster.

Proescher said he had consulted the parks director beforehand and was told doing so was permissible. He was arrested anyway, and has since filed a federal lawsuit against a security guard and two police officers.

Proescher's attorney, John Monroe, said state law allows licensed guns to be carried everywhere but schools, churches, courthouses, government buildings, jails, nuclear power facilities, polling places and bars, unless bar owners permit them.

Kautz, an attorney herself, said the law doesn't appear to be that simple. She pointed to a section of Georgia code that says firearms are permitted in public parks as long as the owner has a carrying permit; she then pointed to another section, which defines a public park as "any land under control of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources."

Briscoe Park, obviously, is under the control of the city of Snellville, not DNR.

"We're asking the city attorney to look into that incident (in Sugar Hill), and see what the current law is and if we need to do something as a city" to protect themselves from a lawsuit, Kautz said.

"I just don't think it's a well-written law," she added.

Kautz said she had "no intention" of proposing a city park gun ban in Snellville, even expressing admiration for Proescher's standing up for what he believes are his rights.

"I'm happy that somebody's so passionate about their rights to take it on like this," she said.

Comments

roaads1 2 years, 2 months ago

Great that the mayor gets the citizens of Gwinnett.

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teelee 2 years, 2 months ago

Bravo! Now law abiding people will have the importunity to protect themselves in the park where weird things tend to happen. You know the criminals don't care about gun bans, there guns are usually stolen anyway.

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Mike001 2 years, 2 months ago

Snellville Mayor Kelly Kautz needs to stop wasting the taxpayers time even thinking about regulating firearms carry in Snellville parks. As a lawyer she should know that the State of Georgia has absolute power over control of firearms in the state and no local govermnent can create their own firearm ordinances except as it relates to the carrying by city employees on duty. The law can be found in the GA Statutes at: O.C.G.A. sec. 16-11-173

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Award88 2 years, 2 months ago

The mayor is wrong. When the new law, HB 89 from the 2008 legislative session, it specifically opened up carry in all public parks in the state of Georgia. Since Georgia has a preemption clause in dealing with firearms laws, local governments cannot pass laws that regulate the manner and location of firearm carry if it runs counter to state law. Feel free to check out georgiacarry.org and go through the list of lawsuits they have won against local and county governments who tried to ban firearms at local and county parks. I will give you a hint, they all lead to a verdict that the ban was a violation of state law.

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Jackson 2 years, 2 months ago

"We're asking the city attorney to look into that incident (in Sugar Hill), and see what the current law is and if we need to do something as a city" to protect themselves from a lawsuit, Kautz said.

Very simple. Don't DO anything. Why do some people feel that they must always DO something? Often, the answer to avoid trouble is to not do anything.

If you want to end up like every other municipality that has been bitten on this issue, then try it. Otherwise, let a sleeping dog lie. LICENSED, law-abiding citizens are never going to be a problem anyway. They have a lower violent crime rate than police officers. Yes, I said it. It's true.

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ByteStryke 2 years, 2 months ago

Kautz said she had "no intention" of proposing a city park gun ban in Snellville, even expressing admiration for Proescher's standing up for what he believes are his rights.

Believes?!?!

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

these rights are inalienable Miss Mayor...

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CAProescher 2 years, 2 months ago

Dear Mrs Mayor, I am not being passionate about my rights, I'm trying to walk off some :censored: weight. Gary Pirkle Park just happens to be the nearest legal place for me to do so as I'm prohibited from walking on Corps of Engineers land whilst dressed properly as a gentleman. Yrfthflsrvnt C A Proescher

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Danielle 2 years, 2 months ago

Wow no wonder she got elected she talks out of both sides of her mouth all the time. So she has no intention of proposing a gun ban but she wants the attorney to look into the law to see if the city should do something to protect themselves from a lawsuit. What could that something be I wonder besides trying to ban guns? From what I heard there wasnt any discussion except she talked to the attorney about whether the city can ban guns in the park. It seems simple that the mayor wants to ban guns but she doesn't want to say that.

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mountainpass 2 years, 2 months ago

Video of Snellville Mayor. She says that the "new law" allows folks to carry without a license so long as they do so openly which conflicts with her statements in this article. Go to 14:30 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOdfVG0G ... ature=plcp

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