by: Richard Elliot Updated:
CARROLLTON, Ga. - A gun rights group wants the city of Carrollton to change its own ordinance and allow people to carry firearms on the Green Belt walking trail, but Carrollton's mayor refuses to consider it.
The Green Belt is a $16-million, privately funded walking trail that circles the city. The concrete path winds through playgrounds and schools, including the University of West Georgia. City Council voted to ban firearms from that trail.
GeorgiaCarry.Org recently sent a letter to Carrollton Mayor Wayne Garner asking him to change the ordinance because the group believes it's illegal under state law. Executive Director Jerry Henry said his organization fought similar types of local laws and won in court. He pointed to a Georgia Court of Appeals ruling where a similar kind of law in Coweta County was struck down.
"The state law says that only the state can control firearms and say where you can and cannot carry them," said Henry. "It's not against the law to carry them in a state park, so therefore, it's not against the law to carry them in a state or city park."
But Garner pushed back, stating he has no intention of putting that law up for another vote. He said he has the backing of Carrollton City Schools and the benefactor donating $16 million to the project.
"It's not about the Second Amendment," said Garner. "I'm a member of the National Rifle Association. I was endorsed by the NRA when I was in the legislature. This is about common sense. I don't think the legislative intent was ever to allow people willy-nilly to ride through the school system, through playgrounds, with firearms. It just doesn't make sense."
Garner believes a court will have to make the final decision in this case, and says he will abide by a court's ruling.