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Old July 20, 2012, 06:33 PM   #1
BarryLee
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11th Circuit Court Upholds Church Carry Ban in GA

The Federal appeals court in Atlanta has upheld the State of Georgia’s prohibition on the carry of guns on Church property. Judge Tjoflat wrote, “The Second Amendment argument that the preacher and GeorgiaCarry.org made, to destroy one cornerstone of liberty — the right to enjoy one's private property — in order to expand another — the right to bear arms. This we will not do."

GeorgiaCarry.org who filed the suit made the point that this was never their argument. They did not seek to force Churches to allow the carrying of firearms, but only to give the Church the right to make the decision.

http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/fede...s-1481921.html
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Last edited by Al Norris; July 20, 2012 at 07:00 PM. Reason: Edited title
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Old July 20, 2012, 07:00 PM   #2
Al Norris
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I suspect that Georgia Carry will seek certiorari to the Supreme Court.

This decision flies in the face of what was really asked. As a matter of property rights, it should be up to the churches themselves, whether or not they will permit carry on their property. The State has no compelling reason to interfere with such internal administration of a religious order.

Of course, the real question: Will the Supreme Court Grant cert?
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File Type: pdf CCA11-Opinion-Georgia Carry v Georgia.pdf (181.7 KB, 8 views)
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Old July 20, 2012, 07:39 PM   #3
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I do not believe that the state has the right to tell a church what it can and cannot do unless it is clearly to commit some crime. This is not such a case, and I believe they can win this one if they have the funds to take it to the highest court.
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Old July 20, 2012, 09:19 PM   #4
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Seems like it not only violates the 2A but also the First Amendment because it directly impinges the property rights of an organization based on religion. I'm hoping they move for rehearing en banc before going to the Supreme Court.
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Old July 20, 2012, 09:24 PM   #5
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I had reservations about this one from the start. The basic argument (which is oddly sidestepped in the ruling) was that the plaintiff's 1st Amendment free exercise rights were being abrogated because they couldn't carry a gun in church. The easy response from opponents (and one they used) was "well, what religion requires a weapon as a condition of worship?"

The court chose to cast the matter as a conflict between private property rights and the right to self-defense, which really wades into murky waters.

Frankly, the matter should have been settled in the legislature, rather than risking setting adverse caselaw.
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Old July 20, 2012, 09:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Frankly, the matter should have been settled in the legislature, rather than risking setting adverse caselaw.
Yes, I never really understood why they didn’t just let each Church set their own polices. The GA Legislature seems to be fairly supportive of the Second Amendment, so not sure why they complicated this and then why they would not clean it up.
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Old July 21, 2012, 12:09 AM   #7
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I can't quite grasp how the 11th Circuit found that allowing the State to dictate to churches was protecting the private property rights of said churches.

That's a leap in logic that requires either a much higher IQ than my own, or a level of idiocy that should never find a place in an appellate court. I am not sure which - but I have my suspicions.
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Old July 21, 2012, 01:19 AM   #8
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Something is very wrong in the 11th circuit. A church is particular type of private property where, except in the most extreme circumstances, the government has absolutely NO business interfering. Very bad decision. They answered a question that was not even ask.
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Old July 21, 2012, 07:34 AM   #9
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So, could the GA legislature now enact a new bill that would trump this ruling?
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Old July 21, 2012, 08:05 AM   #10
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Quote:
So, could the GA legislature now enact a new bill that would trump this ruling?
Yes, they could. Unfortunately, though, the decision would still be precedent and could be cited in later decisions.

I cannot identify any specific precedents off the top of my head, but I have always thought of the 11th as being a fairly gun-friendly circuit. That's why I hope they ask for rehearing en banc (by the entire circuit).
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Old July 29, 2012, 07:23 AM   #11
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So is Church property private property or public property? Or something in between? Something in legalese I believe is called a "Public House". This was key during the civil rights debates in the 60s. Blacks had to be allowed into private property open to the public against the will of some property owners. I'm not bashing civil rights, I'm just asking what authority the people have given the government over private property, if any. And, if a property is licensed to operate as a "Public House", does this cause the property owner to forfeit certain rights? If a property is licensed as a "Public House" does this grant the public the same rights there as they have on all public property"? Freedom of speach, protection from unreasonable search & seizure, due process, right to keep & bear arms?, etc

Congressman Ron Paul attempted to bring up the issue of private property rights vs government limitation of those rights during the presidential debates but he couldn't get anyone to listen. This same issue is in play here.
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Old July 30, 2012, 12:46 PM   #12
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This is a place that the state has no business in, and I agree, i don't understand the GA legislature getting enough support to even put this concept into thier law.

I think I would have argued on the private property rights and 1st ammendment and left the 2nd completely out of the argument,
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Old October 17, 2012, 10:56 AM   #13
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And the petition is in!

A hat tip to Krucam (MDShooters) and to David Hardy: http://armsandthelaw.com/archives/20...er_lawsuit.php

The petition is here.

John Monroe of Georgia Carry has just filed a Petition for Certiorari in the matter of Georgia Carry, Inc. v. State of Georgia.

The question presented is short and brief.
Quote:
QUESTION PRESENTED

A single question is presented:
Does a state criminal law that targets religion, and is neither neutral nor generally
applicable, pass strict scrutiny muster under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment?
Those of you that read these legal briefs will be shocked, when you look at the Table Of Authorities. There are a mere 7 cases cited; Amendment 1 of the Constitution; a single cite to the FRCP; and a single cite to the U.S.C.

That's it.

The rest of the petition is also brief. Fourteen pages.

The 11th Circuit has departed from its sister circuits and recognized precedent of the Supreme Court. They were wrong in applying the test they concocted.

Should the Court grant cert, the matter may be resolved and disposed of by a single page Per Curiam order in granting certiorari. There is no need to go into a merits briefing stage nor is there a need for Oral Arguments. <-- This doesn't happen often, but it does happen. This is such a case.
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Old October 18, 2012, 12:57 PM   #14
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So if SCOTUS does grant cert, and thusly Per Curiam does that mean the 11th court's ruling will be overturned or that it will be merely up for review on the Supreme Court docket?
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Old October 18, 2012, 09:24 PM   #15
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A per curiam opinion is simply an opinion of the court without attribution to a particular justice. They are often, but not always, unanimous. They are sometimes used to correct errors by the lower court where a new principle of law is not being made. Sometimes they are used to remand the case back to a lower court for reconsideration in light of a recent Supreme Court opinion.

I've never done a count, but I would think per curiam opinions affirming the lower court would be fairly unusual unless it was on entirely different grounds than the lower court used. Otherwise, the Supreme Court would normally just deny cert.
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Old October 18, 2012, 09:43 PM   #16
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I really don't see them picking up this case, and Woollard really needs to take precedence.
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Old October 18, 2012, 10:06 PM   #17
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Off to the side,
Quote:
"well, what religion requires a weapon as a condition of worship?"
Sikh.
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Old October 18, 2012, 10:09 PM   #18
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Quote:
Sikh.
True, but I'm fairly certain none of the plaintiffs is named Singh. Furthermore, there are exceptions to the law in many places for the Kirpan.
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Old October 23, 2012, 11:20 AM   #19
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Really, none of plantiffs is named Singh? Not that that matters - I've personally met people who are Sihk who have very American names.
Also it can be argued that Jesus directive to "sell your cloak and buy a sword" could also be used state that ownership of weapons is a dictate from a major main stream religion. Remember, the Roman Catholic Church proscriptions of weapons in church date to the Middle Ages and the temptation of gold and silver altar plate to thieves and plunderers, better have them stand in awe of divine retribution rather than mere earthly justice.
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Old October 23, 2012, 11:59 AM   #20
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Nothing new I suppose, but it depresses me greatly that a court can find that a law removing the choices from a property owner is somehow consistent with freedom. I guess that's the world we live in now, where interpretation and "logic" really requires no bearing to the actual facts.

My six year old could tell you that, if you were concerned about "rights", the "freest thing" would be to allow the property owners to make the choice. How these people with all their degrees from all these Ivy League schools can be so unaware, I really can't understand.
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Old November 4, 2012, 09:16 AM   #21
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Quote:
No. 12-486
Title:
GeorgiaCarry.Org, Inc., et al., Petitioners
v.
Georgia, et al.

Docketed: October 22, 2012
Lower Ct: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
Case Nos.: (11-10387)
Decision Date: July 20, 2012

~~~Date~~~ ~~~~~~~Proceedings and Orders~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Oct 16 2012 Petition for a writ of certiorari filed. (Response due November 21, 2012)
Oct 23 2012 Waiver of right of respondents Georgia, et al. to respond filed.

QUESTION PRESENTED

A single question is presented:
Does a state criminal law that targets religion, and is neither neutral nor generally
applicable, pass strict scrutiny muster underthe Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment?
Looking at the law in question:

Quote:
O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127(b) says, in pertinent part:

A person shall be guilty of carrying a weapon or long gun in an unauthorized location and punished as for a misdemeanor when he or she carries a weapon or long gun while:
(1) In a government building;
(2) In a courthouse;
(3) In a jail or prison;
(4) In a place of worship;
(5) In a state mental health facility . . . ;
(6) In a bar, unless the owner of the bar permits the carrying of weapons or long guns by license holders;
(7) On the premises of a nuclear power plant . . . ;
(8) Within 150 feet of any polling place. . . . ;
Subsection (c) says that a “license holder . . . shall be authorized to carry a weapon . . . in every location in this state not listed in subsection (b). . . .”
In essence, Georgia considers the above eight places to be "sensitive places" where public safety outweighs a civil right.

However, both the district court and the appeals court refused to address the basic issue: That a law cannot burden religiously motivated conduct - here the conduct is attending a religious service - unless such conduct is also applied generally. Instead, the Circuit Court said that the law would be invalid if it burdened religiously held beliefs.

This is a distinct departure in how the Courts have, until now, applied laws, as they relate to religion.

Since this is a "published" opinion, it is now law in the 11th Circuit. There is now a circuit split. Whether or not it is enough of an issue to peak the interest of the SCOTUS, is the real question.

Petition for a Writ of Certiorari
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Old February 15, 2013, 10:27 PM   #22
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More catching up....

A final entry for this case. From the SCOTUS Docket:

Oct 16 2012 Petition for a writ of certiorari filed. (Response due November 21, 2012)
Oct 23 2012 Waiver of right of respondents Georgia, et al. to respond filed.
Dec 5 2012 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of January 4, 2013.
Jan 7 2013 Petition DENIED.
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Old February 16, 2013, 05:53 AM   #23
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I am still dumbfounded by the twisted logic in this court decision... and appalled that SCOTUS denied cert.
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Old February 16, 2013, 08:22 AM   #24
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Quote:
and appalled that SCOTUS denied cert.
If they take a gun case this term, it'll only be one, and I'd rather that be something like Kachalsky. A local church ban is a minor question in comparison.
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Old February 16, 2013, 08:30 AM   #25
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That may be, but this case should have been a no-brainer.

The bizarre thing about the argument, with regard to private property rights, is that in this case the pastor and the church WANTED to allow guns on their private property; the state overrode the property owners.

The bizarre thing about the argument, with regard to protection of the first amendment rights of the church is that the church WANTED to allow guns on property during services; the state said the church could not, as state regulations said they could not.

The logic employed by the trial and circuit judges might make sense in one of Lewis Carroll's worlds, but it makes no sense at all in mine.
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