Close up black gun inside the car. For violence on the road concept
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Recently, anti-gun doofuses on Savannah, Georgia’s city council thought it would be cute to pass some local gun control ordinances. On the surface, the ordinances seemed fairly reasonable. One tells people in the city to secure firearms in a vehicle that’s unoccupied (a generally good idea). Another requires people to report stolen guns to law enforcement (again, a good idea).

But, there’s just one problem: Georgia cities don’t have the authority to do that. In response, the state’s attorney general sent the city a letter advising them to repeal the new ordinances. It reads, in part:

“As you may be aware, this Office provides courtesy review of the written legal opinions and conclusions of counsel for local governments. We are not aware of the analysis of the ordinances by your office if any and this Office was not requested to conduct any review of advice. Had this office been requested to do so in this matter, our analysis would have concluded that the ordinances directly conflict with, and are preempted by, state law.”

The letter goes on to explain that Georgia law prohibits local governments from enacting any kind of gun control, including regulations of possession, ownership, transport, and carrying. Not only is this state law, but courts have affirmed multiple times that local governments are subject to this law, and that nothing like “home rule” or any other legal doctrine gives them any kind of an out.

Carr concludes that this makes the city’s new ordinances “ultra vires and void”. In other words, the city acted outside of and beyond its legal authority, and thus the ordinances have no force of law whatsoever.

Simply knowing that it’s void doesn’t mean that the city is out of the woods. Leaving a void ordinance on the books can result in serious consequences should a law enforcement officer or local judge mistakenly attempt to enforce the void law.

For example, police officers in El Paso, Texas once attempted to enforce a law against homosexuality that was still on the books in Texas years after being found invalid at the Supreme Court. But, because the law was still on the books, police officers put their city at great financial risk when they relied on it to detain and harass some gay men who had kissed in a restaurant.

Fortunately for the city and a security contractor, the men only wanted better police and security guard training to reach a settlement, but civil rights cases like this often go far worse for governments. Arresting, fining, or even  temporarily detaining anyone for violating an invalid law means that the city itself would be violating civil rights, leaving themselves wide open for big lawsuits that cost at least tens of thousands of dollars (and sometimes far more). With this letter, they now can’t even claim ignorance or that it was an honest mistake!

The state can’t make them repeal the ordinances, but the city would be very wise to repeal the new ordinances and review their book of ordinances to see if there’s anything else that shouldn’t be there.

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  1. I’ve often wondered if local governments are unaware of the law or if they just don’t care.
    I tend to think the latter.

    • (D) cities are openly contemptuous of preemption laws. They constantly pass stupid laws to attempt to challenge the preemption laws at the state SC level.

      • Ohio cities are infamous for enacting anti-gun ordinances (and an AR ban) contrary to the State’s pre-emption law, and keep doing so despite being slapped down hard by the Ohio Supreme Court on a number of occasions. Maybe one day they will get the message. A good civil rights case by a citizen unlawfully arrested for violating an invalid ordinance should do the trick.

  2. Jennifer, requiring people to report stolen guns is a very bad idea. The problem is that implicit in the requirement is punishment for failure to do so. That means you are punishing someone for the crime of being a victim.

  3. Attention GA Gun Control zealots…Law abiding Gun Owners are not taking crap from murderers, rapists, child molesters, kidnappers, thieves, perverts, tyrants and busy body scumbags like you.

    Your turn democRat joe, come to the Bronx…

  4. “ Fortunately for the city and a security contractor, the men only wanted better police and security guard training to reach a settlement, but civil rights cases like this often go far worse for governments.”

    I only used those emojis because I can’t find any that are screaming!
    ALL anti-2A laws are CIVIL RIGHTS violations against the US constitutions Bill of Rights!! Why on God’s green earth are there no lawsuits represented from SAF, GOA, NRA, et al, pointing this out ?
    My civil rights are being violated in every state I can’t visit because I’ll be arrested and branded a felon simply for CC, or owning/posessing a suppressor within that state’s borders.
    This chronic violation of our federal civil rights is the sickly elephant in the room.
    Are there no lawyers that see this?
    Or at least educate us as to why this avenue is not being pursued.
    The same avenue has been traversed with great success by people of color, women, LGTB peeps. Which leads me to recognize that religious civil rights were once the bedrock of this great nation but now suffer from the weaponization of the federal DOJ.

    How we have fallen…

    We are our own worst problem. Too many POTG are silent. Not willing to do anything for their own rights. If I’ve learned anything from history, it’s that ya gotta get off the bench and get in the game!
    My inspiration comes from St. Richard Heller (aka “Dude”). He took down DC with a little help from St. Anthony Scalia.

    You can make a difference… you just have to want to, & then act on it.

    (My street cred’s: NRA Instructor & RSO, GOA Life Member, GSL Life Member, SAF contributor, 2A rally volunteer & participant)

  5. If a person leaves a gunm in plain sight in a car that’s just asking for trouble.
    I suppose .giv can’t pass a law against stupidity.

  6. So , Jennifer thinks it is ok for the government to require gun owners to store firearms the way the government wants them to.
    And we all know that the government will use its guns to enforce this law if necessary.

    So when the california government required gays to wear condoms before they had sex, that was OK too??? To stop the spread of AIDS.

    I want the government to stay the hell out of my house. Not just my bedroom. But out of my entire house.

    I’m glad there are liberal guns owners writing on TTAG. Because everyone can see, just how liberal gun owners will just follow government orders. Without question.

      • Becarful. The legal butt secx crowd are uncomfortable. Talking about butt sez in public. They prefer to keep butt se.x, “in the closet.”


    • I read that as she thinks that good storage and reporting thefts are good ideas in themselves, not government requirements to do so.

      • Well, this is how you read it to be. But she didn’t come out and straight up say it. Did she?? You just interpreted that.

        It’s not what you say. It’s also what you don’t say.

        Liberals have a very long track record of just following government orders, without questioning them.

        And in 2020 Liberals just followed orders. Because they totally trust government. And so did a whole lot of libertarians too.



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