Georgia Carry, a group that’s very effective in defending gun owners’ rights (disclosure: I am a member because they are effective), has an ongoing lawsuit against the Atlanta Botanical Garden over its ban on firearms. Similar to Georgia Carry’s action against the Atlanta Falcons and that organization’s firearm ban, the ABG decision hinges on an odd bit of real estate law: whether the property is “usufruct” or an “estate for years.”
This is all a bit complicated, but stripped to basics, the two are differentiated by the degree of control one has over the property. If the property is “usufruct,” then they can’t ban firearms on property owned by the city. If it’s an “estate for years,” then, as a private entity, they may ban guns on the property.
In GeorgiaCarry.Org et. al. v. The Atlanta Botanical Garden Inc., the Garden filed a motion for summary judgement arguing that . . .
The terms of the lease make clear that the City of Atlanta conveyed an estate for years to the Garden for a term of fifty years.
Private entity…estate for years…ban away. Except Georgia Carry filed their own brief in opposition to that dismissal. It seems they noted an interesting point.
The Garden emphasizes that it does not pay taxes on the property. Plaintiffs emphasize that fact, too, because it is dispositive of the case. Either the Garden does not pay taxes because it has only a usufruct, or the Garden has an estate for years and owes the City of Atlanta and Fulton County over $100M in back taxes.
Really ABG, is the choice that hard? Either respect human/civil rights and allow the carry of firearms or cough up millions in back taxes.
Excuse me, but I need to go pop some more corn.