Gun bill bums out Avondale

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt July 23, 2014
July 23, 2014: City Commissioner Randy Beebe listens to Police Chief Gary Broden explain how House Bill 60 will affect Avondale Estates. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

July 23, 2014: City Commissioner Randy Beebe listens to Police Chief Gary Broden explain how House Bill 60 will affect Avondale Estates. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Avondale Estates City Hall is about as close to Mayberry as local government gets in metro Atlanta.

There’s no one stopping you when you come through the door, and the secretary always has a smile for you when you walk into the City Manager’s office.

But Georgia’s new gun law will change all that. During the July 23 City Commission work session, Police Chief Gary Broden explained how the city will have to change the way it does business because of House Bill 60, aka the Guns Everywhere Bill, which went into effect on July 1.

Pretty soon, there could be a window between the secretary and the taxpayers that walk into City Hall.

Under the law, people are allowed to carry guns into government buildings. Broden and City Manager Clai Brown talked about other security measures. The city recently received quotes for security cameras, and it will cost around $6,000.

“The biggest thing is once we close those doors and make that a service window, that’s going to be a big change for everybody,” Brown said. “We have an open door policy. That’s going to be a tough one.”

The law is tough on law enforcement too, Brown said.

“With the new law that has passed, there could be someone walking around the lake on our pathway with a longgun strapped to their backs,” Brown said. “Police officers cannot go challenge them and say, ‘Do you have a permit?’ That is a lawsuit waiting to happen. You’ve got to have probable cause.”

Other cities are grappling with the bill too. Both Atlanta and Decatur have said the bill will likely cost taxpayers money because of the additional security they will have to put in place.

Broden predicted that there will be revisions to the law in the upcoming session of the state Legislature.

“This has been a big discussion with the chiefs …,” he said. “You’re going to see a change by this time next year. There’s going to be change.”

Locally, the changes will come much sooner than that. Putting extra security in place and watching residents with cameras sounded more like Orwell than Avondale to the city commissioners.

“Where were the grown ups when this legislation was being considered,” Commissioner John Quinn asked.

Avondale Estates Police Chief Gary Broden. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Avondale Estates Police Chief Gary Broden. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

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  • AEresident

    The chief’s entire argument is a fallacy. The law says it is now legal to carry a gun into government buildings. But anyone could always have brought in a gun to city hall and shot up the place. The new law doesn’t change that. The court has always had a service window. And yet there has never been a problem. So all of a sudden that it is legal for licensed gun owner’s to carry a gun the chief and city manager predict problems and want to spend money on security? The safety of employees is a long time coming. Georgians stand behind their gun rights, but recent polls show this was a bill they didn’t ask for and don’t want. But tell that to those seeking reelection this year and the gun lobby including the NRA and that muted the opposition on this legislation. And no, Chief Broden, the legislature won’t fix the bill as in the wake of recent gun massacres, legislation has favored strengthening gun rights. And the gun lobby won’t stop until there is no permit required to carry a weapon and when carry everywhere means that, including on school property. Besides Chief, people need guns in Avondale Estates where the police have shot or killed more people per capita than any other jurisdiction in the state!

    • Patsy Neal

      Would you expound on your last comment about AE “police have shot or killed more people per capita … in the state” – it’s quite a statement and I had no idea.

      • AEresident

        Two national systems collect data which include homicides committed by law enforcement officers in the line of duty. The National Center for Health Statistics ( maintains the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) which aggregates data from locally filed death certificates. State laws require that death certificates be filed with local registrars, but the certificates do not systematically document whether a killing was legally justified nor whether a law enforcement officer was involved. The FBI maintains the Uniform Crime Reporting Program ( which relies on the voluntary participation of state and local law enforcement agencies in submitting reports about crimes. You can also look up a “List of killings by law enforcement officers in the United States” at (data is also available from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation —

  • John Corry

    Why is Avondale Estates so terrified of lawfully armed citizens? What’s the difference between an armed police officer and an armed citizen? This law hasn’t changed anything for the Avondale Estates city hall…armed people could walk right into city hall, conduct their business and walk out before this law was passed and nobody would be any the wiser. The only thing that changed is that that is now legal. Legal, permit holding, law abiding gun owners are not a threat to the city of Avondale Estate or anyone else.

    • Patsy Neal

      There may be a number of citizens in Avondale Estates, just as there are in other cities, afraid of lawfully or unlawfully armed citizens. That said, Avondale Estates has a Gun and Outdoor Club, full of enthusiasts for the sport. There’s a good balance in “Mayberry”

    • NoNewsIsNoNews

      “Why is Avondale Estates so terrified of lawfully armed citizens?”
      Well, presuming your ludicrous characterization of an entire city as “terrified” is true, it’s probably because it’s only a matter of time before some GA Carry Goon Squad feels the need to make their feeble, yet legal point by “walking around the lake..with a longgun…”

      • Wes

        both of you assumptions smell very badly… that’s the problem with you gun grabbers, the facts are not on your side.

      • Phillipky1

        I think the reference to Avondale Estates being terrified was referring to the handful of individuals in the city government. Hopefully most residents are less paranoid and realize that citizens carrying a firearm legally for self-defense are not the problem. But apparently you are also paranoid since you feel the need to call your fellow citizens “Goons” based on your fear they may decide to lawfully and peacefully exercise their constitutional rights. Your paranoia is what appears ludicrous here. No further news to report here.

        • NoNewsIsNoNews

          Hello paranoid pot–this is kettle. Now arm your terrified collective selves to what teeth you may have left.
          GA Carry Goons are not my “fellow citizens”. “No further news to report here” until the next senseless act of gun violence…Not One More.

          • Phillipky1

            “Gun violence”? Is that where the gun jumps up and shoots someone by itself? I always thought it required a criminal or a lunatic to pull the trigger for criminal violence to occur. By the way, Georgia Carry members are your fellow citizens whether you like it or not. But paranoid persons have a problem dealing with rational facts so forgive me for confusing you with inconvenient facts.

          • NoNewsIsNoNews

            Paranoia strikes deep
            Into your life it will creep
            It starts when you’re always afraid
            Step out of line, the man come and take you away

      • gregg56

        Well, you can get one point for knowing that Georgia Carry actually exists, but that is where the points and you knowledge stops.

        IF you knew people who are members of Georgia Carry, you would not be characterizing them as “Goon Squad”. Georgia Carry, in addition to the recruitment of members, expends a great deal of time and effort–mainly by volunteers–educating the public about gun safety and the gun laws.

        Oh, this “Goon Squad” as you have so colorfully characterized the organization was INVITED by the Griffin Police Department to come to the fundraiser on August 9, 2014 for Murdered office Kevin Jordan and setup a table to educate people and recruit new members.

        Perhaps, you should avail yourself of the opportunity to learn what Georgia Carry is REALLY about by visiting the table in Griffin on August 9.

        • NoNewsIsNoNews

          You get zero points for spelling, grammar, & a lack of common sense. It’s a good thing your score-keeping is irrelevant…except maybe, in Griffin.

          • Waldo

            So sad there are actually such ignorant people who walk amongst us. Unfortunately they seem to multiply too.

          • NoNewsIsNoNews

            So true. So what?

  • 1farrier2

    The only money that the taxpayer’s will have to pay is because the “powers that be” have to continue to have control over “their citizens”. The bill mandates no such cost to the local governments. They were fine for years with words on a piece of paper keeping law-abiding citizens out of “their buildings” with no concern for the criminal who never obeys the law in any case. Now that they will loose their “control” over their law-abiding citizens, they must act. Please note that they will not gain the same control over the criminals by spending this money! As with all gun laws, they only effect the law-abiding citizen.

    • underscorex

      i think we hit some kind of “critical mass” on the use of “scare quotes” in that “comment”.

      please, tell us who “the powers that be” actually are. who are “they”?

      • 1farrier2

        The “powers that be” refer to those in power positions in the city of Avondale, such as the elected officials and those appointed to high positions within the city, i.e., Police Chief, City Manager, etc.

  • Stacie Hieronymus

    I think the concern is that the law requires police to pretend they don’t see a gun right up to the point that a crime is being committed. Prior, a cop could ask a few questions, get a feel for the situation, and move on. Now, they are required to presume that the armed individual is lawfully carrying.

    • Ted Moore

      @Stacie, this perception is just not true. The LEO can still approach and have a consensual conversation with the person carrying a gun. The LEO can ask questions, and try to determine if there is any danger………………….but he can’t do it by detaining the gun carrier first.(4th Amendment) HB60 codified what the Supreme Court has already ruled on, that the mere presence of a gun does not give LEOs Reasonable Articulable Suspicion (RAS) or Probable Cause (PC) to detain a person against his will and seize his property (gun).

      The new gun law HB60 states:


      (b) A person carrying a weapon shall not be subject to detention for the sole purpose of investigating whether such person has a weapons carry license.”

      Notice the word “detention”, that is a key word. The LEO can still come up and have a consensual conversation with the carrier, or he can just observe the carrier for a while to make sure nothing is suspicious. Ga is not a “Stop and Frisk” state. We think more highly of our civil rights to allow that to happen.

      I hope this helps your understanding.

    • gregg56

      Stacie, how many criminals do you know who walk down the street with their gun in plain sight? You forget that criminals are NOT ALLOWED TO POSSESS GUNS, AND most policemen are reasonably aware of who the criminals are. Given those, a person walking down the street carrying a gun is most likely a law abiding citizen.

  • Stacie Hieronymus

    Ted Moore – That’s not how law enforcement reads it. From the article above: ““With the new law that has passed, there could be someone walking around the lake on our pathway with a longgun strapped to their backs,” Brown said. “Police officers cannot go challenge them and say, ‘Do you have a permit?’ That is a lawsuit waiting to happen. You’ve got to have probable cause.”

    This AJC piece from March quotes the Putnam County Sheriff as saying, ““Then there is one sentence, and it destroys everything, ” Sills said. That one sentence says police may not detain anyone to demand to see a weapons permit. That means, Sills said, that if someone is walking down the street late at night with a pistol stuck in his waistband, police may not stop him and ask to see his weapons permit. “I don’t think the intent of the bill is to put law enforcement in danger, ” Sills said. “It is one with devastating potential.” (

    I think the legal definition of “detain” is more broad than the conversational use of “detain.” Cops seem to think so, anyway.

    • 1farrier2

      If law enforcement had read and understood the case listed below, they would not have worried about this provision of HB60 as they would already know what they can and can’t do. Most law enforcement officers know and understand this with very few objecting. Guess you missed the part about the Georgia Sheriff’s Association did not come out against HB60 and many of them strongly supported the bill.

      The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that a motorist cannot
      be stopped just to see if the person is licensed to drive. Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648 (1979). The court reasoned that if there is no indication the person is committing a crime, the 4th Amendment is violated by stopping the person.

      More on point with guns, the Supreme Court ruled in Florida v. J.L., 529
      U.S. 266 (2000) that there is no firearm exception to the 4th Amendment, meaning a person cannot be stopped just for carrying a gun unless there is some other indication the person may be committing a crime. Courts
      around the country have cited Florida v. J.L. for that proposition:

      United States v. Reynolds, 526 F.Supp.2d 1330, 1339 (N.D. Ga. 2007) (“declining to adopt a firearm exception to stop-and-frisk Terry analysis”); NOTE: This is from federal court in Atlanta

      United States v. Harrell, 268 F.3d 141, 151 (2nd Cir. 2001), Meskill concurring, (“In J.L., the Supreme Court rejected the ‘firearm exception”);

      United States v. Ubiles, 224 F.3d 213, 218 (3rd Cir. 2000) (“rejecting an ‘automatic firearm exception’ to the rule in Terry”);

      United States v. Hauk, 421 F.3d 1179 1187 (10th Cir. 2005) (“rejecting a firearms exception to the Fourth Amendment”);

      United States v. Crandell, 509 F.Supp.2d 435, 442 (D. N.J. 2007), vacated on other grounds, 554 F.3d 79, (“The Court declined to create a ’firearm exception’ to the Terry analysis”);

      United States v. Blackshaw, 367 F.Supp.2d 1165, 1171 (N.D. Ohio 2005) (“The J.L. Court also declined to adopt the government’s major argument that the standard Terry analysis should be modified to license a ‘firearm exception.’”);

      Brown v. City of Milwaukee, 288 F.Supp.2d 962, 971 (E.D. Wis. 2003) (“declining to adopt a ‘firearm exception’ to the standard Terry analysis”);

      State v. Cunningham, 183 Vt. 401, 418 (S.Ct. Vt. 2008) (“declining to adopt a ‘firearm exception’ to the warrant requirement; noting that possession of a firearm, like possession of narcotics, does not pose an imminent danger”);

      People v. Jordan, 121 Cal. App. 4th 544, 555 (Ct. Ap. Cal. 2004) (“The court also declined to modify the reasonable suspicion standard established in Terry by creating a ‘firearm exception’”);

      People v. Mario T., 376 Ill.App. 468, 481 (Ct. App. Ill 2007) (“rejecting the ‘firearm exception’ to the standard Terry analysis”).

      Because there is no firearm exception to the 4th Amendment, in order to justify detaining a person for carrying a firearm (to see if the person has a license), an officer would have to be able to articulate what facts and circumstances led the officer to believe the person had committed, was committing, or was about to commit a crime. In Sheriff Sills’ example, stopping someone he describes as a “thug,” with no additional information as to what makes the person a thug, just because the person possessed a firearm, would violate the person’s 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

      Examples coming to this conclusion are:
      United States v. Dudley, 854 F.Supp. 570 (S.D. Ind. 1994) (“A telephone
      report of citizens possessing guns …, standing alone, cannot amount to
      reasonable suspicion of a crime.”)

      United States v. Ubiles, 224 F.3d 213 (3rd Cir. 2000) (“The authorities in this case had no reason to believe that Ubiles was engaged in or planning or preparing to engage in illegal activity due to his possession of a gun. Accordingly, in stopping him and subsequently searching him, the authorities infringed on Ubiles’ Fourth Amendment rights.”)

      St. John v. Mccolley, 643 F.Supp.2d 1155 (D.NM 2009) (“Officers had no
      reason to believe that Mr. St. John had been, was, or would be involved in any criminal activity whatsoever [when he was sitting in a movie theater watching a movie while wearing a gun].”).

  • Joe Mama

    “Police officers cannot go challenge them and say, ‘Do you have a
    permit?’ That is a lawsuit waiting to happen. You’ve got to have
    probable cause.”

    It was like that before HB60 dimwit.

  • Artemis

    If the door was open before, nothing would stop someone from coming in with a gun. The security of the building is the same now as it was before the law. A law is a piece of paper. It doesn’t stop bullets. It doesn’t stop criminals. It can only punish after the fact. This is nothing but scare tactics to play politics and advocate against the law. This is a liberal mayor using his office to try and influence state policy.

    Before law.. door open. Criminal comes in… what stops him? nothing.
    After law, door open, criminal comes in… what stops him? nothing.

    The only thing that has changed is the rhetoric.

  • gregg56

    Other than the fact that HB60 makes it LEGAL for LICENSED owners to carry in non-secured buildings, I fail to see what has changed to cause such a huge reaction by Avondale Estates.

    Prior to HB 60 becoming law, LAW ABIDING citizens would not carry into City Hall because it was not legal. Criminals, however, could carry into city hall and open fire on everyone in the building. Is it possible to interpret these actions by the City of Avondale Estates as indicating that they trust criminals with guns more than they trust law abiding citizens?

    I am also guessing that the Avondale Estates Police Chief has not read the text of HB 60 because of the statements he is making about being able to ask for a permit. The law reads:

    OCGA 16-11-137 (b) A person carrying a weapon shall not be subject to detention for the sole purpose of investigating whether such person has a weapons carry license.

    Now, I am no lawyer or a LEO, but as I read this it would seem perfectly legal for someone to be detained for some other flimsy reason and THEN asked if they have a WCL. If someone carrying a weapon were to drop some litter and the LEO was to “detain” them for that purpose, it would then seem the law would allow the LEO to ask if the person has a WCL, which as of July 1, 2014 all licensees are required to have on their person while carrying.


    -“Where were the grown ups when this legislation was being considered,” Commissioner John Quinn asked.-

    The “grown ups” voted the bill into law. “Nanny’s,” like Commissioner Quinn, don’t like it. Maybe it’s time to vote the Nanny’s out of Avondale’s government.

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