The Mayor of Norcross, just outside of Atlanta, wants to change the name of the city’s municipal building to reclassify it as a court in an effort to place it off limits to concealed-carry permit holders.
This tactic would circumvent a new Georgia gun law, set to become effective July 1, that would allow lawful permit holders to carry inside city buildings with the exception of courts and detention centers.
Mayor Bucky Johnson is therefore asking the city council to officially re-name the building, built in 2002, the “Norcross City Hall and Municipal Court.”
“There’s no reason to bring a gun to city hall,” Mayor Johnson said.
By the direction of the city council, city manager Rudolf Smith is preparing the name change resolution to submit to the June 16 council session. This re-branding, if implemented, would create a new gun-free zone in the municipal building.
According to Norcross Patch, the town’s city hall at 65 Lawrenceville Street contains departments for residents’ utilities and parking ticket payments and serves as the office of the mayor, police department, and city council members. The council chamber is also listed as a courtroom.
This last minute scramble to rename city hall is puzzling to gun-rights advocates in the state.
“Renaming their city hall to ‘Norcross City Hall and Municipal Court’ is not necessary if there is a courtroom in the city hall,” explained Jerry Henry, President of Georgia Carry to Guns.com Wednesday.
Henry elaborated, saying, “If there is a courtroom in the building, then it is off limits. If there is no court and they rename the building to a court building, then they may get to spend a lot of time in court explaining why they are calling a building a court when it is not.”
The sudden move to increase security at the facility, which Henry contends may be unneeded, is also curious.
“These buildings have been unsecured for many years and they now want to keep the most law-abiding citizens out of ‘their’ buildings,” said Henry. “What has kept them safe for the last number of years the buildings have been open and unsecured? Absolutely nothing.”
“However, now that persons who are armed are going to be allowed to enter these same unsecured buildings, we have the ‘sky is falling’ syndrome,” he continued. “It should be noted that the persons who will be allowed to enter the building armed are persons who have had more background checks than most of those working there and certainly more than the elected office holders,” said Henry.
The real issue, contends Henry, is control.
“These people do not trust the state’s permitting process,” he stated. “They do not trust law-abiding citizens to exercise their constitutional rights. They do not trust their own citizens who voted them into office. But as usual, the local government leaders will attack the problem the same way they always do by spending perhaps millions of dollars of taxpayer money to keep this small amount of control over the citizens.”