Music Midtown canceled due to Georgia gun laws, highlighting legal gray area: NPR

Music Midtown canceled due to Georgia gun laws, highlighting legal gray area: NPR


A crowd attends the Midtown Music Festival in Piedmont Park, Atlanta on September 16, 2018.

Paul R. Giunta / Invision / AP


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Paul R. Giunta / Invision / AP


A crowd attends the Midtown Music Festival in Piedmont Park, Atlanta on September 16, 2018.

Paul R. Giunta / Invision / AP

Organizers of Music Midtown, a major festival in Atlanta, announced Monday that the two-day event that was originally scheduled for next month has been cancelled. Although the official announcement referred to “conditions beyond our control,” local media reported that the reason for the cancellation was unexpected: Georgia’s gun laws.

This scenario points to a problematic gray area in Georgia’s gun laws, according to Timothy Leighton, a professor of law at Georgia State University.

In general, if a gun owner wants to bring a gun into a park or other public place, state law protects the person’s right to do so, Lytton said. He said that private property, such as a private university or company, is permitted under certain circumstances to prevent anyone from bringing a firearm.

“And now we have an unclear situation: What happens if you have a concert organized privately but in a very public place like a city park? Is this a private event? Or is this a public venue? And the answer to that is somewhat unclear,” Lytton told NPR.

Music Midtown takes place in Piedmont Park – a public park not far from downtown Atlanta. The headlines are set to include My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Future and Jack White.

according to The Atlanta newspaperAccording to sources familiar with the decision, Midtown Music has suspended the event due to a recent court ruling that could limit organizers’ ability to ban guns during the festival.

The news agency said the recent Georgia Court of Appeals ruling made it difficult for private groups to restrict gun owners from bringing their guns to “short-range events” on public lands. The appeals court ruling specifically relates to the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s ability to ban guns from the property.

Music Midtown organizers do not comment specifically on those reports nor did they respond to NPR’s request for comment.

Organizers posted on the canceled event’s website and social media: “Hi Midtown fans – due to circumstances beyond our control, Music Midtown will not be showing this year. We were looking forward to the September reunion and hopefully we can all get back to enjoying the festival together again soon. “.


Billie Eilish performed during Music Midtown in 2019.

Paul R. Giunta / Invision / AP


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Billie Eilish performed during Music Midtown in 2019.

Paul R. Giunta / Invision / AP

Doug Shipman, Atlanta City Council President, pointed out that the reason is the state’s gun laws. chirp On abolition, he said, “Public policy has real effects and in this case – economic and social effects on a great tradition.”

In the case of Music Midtown, the organizers are seeking to use a public space (Piedmont Park) but will consider short-term tenants who are not renting the property long-term, Lytton said. If they continue to ban guns for the event, they could run the risk of being sued by someone who wants to challenge the policy.

Other companies in Georgia have been in similar situations, Lytton said. Out of fear of litigation and due to uncertainty in the law, private organizations running events in public places chose to lift any gun ban.

“My guess is that [Music Midtown] Regulators may be worried about what will happen in court and so they want to find some kind of solution before that and come up with a statement on whether or not they will lift the ban. They’ll stick to their guns, as it were, and wait to see what happens through litigation,” Lytton said.

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