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How Georgia's gun laws impact other music venues

A gun-rights attorney said the laws behind Music Midtown's cancellation apply to other Atlanta venues.

ATLANTA — The gun laws,  apparently behind the cancellation of Music Midtown, also applies to other music venues – according to an attorney with a gun rights group.

This includes concerts scheduled this week at city-owned amphitheaters at Chastain Park and Lakewood. Chastain is among the numerous concert venues that explicitly forbids ticketholders to enter with firearms. Outside the park, it’s one of the posted rules.  

Chastain is owned by the city of Atlanta and leased by a concert promoter. Their arrangement is similar to Piedmont Park, which canceled Music Midtown Monday – reportedly because it could no longer ban guns under Georgia law. 

The same circumstances should require Chastain to allow guns, said John Monroe, an attorney and activist with the gun rights group GA2A.

"My analysis is that Live Nation does not have the authority to ban weapons at Chastain Park, and if someone chose to challenge it, they'd have a high likelihood of prevailing," Monroe told 11Alive News Tuesday.

Monroe said concert venues required to allow firearms shouldn’t have to cancel events – as Live Nation did with Music Midtown. He cites gatherings like the Stone Mountain laser show and this year's fireworks at Centennial Olympic Park, allowing lawful firearms owners to carry them.

But the question is whether a venue allowing firearms could get musicians to appear if the audience is armed, says musician and gun owner Jules Whisperlink.

"I think it’s just dangerous to have that many people armed in one place," Whisperlink said. "I can fully understand why a musician would not want to put himself at center stage with a bunch of people who have guns," he said, citing instances of intoxication and unruly behavior at outdoor concerts.

Monroe said he had not filed any legal challenge that might force the city to allow guns at concerts at Chastain. A city of Atlanta spokesman said it was unclear if such a challenge had been filed.


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