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The Athens City Council meets for its regular session in the Athens City Building on November 18, 2019. (FILE)

City Council: Amendments over firearm language introduced, firearms to be disposed

Athens City Council discussed introducing legislation Monday to amend Athens City Code in order to maintain its strict position on firearms not being fired within city limits.

In accordance with new state regulations, Athens City Code Titles 9 and 13 will be amended. The firing of guns within city limits will remain illegal, and those who fire a gun in self defense will have to prove it was in self defense through a burden of proof. That means those who discharge a firearm will have to prove it is more likely than less likely that they fired a gun as a means of self defense. 

Councilwoman Sarah Grace, D-At Large, introduced the proposed changes and said it was time for an upgrade to ensure the city is not held liable in court. The code needs to be in line with the state code, and if it is not changed, the city could be sued.

Grace also reaffirmed that it is unreasonable for guns to be fired within city limits, but that other changes should be made.

“I think switching from the burden of proof on a self defense claim is a reasonable and acceptable change for us here in Athens,” Grace said.

The City and Safety Services committee also discussed the Athens Police Department’s disposal of firearms in order to prepare for the purchase of new firearms. 

APD is currently in the process of purchasing $10,000 worth of new firearms, according to a previous Post report. Trading in the old firearms will help fund the purchase. 

The majority of firearms will be disposed, turned in and then credited or discounted for future purchases Councilman Kent Butler, D-1st Ward, said. That amounts to 41 guns. Thirty-seven additional firearms will be confiscated and turned in.

“This is similar to past efforts we’ve done in turning in firearms properly through the disposal process,” Butler said.

APD replaces its firearms every five years in order to ensure safety, according to a previous Post report.


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