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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: Firearm code changes, disposal of police department firearms approved

City Council approved the disposal of firearms held by the Athens Police Department Monday in order to purchase newer, more cost-effective ammunition and guns.

Both firearms owned and confiscated by APD will be disposed of, Councilman Kent Butler, D-1st Ward, said. The disposal will include 75 guns, 17 magazines for pistols and other items. All items will be traded in to federally-licensed firearms dealers.

Councilman Pat McGee, I-At Large, clarified the disposal does not mean APD will be disarmed, which many socialists in Athens have previously called for.

“I did want to make it clear to the public that this is just a matter to save money than any other issue,” McGee said.

Mayor Steve Patterson said the firearms that will be purchased use a new form of ammunition, which will save the city money in the long run. That purchase will amount to about $10,000 and will not be made using taxpayer money, according to a previous Post report

The approved trade-in will also help finance that purchase, according to a previous Post report

City Council also approved an ordinance updating Athens City Code Titles 9 and 13, which regulates the usage of guns within city limits. 

The firing of a gun will remain illegal within city limits, as currently stated in Title 13 of Athens City Code. Councilwoman Sarah Grace, D-At Large, said the ordinance also deals with curfew hours of when firearms can be sold and purchased during a state of emergency in the city. 

The meeting ended with resolutions expressing the city’s appreciation to outgoing City Councilmen Butler and McGee. Butler served on Athens City Council for 12 years, and McGee served for four years.

Butler was praised for being an analytical listener who always added a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere to meetings, and McGee was praised for being a true watchdog of taxpayer dollars.

“When I first became a council member … and worked under your committee … I learned a lot from you,” Patterson said to Butler.


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