An Atlanta, Ga. Zoo has reversed its gun ban policy by announcing visitors will now be allowed to carry sidearms on the property, effective immediately, according to Fox News.
In a statement quoted by Georgia Public Broadcasting, Zoo Atlanta officials said, “As was reported, Zoo Atlanta recently updated its weapons policy to prohibit guests from bringing guns onto Zoo Atlanta grounds. This change was made in an effort to enhance and protect the safety of our team members, guests, and the animals in our care. Since that time, the legal grounds for that decision have been questioned by individuals and organizations advocating the right to carry weapons.
“Zoo Atlanta continues to believe that its decision to prohibit carrying of guns onto Zoo Atlanta grounds is legally supportable and in the best interest of safety,” the statement added. “At this time, however, Zoo Atlanta is choosing not to undergo the major distraction and expense of litigation, but will instead give public officials an opportunity to consider and address this issue. In the meantime, and effective immediately, Zoo Atlanta’s weapons policy will revert to its original form, which allows guests to carry weapons as permitted by law. Zoo Atlanta recognizes and maintains the right to pursue further analysis of this policy.”
As reported by WSB-TV News, Georgia lawmakers passed a law in 2014 prohibiting gun bans on public property. The news agency learned “a local man has been challenging the rights of private or nonprofit entities like the Atlanta Botanical Gardens to ban guests from bringing guns when they operate on public land.”
His efforts have evidently been successful.
According to published reports, the popular zoo is located within the city-owned Grant Park. Fox News noted that earlier this year, the Music Midtown festival, held in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park, was canceled “allegedly over the state’s laws on guns.”
“No official reason was given by the music festival,” the Fox story said, “as to why it was canceled, but sources told Rolling Stone it was due to guns being permitted in public parks.”