By AIMEE SACHS
ATLANTA (CN) – A Virginia man and two gun rights advocacy groups claim in court that Georgia officials are violating their own law by not recognizing any gun license issued by another state unless that state recognizes all of the Peach State’s weapon carry licenses.
In a lawsuit filed in the Fulton County Superior Court on Thursday, Robert Sadtler says he has relatives in Georgia he would visit several times a year if, while in the state, he could keep and carry his lawfully-owned handgun to protect himself in the event of a confrontation.
However, Sadtler says the way Georgia’s gun laws are interpreted prevents him from carrying his firearm while visiting the state and so he avoids going there because he fears arrest and prosecution.
According to the complaint, Sadtler’s situation is caused solely by the fact that his home state of Virginia is not on the list of states with which Georgia has reciprocity.
As recounted in the lawsuit, in June 2016 Assistant Attorney General Rebecca Dobras exchanged a series of emails with the Virginia Department of State Police about reciprocity between the two states when it comes to weapons issues.
As a result of those exchanges, the Virginia State Police notified Dobras that as of July 1, 2016, Virginia would recognize all Georgia weapons carry licenses — but only those issued to people 21 years of age or older.
Dobras responded by saying Georgia would not recognize any Virginia-issued gun permits unless it agreed to recognize Georgia licenses issued to people under the age of 21.
Sadtler says he can’t get a Georgia weapons license because he doesn’t live there and that he’s entitled to reciprocity that the defendant state attorney general’s office is currently denying him.
Joining him as plaintiffs in the lawsuit are GeorgiaCarry.Org and Virginia Citizens Defense League, both nonprofit organizations.
They contend the position of the attorney general’s office contradicts the Official Code of Georgia which states, “Georgia recognizes licenses issued ‘in any other state whose laws recognize and give effect to a license issued’ under Georgia law.”
“By refusing to recognize VCHPs and not putting Virginia on the list of states with which Georgia reciprocates, the defendant is violating the OCGA,” the complaint says.
The plaintiffs are represented by John Monroe in Roswell, Georgia.
A representative of the attorney general’s office was not immediately available for comment Friday afternoon.