Georgia Concealed Carry License Applicant Jailed for no Reason
Russ Chastain 11.30.20
When Kennesaw State University dean’s list student Martin Jones applied for a concealed carry license in the state of Georgia, his name was apparently placed on a secret list of potential criminals. This extreme and illogical measure reportedly led to his arrest months later in Albany, Georgia, simply because his first & last names matched that of an actual suspect.
After his arrest, he was held for 33 hours although there was no evidence connecting him to any crime. Charges against him were not dismissed until his mother provided his work records to serve as an alibi. This was clearly a case of “guilty until proven innocent” — and all because he’d tried to do the right thing by getting a license to legally carry a concealed weapon so he could defend himself from criminals.
Having the charges dismissed does not actually “clear his name,” because records of that arrest will follow him throughout his life, even though he is most certainly not the person police should have arrested. Any criminal background check run on Mr. Jones is likely to show this arrest, which is likely to throw up red flags for any potential employer.
It’s become clear that police agencies in Georgia are keeping records of anyone who even applies for a concealed carry license — which is illegal — and using that to target people whose names may be similar to those of criminal suspects.
John Monroe, a gun rights attorney and vice president of GeorgiaCarry.org, said the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office may have violated a 2014 state law that forbids maintaining a multijurisdictional database of people issued weapons licenses. He said he suspects other police agencies around the state are doing the same.
Although the law forbids keeping a database of folks who have a concealed carry license, the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office brazenly admits to doing so… but claims it is somehow legal because the info is not being shared with other law enforcement agencies.
As I read it, the law itself clearly “prohibit[s] the creation or maintenance of data bases regarding persons issued weapons carry licenses.”
As a post at Bearing Arms observes, about the only good thing that has come out of Martin’s ordeal is the revelation of police abuse of information to which they should never even be privy. Cam Edwards believes the current law is unclear and should be revised.
The first time around, lawmakers forbade agencies from establishing multijurisdictional databases of concealed carry holders. It’s time to revise that statute and prohibit law enforcement agencies from using concealed carry applications or approvals as the basis for placing folks on a “master name record” or any other database. In addition, lawmakers should re-introduce permitless carry legislation, which would greatly reduce the opportunity for local law enforcement to establish databases of gun owners, even if they wanted to violate the law.
It’s up to folks like you and me to reveal government abuses of power and push back against them. Kudos to Martin Jones and other upstanding Americans for standing up to speak out instead of quietly acquiescing.