Your Gun. Your Mower?
Been a while since I wrote about guns. Here’s a cool quirk in Georgia law. OCGA 16-11-126 says: “(a) Any person (eligible to have a gun) may have or carry on his or her person (a gun) on his or her property or inside his or her home, motor vehicle, or place of business without a (GWCL or Georgia Weapons Carry License)”.
That code section doesn’t define motor vehicle. Why bother? Everyone knows what a motor vehicle is, right? Uh, no. But the Georgia Code does define motor vehicles in another place, that is, OCGA 40-1-1, which is the motor vehicle licensing code. It says a motor vehicle is:
“(33) ‘Motor vehicle’ means every vehicle which is self-propelled other than an electric personal assistive mobility device (EPAMD).” As further explanation, these definitions apply to the public highways of the State, or private property in certain instances.
Our Solicitor-General, the Honorable Amy Smith, one time put an old geezer in jail for a few months for driving a lawnmower down North Davis Drive while intoxicated. It’s a funny story I’ll let her tell. But a self propelled lawnmower is a motor vehicle under that code section. So is a scooter, but not a Walmart store scooter. Not a boat, unless it’s an air boat I guess, because a boat doesn’t travel on the highway under its own power.
So, here’s how crazy it gets:
John, riding his Craftsman 21 hp mower down Watson Blvd. can have a gun strapped to his side, or mounted on the handlebars, and he does not need a GWCL because anyone not prohibited by law from possessing a weapon can carry a gun while in or on their vehicle. Easy, right?
David, walking down Watson pushing his Craftsman 6.5 hp push mower, CANNOT have a gun strapped to his side unless he has a GWCL.
What about Paul, walking his self propelled walk behind mower down Watson? Got me. Technically it is a “self-propelled” vehicle, and I guess Paul could, if he tried hard enough, ride on the mower deck, and while it’d go awful slow, nothing in the code says you have to maintain a decent speed. So Paul, even though he’s walking at that moment, is he legal to carry or not?
Three guys, doing in essence the same thing, one is legal, one is not and one we just don’t know.
I love the law.
Kelly Burke, master attorney, former district attorney and magistrate judge, is engaged in private practice. He writes about the law, rock’n’roll and politics. These articles are not designed to give legal advice, but are designed to inform the public about how the law affects their daily lives. Contact Kelly firstname.lastname@example.org to comment on this article or suggest articles that you’d like to see.