David James and GeorgiaCarry.org filed the suit Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia alleging violation of James’ Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms.
According to the lawsuit, James camps in a tent several weeks per year at McKaskey Creek, located on Lake Allatoona in Cartersville.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ regulations prohibit possession of firearms on Corps property, except under certain conditions, including written permission from the district commander.
James sought permission in a May 21 email to Col. Donald Walker, the district commander of the Savannah District of the Corps, according to the lawsuit, but his request was sent on to Mobile District Commander Jon Chytka.
On June 9, Chytka responded to James’ email, according to the lawsuit, denying the request for possession of a firearm on Corps property.
“He uses the facility up there a lot in the summertime. I think he camps several weeks a year and also boats probably, if not every weekend, every other weekend,” said James’ attorney, John Monroe. “He contacted the district commander for permission to carry a gun while he was there and that permission was denied. That is one of the exceptions to the regulations … is if you get written permission from the district commander, so that is why he decided to do that.
“There’s just a couple of exemptions. There’s one for law enforcement, one for hunting, which is kind of ironic that you can hunt and carry a gun in there but if you’re not hunting, you can’t carry a gun, and then getting permission from the district commander.”
In the lawsuit, the plaintiff states that out of “fear of arrest, prosecution and punishment for violating 36 C.F.R 327.13” James refrains from keeping or carrying a handgun while camping or boating at Lake Allatoona.
Monroe said Friday he feels the chances for success with the suit are promising.
“I think it’s probably outstanding for a couple of reasons. One, a similar case has been litigated in Idaho successfully,” he said, “and two, at least as far as camping is concerned, … your camper or tent or whatever you’re camping in becomes your home, at least for a temporary basis. The Supreme Court has ruled that you have a Constitutional right to have a gun in your home.”
The lawsuit does not request a jury trial and seeks to have the ban on handguns on Corps property declared “unconstitutional on its face and as applied.” It also asks for a preliminary and permanent injunction prohibiting the enforcement of the regulation banning guns on Corps property.