A Temple resident has claimed that a Temple City official violated his rights last week when he prevented him from attending a city council meeting because he was carrying a firearm.
Last Monday evening, resident and founding member of georgiacarry.org, James Camp attempted to enter Temple City Hall but was turned away by police.
Under Georgia law, a weapon-carry-license-holder is permitted to carry a weapon in a government building if the building is open for business.
Temple City Administrator William Osborne admits to instructing police to screen for firearms before Monday’s meeting. He says the order was given after the city was made aware of a Facebook post by Camp suggesting that residents bring their firearms to the meeting.
In said post, Camp was responding to previous comments regarding Temple City’s new solid waste ordinance which at the time mandated all citizen’s to pay a fee for waste pick up whether they used the service or not.
Camp’s response to a previous post on The Temple Citizen page stated:
“I would recommend that for the next city council meeting, we get as many folks as we can to attend and speak out against during public comments. Furthermore, those (of) you who do attend, and have a Georgia Weapons carry License, I would go openly carrying your weapon, not as a display of threat or violence, but as a reminder that as a citizen, you’re watching the council’s actions and that any ordinances passed by that council authorizes them to use deadly on YOU to enforce them. To remind them that ordinances that coerce citizens into compliance with unreasonable regulations will only cause more of a rift between the citizens and THEIR government. To remind them that any law they pass that causes or will cause un-necessary confrontation between the citizens and their government, is not good. To remind them that as a citizen, you have a right to defend yourself from tyrannous action of the government and to abolish the government when it becomes destructive to those ends.”
It was after this post, that Osborne said he gave police the order to turn away individuals attempting to bring a weapon into city hall.
“I will not try to speculate on what (Camp) meant. (However) I thought it was something that… it was something that seemed to me to be aimed at intimidation, but that’s my opinion,” Osborne told WLBB Radio.
Camp said he believes he was singled out because of his post, although he says, he clearly stated that carrying firearms was not meant to threaten any public official.
“My concern was that the (decision) was being used to prevent a citizen who was engaged in a lawful act from attending a city council meeting,” Camp said. “… and what makes this even more concerning is that the person who decided to exclude people who are lawfully carrying firearms was a person who was in an un-elected position and was using his power in that un-elected position to prevent a citizen from being able to meet with his elected officials.”
Many residents did speak out during the public comment portion of last week’s council meeting voicing concerns about the new city wide trash policy that would have eliminated residents being able to opt out of trash services. Ultimately the opt out option was grandfathered in for residents who had previously participated.