Atlanta Botanical Garden's gun ban upheld by judge

Caroline Hill, 5, of Atlanta, stops in front of the “Earth Goddess” mosaiculture plant installation on display at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens June 7, 2013, in Atlanta.

AP Photo/David Goldman

ATLANTA -- A judge has ruled that the Atlanta Botanical Garden has the right to bar its visitors from bringing in firearms, even though the garden operates on public property.

News outlets report that Fulton County Judge Gail Tusan ruled Thursday that despite the public ownership of the land, the botanical garden is a private entity and may lawfully prohibit guns.

Court records show Phillip Evans, a gun rights group member with a state firearms license, was escorted out of the botanical garden in 2014 for wearing a handgun in a waistband holster. His attorney argued that the garden leases land from the city of Atlanta and cannot keep properly licensed people from carrying weapons there.’

Georgia law allows guns on government land and in government buildings, with some exceptions.