Guns will now be permitted on the grounds of Zoo Atlanta after activists questioned the legality of the Grant Park attraction’s ban on them.

Zoo Atlanta, which is owned by the City of Atlanta, updated its weapon policy to include banning firearms on Sept. 1 of this year.

In a media statement, Zoo Atlanta said it decided to forgo the distraction and expense of litigation over the issue.

“Zoo Atlanta continues to believe that its decision to prohibit carrying of guns onto Zoo Atlanta grounds is legally supportable and in the best interest of safety. At this time, however, Zoo Atlanta is choosing not to undergo the major distraction and expense of litigation, but will instead give public officials an opportunity to consider and address this issue. In the meantime, and effective immediately, Zoo Atlanta’s weapons policy will revert to its original form, which allows guests to carry weapons as permitted by law. Zoo Atlanta recognizes and maintains the right to pursue further analysis of this policy.”

Permits to carry a gun in Georgia are no longer necessary and an expansion of a 2014 law now allows guns in churches, schools, and publicly-owned property, like Zoo Atlanta.

Phillip Evans – who also challenged Music Midtown’s gun ban at Piedmont Park, which led to the festival’s cancellation – told Saporta Report that it was “good news that lawfully armed citizens won’t need to worry about being accosted at the Zoo.”

Evans also mounted a legal challenge against the Atlanta Botanical Garden over the same issue, but wound up losing the case due to language in the ABG’s lease with Piedmont Park.

Evans said Zoo Atlanta had tried to model its gun ban on ABG’s without understanding the law.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.