Music Midtown cancellation sparks gun law debate


Music Midtown 2022 was canceled due to conflict regarding Georgia gun laws. (Courtesy of District Magazine)

Students wait eagerly at their laptops, glancing at the clock every few seconds to see if it’s time yet. Music Midtown tickets come out any moment now, and no one wants to miss the most anticipated event of the year. The festival is one of the biggest in Atlanta, hosting over 30 artists in the span of two days in a nonstop celebration of the artists and their music. All attendees meticulously calculate how they divide their time between performers.

But this year, to the shock of both attendees and performers, Music Midtown, which was supposed to take place from Sept. 17 to Sept. 18, was abruptly canceled due to an issue that surprised most: gun laws. 

Problems first arose when Music Midtown was being organized. Georgia gun laws protect the right of citizens to carry a firearm in public spaces without a permit. However, private spaces are allowed to make their own mandates concerning guns. 

While Music Midtown is in fact a private event, it is set in a public space. This raised some controversy concerning what firearms should be allowed. The company that hosts Music Midtown requires a ban on firearms, but due to the ambiguity of recent Georgia gun laws, the company was unable to ban festivalgoers from bringing guns to the festival grounds, resulting in a cancellation of the event. 

The cancellation sparked outrage. It caused an uproar on social media, including backlash from many people who had already planned their excursion and bought their tickets, including Westminster students. 

“I do agree with Music Midtown’s decision to cancel the event, although it’s disappointing that people bringing guns to a concert is even something that is conceivable,” said junior Ellie Myers. “It’s just disappointing that we have to be concerned with gun violence today and the fact that it was canceled is indicative of where we are right now. I think it’s up to us as a generation to work on changing that and work on reforming the laws around it in order for everyone to feel safe.” 

This situation has raised some questions on the Westminster campus concerning gun safety. While gun laws are in place to protect citizens’ right to bear arms, is there a limit to what’s safe? If the process of obtaining a firearm becomes more strict, it may make it harder for those who want a gun for protection, but it will also serve to weed out many possible incidents from arising and possibly discourage more violent acts. 

While restrictions on gun ownership could cause the emergence of more illegal methods of procuring firearms, people can arguably always find ways around the law, but it could help prevent people acting in bad faith from getting guns and using them harmfully. 

 “People are always going to find a way to get a gun…And while I can understand that some people want to have a weapon to defend themselves, I feel like the whole way to stop the attack is to completely cut it off, so you wouldn’t have to worry about the defense,” said junior Cate Davis.

Another factor to consider concerning gun laws is the safety of students. 

“The fact that you only have to be 18 to carry a gun anywhere in public is extremely unsettling for most people in Atlanta,” said junior Carson Wilkie. “Especially in a location where there’s such a high number of school shootings. It just makes that fear worse.”

Most students at Westminster remember the incident in 2018 when an active shooter was believed to be hiding on campus grounds, causing a schoolwide lockdown. Since then, school shootings have only become more common nationwide.

As of now, Music Midtown’s fate is unclear. The festival’s website says they “hope we can all get back to enjoying the festival again soon.” Current Georgia gun laws could undergo changes after the governor’s election in November. No definitive statement has been made regarding rescheduling or plans for next year.

Edited by Sophia Cunningham