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Georgia Gun Laws

Georgia Gun Laws

The list of states that share reciprocity with Georgia is subject to frequent changes. The information contained herein is not intended as legal advice or any restatement of law. Restrictions on non-resident permits, persons under 21 years of age, qualifying permit classes, or other factors that may limit state reciprocity are not included in this information. A licensed, local attorney should be consulted for accurate interpretation of the law in specific situations. All State, Federal, and Local laws must be followed.

PURCHASE AND POSSESSION


A state permit is not required to possess a shotgun, rifle, or handgun.

It is illegal to furnish a handgun to any person under the age of 18 and is illegal to possess a handgun if under 18, as well. Minors may possess a handgun if furnished by a parent or legal guardian while attending a hunter education or firearms safety course, while engaged in practice or target shooting at an established shooting range that is authorized in the jurisdiction where it is located, while engaged in practice or organized competition or practicing for a performance by a group organized under 26 U.S.C. 501 (c) (3); legal fishing and hunting with permission from the landowner, and carried if loaded, only in the open, fully exposed, traveling to and from the above activities if not loaded; or on real property that is under the control of the minor’s parent, legal guardian or grandparent, with the permission from the minor’s parent or legal guardian to possess the handgun. These exceptions are not applicable if the minor has been convicted of a forcible crime or or has been adjudicated delinquent for an offense which would constitute a forcible crime.

It is illegal to transport, receive, or possess any firearm if convicted of a felony.

Until an instant criminal history background check has been completed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, no gun dealer may sell or deliver any handgun to another person unless they are a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer or licensed collector. Required information for the background check must include, one photo identification, name, birth date, gender, race, social security or other identification number of the transferee or buyer. A fee of $5.00 must be collected for the cost of each background check. Antique firearms, or any replicas of firearms or curios as defined by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, are exempt and permit holders licensed to carry a pistol are exempt from the instant background check.

HIDE CARRY

It is illegal to carry a concealable firearm or handgun whether openly or concealed, on or about one’s person without a license to carry. 

The following exceptions apply.

1.     To carry a firearm, in a person’s residence or place of business, either openly or concealed.

2.     To transport an unloaded firearm, in a case that is separated from the ammunition, and the possessor may legally obtain a license to carry.

3.     To transport a firearm that is loaded in a private motor vehicle, provided it is fully exposed to view, or is stored in the glove compartment of the vehicle, console, or similar compartment.

4.     To carry a firearm while engaged in sport shooting, hunting, or fishing while possessing the required permits for these activities and the written permission from the land owner on which the activity is conducted, provided a handgun is carried in an open manner.

A license to carry allows a handgun to be carried on or about the person either openly or in certain concealed positions, limited to: a shoulder holster, a waist belt holster, any other holster, hip grip or similar carrying apparatus whereby the handgun would be concealed by the clothing of a person, a handbag, briefcase, purse, other closed container, or in any location in a motor vehicle. “Carrying on the person in a concealed manner other than as provided herein shall be a violation.”

The license to carry is valid for five years and is obtained by application under oath to the judge of the probate court of the county of domicile of the applicant. A $20.00 fee is payable upon application. Georgia law specifically provides that the application form “shall not require non-pertinent nor irrelevant data” from the applicant “such as serial numbers or other identification capable of being used as a de facto registration of firearms owned by the applicant.”

A license will not be issued to:

1.    Any person under the age of 21.

2.    Any person who is a felon, is a fugitive from justice, or has pending charges of a forcible misdemeanor or weapons violations against him/her.

3.    Any convicted felon who has not been granted a pardon by an agency or person empowered to do so, including the President, or the States Board of Pardons and Paroles.

4.    Any person who has been convicted of a forcible misdemeanor and who is currently still under supervision or has not been free of supervision for a period of at least five years.


5.    Any person who has been previously convicted of a weapons carrying violation, and has not been free of supervision for the past three years.

6.    Any person who has undergone inpatient treatment in a mental hospital or a drug or alcohol treatment facility in the past five years from the date of application.

7.     Any person who has been convicted of a drug offense involving a controlled substance or of another dangerous drug-related offense.

An applicant must first submit an application that will be reviewed by a judge. After receiving the application, the applicant must be fingerprinted by a designated law enforcement agency that may charge a fee of $5.00. The law enforcement agency will conduct a background criminal check at both the federal and state levels and report any negative findings to the judge within 30 days. If there is no derogatory information that bears on the applicant’s eligibility, a report will not be required. If the judge determines that an applicant has met the qualifications necessary to obtain a license, and is of “good moral character” and no derogatory information is reported to the contrary, a license shall be issued within 10 days of the judge receiving the report. The judge will exercise discretion over granting the license to any person who has been hospitalized for mental illness or has been in an alcohol or drug treatment program within the past five years of the application, based on recommendations from the superintendent of the hospital or treatment program. The applicant will be charged a $3.00 fee to cover costs associated with obtaining a report.  

Georgia offers reciprocity for the purposes of carrying, to any person who is not a resident of the state but possesses a permit to carry in any other state that recognizes Georgia handgun laws and operates within these same constraints.


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NATIONAL FIREARMS ACT “FIREARMS”

It is illegal to possess a short-barreled rifle or shotgun, silencer, explosive device, or machine gun. Persons exempt from this prohibition include anyone authorized to possess such a firearm that is registered in accordance with the National firearms Act or firearms that have been modified to render them inoperable, as in the case of a barrel “filled with lead.”

Range Protection

A sport shooting range, whether public or private will not be considered a nuisance if the range has been in operation for a period of one year or more, and conditions surrounding the range have changed. Any expansion of the range or expansion of the types of firearms used at the range does not change or establish a new date for the commencement of operations. 

§ 41-1-9. Sport shooting ranges not deemed nuisances as result of changed circumstances

(a) As used in this Code section, the term:

(1) “Person” means an individual, proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or unincorporated association.

(2) “Sport shooting range” or “range” means an area designated and operated by a person for the sport shooting of firearms and not available for such use by the general public without payment of a fee, membership contribution, or dues or by invitation of an authorized person, or any area so designated and operated by a unit of government, regardless of the terms of admission thereto.

(3) “Unit of government” means any of the departments, agencies, authorities, or political subdivisions of the state, cities, municipal corporations, townships, or villages and any of their respective departments, agencies, or authorities.

(b) No sport shooting range shall be or shall become a nuisance, either public or private, solely as a result of changed conditions in or around the locality of such range if the range has been in operation for one year since the date on which it commenced operation as a sport shooting range. Subsequent physical expansion of the range or expansion of the types of firearms in use at the range shall not establish a new date of commencement of operations for purposes of this Code section.

(c) No sport shooting range or unit of government or person owning, operating, or using a sport shooting range for the sport shooting of firearms shall be subject to any action for civil or criminal liability, damages, abatement, or injunctive relief resulting from or relating to noise generated by the operation of the range if the range remains in compliance with noise control or nuisance abatement rules, regulations, statutes, or ordinances applicable to the range on the date on which it commenced operation.

(d) No rules, regulations, statutes, or ordinances relating to noise control, noise pollution, or noise abatement adopted or enacted by a unit of government shall be applied retroactively to prohibit conduct at a sport shooting range, which conduct was lawful and being engaged in prior to the adoption or enactment of such rules, regulations, statutes, or ordinances.

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MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

It is shall be deemed unlawful to: point a firearm at any other person; shoot any firearm within a distance of 50 yards of a highway or street that is public; discharge a firearm without a property owner’s permission on his/her property, while hunting; possess a firearm while engaged in the commission of a crime, use any gun in a way that endangers another human being; discharge a firearm if impaired due to alcohol or drugs.

It is illegal to possess or carry a firearm within 1000 feet of a school, school bus, or other school sponsored transportation, or at any function sponsored by the school, unless a school official has authorized such in writing. This does not apply to: any sport shooting event that is organized, any training course involving firearms, any person picking up a student that is licensed to carry a firearm, any firearm that is lawfully stored in a vehicle by a person other than a student, while traveling through a school zone, or any firearm that is stored in a compartment that is locked in a motor vehicle, or in a locked firearms rack in a vehicle, driven by an adult over the age of 21 for the purpose of transporting a student to or from school. Any person living within 1000 feet of the school or visiting a person who resides within 1000 feet of the school, or is doing business that is lawful within this distance, is not subject to the restrictions associated with school boundaries.


The sale, transport, possession, purchase, licensure or registration of firearms may not be regulated in any manner by the county, or any municipal corporation, zoning ordinance, resolution or enactment. This shall also apply to any components of firearms. No county or municipal corporation, by zoning or by ordinance, resolution, or other enactment, shall regulate in any manner gun shows, the possession, ownership, transport, carrying, transfer, sale, purchase, licensing, or registration of firearms, components of firearms, firearms dealers, or dealers in firearms components.

The state reserves the authority to file suit against any manufacturer of firearms or ammunition or any trade association or dealer, on behalf of any agency, or governmental unit, pursuant to the Act of the General Assembly for damages, or relief resulting from the design, manufacture, marketing, or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public. The above paragraph is not meant to prohibit a local government or political subdivision thereof from bringing legal action against a firearms manufacturer or maker of ammunition for breach of contract or warranty on any firearms or ammunition purchased by the local government or political subdivision.

An employer, whether private or public, including the state and its political subdivisions may not prohibit an employee or refuse to hire a prospective employee for storing a firearm in his/her private locked vehicle in a compartment locked and out of sight, such as a glove compartment, trunk, or other enclosed compartment, in the company parking lot, as long as appropriate firearms licenses are possessed.  There are exceptions to this if a certified law enforcement officer deems it necessary to search a vehicle, with a valid search warrant, on company premises, based on probable cause, or if a vehicle is leased or owned by the employer, or in a situation where there is reason to believe that there is a necessity to access an employee vehicle that is locked to prevent an immediate threat to any person’s life, health, or safety, when a licensed, private security officer is given permission by the employee to search his/her private vehicle and has probable cause to believe that there may be property owned by the company, taken illegally and stored in the vehicle. The above rule does not apply in areas where an employer provides employees with a secure parking lot, not for use by the public through the use of a gate, security station, or security officers, any facility used for confinement, such as, a prison, jail, detention facility, correctional institution, diversion center, or penal institution. The following locations are also exempt from the above rule: facilities where electric generators are housed, U.S. Department of Defense contractors are on the premises where it is connected or contiguous with any U.S. military base or installation or within one mile of any airport; where an employee is prohibited from carrying a firearm on the grounds of the employer due to a disciplinary decision, whether completed or pending, parking lots connected with facilities that transmit natural gas, liquid petroleum, water supply and storage, and law enforcement vital to the state of Georgia as determined in writing by the Georgia Department of Homeland Security and any area that is used for parking on a temporary basis.


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Footnote 1

When referring to the term, “loaded” in this code section, the definition shall include a handgun, and ammunition close enough to a handgun that would be readily available for use.

Footnote 2


The state of Georgia has a specific definition for a machine gun that includes: “any weapon which shoots or is designed to shoot, automatically, more than six shots, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.”  Regarding this, federal law strictly governs any firearm that produces more than one single shot with a single function of the trigger.


STATE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISION

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but the General Assembly shall have power to prescribe the manner in which arms may be borne.” Article 1, Section 1, Paragraph VIII.

Modified: 24/04/2014