Gun Laws in Georgia
Firearms can be a very dangerous tool in the hands of the wrong person. Every state has their own gun laws and regulations. For the state of Georgia, the laws are pretty straight forward and easy to abide by. Before you get charged for unlawful gun possession, you want to make sure that you are aware of and understand the laws of your state.
Purchasing and Possessing Firearms
When purchasing firearms in Georgia, you do not need a permit.
You must be at least 18 years old to purchase an possess a firearm, unless you meet one of the following criterion and a parent or legal guardian furnishes the firearm:
- You are attending a hunter's education or firearm safety course.
- You are engaging in practice or target shooting at an established shooting range.
- You are engaging in organized competition or practicing for performance by a groups organized under 26 U.S.C. 501.
- You are hunting or fishing with a valid license and you are engaging in legal hunting or fishing and have permission of the land owner, at which time you can carry a loaded pistol or revolver, open and exposed.
- When you are traveling from any of the above activities, but the gun must be unloaded.
- If you are on the properly under the control of a parent or legal guardian with the permission of the parent or guardian to possess the gun.
- The above exceptions do not apply to any minor who has been convicted of a forcible crime.
You cannot purchase, possess, carry, transfer, or receive a firearm if you:
- Have been convicted of a felony.
- Have been convicted of any crime against or involving another person
- Have been convicted of theft from a building or a vehicle.
- Have been convicted of any crime involving possession, manufacture, delivery, distribution, dispensing, administering, selling, or possession with the intent to distribute any controlled substance.
- Have been convicted of any crime involving the trafficking of cocaine, marijuana, or illegal drugs.
You cannot carry any firearm, whether openly or concealed, without a license to carry a firearm. With any rule or law, there are exceptions, as stated below.
The exceptions to carry a gun or concealable firearm without a license includes:
- Carrying a firearm, openly or concealed, in your own home or place of business.
- Transporting a firearm that is unloaded and in an enclosed case, separated from ammunition as long as you are allowed to legally obtain a firearm.
- Transporting a loaded firearm in a private vehicle as long as it is carried openly and fully exposed or is in the glove compartment console or a similar compartment.
- Carrying a firearm while hunting, fishing, or sport shooting, as long as you have written permission from the land owner and as long as the handgun is carried in a fully exposed manner.
For more information about applying for a firearm license in the state of Georgia and who qualifies for a firearm license, you will want to check out Applying for a Gun License in Georgia.
Places You Cannot Carry a Firearm
Public Gatherings. It is a misdemeanor offense to carry a licensed, or unlicensed, firearm at public events, including: sporting events, church functions, political functions, publicly owned and operated buildings (Federal, state, or local government buildings), or any event where alcohol is sold.
You can carry licensed firearms at malls, stores, financial institutions, and other places open to the public.
School Property and Functions. It is a felony offense to carry a licensed, or unlicensed, firearm on to or within 1,000 feet of any property owned or leased by any public or private elementary school, secondary school, or school board that is used for elementary or secondary education. It is also unlawful to carry firearms on to or within 1,000 feet of the campus of any public or private technical school, vocational school, college, university, or institution of post secondary education.
Nuclear Power Facility. It is a misdemeanor offense to carry, possess, or have a firearm whether licensed or not under your control while on premises of a nuclear power plant. Exceptions include firearms in use for official duties or training.
Public Transportation. It is a felony offense to carry or attempt to carry a firearm on any form of public transportation, whether a commercial airline, rail vehicle, or bus. It is considered hijacking in the state of Georgia to do so, and it does not matter if you have a license or not. This does not apply to privately owned airline, rail vehicles, or buses.
*It is now legal to carry firearms with the appropriate concealed weapons permit on public transportation.
State parks, historic sites, and recreational areas. This applies to any park, historic site, and recreational area that is operated by, for, or under the control of the Department of Natural Resources. You cannot carry a loaded firearm on the premises. You can, however, carry an unloaded firearm that is not easily accessible, meaning it must be stored, as long as you have the permission of the commissioner of natural resources or his authorized representative. If you are caught with a loaded firearm or an unloaded firearm without permission, you will be asked to leave and charged and arrested for criminal trespass.
*It is now legal to carry firearms with the appropriate concealed weapons permit in public parks.
Guns in Restaurants in Georgia
In the most current bill that has passed, the legislature allows you to carry firearms into restaurants that serve alcohol or carry on to public transportation, as long as you have a concealed weapons permit.
Although Governor Perdue was urged to veto the bill in the state of Georgia, he signed the bill to allow firearms in restaurants, as long as the weapon is visible and the restaurant allows it. The bill also says that you can carry a concealed weapon on public transportation and in public parks.
Many people are against the bill; their position is that carrying guns into places that sell alcohol, on to any public transportation, and in state parks increases the risk of deadly situations. You don't need official training to obtain a firearm permit, there is no guarantee that the person with the gun knows how to properly use the firearm.