Gun laws in Georgia

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Gun laws in Georgia regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition in the state of Georgia in the United States.

Location of Georgia in the United States

Overview[edit]

On June 8, 2010, Senate Bill 308 was signed by Governor Sonny Perdue reforming and clarifying many of Georgia's Gun Laws, while leaving certain restrictions in place.[1][2]

While Georgia is generally considered to be a "shall issue" state, the actual Georgia firearms permit statute requires the permit applicant to obtain approval of the local county probate court judge, who can deny issuance based solely on a determination that the applicant "is not of good moral character".[1] Georgia recognizes permits from any other state which recognizes Georgia's permit.

Any person who may legally own a firearm may carry a firearm in their home, place of business, and vehicle without a permit. Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry on his or her person a long gun without a valid weapons carry license, provided that if the long gun is loaded, it shall only be carried in an open and fully exposed manner.(O.C.G.A. § 16-11-126 (b))

State preemption laws prohibit localities from regulating the ownership, transportation, and possession of firearms. Georgia also has a law preventing localities from enacting ordinances or lawsuits to classify gun ranges as nuisances.

Beyond a few exceptions, a person may not carry a handgun openly in Georgia without having a valid GWCL

Firearm regulations are uniform throughout the state, and a firearms permit is valid throughout the state, in all areas other than in a few specially-defined areas. These specially-defined prohibited areas include:

  • In a government building, where ingress into such building is restricted or screened by security personnel
  • In a courthouse
  • In a jail or prison
  • In a place of worship, unless the governing body or authority of the place of worship permits the carrying of weapons or long guns by license holders
  • In a state mental health facility
  • On the premises of a nuclear power facility
  • Within 150 feet (46 m) of any polling place
  • In any school building or on school grounds, unless permitted in writing by an official of the school
  • Private property where the owner or person with legal control of the property has declared it to be a "Gun-Free" zone (excepting parking lots at places of business)

As exceptions to the above list, a person may keep their firearm in a locked compartment of their vehicle at any of the above places except nuclear power facilities. Also, a person may approach security or management of any of the above places (except schools and nuclear power facilities) and ask them for directions on removing, securing, storing, or temporarily surrendering the weapon.[2]

As of July 1, 2006, Georgia became a "Stand Your Ground" state, and requires no duty to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense, or defense of others.[3]

Georgia law allows private firearm sales between residents without requiring any processing through an FFL.

A Kennesaw, GA city ordinance requires that all homeowners own a firearm and ammunition (Sec 34-1a). No one has ever been charged with violating this ordinance. An amendment exempts those who conscientiously object to owning a firearm, convicted felons, those who cannot afford a firearm, and those with a mental or physical disability that would prevent them from owning a firearm.

House Bill 60[edit]

As of the 23rd of April, 2014, Georgia's gun laws were drastically revised when Governor Nathan Deal signed House Bill 60, or the Safe Carry Protection Act,[4] into action.[5]

Law Changes[edit]

The Safe Carry Protection Act changed many of the currently enacted gun laws in place beforehand.

Summary table[edit]

Subject/Law Long guns Handguns Relevant Statutes Notes
State Permit to Purchase? No No None
Firearm registration? No No None
"Assault weapon" law? No No None
Magazine Capacity Restriction? No No None
Owner license required? No No None
Carry permits issued? Yes Yes[1] O.C.G.A § 16-11-129 Concealed or open carry allowed with permit. See also O.C.G.A § 43–38–10 which is a special permit for armed security guards.
Open Carry? Yes Restricted O.C.G.A § 16-11-126 Open carry of handguns prohibited without a valid license issued under O.C.G.A § 16-11-129.
State Preemption of local restrictions? Yes Yes O.C.G.A § 16-11-173 Despite state preemption, several localities continue to have local gun restrictions. Recent court rulings have resulted in many of these ordinances being withdrawn.
NFA weapons restricted? No No None
Peaceable Journey laws? No No None Federal rules observed.
Unlicensed open carry? Yes Restricted O.C.G.A § 16-11-126 A person may not carry a handgun openly in Georgia without having a valid Georgia Weapons Carry License (GWCL) unless he or she meets one of the exceptions under O.C.G.A. § 16-11-126(a)-(g). Openly carrying a handgun without a GWCL in one's home, motor vehicle, or place of business is covered by the exception in section 16-11-126(a).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Georgia's firearms weapons permit statute contains an exception to its "shall issue" language which allows a local judge to deny issuance based solely on a determination that the applicant "is not of good moral character". See O.C.G.A. § 16-11-129(c)(4)
  2. ^ a b "A Bill To Be Entitled An Act". Legis.state.ga.us. Retrieved November 23, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Senate Bill 396, Georgia General Assembly". Legis.state.ga.us. Retrieved November 23, 2011. 
  4. ^ http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/20132014/144825.pdf | Line 45 states name directly.
  5. ^ http://college.usatoday.com/2014/07/14/georgias-guns-everywhere-law-stirs-controversy-among-students-teachers/