Gun laws in Georgia

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Gun laws in the state of Georgia regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition in the state of Georgia in the United States. It does not however affect the laws of other states. The Georgia Constitution, like many other state constitutions, guarantees to its citizen the right to keep and bear arms. Article one, section one, paragraph VII of the Georgia Constitution states: "The right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but the General Assembly shall have the power to prescribe the manner in which arms may be borne."

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]

Georgia is a "shall issue" state, with the Georgia Weapons Carry License application to be submitted through the probate court of the county of residence.[3]

Georgia reciprocates in recognizing firearms licenses with the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.[4]

South Carolina H3799 was signed by Gov Haley on June 3, 2016, allowing reciprocity with Georgia CCW permits.

There are a number of ways a firearm can be carried without a permit.[1] No permit is needed:

  • To carry a firearm in a person's home, place of business, or vehicle
  • To carry a long gun in a fully open and exposed manner
  • To carry a unloaded firearm in a case
  • To carry a firearm in someone else's vehicle, provided you would qualify for a permit
  • To carry a firearm while fishing or hunting, if you have a valid fishing or hunting license

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, only during an election. [5]
  • In a school safety zone (incl. building and grounds), unless carrying or picking up a student, or permitted in writing by an official of the school[6]

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.[7]

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.

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,[8] into action.[9] The Safe Carry Protection Act changed many of the currently enacted gun laws in place beforehand.

In 2016 the Georgia legislature passed HB 859, allowing for concealed carry permit owners to bring concealed handguns onto college campuses. Governor Nathan Deal vetoed HB 859 on May 3rd 2016. The Georgia legislature now has the chance to override the Governor veto during the 2017 session with a 2/3 vote of both Chambers being required to make HB 859 law.[10]

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 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).
Background checks required for private sales? No No None

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b See O.C.G.A. § 16-11-129
  2. ^ a b "A Bill To Be Entitled An Act". Legis.state.ga.us. Retrieved November 23, 2011. 
  3. ^ "See O.C.G.A. § 16-11-129". web.lexisnexis.com. Retrieved 2015-08-24. 
  4. ^ "Georgia's Firearm Permit Reciprocity | Georgia Department of Public Safety". dps.georgia.gov. Retrieved 2015-08-24. 
  5. ^ House Bill 492 (AS PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE)
  6. ^ "See O.C.G.A. § 16-11-130.1". web.lexisnexis.com. Retrieved 2015-08-24. 
  7. ^ "Senate Bill 396, Georgia General Assembly". Legis.state.ga.us. Retrieved November 23, 2011. 
  8. ^ http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/20132014/144825.pdf | Line 45 states name directly.
  9. ^ http://college.usatoday.com/2014/07/14/georgias-guns-everywhere-law-stirs-controversy-among-students-teachers/
  10. ^ http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2016/05/03/source-nathan-deal-to-veto-georgias-campus-carry-legislation/