Georgia Gun Laws

Gun Laws in Georgia

Georgia is described as a “shall issue” state when it comes to carrying a firearm. This means that carrying a concealed weapon requires a permit, but this permit must be issued if the applicant meets specific legal requirements.

Georgia LawsGeorgia is in the southeastern part of the United States, with a state population of about 10,000,000 people. It shares borders to the north with Tennessee and North Carolina. To the east, Georgia is bounded by South Carolina and the Atlantic Ocean. The southern border is shared with Florida, with Alabama framing Georgia’s western border. Open Carry is legal in Georgia with a valid license to carry.

Who can own a gun in Georgia?

Any person over the age of 18 may own and possess a gun in Georgia provided they have not been convicted of a felony, violent misdemeanor or spent time in an institution because of addiction or mental illness. If you are unsure of your eligibility contact your local police department to discuss your situation.

Exceptions for minors

Individuals under the age of 18 cannot purchase or possess any type of firearm. However if a minor is participating in an approved training program, or is under the supervision of an adult while hunting they can carry a gun. They can also transport a gun to and from any of these activities provided the gun is not loaded. None of these exceptions apply to a minor who has been convicted of a felony act or selected violent misdemeanors.

Buying a gun in Georgia

To purchase a firearm you will be required to submit to an instant criminal background check. This costs $5 and you will need to bring identification on the day you intend to purchase a firearm. There is no waiting period to own a handgun, shotgun or rifle in Georgia and registering any of these firearms is not required. A permit is not required to purchase or carry a firearm in Georgia. The only permit required is one to carry a concealed firearm.

License to carry

To obtain a license to carry a concealed weapon you must be 21-years of age. If you have been convicted of a felony or certain violent misdemeanors you cannot apply for a license. Also if it has been less than five years since you have been released from a mental institution or treated for addiction on the date of your application, you are not legally permitted to apply.

Applying for a license to carry

In order to get a license to carry a handgun you must submit an application to a judge of a probate court in your county of residence. The application costs $15 and after submission the applicant is required to have fingerprinting done. Within 30-days any negative feedback from a background check will be reported to the judge. If there is no negative feedback and you’re found to be of good moral character your license will be issued within 10-days.

Georgia’s Common Sense Lawful Carry Act

In June of 2010 senate bill 308 was signed into law. This bill aims to clear up which public places an individual may carry a concealed weapon. It was felt that the previous law was far too confusing, and led to many individuals being unnecessarily charged. If you would like clarification on what changes have been made in S.B. 308 contact your local police department.

Carrying Firearms in Vehicles

Georgia allows anyone who is legally allowed to possess firearms to carry them in their vehicles, without a permit. In the case of long guns, the firearm must either be unloaded or plainly visible from outside the vehicle if loaded. In the case of handguns, they must be unloaded and enclosed in a case. If You do not have a permit/license honored in Georgia, You can only carry a firearm in Your own vehicle. If You are riding in a vehicle that is not Yours, You must have permission of the person who has legal control of the vehicle.

Carry in Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

Yes. There is no law stating it is illegal. You can carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol. Places like Fridays or Chili’s unless they have a “No Gun Sign,” then it is suggested that you not carry into the establishment. This does not include a bar or the bar area of a restaurant. You can carry Your firearm into a restaurant that serves alcohol, but you are prohibited from consuming alcohol while carrying a firearm.

Self-defense Laws

Georgia has both Castle Doctrine and SYG laws. There is no duty to retreat when attacked in any place You have a legal right to be, and You may use deadly force in self-defense if You reasonably believe it is imminently necessary to prevent death or SBI, the commission of a forcible felony, or to stop the unlawful & forcible entry into Your dwelling, residence, or occupied motor vehicle.

Open Carry

Open carry is legal in Georgia but you must have a valid CCP to open carry. Places listed in the “Criminal Provisions” above apply to those who open carry. In Georgia it is not against the law for You to possess a firearm without a valid weapon carry license inside Your home, motor vehicle or place of business.

A comprehensive gun law was passed in 2014 that, among other things, prohibits the police and National Guard from disarming citizens during a State of Emergency, prohibits public housing from banning guns on their premises, allows the use of suppressors while hunting, allows felons to use deadly force in self-defense, and allows license holders to carry firearms in unsecured areas of airports, but not to take them through security.

Reciprocal Carry

By statute, Georgia will recognize another state’s license to carry if that state recognizes Georgia’s license:

“Any person licensed to carry a handgun or weapon in any other state whose laws recognize and give effect to a license issued pursuant to this part shall be authorized to carry a weapon in this state, but only while the licensee is not a resident of this state; provided, however, that such licensee shall carry the weapon in compliance with the laws of this state.”

Anyone contemplating reciprocal carry should check with the official list maintained by the Georgia Department of Public Safety.

Restoring gun rights if they are taken away?

If you have lost the right to carry a weapon on account of being treated for addiction or mental illness you may have a medical professional write a letter of recommendation to the judge. If you are ineligible because of conviction you may apply for a pardon to remove your gun ownership restrictions.

Criminal Provisions

Under Georgia law, a license to carry a handgun does not permit carry in any of the following places or circumstances, no matter if it is issued by Georgia, or carry is pursuant to a reciprocity agreement between his/her state of license and Georgia:

  • Any place prohibited by federal law
  • A government building that has a metal detector at each public entrance, or security guards screening visitors
  • A courthouse
  • A jail/prison
  • A place of worship, unless the leader of the congregation permits the carrying of weapons by license holders
  • A bar, unless the owner of the establishment permits the carrying of weapons by license holders
  • Within a private or public school safety zone, school building, school function, school property, school bus, or other transportation furnished by a school, unless authorized to by the school board, or while picking up or dropping off their child.
    • Teachers or other school personnel who are authorized to possess or carry weapons on the premises may do so provided the weapon is in a locked compartment of an automobile or in a locked firearms container.
    • Concealed carry of a handgun is permitted on Georgia’s public college campuses if You have a CCP
  • On the premises of a nuclear facility
  • Discharge a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or drugs