Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Georgia Firearm Laws FAQ

We get a lot of questions about the firearm laws in Georgia.  Here are some of the frequently asked questions we get asked during the Civilian Firearms Training Class.

Is it legal for citizens in Georgia to carry a handgun?

Where can a citizen who does not have a Weapons Carry License carry a handgun?

Without a permit a person 18 years of age or older may carry a handgun on their person in their home, car, land or place of business (business owned by that person).  

Person with a valid hunting or fishing license or is not required to have one may carry on another person’s land with permission of the land owner while engaged in hunting, fishing or sport shooting.

Where can a citizen who does have a Weapons Carry License carry a gun?
Anywhere in the state of Georgia except:
  One of the designated unauthorized locations.
  The property of a person who forbids it.
  Any land or property owned or controlled by the Federal Government. 
 (OCGA 16-11-127, 16-11-127.1) 

What are the unauthorized locations?
 Government Building
 Jail or Prison
 Place of Worship
 State Mental Health Facility
 Bar (unless allowed by the owner)
 Nuclear Power Facility
 Within 150 feet of a polling place
 School Building, Facility, Function or Transportation
 Any private property that the owner of said 
         property forbids the carrying of weapons.
 (OCGA 16-11-127, 16-11-127.1)

Can I leave my handgun secured in my vehicle?
Generally speaking yes. There are exceptions; however, state law allows a   person to leave their handguns in their vehicle when the car is parked in most parking lots, including those of the unauthorized locations. The handgun must be secured in the trunk or locked in the glove box or some similar compartment. It is the duty of the person to know if the parking lot is considered an exception to the law (OCGA 16-11-135)

Does Georgia allow concealed and open carry?
There is no distinction between open carry and concealed in Georgia. If a person is authorized to carry a handgun in the location they are in the manner in which they do so is not an issue.

How do I get a Weapons Carry License (WCL)?
Be at least 21 years of age
  Go to the probate court of county you reside in.
  Fill out application
Be fingerprinted and submit to background check. 
  Pay fee.  State fee is $30.00. Each county shall set its own additional fees.
WCL is valid for five years.
Valid in any county in the State of Georgia and in the states that have reciprocal agreements with Georgia. (OCGA 16-11-129)

What states have reciprocal agreements with Georgia?
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas,Colorado,Florida,Idaho,Indiana,Iwoa,Kentucky,Louisana, Michigan, Mississippi,  Missouri, Montana, New  Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South  Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin,  Wyoming

When can I use a firearm to defend myself?
A person may use deadly force to prevent death or great bodily harm to him/herself, another person or to prevent a forcible felony.  (OCGA 16-3-21)