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Make sure youre legal: The basics of Georgia gun laws
Official Code of Georgia

Editor’s note: In 2014, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law the state’s “Safe Carry Protection” act, which allows licensed gun owners in Georgia to take weapons with them just about everywhere, including bars, restaurants, churches and some government buildings. In 2017, the state passed a similar law allowing guns on college campuses.

Here, from are the basics on owning and carrying guns in Georgia.

State laws governing firearms detail when you need a license to carry a weapon, where you can carry your firearms and what the penalties are for breaking the laws.

What You Should Know:

While you may legally store your firearm in your home, motor vehicle or place of business without holding a license, you must apply for a license with your county probate court if you intend to carry it outside of your own property. If you carry your gun for hunting or sporting, your current hunting license permits you to carry your firearm outside of your own property.

You may be guilty of a misdemeanor if you:
• Don’t have a current firearms or hunting license when you carry a gun outside your own property.
• Intentionally and without legal justification point or aim a gun or pistol at another, regardless of whether the gun or pistol is loaded.
• Fire a gun or pistol within 50 yards of a public highway or street without legal justification for doing so.
• Discharge a firearm on private property without the approval of the property owner.
• Discharge a firearm while you are intoxicated.
• When hunting, you may be guilty of a misdemeanor if you use a weapon in a way that disregards and endangers the safety of another person. While these charges are pending, you’ll forfeit your current license, and so you must then apply for a temporary hunting license.

You may be guilty of a felony if you:
• Give a firearm to a minor for illegal purposes. This offense entails a fine of up to $5,000 or a three- to five-year prison sentence.
• Solicit or persuade a dealer to give a firearm to anyone other than the actual buyer.
• Deliberately alter or counterfeit a weapons carry license or carry an altered or counterfeit weapons carry license. This offense carries with it a one- to five-year prison sentence.

When can a minor legally carry a firearm?
Minors may carry firearms when they are attending hunter education and firearms safety courses, practicing target shooting at a range, or participating in competitions or performances that use firearms. With the consent of their parents, minors may also apply for hunting licenses and may carry firearms while on their parents’ property.

When I park my vehicle in the employee lot and leave my firearm locked out of sight in the vehicle, can my employer search my car?

If you own your car and you hold a current weapons carry license, your employer cannot search the vehicle without reason. If your car belongs to your employer’s fleet, however, you do not have full control over searches and must speak directly with your employer.

Campus carry

Under Georgia’s new law allowing guns on college campuses, concealed weapons are allowed:
• In class.
• At tailgating events.
• In student recreation centers.
• On campus, except where prohibited.

Guns are prohibited:
• In on-campus student housing, including residence halls, fraternities and sororities.
• Inside athletic facilities, including stadiums.
• In preschool or childcare centers.
• In faculty and administration offices.
• In classrooms attended by enrolled high school students.

Source: HB280

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