Georgia concealed carry -- lock, stock and barrel
The South loves guns, which makes Georgia concealed carry laws an important consideration for members of the Peach State.
A Georgia weapons carry license is a necessary step to take for open or concealed carry in public. However, as with any other state in the union, there are restrictions on when and where carrying a firearm is allowed and who is using it for what reason.
How To Concealed Carry In Georgia: Reciprocity, Applications, Fees, And Requirements
There are a few steps to take before practicing concealed carry in Georgia. This isn’t formal legal advice, and the procedures may update from time to time, but here’s a snapshot of how to start.
- An official form of identification
- Fees (on average $75 for licensing and fingerprinting, but it differs based on the county)
- A self-addressed, stamped envelope -- if the applicant wants them to mail him or her the license
Applications, like the one provided by Georgia’s Gwinnett County Probate Court, may be provided in person, or can be printed at home. It’s up to the applicant and if the county provides them online.
Within five days, a county probate judge will request a background check on criminal history and other recognized restrictions for a Georgia Weapons License. Approximately 30 days later, law enforcement will finalize the background check and decide whether or not to approve the application.
According to Georgia Code Section 16-11-126(a) 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 weapon or long gun on his or her property or inside his or her home, motor vehicle, or place of business without a valid weapons carry license.
(b) 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.
(c) Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry any handgun provided that it is enclosed in a case and unloaded.
(d) Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun who is eligible for a weapons carry license may transport a handgun or long gun in any private passenger motor vehicle; provided, however, that private property owners or persons in legal control of property through a lease, rental agreement, licensing agreement, contract, or any other agreement to control access to such property shall have the right to forbid possession of a weapon or long gun on their property, except as provided in Code Section 16-11-135.
(e) 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.
(f) Any person with a valid hunting or fishing license on his or her person, or any person not required by law to have a hunting or fishing license, who is engaged in legal hunting, fishing, or sport shooting when the person has the permission of the owner of the land on which the activities are being conducted may have or carry on his or her person a handgun or long gun without a valid weapons carry license while hunting, fishing, or engaging in sport shooting.
(g) Notwithstanding Code Sections 12-3-10, 27-3-1.1, 27-3-6, and 16-12-122 through 16-12-127, any person with a valid weapons carry license may carry a weapon in all parks, historic sites, or recreational areas, as such term is defined in Code Section 12-3-10, including all publicly owned buildings located in such parks, historic sites, and recreational areas, in wildlife management areas, and on public transportation; provided, however, that a person shall not carry a handgun into a place where it is prohibited by federal law.
(h) (1) No person shall carry a weapon without a valid weapons carry license unless he or she meets one of the exceptions to having such license as provided in subsections (a) through (g) of this Code section. , Georgia probate courts will not issue a Georgia weapons license if the applicant:
- Is not 21, but 18-year-old applicants will be issued a license if they present proof of either completing U.S. armed forces basic training or are actively serving in or honorably discharged from U.S. armed forces
- Has been convicted of an unpardoned felony on U.S. soil or abroad, has a pending felony or is a fugitive from justice
- Is prohibited to possess or ship firearms in interstate commerce, according to 18 U.S.C. Section 922 subsections (g) and (n).
- Has been convicted of manufacturing or distributing a controlled substance or dangerous drug
- Has had a revoked weapons carry license in the past three years
- Is not free from restraint and supervision five years after a controlled substance use or possession misdemeanor conviction, a second conviction in that vein or any conviction within the past five years for the prior three items of this list
- Has been convicted of carrying a weapon without a weapons carry license, violating Georgia Code Section 16-11-126, or has been convicted of carrying a long gun in an unauthorized location, violating Georgia Code Section 16-11-127
Georgia only grants licenses (valid for five years) to residents, but recognizes some other states’ legal permit holders.
In 1996 Georgia passed legislation to grant reciprocity to permit holders in states that recognize Georgia firearms licenses. Georgia currently shares reciprocity with 31 other states, although that number can and will shift in the future depending on state laws. Stay up-to-date with a CCW reciprocity map.
Separate states out of the question, a Georgia weapons carry license does not universally grant the right to carry guns everywhere in the state.
There Are Locations Where A Georgia Gun Owner May Not Concealed Carry
Firearms will always be subject to regulation in America’s constantly shifting political environment, despite the undeniable rights afforded by the Second Amendment, and because of that, Georgia gun owners are subject to laws concerning when and where concealed carry is allowed.
- Government building
- Jail or prison
- Place of worship
- State mental health facility where residents are involuntarily committed to be treated for mental illness, developmental disability or addictive disease
- Bar, unless license holders are permitted to do so by the owner
- On the premises of a nuclear power facility, with additional considerations under Georgia Code Section 16-11-127.2(a) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, it shall be unlawful for any person to carry, possess, or have under such person's control while on the premises of a nuclear power facility a weapon or long gun. Any person who violates this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. (b) Any person who violates subsection (a) of this Code section with the intent to do bodily harm on the premises of a nuclear power facility shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000.00, by imprisonment for not less than two nor more than 20 years, or both.
- Polling place (150 feet from the location), according to Georgia Code Section 21-2-413, unless the individual is a certified security guard or federal, state, county or municipal government peace officer
- School safety zone
Business owners may post signage or otherwise forbid firearms on private property they control. Despite that, according to Georgia Code Section 16-11-13516-11-135. Public or private employer's parking lots; right of privacy in vehicles in employer's parking lot or invited guests on lot; severability; rights of action
(a) Except as provided in this Code section, no private or public employer, including the state and its political subdivisions, shall establish, maintain, or enforce any policy or rule that has the effect of allowing such employer or its agents to search the locked privately owned vehicles of employees or invited guests on the employer's parking lot and access thereto.
(b) Except as provided in this Code section, no private or public employer, including the state and its political subdivisions, shall condition employment upon any agreement by a prospective employee that prohibits an employee from entering the parking lot and access thereto when the employee's privately owned motor vehicle contains a firearm that is locked out of sight within the trunk, glove box, or other enclosed compartment or area within such privately owned motor vehicle, provided that any applicable employees possess a Georgia weapons carry license.
(c) Subsection (a) of this Code section shall not apply:
(1) To searches by certified law enforcement officers pursuant to valid search warrants or valid warrantless searches based upon probable cause under exigent circumstances;
(2) To vehicles owned or leased by an employer;
(3) To any situation in which a reasonable person would believe that accessing a locked vehicle of an employee is necessary to prevent an immediate threat to human health, life, or safety; or
(4) When an employee consents to a search of his or her locked privately owned vehicle by licensed private security officers for loss prevention purposes based on probable cause that the employee unlawfully possesses employer property. , they may not establish a policy that allows the company to search the employee’s or guest’s vehicle. Law enforcement, however, may do so and Georgia Code doesn’t bar employers from searching a vehicle they own.
A weapons carry license is not necessary if the legal gun owner is carrying the weapon on private property, inside his or her home, in a motor vehicle or in a place of business.
A long gun (a firearm with an 18-inch barrel length, 26-inch overall length made to fire from the shoulder) may be carried without a weapons carry license, but if it’s loaded it must openly carried.
Those with a valid hunting or fishing license (and those who are exempt by law) may carry a handgun or long gun without a valid weapons carry license while legally hunting, fishing or practicing shooting sports.
But what about all parks, historic sites or recreational areas as defined in Georgia Code Section 12-3-10§ 12-3-10. Directing persons to leave parks, historic sites, or recreational areas upon their
refusal to observe rules and regulations; prohibited acts generally
(a) As used in this Code section, the term "park, historic site, or recreational area" means
a park, historic site, or recreational area which is operated by or for and is under the
custody and control of the department.
and the buildings on them?
However, federal property is subject to federal laws. Adhere to those.
Although concealed carry has been historically prohibited at Georgia public colleges and universities, a recent, shocking bill signed by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal allows students to carry stun guns (tasers) on all 29 institutions associated with the University System of Georgia and the 22 associated with the Technical College System of Georgia, according to a recent report.
Georgia CCW Penalties Should Be Taken Seriously
Whether or not gun owners agree with restrictions, regulations or laws, Georgia CCW penalties, and all gun laws in the state, should be respected.
As a function of an imperfect world, laws are only as effective as the citizens adhering to them and actively improving them.
- They do not have a firearms or hunting license, depending on the scenario, when carrying outside personal property.
- They intentionally and without legal justification aim a loaded or unloaded weapon at someone else.
- They fire a gun or pistol within 50 yards of a public highway or street without legal justification.
- They fire a gun or pistol on private property without the owner’s prior approval.
- They fire a gun or pistol while intoxicated.
No one wants a potential felony charge, either. Here’s a few ways how Georgia hands out felony charges with weapons.
- When an individual gives a firearm to a minor for illegal purposes (or anyone for illegal purposes, for that matter). This can lead to a charge of up to $5,000 and three to five years in prison.
- When one is caught soliciting or persuading a licensed dealer to give a firearm to anyone other than the buyer.
- When a someone deliberately alters or counterfeits a weapons carry license or carries a counterfeited or altered weapons carry license.
As far as minors and guns go, according to law, they may carry while attending hunter’s education and firearms safety courses. Authorities also allow minors to carry while target shooting at a secure range and while at legal competitions/performances that require firearms.
With parental consent, minors may apply for hunting licenses and may also carry while on their parents’ property -- with parental consent, of course.
Despite age, location, background, experience, legality, demographic or knowledge on the subject, anyone practicing concealed carry should know and adhere to the relevant laws for their home state, sure, but that’s only half the battle.
The individual gun owner must also respect a firearm for what it is, a deadly weapon intended for protection. Develop a training routine, know the weapon and carry safely with the right intentions.
Click On Another State To Learn About Their Concealed Carry!
About The Author
Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter and photographer based in the pacific northwest. He graduated from the University of Idaho with degrees in public relations and apparel.