In the wake of the recent tragedies that have taken place over America by the use of guns, and all the animosity that gun laws have created, why not dedicate this article to Georgia Gun Laws titled “Georgia Firearms and Weapons Act.” This article will discuss what a firearm is, who can carry a firearm, what license is required to carry a firearm, where can you carry a firearm, and what you can and cannot do with your firearm.
What is a firearm?
Handgun – A firearm of any description, loaded or unloaded, from which any shot, bullet, or other missile can be discharged by an action of an explosive where the length of the barrel, not including any revolving, detachable, or magazine breech, does not exceed 12 inches; provided, however, that the term ‘handgun’ shall not include a gun which discharges a single shot of .46 centimeters or less in diameter. OCGA 16-11-125.
Long gun – A firearm with a barrel length of at least 18 inches and overall length of at least 26 inches designed or made and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or made to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed:? (A) Shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of ball shot or a single projectile for each single pull of the trigger or from which any shot, bullet, or other missile can be discharged; or? (B) Metallic cartridge to fire only a single projectile through a rifle bore for each single pull of the trigger;?provided, however, that the term ‘long gun’ shall not include a gun which discharges a single shot of .46 centimeters or less in diameter. OCGA 16-11-125.1.
What does the Georgia Constitution guarantee?
The Georgia State Constitution found in Article 1, Section 1, Paragraph VIII states, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but the General Assembly shall have power to prescribe the manner in which arms may be borne.” This guarantees every Georgia Citizen the right to own a firearm. However, there are exceptions to this provision which will be discussed in detail further below.
Who can carry a firearm?
Pursuant to Georgia code 16-11-129, basically, to carry a long gun you do not have to have a license to carry as long as you are not prohibited from owning a firearm. To carry a handgun openly or concealed in the state of Georgia (other than on your property or inside your home, car, or your place of business), you must have a Georgia Weapons Carry License.
There is no license or permit requirement to own a gun in Georgia. Yes, that means that you can carry a firearm in Georgia, without first having a license or permit to carry. Even without a license or permit, you can carry your long gun openly, and your hand gun on your property, in your home, at your business, or in a private motor vehicle. See O.C.G.A. § 16-11-126. However, in order to carry a weapon into a park, historic site, recreational area, or on public transportation you must have a valid weapons carry license. Id. Georgia firearms law do not trump the federal law, so if there is a federal law that prohibits weapons or firearms, then even if you do have a license to carry, it would be against the federal law to enter with a firearm.
Who can’t carry a firearm?
Georgia Code 16-11-129 prohibits the issuance of a license to:
- Anyone under 21 years of age, unless he or she:
(i) Is at least 18 years of age;
(ii) Provides proof that he or she has completed basic training in the armed forces of the United States; and
(iii) Provides proof that he or she is actively serving in the armed forces of the United States or has been honorably discharged from such service.
- Any person who is a fugitive from justice or who has felony charges, forcible misdemeanor or weapons violations charges pending against him.
- Any person convicted of a felony who has not been pardoned by the President, the States Board of Pardons and Paroles, or any person or agency empowered to grant pardons.
- Any person convicted of forcible misdemeanor who has not been free of supervision for at least five years.
- Any person convicted of a weapons carrying violation, who has not been free of supervision for at least three years.
- Any person who has been hospitalized for in-patient treatment in any mental hospital or alcohol or drug treatment center within five years of the date of application.
- Any person who has been convicted of a controlled substance or other dangerous drug offense.
Where can you purchase a firearm?
You can purchase a firearm from the dealer, your friend, your neighbor, or anyone! If you do purchase from a dealer, you will be required to undergo a background check. If you buy from a friend, no background check is required.
What you cannot do with your firearm?
Although to carry a gun may be legal, there are many illegal things to do with guns. For instance, it is unlawful to: point a firearm at another person; discharge a firearm within 50 yards of a public highway or street; discharge a firearm on the property of another person without the property owner’s permission; possess a firearm during the commission of most crimes; while hunting, use a firearm in a manner that endangers another person; or discharge a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Yes, so robbing someone with a firearm, is illegal. Unjustifiable killing with a firearm, is of course, illegal. Unjustifiably pointing a gun at someone, is illegal. Take a look at these cases where people have used guns the wrong way. Malcolm v. The State 263 Ga. 369 (1993), In re C.A 249 Ga.App. 280 (2001), Parker v. The State 234 Ga.App. 137 (1998).
Gun safety tips
Guns are not play toys, these are serious devices that if used wrong, can seriously or fatally end someone’s life. So always be careful. If you have a gun at home where kids are around, always keep your gun out of the reach of children because it is illegal to give a child a gun; and even if you didn’t personally give the child a gun, if it is in your care, you will be held responsible. When your gun is at home, keep if on safety, that way if it is mistakenly picked up by a child, the gun will not trigger.
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