Citation(s) from the GunPolicy.org literature library
Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 2021 ‘Concealed Carry in Georgia.’ Guns in Public. San Francisco, CA: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 27 February
[Editor's note: The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence regularly updates its webpages with new data as US gun regulation evolves state by state. For the most up-to-date information on US gun laws, please refer to the Giffords URL below]
Concealed Weapons Permitting in Georgia
In 2010, Georgia significantly loosened its law limiting the manner in which license holders may carry handguns. Georgia now allows the carrying of a firearm by any person who:
- Has a valid "weapons carry" license and is carrying a handgun (regardless of whether the handgun is concealed);
- Is on his or her property or inside his or her home, motor vehicle, or place of business;
- Is carrying a long gun, even if the person does not have a license, provided that, if the long gun is loaded, it is carried openly;
- Is carrying a handgun enclosed in a case and unloaded, even if the person does not have a license;
- Is eligible for a weapons carry license (even if the person does not actually have a license) and is transporting a firearm in a passenger motor vehicle, provided that a private property owner may forbid possession of a firearm on his or her property; or
- Has a valid hunting or fishing license, or who is otherwise legally engaged in hunting or fishing or sport shooting.
Georgia is a "shall issue" state, meaning that a probate court judge must issue a "weapons carry" license if the applicant meets certain qualifications. The probate court judge must issue a license "unless facts establishing ineligibility have been reported or unless the judge determines such applicant has not met all the qualifications, is not of good moral character, or has failed to comply with all the requirements" contained in Georgia law.
Applicants may apply for a "weapons carry" license to the probate court judge in the applicant's county of domicile. In 2010, Georgia loosened its eligibility requirements for licenses. Now, licenses will not be issued to any person:
- Under 21 years of age;
- Who has been convicted of a felony and has not been pardoned;
- Against whom proceedings are pending for a felony;
- Who is a fugitive from justice;
- Who is prohibited from possessing a firearm pursuant to federal law;
- Who was convicted of an offense arising out of the unlawful manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance or other dangerous drug;
- Who has had his or her weapons carry license revoked;
- Who was, during the five years immediately preceding the application, under restraint or supervision resulting from a conviction for
(1) pointing a gun or pistol at another;
(2) carrying a weapons without a weapons carry license;
(3) carrying a weapon in an unauthorized location; or
(4) use or possession of a controlled substance;
- Who has been hospitalized as an inpatient in a mental hospital or alcohol or drug treatment center within the five years preceding the application, although the judge retains discretion to issue a license to the individual in some circumstances.
However, a person convicted of any drug offense may nevertheless be issued a license if first offender treatment without adjudication of guilt was entered and the sentence successfully completed and the person has not had any other conviction since that time and for at least five years preceding the application.
For purposes of these prohibitions, "convicted" means a plea of guilty, a finding of guilt, or the acceptance of a plea of nolo contendere.
Firearm Safety Training
Georgia does not require applicants to undergo firearm safety training or otherwise demonstrate competence with a firearm.
Duration & Renewal
Georgia "weapons carry" licenses are valid for five years. Renewal licenses are also valid for five-year periods, and are subject to the same requirements as an original license. If less than 90 days remain before expiration of a license or the license expired within the last 30 days, the license holder may apply for a temporary renewal license, which expires in 90 days.
Disclosure or Use of Information
The Georgia rules governing the inspection of public records do not apply to any application submitted to or any permanent records maintained by a probate court judge relating to "weapons carry" licenses, or pursuant to any other requirement for maintaining records relative to the possession of firearms.) Law enforcement agencies may obtain records relating to licensing and possession of firearms as provided by law.
In addition, license application forms must "be designed to elicit information from the applicant pertinent to his or her eligibility" for a license, and shall not "require data which is nonpertinent or irrelevant such as serial numbers or other identification capable of being used as a de facto registration of firearms owned by the applicant."
Georgia law allows a person licensed to carry a handgun or weapon in another state whose laws recognize and give effect to a Georgia weapons carry license to carry a handgun in Georgia, but only while the licensee is not a resident of Georgia. The licensee must carry the handgun in compliance with Georgia laws…