Opinon: J. Blake Ledbetter, Conoscienti & Ledbetter
Georgia – -(AmmoLand.com)- You’re transferring to Georgia for your job. It’s an exciting move, and you’re looking forward to taking advantage of all of the great things living in Georgia has to offer. The only stressful thing about the move is deciding what to take and getting everything packed.
For instance, what about your guns?
All of the recent news coverage about gun rights, regulations, and changing laws may have you worried about whether the firearms that are legal in your state will still be legal after your move to our area. As a responsible gun owner, you need facts and information.
What’s Required to Purchase a Firearm in Georgia?
Purchasing a firearm in Georgia is pretty straightforward. As long as you’re over 21 and not a convicted felon who’s restricted from owning a gun, all you need is a valid, state-issued ID. That can be a Georgia driver’s license, an official state ID card, or a driving permit. There is one caveat. Handguns can’t be transferred to out of state residents due to federal laws regarding this type of firearm from state-to-state.
Background checks are required if you’re buying from a licensed gun dealer. The exception is if you already have a valid Georgia Weapons License, which stands in lieu of a background check. Sales or transfers from private gun owners don’t require background checks.
Do You Need a License to Carry a Firearm in Georgia?
If you own a gun or are buying one just to keep at home for protection, you don’t need any special license. However, if you want to be able to carry in public, you’ll need a Georgia Weapons Carry license. These are distributed by a judge in a probate court in the area where you live, so you don’t have to go out of your way to get one. They’re available to anyone who’s 21 years of age or older, but 18-year-olds can obtain one if they have been honorably discharged from the military.
Getting a license involves going to your local probate court with a valid state ID, money to pay the application fee, and a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you are having the license mailed to you. The fee varies by location, but it averages about $75. Your form will be submitted along with your fingerprints and application fee. After five days, there will be a request for a criminal background check, which should be received and reviewed within 30 days. Once your license has been granted, it will be mailed out to your address.
There are very few restrictions on who can get a firearm license. As long as you haven’t been convicted of certain crimes or been in a mental health or drug rehabilitation facility within the past five years, you can get a firearms license.
Those who don’t have a Georgia Weapons License or who are from another state have few worries about undue restrictions on their rights as gun owners. Georgia has reciprocity agreements with 32 other states, meaning that we honor their licensing and possession laws and they honor ours. If you’re visiting Georgia from another state, just make sure that you follow our laws about where and how you’re allowed to carry.
Where Can You Carry a Firearm in Georgia?
In general, you’re prohibited from carrying a firearm in church unless that particular church allows carry. There are no restrictions on having as many guns you’d like in your home or place of business as long as you’re legally allowed to own firearms. It’s perfectly legal to carry in public, including government buildings, state parks, unsecured areas in airports, and restaurants. However, any privately-owned business or building can allow carry at the owner’s discretion.
Guns aren’t allowed to be kept on public K-12 school property, but you can have a concealed handgun in your possession when dropping off or picking up a student. However, recent legislation has permitted those with a Weapons Carry License to carry a handgun concealed while on the campus of public colleges and public technical schools, with restrictions to the rooms or buildings allowed. This law does not apply to private institutions.
There is a prohibition on carry, concealed or otherwise, in state parks, historic areas, or wildlife preserves that are under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers. (see comments below for more info)
If you’re caught with a firearm in carry-on luggage at the airport, you have to remove it from airport property before boarding a plane. Possession of a firearm in a prohibited public space or building or a church that doesn’t permit gun carry will subject you to a $100 fine. Aside from that, you’re not under obligation to register your firearms or have a firearms license except under conditions already outlined, and you can carry concealed almost anywhere. If you intend to open carry, you must have a valid state gun carry license.
Georgia is a great state for responsible gun owners to live in. We believe in the rights granted under the Second Amendment, so we place minimal restrictions on citizens and visitors. We’re a Stand Your Ground state, too. There are no waiting periods to buy, few restrictions on the types of firearms you can purchase or possess as long as they’re registered within the guidelines of the National Firearms Act, and no regulations regarding capacity or magazines.
J. Blake Ledbetter is a partner at the law firm of Conoscienti & Ledbetter in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Ledbetter possesses significant experience with Uber accident lawsuits and a range of legal issues involving rideshare drivers and riders. Mr. Ledbetter specializes in civil trial practice, specifically in the areas of business law, corporate law, contract law and personal injury law. Visit : www.cl-firm.com/j-blake-ledbetter/