Georgia Gun Laws

Today we’ll discuss the three most common mistakes, or misunderstandings regarding firearm laws, carry laws, and travel in and outside of Georgia.

Misconception: You Must Have a License to Carry a Firearm

This is the most common mistake or misconception. Here’s what Georgia law says about the most common forms of lawful carry without a license in Georgia:

“Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or a long gun may have or carry on his or her person a weapon or a 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.”

Georgia Open Carry

This means if you are not a juvenile, you have no felony convictions (or pending felony charges), you have no convictions for a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, and you are not a first offender felony probationer, you are eligible to possess a firearm without a Weapons Carry License in Georgia. In fact, so long as you are eligible to possess it, you may possess a long gun without a Weapons Carry License, openly or concealed—so long as it’s unloaded, meaning no round in the chamber. Otherwise, it must be carried openly, and a handgun may be carried without a Weapons Carry License when it is enclosed in the case and unloaded.

Misconception: Informing Law Enforcement

In some states, when stopped or questioned by law enforcement—at a traffic stop, for example—you must inform a law enforcement officer that you have a weapon in your vehicle, and you must present your Weapons Carry License. Georgia is one of the few states that does not have a “Duty to Disclose” statute. You’re under no obligation to let a police officer know that you have a weapon, and you’re under no legal obligation to produce a Weapons Carry License. Common sense rules apply: if that weapon may be uncovered during your interaction (for instance, if your wallet and your pistol are both in the center console), it might be a good idea to let that officer know.

Misconception: You Must Lock Your Firearm in the Trunk

This third misconception rests on partial knowledge. As we know from our first topic, you can carry a firearm in your vehicle without a Weapons Carry License, if traveling in Georgia, and if you’re eligible. Matter of fact, you can carry it anywhere in the car, loaded or unloaded, openly or concealed. This applies to anyone traveling in Georgia and remember also, that Georgia recognizes the weapons permits and licenses from 32 other states. Those travelers are given the full rights of Georgia license holders, while in this state. So, travel in Georgia does not require locking your firearm away in the trunk. Travel in other states, however, is more problematic. You must follow the laws of the state you’re traveling through, and your Georgia Weapons Carry License may not be recognized.

Firearm Owners Protection Act

For those reasons, federal law protection, the “Firearm Owners Protection Act”, protects you when traveling from one state where you are lawful to carry, to any other state where you’re lawful to carry, when the firearm is unloaded and locked in the trunk of your vehicle (this goes for ammunition as well), or out of immediate reach. Your journey must begin and end in states where your possession of a firearm is lawful, and you must be engaged in traveling. A prolonged stop at a highway rest station may put you out of this category. This is where the common belief “you must lock your firearm in the trunk when you travel” arises. Take a look at the laws of the state you’re traveling through, and to, first!

For any other questions regarding Georgia gun law, common mistakes and misconceptions, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney today.


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The information provided in this presentation is intended to provide general information to individuals and is not legal advice. The information included in this publication may not be quoted or referred to in any other publication without the prior written consent of U.S. LawShield, to be given or withheld at our discretion. The information is not a substitute for, and does not replace the advice or representation of a licensed attorney. We strive to ensure the information included in this publication is accurate and current, however, no claim is made to the accuracy of the information and we are not responsible for any consequences that may result from the use of information in this publication. The use of this publication does not create an attorney-client relationship between U.S. LawShield, any independent program attorney, and any individual.