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Originally Posted On: https://www.mailletcriminallaw.com/criminal-defense-carrying-a-weapon-without-a-license-in-georgia
Over 49% of the residents in Georgia own firearms and there are over 190,000 firearms registered in the state. Like most states, however, Georgia firearms laws are complex and if you violate them you will need a determined criminal defense to help mitigate a possible prison term, fines, and loss of civil liberties.With that in mind, you need to be aware of Georgia’s gun laws and subsequent criminal procedures if you are arrested for violating the state’s firearms licensing laws.
Types of Guns Allowed in Georgia
In Georgia, the laws differentiate between long guns and pistols. Any rifle or shotgun is classified as a long gun. Any gun manufactured to fit in the hand and fired one-handed is a pistol/handgun. Not all types of guns are legal in Georgia and you need to be aware of the types that are not allowed, which will be covered later in this article.
Open and Concealed Carry
There are two ways in which you might be carrying a firearm in Georgia:
Open carrying a firearm, which means the weapon is in plain view of others, such as in a holster on your hip.
Concealed carrying a firearm, which is when you are hiding the fact that you are carrying a weapon, such as when it is in a shoulder strap under clothing.
When a License is Not Required in Georgia
While you need a firearms license for open or concealed carrying a firearm in most locations in Georgia, there are some locations and situations where a license isnot required.
- Carrying a gun in your vehicle, home, or place of business
- Carrying along gun (but not a handgun) in an open and exposed manner
- Carrying an unloaded firearm in a case
- Carrying while hunting or fishing
- Carrying in another person’s vehicle as long as you would qualify for a permit
Georgia Laws Regarding the Licensing of Weapons
In all other situations, you need a firearms license for open or conceal carrying a firearm in the state of Georgia.
Be aware that even with a firearms license there are certain locations where carrying a firearm is prohibited under Georgia law.
The following are not allowed under any circumstance:
- Dangerous weapons: mortars, rocket launchers, grenade launchers, or grenades.
- Machine guns
- Sawed-off rifles
- Sawed-off shotguns
- Guns affixed with a silencer
Just as certain types of weapons are illegal, there are locations where carrying a firearm or any weapon is illegal.
- School busses
- School functions, safety zones, school grounds of any kind
- Secured areas of an airport
- In a courthouse
- In most government buildings (subject to security restrictions)
- In any place of worship
- In jail or prison
- In a state mental facility
- On the grounds of any nuclear facility
- Within 150 feet of any polling place when elections are underway
- Any federal location prohibiting concealed or open carry of weapons
Where You Are Allowed to Carry a Firearm
Just as you should know where carrying a firearm is not allowed, you need to also be aware of where you are permitted to carry.
- Your vehicle (owned or rented). You need the permission of the vehicle owner if it’s not yours (in writing is best)
- Roadside rest areas and recreation areas
- State and national parks (within the state)
- Bars and restaurants, even those that serve alcohol
- In your vehicle at work
- Hotels/motels: but always ask the manager for permission first
- Your home and property
- Other private property with permission from the landowner
- Public transportation (except where the federal laws prohibit it)
Other Laws Regarding Open and Concealed Carry in Georgia
There are other miscellaneous firearms laws in Georgia that you need to be aware of.
- It is illegal to point your weapon at another person except in self-defense
- You cannot discharge a firearm within 50 yards of a public place or highway
- It is illegal to use your firearm while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Criminal Defense of a Weapons Charge
Knowing a few facts upfront will help you to avoid breaking Georgia’s firearms license laws:
90 Day Rule
While carrying a firearm may be allowed if you have a valid firearms license from another state, you must still apply for and receive a valid Georgia firearms license within 90 days of becoming a citizen of Georgia.
Get Permission First
If you will be using your weapon on private property or in a vehicle you do not own, get the owner’s permission ahead of time. And get it in writing.
You may own a gun in Georgia at age 18, but you must be 21 years of age or older to carry a firearm (openly or concealed) in Georgia outside of your private residence.
If you are arrested or charged with a violation of Georgia’s firearms license laws, and it is your first offense, you will be charged with a misdemeanor under most circumstances.
A misdemeanor conviction can carry a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.
Second Offense and Special Circumstances
If you are charged with a second offense of carrying a weapon without a firearms license or you are a felon, you will most likely be charged with a felony, which can carry steep fines and up to five years in prison.
If convicted, you will also lose the following civil rights.
- The right to vote
- The right to hold public office
- The right to serve on a jury
- The right to certain professional licenses
Firearms Laws Are Complex
Like all states, Georgia’s firearms laws are complex and carry penalties if violated. Should you find yourself in violation of Georgia state firearms license laws, you could be facing serious consequences.
If you get arrested or charged with a violation of these laws, there are defenses that a qualified lawyer can deploy in your criminal defense. Time is of the essence, you must hire a criminal defense lawyer immediately.
If you need legal help in Georgia with a weapons violation charge, Jarrett Maillet is a respected criminal defense lawyer who can help you with your case. Do not risk your freedoms, call today.
Jarrett Maillet J.D., P.C.
210 E 31st St
Savannah, GA 31401