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Georgia Gun Control Laws

States govern how their residents may purchase, own, and use firearms, including which types of guns and weapons are prohibited. Georgia gun control laws are relatively mild, with no waiting period to buy guns (but a 60-day waiting period for a license to carry a handgun). As in most other states, Georgia law prohibits convicted felons and mentally ill individuals from owning firearms.

Learn more about Georgia gun control laws in the following summary table and the in-depth description below. See Details on State Gun Control Laws for more general information.

Code Section 16-11-121, et seq.
Illegal Arms Sawed-off shotgun or rifle; machine gun; dangerous weapon ("rocket launcher," "bazooka" or "recoilless rifle," "mortar," "hand grenade") or silencer
Waiting Period None, but 60 days for license to carry pistol
Who May Not Own 1. Convicted felon; convicted of offense arising out of possession, manufacture, or use of a controlled substance; fugitive from justice; pending proceedings for felony, forcible misdemeanor, for carrying deadly weapon within school safety zone or at public gathering; 2. Under 18 yrs. old; 3. Anyone hospitalized as inpatient at any mental hospital or drug or alcohol treatment center within 5 yrs. of applying for gun license.
Law Prohibiting Firearms On or Near School Grounds Felony. 16-11-127.1

Second Amendment Basics

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is a very hotly contested issue, even though it is very brief: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Many of its proponents argue that the country was founded on the belief that each person should have the right to defend themselves with a firearm, whether they are defending themselves against another person, or defending themselves against the government. They also argue that any form of registration gives the government knowledge of who owns firearms, which gives the government the ability to locate and confiscate guns, removing the owners of their right to defend themselves. As the language states any infringement could be a violation.

Critiques of a broad interpretation of the Second Amendment argue that the right to keep a firearm was for the sole purpose of participating in a state militia, and not for personal use or private ownership. They also argue that the current rate of gun violence throughout the country requires us to narrow our understanding of the Second Amendment, and pass gun laws that help prevent future harm.

With this in mind, the following laws have been enacted in Georgia, and have not been declared invalid under the Second Amendment.

Illegal Arms

Some types of weapons are illegal in Georgia, and most are military style firearms. Fully automatic machine guns are illegal, as well as sawed-off shotguns or rifles. Those are firearms that once had a long barrel, but have had the barrel shortened for ease of use. The difference between a fully automatic machine gun and a semi-automatic machine gun is that a fully automatic machine gun can fire multiple shots with one pull of the trigger. With a semi-automatic gun, the trigger must be pulled for every shot.

“Dangerous weapons” including bazookas, mortars, and hand grenades are also illegal, given the extreme damage they cause, and the fact that they are often too unwieldy for personal defense or hunting. Silencers are illegal as well.

Waiting Periods

Some states, like California, require a waiting period before purchasing a firearm. One of the justifications is to allow an angry person to cool down before making a bad decision. Georgia does not have a waiting period to purchase a firearm, but does require a 60 day waiting period before receiving a license to carry a handgun.

People Prohibited From Owning Firearms

Certain people are not allowed to own firearms. Those include:

  • Convicted felons
  • People convicted of drug crimes
  • Fugtives
  • People going through felony proceedings
  • People convicted of carrying a deadly weapon in a school zone or public gathering
  • People under 18 years old
  • Anyone hospitalized for mental issues, or drug or alcohol abuse

If you would like to know more about gun laws in Georgia, there are many attorneys throughout the state with criminal law experience who may be able to help

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