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Georgia Gun Laws

last updated: February 7, 2017

Gun laws are posted here as a courtesy only and are updated as often as possible. Please check with the actual state website for any additions / revisions to law that may have been made. Up to date information can be found at http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/gacode/Default.asp.

Georgia Constitution Article I, Section 1

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but the General Assembly shall have power to prescribe the manner in which arms may be borne.

TITLE 16 - CRIMES AND OFFENSES

CHAPTER 3 - Defenses To Criminal Prosecutions

Article 2 - Justification And Excuse

§16-3-20 - Justification

The fact that a person's conduct is justified is a defense to prosecution for any crime based on that conduct. The defense of justification can be claimed:

  1. When the person's conduct is justified under Code Section 16-3-21, 16-3-23, 16-3-24, 16-3-25, or 16-3-26;
  2. When the person's conduct is in reasonable fulfillment of his duties as a government officer or employee;
  3. When the person's conduct is the reasonable discipline of a minor by his parent or a person in loco parentis;
  4. When the person's conduct is reasonable and is performed in the course of making a lawful arrest;
  5. When the person's conduct is justified for any other reason under the laws of this state; or
  6. In all other instances which stand upon the same footing of reason and justice as those enumerated in this article.

HISTORY: Code 1933, §26-901, enacted by Ga. L. 1968, p. 1249, §1; Ga. L. 1999, p. 81, §16.

§16-3-21 - Use of force in defense of self or others; evidence of belief that force was necessary in murder or manslaughter prosecution
  1. A person is justified in threatening or using force against another when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes that such threat or force is necessary to defend himself or herself or a third person against such other's imminent use of unlawful force; however, except as provided in Code Section 16-3-23, a person is justified in using force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or herself or a third person or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
  2. A person is not justified in using force under the circumstances specified in subsection (a) of this Code section if he:
    1. Initially provokes the use of force against himself with the intent to use such force as an excuse to inflict bodily harm upon the assailant;
    2. Is attempting to commit, committing, or fleeing after the commission or attempted commission of a felony; or
    3. Was the aggressor or was engaged in a combat by agreement unless he withdraws from the encounter and effectively communicates to such other person his intent to do so and the other, notwithstanding, continues or threatens to continue the use of unlawful force.
  3. Any rule, regulation, or policy of any agency of the state or any ordinance, resolution, rule, regulation, or policy of any county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state which is in conflict with this Code section shall be null, void, and of no force and effect.
  4. In a prosecution for murder or manslaughter, if a defendant raises as a defense a justification provided by subsection (a) of this Code section, the defendant, in order to establish the defendant's reasonable belief that the use of force or deadly force was immediately necessary, may be permitted to offer:
    1. Relevant evidence that the defendant had been the victim of acts of family violence or child abuse committed by the deceased, as such acts are described in Code Sections 19-13-1 and 19-15-1, respectively; and
    2. Relevant expert testimony regarding the condition of the mind of the defendant at the time of the offense, including those relevant facts and circumstances relating to the family violence or child abuse that are the bases of the expert's opinion.

HISTORY: Laws 1833, Cobb's 1851 Digest, p. 785; Code 1863, §4230; Code 1868, §4267; Code 1873, §4333; Code 1882, §4333; Penal Code 1895, §73; Penal Code 1910, §73; Code 1933, §26-1014; Code 1933, §26-902, enacted by Ga. L. 1968, p. 1249, §1; Ga. L. 1975, p. 1209, §1; Ga. L. 1993, p. 1716, §2; Ga. L. 2001, p. 1247, §1.

§16-3-22 - Immunity from criminal liability of persons rendering assistance to law enforcement officers
  1. Any person who renders assistance reasonably and in good faith to any law enforcement officer who is being hindered in the performance of his official duties or whose life is being endangered by the conduct of any other person or persons while performing his official duties shall be immune to the same extent as the law enforcement officer from any criminal liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed as a result of rendering assistance to the law enforcement officer.
  2. The official report of the law enforcement agency shall create a rebuttable presumption of good faith and reasonableness on the part of the person who assists the law enforcement officer.
  3. The purpose of this Code section is to provide for those persons who act in good faith to assist law enforcement officers whose health and safety is being adversely affected and threatened by the conduct of any other person or persons. This Code section shall be liberally construed so as to carry out the purposes thereof.

HISTORY: Code 1933, §27-219, enacted by Ga. L. 1967, p. 745, §§1, 2.

§16-3-23 - Use of force in defense of habitation

A person is justified in threatening or using force against another when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes that such threat or force is necessary to prevent or terminate such other's unlawful entry into or attack upon a habitation; however, such person is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if:

  1. The entry is made or attempted in a violent and tumultuous manner and he or she reasonably believes that the entry is attempted or made for the purpose of assaulting or offering personal violence to any person dwelling or being therein and that such force is necessary to prevent the assault or offer of personal violence;
  2. That force is used against another person who is not a member of the family or household and who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence and the person using such force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred; or
  3. The person using such force reasonably believes that the entry is made or attempted for the purpose of committing a felony therein and that such force is necessary to prevent the commission of the felony.

HISTORY: Laws 1833, Cobb's 1851 Digest, p. 785; Code 1863, §4229; Code 1868, §4266; Code 1873, §4332; Code 1882, §4332; Penal Code 1895, §72; Penal Code 1910, §72; Code 1933, §26-1013; Code 1933, §26-903, enacted by Ga. L. 1968, p. 1249, §1; Ga. L. 2001, p. 1247, §2.

§16-3-23.1 - No duty to retreat prior to use of force in self-defense

A person who uses threats or force in accordance with Code Section 16-3-21, relating to the use of force in defense of self or others, Code Section 16-3-23, relating to the use of force in defense of a habitation, or Code Section 16-3-24, relating to the use of force in defense of property other than a habitation, has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and use force as provided in said Code sections, including deadly force.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §16-3-23.1, enacted by Ga. L. 2006, p. 477, §1/SB 396.

§16-3-24 - Use of force in defense of property other than a habitation
  1. A person is justified in threatening or using force against another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes that such threat or force is necessary to prevent or terminate such other's trespass on or other tortious or criminal interference with real property other than a habitation or personal property:
    1. Lawfully in his possession;
    2. Lawfully in the possession of a member of his immediate family; or
    3. Belonging to a person whose property he has a legal duty to protect.
  2. The use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to prevent trespass on or other tortious or criminal interference with real property other than a habitation or personal property is not justified unless the person using such force reasonably believes that it is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

HISTORY: Code 1933, §26-904, enacted by Ga. L. 1968, p. 1249, §1.

§16-3-24.1 - Habitation and personal property defined

As used in Code Sections 16-3-23 and 16-3-24, the term "habitation" means any dwelling, motor vehicle, or place of business, and "personal property" means personal property other than a motor vehicle.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §16-3-24.1, enacted by Ga. L. 1998, p. 1153, §1.1.

§16-3-24.2 - (2014) Immunity from prosecution; exception

A person who uses threats or force in accordance with Code Section 16-3-21, 16-3-23, 16-3-23.1, or 16-3-24 shall be immune from criminal prosecution therefor unless in the use of deadly force, such person utilizes a weapon the carrying or possession of which is unlawful by such person under Part 2 of Article 4 of Chapter 11 of this title.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §16-3-24.2, enacted by Ga. L. 1998, p. 1153, §1.2; Ga. L. 1999, p. 81, §16; Ga. L. 2006, p. 477, §2/SB 396; Ga. L. 2014, p. 604, §1-3/HB60.

CHAPTER 9 - Forgery And Fraudulent Practices

Article 5 - Removal Or Alteration Of Identification From Property

§16-9-70 - Criminal use of an article with an altered identification mark
  1. A person commits the offense of criminal use of an article with an altered identification mark when he or she buys, sells, receives, disposes of, conceals, or has in his or her possession a radio, piano, phonograph, sewing machine, washing machine, typewriter, adding machine, comptometer, bicycle, firearm, safe, vacuum cleaner, dictaphone, watch, watch movement, watch case, or any other mechanical or electrical device, appliance, contrivance, material, vessel as defined in Code Section 52-7-3, or other piece of apparatus or equipment, other than a motor vehicle as defined in Code Section 40-1-1, from which he or she knows the manufacturer's name plate, serial number, or any other distinguishing number or identification mark has been removed for the purpose of concealing or destroying the identity of such article.
  2. A person convicted of the offense of criminal use of an article with an altered identification mark shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.
  3. This Code section does not apply to those cases or instances where any of the changes or alterations enumerated in subsection (a) of this Code section have been customarily made or done as an established practice in the ordinary and regular conduct of business by the original manufacturer or by his duly appointed direct representative or under specific authorization from the original manufacturer.

HISTORY: Code 1933, §26-1506, enacted by Ga. L. 1974, p. 434, §1; Ga. L. 2006, p. 96, §2/HB 1490.

CHAPTER 11 - Offenses Against Public Order And Safety

Article 2 - Offenses Against Public Order

§16-11-34.1 - Preventing or disrupting General Assembly sessions or other meetings of members; unlawful activities within the state capitol or certain Capitol Square buildings
  1. It shall be unlawful for any person recklessly or knowingly to commit any act which may reasonably be expected to prevent or disrupt a session or meeting of the Senate or House of Representatives, a joint session thereof, or any meeting of any standing or interim committee, commission, or caucus of members thereof.
  2. It shall be unlawful for any person, other than those persons who are exempt from the provisions of Code Sections 16-11-126 through 16-11-127.2, to enter, occupy, or remain within the state capitol building or any building housing committee offices, committee rooms, or offices of members, officials, or employees of the General Assembly or either house thereof while in the possession of any firearm; knife, as such term is defined in Code Section 16-11-125.1; explosive or incendiary device or compound; bludgeon; knuckles, whether made from metal, thermoplastic, wood, or other similar material; or any other dangerous or deadly weapon, instrument, or device.
  3. It shall be unlawful for any person purposely or recklessly and without authority of law to obstruct any street, sidewalk, hallway, office, or other passageway in that area designated as Capitol Square by Code Section 50-2-28 in such a manner as to render it impassable without unreasonable inconvenience or hazard or to fail or refuse to remove such obstruction after receiving a reasonable official request or the order of a peace officer to do so.
  4. It shall be unlawful for any person willfully and knowingly to enter or to remain upon the floor of the Senate or the floor of the House of Representatives or within any cloakroom, lobby, or anteroom adjacent to such floor unless such person is authorized, pursuant to the rules of the Senate or House of Representatives or pursuant to authorization given by the Senate or House of Representatives, to enter or remain upon the floor or within such area.
  5. It shall be unlawful for any person willfully and knowingly to enter or to remain in the gallery of the Senate or the gallery of the House of Representatives in violation of rules governing admission to such gallery adopted by the Senate or the House of Representatives or pursuant to authorization given by such body.
  6. It shall be unlawful for any person willfully and knowingly to enter or to remain in any room, chamber, office, or hallway within the state capitol building or any building housing committee offices, committee rooms, or offices of members, officials, or employees of the General Assembly or either house thereof with intent to disrupt the orderly conduct of official business or to utter loud, threatening, or abusive language or engage in any disorderly or disruptive conduct in such buildings or areas.
  7. It shall be unlawful for any person to parade, demonstrate, or picket within the state capitol building or any building housing committee offices, committee rooms, or offices of members, officials, or employees of the General Assembly or either house thereof with intent to disrupt the orderly conduct of official business or to utter loud, threatening, or abusive language or engage in any disorderly or disruptive conduct in such buildings or areas.
    1. Any person violating this Code section for the first time shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
    2. Any person violating this Code section for the second time shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.
    3. Any person violating this Code section for the third or any subsequent time shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than three years.
  8. The enactment of this Code section shall not repeal any other provision of law proscribing or regulating any conduct otherwise prohibited by this Code section.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §16-11-34.1, enacted by Ga. L. 1987, p. 614, §1; Ga. L. 2008, p. 533, §3/SB 366; Ga. L. 2009, p. 8, §16/SB 46; Ga. L. 2010, p. 963, §2-5/SB 308.

Article 4 - Dangerous Instrumentalities And Practices

Part 1 - General Provisions

§16-11-101.1 - Furnishing pistol or revolver to person under the age of 18 years
  1. For the purposes of this Code section, the term:
    1. "Minor" means any person under the age of 18 years.
    2. "Pistol or revolver" means a handgun as defined in subsection (a) of Code Section 16-11-125.1.
  2. It shall be unlawful for a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly to sell or furnish a pistol or revolver to a minor, except that it shall be lawful for a parent or legal guardian to permit possession of a pistol or revolver by a minor for the purposes specified in subsection (c) of Code Section 16-11-132 unless otherwise expressly limited by subsection (c) of this Code section.
    1. It shall be unlawful for a parent or legal guardian to permit possession of a pistol or revolver by a minor if the parent or legal guardian knows of a minor's conduct which violates the provisions of Code Section 16-11-132 and fails to make reasonable efforts to prevent any such violation of Code Section 16-11-132.
    2. Notwithstanding any provisions of subsection (c) of Code Section 16-11-132 or any other law to the contrary, it shall be unlawful for any parent or legal guardian intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly to furnish to or permit a minor to possess a pistol or revolver if such parent or legal guardian is aware of a substantial risk that such minor will use a pistol or revolver to commit a felony offense or if such parent or legal guardian who is aware of such substantial risk fails to make reasonable efforts to prevent commission of the offense by the minor.
    3. In addition to any other act which violates this subsection, a parent or legal guardian shall be deemed to have violated this subsection if such parent or legal guardian furnishes to or permits possession of a pistol or revolver by any minor who has been convicted of a forcible felony or forcible misdemeanor, as defined in Code Section 16-1-3, or who has been adjudicated delinquent under the provisions of Article 1 of Chapter 11 of Title 15 for an offense which would constitute a forcible felony or forcible misdemeanor, as defined in Code Section 16-1-3, if such minor were an adult.
  3. Upon conviction of a violation of subsection (b) or (c) of this Code section, a person shall be guilty of a felony and punished by a fine not to exceed $5,000.00 or by imprisonment for not less than three nor more than five years, or both.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §16-11-101.1, enacted by Ga. L. 1994, p. 1012, §13; Ga. L. 2000, p. 1630, §1; Ga. L. 2010, p. 963, §2-6/SB 308.

§16-11-102 - Pointing or aiming gun or pistol at another

A person is guilty of a misdemeanor when he intentionally and without legal justification points or aims a gun or pistol at another, whether the gun or pistol is loaded or unloaded.

HISTORY: Ga. L. 1880-81, p. 151, §1; Code 1882, §4528a; Penal Code 1895, §343; Penal Code 1910, §349; Code 1933, §26-5107; Code 1933, §26-2908, enacted by Ga. L. 1968, p. 1249, §1.

§16-11-103 - (2014) Discharge of gun or pistol near public highway or street
  1. As used in this Code section, the term:
    1. 'Firearm' means any handgun, rifle, or shotgun.
    2. 'Public highway' means every public street, road, and highway in this state.
    3. Sport shooting range' means an area designated and operated by a person or entity for the sport shooting of firearms, target practice, trapshooting, skeet shooting, or shooting sporting clays and not available for such use by the general public without payment of a fee, membership contribution, or dues or without the invitation of an authorized person, or any area so designated and operated by a unit of government, regardless of the terms of admission thereto.
    4. 'Unit of government' means any of the departments, agencies, authorities, or political subdivisions of the state, cities, municipal corporations, townships, or villages and any of their respective departments, agencies, or authorities.
  2. Except as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, it shall be unlawful for any person, without legal justification, to discharge a firearm on or within 50 yards of a public highway.
  3. This Code section shall not apply to a discharge of a firearm which occurs within 50 yards of a public highway if such discharge is shielded from the view of a traveler on the public highway and occurs at:
    1. An indoor or outdoor sport shooting range;
    2. Facilities used for firearm or hunting safety courses sponsored by a unit of government, nonprofit corporation, or commercial enterprise; or
    3. The business location of any person, firm, retail dealer, wholesale dealer, pawnbroker, or corporation licensed as a firearm dealer pursuant to Chapter 16 of Title 43.
  4. Any person who violates subsection (b) of the Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor."

HISTORY: Ga. L. 1882-83, p. 131, §§1, 2; Penal Code 1895, §508; Penal Code 1910, §504; Code 1933, §26-7301; Code 1933, §26-2909, enacted by Ga. L. 1968, p. 1249, §1; amended by Ga. L. 2014, p. 509, §1.

§16-11-104 - Discharge of firearms on property of another
  1. It shall be unlawful for any person to fire or discharge a firearm on the property of another person, firm, or corporation without having first obtained permission from the owner or lessee of the property. This Code section shall not apply to:
    1. Persons who fire or discharge a firearm in defense of person or property; and
    2. Law enforcement officers.
  2. Any person who violates subsection (a) of this Code section is guilty of a misdemeanor.

HISTORY: Code 1933, §26-2909.1, enacted by Ga. L. 1977, p. 1333, §1.

§16-11-106 - Possession of firearm or knife during commission of or attempt to commit certain crimes
  1. For the purposes of this Code section, the term "firearm" shall include stun guns and tasers. A stun gun or taser is any device that is powered by electrical charging units such as batteries and emits an electrical charge in excess of 20,000 volts or is otherwise capable of incapacitating a person by an electrical charge.
  2. Any person who shall have on or within arm's reach of his or her person a firearm or a knife having a blade of three or more inches in length during the commission of, or the attempt to commit:
    1. Any crime against or involving the person of another;
    2. The unlawful entry into a building or vehicle;
    3. A theft from a building or theft of a vehicle;
    4. Any crime involving the possession, manufacture, delivery, distribution, dispensing, administering, selling, or possession with intent to distribute any controlled substance or marijuana as provided in Code Section 16-13-30, any counterfeit substance as defined in Code Section 16-13-21, or any noncontrolled substance as provided in Code Section 16-13-30.1; or
    5. Any crime involving the trafficking of cocaine, marijuana, or illegal drugs as provided in Code Section 16-13-31, and which crime is a felony, commits a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by confinement for a period of five years, such sentence to run consecutively to any other sentence which the person has received.
  3. Upon the second or subsequent conviction of a person under this Code section, the person shall be punished by confinement for a period of ten years. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, the sentence of any person which is imposed for violating this Code section a second or subsequent time shall not be suspended by the court and probationary sentence imposed in lieu thereof.
  4. The punishment prescribed for the violation of subsections (b) and (c) of this Code section shall not be reducible to misdemeanor punishment as is provided by Code Section 17-10-5.
  5. Any crime committed in violation of subsections (b) and (c) of this Code section shall be considered a separate offense.

HISTORY: Ga. L. 1968, p. 982, §§1, 2; Ga. L. 1974, p. 385, §1; Ga. L. 1976, p. 1591, §§1, 2; Ga. L. 1985, p. 425, §1; Ga. L. 1986, p. 1205, §1; Ga. L. 1987, p. 624, §1; Ga. L. 2000, p. 1618, §1; Ga. L. 2001, p. 4, §16.

§16-11-108 - Misuse of firearm or archery tackle while hunting
  1. Any person who while hunting wildlife uses a firearm or archery tackle in a manner to endanger the bodily safety of another person by consciously disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk that his act or omission will cause harm to or endanger the safety of another person and the disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care which a reasonable person would exercise in the situation is guilty of a misdemeanor; provided, however, if such conduct results in serious bodily harm to another person, the person engaging in such conduct shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $5,000.00 or by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years, or both.
  2. Whenever a person is charged with violating subsection (a) of this Code section, the arresting law enforcement officer shall take the hunting license of the person so charged. The hunting license shall be attached to the court's copy of the citation, warrant, accusation, or indictment and shall be forwarded to the court having jurisdiction of the offense. A copy of the citation, warrant, accusation, or indictment shall be forwarded, within 15 days of its issuance, to the Game and Fish Division of the Department of Natural Resources.
  3. In order to obtain a temporary hunting license, a person charged with violating subsection (a) of this Code section must present to the director of the Game and Fish Division of the Department of Natural Resources a certificate of satisfactory completion, after the date of the incident for which the person was charged and regardless of the person's age or date of birth, of a hunter education course prescribed by the Board of Natural Resources. A temporary hunting license issued under such circumstances shall be valid until the next March 31 or until suspended or revoked under any provision of this title or of Title 27. The director of the Game and Fish Division of the Department of Natural Resources may renew the temporary hunting license during the pendency of charges.
    1. If the person is convicted of violating subsection (a) of this Code section, the court shall, within 15 days of such conviction, forward the person's hunting license and a copy of the record of the disposition of the case to the Game and Fish Division of the Department of Natural Resources. At this time, the court shall also require the person to surrender any temporary hunting licenses issued pursuant to the provisions of subsection (c) of this Code section.
    2. If the person is not convicted of violating subsection (a) of this Code section, the court shall return the hunting license to the person.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §16-11-108, enacted by Ga. L. 1989, p. 292, §1.

§16-11-113 - Offense of transferring firearm to individual other than actual buyer

Any person who attempts to solicit, persuade, encourage, or entice any dealer to transfer or otherwise convey a firearm other than to the actual buyer, as well as any other person who willfully and intentionally aids or abets such person, shall be guilty of a felony. This Code section shall not apply to a federal law enforcement officer or a peace officer, as defined in Code Section 16-1-3, in the performance of his or her official duties or other person under such officer's direct supervision.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §16-11-113, enacted by Ga. L. 2008, p. 1199, §2/HB 89.

Part 2 - Possession Of Dangerous Weapons

§16-11-120 - Short title

This part shall be known and may be cited as the "Georgia Firearms and Weapons Act."

HISTORY: Ga. L. 1968, p. 983, §1.

§16-11-121 - Definitions

As used in this part, the term:

  1. "Dangerous weapon" means any weapon commonly known as a "rocket launcher," "bazooka," or "recoilless rifle" which fires explosive or nonexplosive rockets designed to injure or kill personnel or destroy heavy armor, or similar weapon used for such purpose. The term shall also mean a weapon commonly known as a "mortar" which fires high explosive from a metallic cylinder and which is commonly used by the armed forces as an antipersonnel weapon or similar weapon used for such purpose. The term shall also mean a weapon commonly known as a "hand grenade" or other similar weapon which is designed to explode and injure personnel or similar weapon used for such purpose.
  2. "Machine gun" means any weapon which shoots or is designed to shoot, automatically, more than six shots, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.
  3. "Person" means any individual, partnership, company, association, or corporation.
  4. "Sawed-off rifle" means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder; and designed or redesigned, made or remade, to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed metallic cartridge to fire only a single projectile through a rifle bore for each single pull of the trigger; and which has a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length or has an overall length of less than 26 inches.
  5. "Sawed-off shotgun" means a shotgun or any weapon made from a shotgun whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise having one or more barrels less than 18 inches in length or if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches.
  6. "Shotgun" means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder; and designed or redesigned, and made or remade, to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of ball shot or a single projectile for each single pull of the trigger.
  7. "Silencer" means any device for silencing or diminishing the report of any portable weapon such as a rifle, carbine, pistol, revolver, machine gun, shotgun, fowling piece, or other device from which a shot, bullet, or projectile may be discharged by an explosive.

HISTORY: Ga. L. 1968, p. 983, §4; Ga. L. 1974, p. 449, §1.

§16-11-122 - Possession of sawed-off shotgun or rifle, machine gun, silencer, or dangerous weapon prohibited

No person shall have in his possession any sawed-off shotgun, sawed-off rifle, machine gun, dangerous weapon, or silencer except as provided in Code Section 16-11-124.

HISTORY: Ga. L. 1968, p. 983, §2.

§16-11-123 - Unlawful possession of firearms or weapons

A person commits the offense of unlawful possession of firearms or weapons when he or she knowingly has in his or her possession any sawed-off shotgun, sawed-off rifle, machine gun, dangerous weapon, or silencer, and, upon conviction thereof, he or she shall be punished by imprisonment for a period of five years.

HISTORY: Ga. L. 1968, p. 983, §3; Ga. L. 2000, p. 1630, §2.

§16-11-124 - Exemptions from application of part

This part shall not apply to:

  1. A peace officer of any duly authorized police agency of this state or of any political subdivision thereof, or a law enforcement officer of any department or agency of the United States who is regularly employed and paid by the United States, this state, or any such political subdivision, or an employee of the Department of Corrections of this state who is authorized in writing by the commissioner of corrections to transfer or possess such firearms while in the official performance of his duties;
  2. A member of the National Guard or of the armed forces of the United States to wit: the army, navy, marine corps, air force, or coast guard who, while serving therein, possesses such firearm in the line of duty;
  3. Any sawed-off shotgun, sawed-off rifle, machine gun, dangerous weapon, or silencer which has been modified or changed to the extent that it is inoperative. Examples of the requisite modification include weapons with their barrel or barrels filled with lead, hand grenades filled with sand, or other nonexplosive materials;
  4. Possession of a sawed-off shotgun, sawed-off rifle, machine gun, dangerous weapon, or silencer by a person who is authorized to possess the same because he has registered the sawed-off shotgun, sawed-off rifle, machine gun, dangerous weapon, or silencer in accordance with the dictates of the National Firearms Act, 68A Stat. 725 (26 U.S.C. Sections 5841-5862); and
  5. A security officer employed by a federally licensed nuclear power facility or a licensee of such facility, including a contract security officer, who is trained and qualified under a security plan approved by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission or other federal agency authorized to regulate nuclear facility security; provided, however, that this exemption shall apply only while such security officer is acting in connection with his or her official duties on the premises of such nuclear power facility or on properties outside the facility property pursuant to a written agreement entered into with the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the facility. The exemption under this paragraph does not include the possession of silencers.

HISTORY: Ga. L. 1968, p. 983, §5; Ga. L. 1985, p. 283, §1; Ga. L. 2006, p. 812, §1/SB 532.

Part 3 - Carrying And Possession Of Firearms

§16-11-125.1 - Definitions

As used in this part, the term:

  1. "Handgun" means a firearm of any description, loaded or unloaded, from which any shot, bullet, or other missile can be discharged by an action of an explosive where the length of the barrel, not including any revolving, detachable, or magazine breech, does not exceed 12 inches; provided, however, that the term "handgun" shall not include a gun which discharges a single shot of .46 centimeters or less in diameter.
  2. "Knife" means a cutting instrument designed for the purpose of offense and defense consisting of a blade that is greater than five inches in length which is fastened to a handle.
  3. "License holder" means a person who holds a valid weapons carry license.
  4. "Long gun" means a firearm with a barrel length of at least 18 inches and overall length of at least 26 inches designed or made and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or made to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed:
    1. Shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of ball shot or a single projectile for each single pull of the trigger or from which any shot, bullet, or other missile can be discharged; or
    2. Metallic cartridge to fire only a single projectile through a rifle bore for each single pull of the trigger;
      provided, however, that the term "long gun" shall not include a gun which discharges a single shot of .46 centimeters or less in diameter.
  5. "Weapon" means a knife or handgun.
  6. "Weapons carry license" or "license" means a license issued pursuant to Code Section 16-11-129.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §16-11-125.1, enacted by Ga. L. 2010, p. 963, §1-1/SB 308.

§16-11-126 - (2015) Having or carrying handguns, long guns, or other weapons; license requirement; exceptions for homes, motor vehicles, and other locations and conditions; penalties for violations
  1. Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry on his or her person a weapon or 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.
  2. Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry on his or her person a long gun without a valid weapons carry license, provided that if the long gun is loaded, it shall only be carried in an open and fully exposed manner.
  3. Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry any handgun provided that it is enclosed in a case and unloaded.
  4. Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun who is eligible for a weapons carry license may transport a handgun or long gun in any private passenger motor vehicle; provided, however, that private property owners or persons in legal control of private property through a lease, rental agreement, licensing agreement, contract, or any other agreement to control access to such private property shall have the right to exclude or eject a person who is in possession of a weapon or long gun on their private property in accordance with paragraph (3) of subsection (b) of Code Section 16-7-21, except as provided in Code Section 16-11-135.
  5. Any person licensed to carry a handgun or weapon in any other state whose laws recognize and give effect to a license issued pursuant to this part shall be authorized to carry a weapon in this state, but only while the licensee is not a resident of this state; provided, however, that such licensee shall carry the weapon in compliance with the laws of this state.
  6. Any person with a valid hunting or fishing license on his or her person, or any person not required by law to have a hunting or fishing license, who is engaged in legal hunting, fishing, or sport shooting when the person has the permission of the owner of the land on which the activities are being conducted may have or carry on his or her person a handgun or long gun without a valid weapons carry license while hunting, fishing, or engaging in sport shooting.
  7. Notwithstanding Code Sections 12-3-10, 27-3-1.1, 27-3-6, and 16-12-122 through 16-12-127, any person with a valid weapons carry license may carry a weapon in all parks, historic sites, or recreational areas, as such term is defined in Code Section 12-3-10, including all publicly owned buildings located in such parks, historic sites, and recreational areas, in wildlife management areas, and on public transportation; provided, however, that a person shall not carry a handgun into a place where it is prohibited by federal law.
    1. No person shall carry a weapon without a valid weapons carry license unless he or she meets one of the exceptions to having such license as provided in subsections (a) through (g) of this Code section.
    2. A person commits the offense of carrying a weapon without a license when he or she violates the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection.
  8. Upon conviction of the offense of carrying a weapon without a valid weapons carry license, a person shall be punished as follows:
    1. For the first offense, he or she shall be guilty of a misdemeanor; and
    2. For the second offense within five years, as measured from the dates of previous arrests for which convictions were obtained to the date of the current arrest for which a conviction is obtained, and for any subsequent offense, he or she shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned for not less than two years and not more than five years.
  9. Nothing in this Code section shall in any way operate or be construed to affect, repeal, or limit the exemptions provided for under Code Section 16-11-130.

HISTORY: Laws 1837, Cobb's 1851 Digest, pp. 848, 849; Ga. L. 1851-52, p. 269, §§1-3; Code 1863, §4413; Ga. L. 1865-66, p. 233, §§1, 2; Code 1868, §4454; Code 1873, §4527; Ga. L. 1882-83, p. 48, §1; Code 1882, §4527; Ga. L. 1898, p. 60, §1; Penal Code 1895, §341; Penal Code 1910, §347; Code 1933, §26-5101; Code 1933, §26-2901, enacted by Ga. L. 1968, p. 1249, §1; Ga. L. 1976, p. 1430, §1; Ga. L. 1982, p. 3, §16; Ga. L. 1992, p. 6, §16; Ga. L. 1996, p. 108, §1; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1153, §1; Ga. L. 2000, p. 1630, §3; Ga. L. 2007, p. 47, §16/SB 103; Ga. L. 2008, p. 533, §3/SB 366; Ga. L. 2008, p. 1199, §3/HB 89; Ga. L. 2009, p. 8, §16/SB 46; Ga. L. 2010, p. 963, §1-2/SB 308; Ga. L. 2014, p. 604, §1-4/HB60; Ga. L. 2015, p. 805, § 2/HB 492.

§16-11-127 - (2015) Carrying weapons in unauthorized locations; penalty
  1. As used in this Code section, the term:
    1. "Courthouse" means a building occupied by judicial courts and containing rooms in which judicial proceedings are held.
    2. "Government building" means:
      1. The building in which a government entity is housed;
      2. The building where a government entity meets in its official capacity; provided, however, that if such building is not a publicly owned building, such building shall be considered a government building for the purposes of this Code section only during the time such government entity is meeting at such building; or
      3. The portion of any building that is not a publicly owned building that is occupied by a government entity.
    3. "Government entity" means an office, agency, authority, department, commission, board, body, division, instrumentality, or institution of the state or any county, municipal corporation, consolidated government, or local board of education within this state.
    4. "Parking facility" means real property owned or leased by a government entity, courthouse, jail, prison, or place of worship that has been designated by such government entity, courthouse, jail, prison, or place of worship for the parking of motor vehicles at a government building or at such courthouse, jail, prison, or place of worship.
  2. Except as provided in Code Section 16-11-127.1 and subsection (d) of this Code section, a person shall be guilty of carrying a weapon or long gun in an unauthorized location and punished as for a misdemeanor when he or she carries a weapon or long gun while:
    1. In a government building as a nonlicense holder;
    2. In a courthouse;
    3. In a jail or prison;
    4. In a place of worship, unless the governing body or authority of the place of worship permits the carrying of weapons or long guns by license holders;
    5. In a state mental health facility as defined in Code Section 37-1-1 which admits individuals on an involuntary basis for treatment of mental illness, developmental disability, or addictive disease; provided, however, that carrying a weapon or long gun in such location in a manner in compliance with paragraph (3) of subsection (d) of this Code section shall not constitute a violation of this subsection;
    6. On the premises of a nuclear power facility, except as provided in Code Section 16-11-127.2, and the punishment provisions of Code Section 16-11-127.2 shall supersede the punishment provisions of this Code section; or
    7. Within 150 feet of any polling place when elections are being conducted and such polling place is being used as a polling place as provided for in paragraph (27) of Code Section 21-2-2, except as provided in subsection (i) of Code Section 21-2-413.
  3. A license holder or person recognized under subsection (e) of Code Section 16-11-126 shall be authorized to carry a weapon as provided in Code Section 16-11-135 and in every location in this state not listed in subsection (b) or prohibited by subsection (e) of this Code section; provided, however, that private property owners or persons in legal control of private property through a lease, rental agreement, licensing agreement, contract, or any other agreement to control access to such private property shall have the right to exclude or eject a person who is in possession of a weapon or long gun on their private property in accordance with paragraph (3) of subsection (b) of Code Section 16-7-21, except as provided in Code Section 16-11-135. A violation of subsection (b) of this Code section shall not create or give rise to a civil action for damages.
  4. Subsection (b) of this Code section shall not apply:
    1. To the use of weapons or long guns as exhibits in a legal proceeding, provided such weapons or long guns are secured and handled as directed by the personnel providing courtroom security or the judge hearing the case;
    2. To a license holder who approaches security or management personnel upon arrival at a location described in subsection (b) of this Code section and notifies such security or management personnel of the presence of the weapon or long gun and explicitly follows the security or management personnel's direction for removing, securing, storing, or temporarily surrendering such weapon or long gun; and
    3. To a weapon or long gun possessed by a license holder which is under the possessor's control in a motor vehicle or is in a locked compartment of a motor vehicle or one which is in a locked container in or a locked firearms rack which is on a motor vehicle and such vehicle is parked in a parking facility.
    1. A license holder shall be authorized to carry a weapon in a government building when the government building is open for business and where ingress into such building is not restricted or screened by security personnel. A license holder who enters or attempts to enter a government building carrying a weapon where ingress is restricted or screened by security personnel shall be guilty of a misdemeanor if at least one member of such security personnel is certified as a peace officer pursuant to Chapter 8 of Title 35; provided, however, that a license holder who immediately exits such building or immediately leaves such location upon notification of his or her failure to clear security due to the carrying of a weapon shall not be guilty of violating this subsection or paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of this Code section. A person who is not a license holder and who attempts to enter a government building carrying a weapon shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
    2. Any license holder who violates subsection (b) of this Code section in a place of worship shall not be arrested but shall be fined not more than $100.00. Any person who is not a license holder who violates subsection (b) of this Code section in a place of worship shall be punished as for a misdemeanor.
  5. Nothing in this Code section shall in any way operate or be construed to affect, repeal, or limit the exemptions provided for under Code Section 16-11-130.

HISTORY: Ga. L. 1870, p. 421, §§1, 2; Ga. L. 1878-79, p. 64, §1; Code 1882, §4528; Penal Code 1895, §342; Ga. L. 1909, p. 90, §1; Penal Code 1910, §348; Code 1933, §26-5102; Code 1933, §26-2902, enacted by Ga. L. 1968, p. 1249, §1; Ga. L. 1976, p. 1430, §2; Ga. L. 1986, p. 673, §1; Ga. L. 1987, p. 358, §1; Ga. L. 1992, p. 1315, §1; Ga. L. 1996, p. 748, §11; Ga. L. 1997, p. 514, §1; Ga. L. 2003, p. 423, §1; Ga. L. 2008, p. 1199, §4/HB 89; Ga. L. 2010, p. 963, §1-3/SB 308; Ga. L. 2014, p. 604, §1-5/HB60; Ga. L. 2014, p. 575, §2-5/HB826; Ga. L. 2015, p. 805, § 3/HB 492.

§16-11-127.1 - (2016) Carrying weapons within school safety zones, at school functions, or on school property
  1. As used in this Code section, the term:
    1. "Bus" means:
      1. A motor vehicle operated for the transportation of children to and from school or school activities. Such term shall not include a privately owned motor vehicle with a capacity of 15 persons or less operated for the transportation of children to and from school activities if such motor vehicle is not being operated by an employee or independent contractor of a school; or
      2. A motor vehicle operated by a local transit system which meets the equipment and identification requirements of Code Section 40-8-115; provided, however, that such motor vehicle shall be a bus only while transporting children or children and employees or independent contractors of a school to or from school or school activities.
    2. "Dangerous weapon" shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 16-11-121.
    3. "Firearm' means a handgun, rifle, shotgun, or other weapon which will or can be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or electrical charge.
    4. "Fireworks" shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 25-10-1.
    5. "Machine gun" shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 16-11-121.
    6. "Peace officer" shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 35-8-2.
    7. "School" means a public or private educational program or institution instructing children at any level, pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade.
    8. "School safety zone" means in or on any real property r building owned by or leased to any school or postsecondary institution.
    1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, it shall be unlawful for any person to carry to or to possess or have under such person's control while within a school safety zone, or at a school function, or on a bus or other transportation furnished by a school any weapon or explosive compound, other than fireworks or consumer fireworks the possession of which is regulated by Chapter 10 of Title 25.
    2. Any license holder who violates this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Any person who is not a license holder who violates this subsection shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000.00, by imprisonment for not less than two nor more than ten years, or both.
    3. Any person convicted of a violation of this subsection involving a dangerous weapon or machine gun shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000.00 or by imprisonment for a period of not less than five nor more than ten years, or both.
    4. A child who violates this subsection may be subject to the provisions of Code Section 15-11-601.
    5. This subsection shall not apply to any firearm used for classroom work authorized by a teacher.
  2. The provisions of this Code section shall not apply to:
    1. Baseball bats, hockey sticks, or other sports equipment possessed by competitors for legitimate athletic purposes;
    2. Participants in organized sport shooting events or firearm training courses;
    3. Persons participating in military training programs conducted by or on behalf of the armed forces of the United States or the Georgia Department of Defense;
    4. Persons participating in law enforcement training conducted by a police academy certified by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council or by a law enforcement agency of the state or the United States or any political subdivision thereof;
    5. The following persons, when acting in the performance of their official duties or when en route to or from their official duties:
      1. A peace officer as defined by Code Section 35-8-2;
      2. A law enforcement officer of the United States government;
      3. A prosecuting attorney of this state or of the United States;
      4. An employee of the Department of Corrections or a correctional facility operated by a political subdivision of this state or the United States who is authorized by the head of such department or correctional agency or facility to carry a firearm;
      5. An employee of the Department of Community Supervision who is authorized by the commissioner of community supervision to carry a firearm;
      6. A person employed as a campus police officer or school security officer who is authorized to carry a weapon in accordance with Chapter 8 of Title 20; and
      7. Medical examiners, coroners, and their investigators who are employed by the state or any political subdivision thereof;
    6. A person who has been authorized in writing by a duly authorized official of a school, local board of education, or postsecondary institution to have in such person's possession or use within a school safety zone or on a bus or other transportation furnished by a school a firearm which would otherwise be prohibited by this Code section. Such authorization shall specify the type of firearms which have been authorized and the time period during which the authorization is valid;
    7. A person who is licensed in accordance with Code Section 16-11-129 or issued a permit pursuant to Code Section 43-38-10, when he or she is within a school safety zone or on a bus or other transportation furnished by the school or a person who is licensed in accordance with Code Section 16-11-129 or issued a permit pursuant to Code Section 43-38-10 when he or she has any firearm legally kept within a vehicle when such vehicle is parked within a school safety zone or is in transit through a designated school safety zone;
    8. A weapon possessed by a license holder which is under the possessor's control in a motor vehicle or which is in a locked compartment of a motor vehicle or one which is in a locked container in or a locked firearms rack which is on a motor vehicle which is being used by an adult over 21 years of age to bring to or pick up a student within a school safety zone, at a school function, or on a bus or other transportation furnished by a school, or when such vehicle is used to transport someone to an activity being conducted within a school safety zone which has been authorized by a duly authorized official or local board of education as provided by paragraph (6) of this subsection; provided, however, that this exception shall not apply to a student attending a public or private elementary or secondary school;
    9. Persons employed in fulfilling defense contracts with the government of the United States or agencies thereof when possession of the firearm is necessary for manufacture, transport, installation, and testing under the requirements of such contract;
    10. Those employees of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles when specifically designated and authorized in writing by the members of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles to carry a firearm;
    11. The Attorney General and those members of his or her staff whom he or she specifically authorizes in writing to carry a firearm;
    12. Community supervision officers employed by and under the authority of the Department of Community Supervision when specifically designated and authorized in writing by the commissioner of community supervision;
    13. Public safety directors of municipal corporations;
    14. State and federal trial and appellate judges;
    15. United States attorneys and assistant United States attorneys;
    16. Clerks of the superior courts;
    17. Teachers and other personnel who are otherwise authorized to possess or carry firearms, provided that any such firearm is in a locked compartment of a motor vehicle or one which is in a locked container in or a locked firearms rack which is on a motor vehicle; or
    18. Constables of any county of this state.
    19. Any person who is 18 years of age or older or currently enrolled in classes on the campus in question and carrying, possessing, or having under such person's control an electroshock weapon while in or on any building or real property owned by or leased to such public technical school, vocational school, college or university or other public institution of postsecondary education; provided, however, that, if such person makes use of such electroshock weapon, such use shall be in defense of self or others. The exemption under this paragraph shall apply only to such person in regard to such electroshock weapon. As used in this paragraph, the term 'electroshock weapon' means any commercially available device that is powered by electrical charging units and designed exclusively to be capable of incapacitating a person by electrical charge, including, but not limited to, a stun gun or taser as defined in subsection (a) of Code Section 16-11-106."
    1. This Code section shall not prohibit any person who resides or works in a business or is in the ordinary course transacting lawful business or any person who is a visitor of such resident located within a school safety zone from carrying, possessing, or having under such person's control a firearm within a school safety zone; provided, however, that it shall be unlawful for any such person to carry, possess, or have under such person's control while on a bus or other transportation furnished by a school any firearm or explosive compound, other than fireworks.
    2. Any person who violates this subsection shall, upon conviction, be subject to the penalties specified in subsection (b) of this Code section.
  3. It shall be no defense to a prosecution for a violation of this Code section that:
    1. A school or postsecondary institution was or was not in session at the time of the offense;
    2. The real property was being used for other purposes besides school or postsecondary institution purposes at the time of the offense; or
    3. The offense took place on a bus or other transportation furnished by a school.
  4. In a prosecution under this Code section, a map produced or reproduced by any municipal or county agency or department for the purpose of depicting the location and boundaries of the area of the real property of a school or the area of any postsecondary institution, or a true copy of the map, shall, if certified as a true copy by the custodian of the record, be admissible and shall constitute prima-facie evidence of the location and boundaries of the area, if the governing body of the municipality or county has approved the map as an official record of the location and boundaries of the area. A map approved under this Code section may be revised from time to time by the governing body of the municipality or county. The original of every map approved or revised under this subsection or a true copy of such original map shall be filed with the municipality or county and shall be maintained as an official record of the municipality or county. This subsection shall not preclude the prosecution from introducing or relying upon any other evidence or testimony to establish any element of this offense. This subsection shall not preclude the use or admissibility of a map or diagram other than the one which has been approved by the municipality or county.
  5. A county school board may adopt regulations requiring the posting of signs designating the areas of school boards and private or public elementary and secondary schools as "Weapon-free and Violence-free School Safety Zones."
  6. Nothing in this Code section shall in any way operate or be construed to affect, repeal, or limit the exemptions provided for under Code Section 16-11-130.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §16-11-127.1, enacted by Ga. L. 1992, p. 1315, §2; Ga. L. 1994, p. 543, §1; Ga. L. 1994, p. 547, §1; Ga. L. 1994, p. 1012, §4; Ga. L. 1995, p. 10, §16; Ga. L. 1999, p. 362, §1; Ga. L. 2000, p. 20, §6; Ga. L. 2000, p. 1630, §4; Ga. L. 2003, p. 140, §16; Ga. L. 2008, p. 533, §3/SB 366; Ga. L. 2008, p. 1199, §5/HB 89; Ga. L. 2009, p. 8, §16/SB 46; Ga. L. 2010, p. 463, §2/SB 299; Ga. L. 2010, p. 963, §1-4/SB 308; Ga. L. 2013, p. 294, §4-10/HB 242; Ga. L. 2014, p. 604, §1-6/HB60; Ga. L. 2014, p. 575, §2-5/HB826; Ga. L. 2015, §16/HB90; Ga. L. 2015, p. 274, § 1/HB 110; Ga. L. 2015 §5-27/HB310; Ga. L. 2015, p. 805, § 4/HB 492; Ga. L. 2016 Act 616

§16-11-127.2 - (2015) Weapons on premises of nuclear power facility
  1. Except as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, it shall be unlawful for any person to carry, possess, or have under such person's control while on the premises of a nuclear power facility a weapon or long gun. Any person who violates this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
  2. Any person who violates subsection (a) of this Code section with the intent to do bodily harm on the premises of a nuclear power facility shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000.00, by imprisonment for not less than two nor more than 20 years, or both.
  3. This Code section shall not apply to a security officer authorized to carry dangerous weapons pursuant to Code Section 16-11-124 who is acting in connection with his or her official duties on the premises of a federally licensed nuclear power facility; nor shall this Code section apply to persons designated in paragraph (2), (3), (4), or (8) of subsection (c) of Code Section 16-11-127.1.
  4. Nothing in this Code section shall in any way operate or be construed to affect, repeal, or limit the exemptions provided for under Code Section 16-11-130.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §16-11-127.2, enacted by Ga. L. 2006, p. 812, §2/SB 532; Ga. L. 2007, p. 47, §16/SB 103; Ga. L. 2010, p. 963, §1-5/SB 308; Ga. L. 2014, p. 575, §2-6/HB826; Ga. L. 2015, p. 805, § 5/HB 492.

§16-11-128 - Carrying pistol without license [Repealed]

§16-11-129 - (2015) License to carry weapon; temporary renewal permit; mandamus
  1. Application for weapons carry license or renewal license; term. The judge of the probate court of each county shall, on application under oath, on payment of a fee of $30.00, and on investigation of applicant pursuant to subsections (b) and (d) of this Code section, issue a weapons carry license or renewal license valid for a period of five years to any person whose domicile is in that county or who is on active duty with the United States armed forces and who is not a domiciliary of this state but who either resides in that county or on a military reservation located in whole or in part in that county at the time of such application. Such license or renewal license shall authorize that person to carry any weapon in any county of this state notwithstanding any change in that person's county of residence or state of domicile. Applicants shall submit the application for a weapons carry license or renewal license to the judge of the probate court on forms prescribed and furnished free of charge to persons wishing to apply for the license or renewal license. An application shall be considered to be for a renewal license if the applicant has a weapons carry license or renewal license with 90 or fewer days remaining before the expiration of such weapons carry license or renewal license or 30 or fewer days since the expiration of such weapons carry license or renewal license regardless of the county of issuance of the applicant's expired or expiring weapons carry license or renewal license. An applicant who is not a United States citizen shall provide sufficient personal identifying data, including without limitation his or her place of birth and United States issued alien or admission number, as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation may prescribe by rule or regulation. An applicant who is in nonimmigrant status shall provide proof of his or her qualifications for an exception to the federal firearm prohibition pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 922(y). Forms shall be designed to elicit information from the applicant pertinent to his or her eligibility under this Code section, including citizenship, but 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. The Department of Public Safety shall furnish application forms and license forms required by this Code section. The forms shall be furnished to each judge of each probate court within this state at no cost
  2. Licensing exceptions.
    1. As used in this subsection, the term:
      1. "Armed forces" means active duty or a reserve component of the United States Army, United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, United States Coast Guard, United States Air Force, United States National Guard, Georgia Army National Guard, or Georgia Air National Guard.
      2. "Controlled substance" means any drug, substance, or immediate precursor included in the definition of controlled substances in paragraph (4) of Code Section 16-13-21.
      3. "Convicted" means an adjudication of guilt. Such term shall not include an order of discharge and exoneration pursuant to Article 3 of Chapter 8 of Title 42.
      4. "Dangerous drug" means any drug defined as such in Code Section 16-13-71.
    2. No weapons carry license shall be issued to:
      1. Any person younger than 21 years of age unless he or she;
        1. Is at least 18 years of age;
        2. Provides proof that he or she has completed basic training in the armed forces of the United States; and
        3. Provides proof that he or she is actively serving in the armed forces of the United States or has been honorably discharged from such service
      2. Any person who has been convicted of a felony by a court of this state or any other state; by a court of the United States including its territories, possessions, and dominions; or by a court of any foreign nation and has not been pardoned for such felony by the President of the United States, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, or the person or agency empowered to grant pardons under the constitution or laws of such state or nation;
      3. Any person against whom proceedings are pending for any felony;
      4. Any person who is a fugitive from justice;
      5. Any person who is prohibited from possessing or shipping a firearm in interstate commerce pursuant to subsections (g) and (n) of 18 U.S.C. Section 922;
      6. Any person who has been convicted of an offense arising out of the unlawful manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance or other dangerous drug;
      7. Any person who has had his or her weapons carry license revoked pursuant to subsection (e) of this Code section within three years of the date of his or her application;
      8. Any person who has been convicted of any of the following:
        1. Carrying a weapon without a weapons carry license in violation of Code Section 16-11-126; or
        2. Carrying a weapon or long gun in an unauthorized location in violation of Code Section 16-11-127
        and has not been free of all restraint or supervision in connection therewith and free of any other conviction for at least five years immediately preceding the date of the application;
      9. Any person who has been convicted of any misdemeanor involving the use or possession of a controlled substance and has not been free of all restraint or supervision in connection therewith or free of:
        1. A second conviction of any misdemeanor involving the use or possession of a controlled substance; or
        2. Any conviction under subparagraphs (E) through (G) of this paragraph
        for at least five years immediately preceding the date of the application; or
      10. Except as provided for in subsection (b.1) of this Code section, any person who has been hospitalized as an inpatient in any mental hospital or alcohol or drug treatment center within the five years immediately preceding the application. The judge of the probate court may require any applicant to sign a waiver authorizing any mental hospital or treatment center to inform the judge whether or not the applicant has been an inpatient in any such facility in the last five years and authorizing the superintendent of such facility to make to the judge a recommendation regarding whether the applicant is a threat to the safety of others and whether a license to carry a weapon should be issued. When such a waiver is required by the judge, the applicant shall pay a fee of $3.00 for reimbursement of the cost of making such a report by the mental health hospital, alcohol or drug treatment center, or the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, which the judge shall remit to the hospital, center, or department. The judge shall keep any such hospitalization or treatment information confidential. It shall be at the discretion of the judge, considering the circumstances surrounding the hospitalization and the recommendation of the superintendent of the hospital or treatment center where the individual was a patient, to issue the weapons carry license or renewal license.
      11. Except as provided for in subsection (b.1) of this Code section, any person who has been adjudicated mentally incompetent to stand trial; or
      12. Except as provided for in subsection (b.1) of this Code section, any person who has been adjudicated not guilty by reason of insanity at the time of the crime pursuant to Part 2 of Article 6 of Chapter 7 of Title 17.
    b.1. Petitions for relief from certain licensing exceptions.
    1. Persons provided for under subparagraphs (b)(2)(J), (b)(2)(K), and (b)(2)(L) of this Code section may petition the court in which such adjudication, hospitalization, or treatment proceedings, if any, under Chapter 3 or 7 of Title 37 occurred for relief. A copy of such petition for relief shall be served as notice upon the opposing civil party or the prosecuting attorney for the state, as the case may be, or their successors, who appeared in the underlying case. Within 30 days of the receipt of such petition, such court shall hold a hearing on such petition for relief. Such prosecuting attorney for the state may represent the interests of the state at such hearing.
    2. At the hearing provided for under paragraph (1) of this subsection, the court shall receive and consider evidence in a closed proceeding concerning:
      1. The circumstances which caused the person to be subject to subparagraph (b)(2)(J), (b)(2)(K), or (b)(2)(L) of this Code section;
      2. The person's mental health and criminal history records, if any. The judge of such court may require any such person to sign a waiver authorizing the superintendent of any mental hospital or treatment center to make to the judge a recommendation regarding whether such person is a threat to the safety of others. When such a waiver is required by the judge, the applicant shall pay a fee of $3.00 for reimbursement of the cost of making such a report by the mental health hospital, alcohol or drug treatment center, or the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, which the judge shall remit to the hospital, center, or department;
      3. The person's reputation which shall be established through character witness statements, testimony, or other character evidence; and
      4. Changes in the person's condition or circumstances since such adjudication, hospitalization, or treatment proceedings under Chapter 3 or 7 of Title 37. The judge shall issue an order of his or her decision no later than 30 days after the hearing.
    3. The court shall grant the petition for relief if such court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the person will not likely act in a manner dangerous to public safety in carrying a weapon and that granting the relief will not be contrary to the public interest. A record shall be kept of the hearing; provided, however, that such records shall remain confidential and be disclosed only to a court or to the parties in the event of an appeal. Any appeal of the court's ruling on the petition for relief shall be de novo review.
    4. If the court grants such person's petition for relief, the applicable subparagraph (b)(2)(J), (b)(2)(K), or (b)(2)(L) of this Code section shall not apply to such person in his or her application for a weapons carry license or renewal; provided, however, that such person shall comply with all other requirements for the issuance of a weapons carry license or renewal license. The clerk of such court shall report such order to the Georgia Crime Information Center immediately, but in no case later than ten business days after the date of such order.
    5. A person may petition for relief under this subsection not more than once every two years. In the case of a person who has been hospitalized as an inpatient, such person shall not petition for relief prior to being discharged from such treatment.
  3. Fingerprinting.

    Following completion of the application for a weapons carry license, the judge of the probate court shall require the applicant to proceed to an appropriate law enforcement agency in the county or to any vendor approved by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for fingerprint submission services with the completed application so that such agency or vendor can capture the fingerprints of the applicant. The law enforcement agency shall be entitled to a fee of $5.00 from the applicant for its services in connection with ingerprinting and processing of an application. Fingerprinting shall not be required for applicants seeking temporary renewal licenses or renewal licenses.

  4. Investigation of applicant; issuance of weapons carry license; renewal.
      1. For weapons carry license applications the judge of the probate court shall within five business days following the receipt of the application or request direct the law enforcement agency to request a fingerprint based criminal history records check from the Georgia Crime Information Center and Federal Bureau of Investigation for purposes of determining the suitability of the applicant and return an appropriate report to the judge of the probate court. Fingerprints shall be in such form and of such quality as prescribed by the Georgia Crime Information Center and under standards adopted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation may charge such fee as is necessary to cover the cost of the records search.
      2. For requests for license renewals, the presentation of a weapons carry license issued by any probate judge in this state shall be evidence to the judge of the probate court to whom a request for license renewal is made that the fingerprints of the weapons carry license holder are on file with the judge of the probate court who issued the weapons carry license, and the judge of the probate court to whom a request for license renewal is made shall, within five business days following the receipt of the request, direct the law enforcement agency to request a nonfingerprint based criminal history records check from the Georgia Crime Information Center and Federal Bureau of Investigation for purposes of determining the suitability of the applicant and return an appropriate report to the judge of the probate court to whom a request for license renewal is made.
    1. For both weapons carry license applications and requests for license renewals, the judge of the probate court shall within five business days following the receipt of the application or request also direct the law enforcement agency, in the same manner as provided for in subparagraph (d)(1)(B) of this subsection, to conduct a background check using the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Instant Criminal Background Check System and return an appropriate report to the probate judge.
    2. When a person who is not a United States citizen applies for a weapons carry license or renewal of a license under this Code section, the judge of the probate court shall direct the law enforcement agency to conduct a search of the records maintained by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement and return an appropriate report to the probate judge. As a condition to the issuance of a license or the renewal of a license, an applicant who is in nonimmigrant status shall provide proof of his or her qualifications for an exception to the federal firearm prohibition pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 922(y).
    3. The law enforcement agency shall report to the judge of the probate court within 30 days, by telephone and in writing, of any findings relating to the applicant which may bear on his or her eligibility for a weapons carry license or renewal license under the terms of this Code section. When no derogatory information is found on the applicant bearing on his or her eligibility to obtain a license or renewal license, a report shall not be required. The law enforcement agency shall return the application directly to the judge of the probate court within such time period. Not later than ten days after the judge of the probate court receives the report from the law enforcement agency concerning the suitability of the applicant for a license, the judge of the probate court shall issue such applicant a license or renewal license to carry any weapon 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 any of the requirements contained in this Code section. The judge of the probate court shall date stamp the report from the law enforcement agency to show the date on which the report was received by the judge of the probate court.
  5. Revocation, loss, or damage to license.
    1. If, at any time during the period for which the weapons carry license was issued, the judge of the probate court of the county in which the license was issued shall learn or have brought to his or her attention in any manner any reasonable ground to believe the licensee is not eligible to retain the license, the judge may, after notice and hearing, revoke the license of the person upon a finding that such person is not eligible for a weapons carry license pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section or an adjudication of falsification of application, mental incompetency, or chronic alcohol or narcotic usage. The judge of the probate court shall report such revocation to the Georgia Crime Information Center immediately but in no case later than ten days after such revocation. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess a license which has been revoked pursuant to this paragraph, and any person found in possession of any such revoked license, except in the performance of his or her official duties, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
    2. If a person is convicted of any crime or involved in any matter which would make the maintenance of a weapons carry license by such person unlawful pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section, the judge of the superior court or state court hearing such case or presiding over such matter shall inquire whether such person is the holder of a weapons carry license. If such person is the holder of a weapons carry license, then the judge of the superior court or state court shall inquire of such person the county of the probate court which issued such weapons carry license, or if such person has ever had his or her weapons carry license renewed, then of the county of the probate court which most recently issued such person a renewal license. The judge of the superior court or state court shall notify the judge of the probate court of such county of the matter which makes the maintenance of a weapons carry license by such person to be unlawful pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section. The Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia and The Council of State Court Judges of Georgia shall provide by rule for the procedures which judges of the superior court and the judges of the state courts, respectively, are to follow for the purposes of this paragraph.
    3. Loss of any license issued in accordance with this Code section or damage to the license in any manner which shall render it illegible shall be reported to the judge of the probate court of the county in which it was issued within 48 hours of the time the loss or damage becomes known to the license holder. The judge of the probate court shall thereupon issue a replacement for and shall take custody of and destroy a damaged license; and in any case in which a license has been lost, he or she shall issue a cancellation order. The judge shall charge the fee specified in subsection (k) of Code Section 15-9-60 for such services.
      1. Weapons carry license specifications. Weapons carry licenses issued prior to January 1, 2012, shall be in the format specified by the former provisions of this paragraph as they existed on June 30, 2013..
      2. On and after January 1, 2012, newly issued or renewal weapons carry licenses shall incorporate overt and covert security features which shall be blended with the personal data printed on the license to form a significant barrier to imitation, replication, and duplication. There shall be a minimum of three different ultraviolet colors used to enhance the security of the license incorporating variable data, color shifting characteristics, and front edge only perimeter visibility. The weapons carry license shall have a color photograph viewable under ambient light on both the front and back of the license. The license shall incorporate custom optical variable devices featuring the great seal of the State of Georgia as well as matching demetalized optical variable devices viewable under ambient light from the front and back of the license incorporating microtext and unique alphanumeric serialization specific to the license holder. The license shall be of similar material, size, and thickness of a credit card and have a holographic laminate to secure and protect the license for the duration of the license period.
      3. Using the physical characteristics of the license set forth in paragraph (2) of this subsection, The Council of Probate Court Judges of Georgia shall create specifications for the probate courts so that all weapons carry licenses in this state shall be uniform and so that probate courts can petition the Department of Administrative Services to purchase the equipment and supplies necessary for producing such licenses. The department shall follow the competitive bidding procedure set forth in Code Section 50-5-102.
    4. Alteration or counterfeiting of license; penalty.

      A person who deliberately alters or counterfeits a weapons carry license or who possesses an altered or counterfeit weapons carry license with the intent to misrepresent any information contained in such license shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for a period of not less than one nor more than five years.

    5. Licenses for former law enforcement officers.

      Except as otherwise provided in Code Section 16-11-130, any person who has served as a law enforcement officer for at least ten of the 12 years immediately preceding the retirement of such person as a law enforcement officer shall be entitled to be issued a weapons carry license as provided for in this Code section without the payment of any of the fees provided for in this Code section. Such person shall comply with all the other provisions of this Code section relative to the issuance of such licenses. As used in this subsection, the term "law enforcement officer" means any peace officer who is employed by the United States government or by the State of Georgia or any political subdivision thereof and who is required by the terms of his or her employment, whether by election or appointment, to give his or her full time to the preservation of public order or the protection of life and property or the prevention of crime. Such term shall include conservation rangers.

    6. Temporary renewal licenses.
      1. Any person who holds a weapons carry license under this Code section may, at the time he or she applies for a renewal of the license, also apply for a temporary renewal license if less than 90 days remain before expiration of the license he or she then holds or if the previous license has expired within the last 30 days.
      2. Unless the judge of the probate court knows or is made aware of any fact which would make the applicant ineligible for a five-year renewal license, the judge shall at the time of application issue a temporary renewal license to the applicant.
      3. Such a temporary renewal license shall be in the form of a paper receipt indicating the date on which the court received the renewal application and shall show the name, address, sex, age, and race of the applicant and that the temporary renewal license expires 90 days from the date of issue.
      4. During its period of validity the temporary renewal license, if carried on or about the holder's person together with the holder's previous license, shall be valid in the same manner and for the same purposes as a five-year license.
      5. A $1.00 fee shall be charged by the probate court for issuance of a temporary renewal license.
      6. A temporary renewal license may be revoked in the same manner as a five-year license.
    7. Applicant may seek relief.

      When an eligible applicant fails to receive a license, temporary renewal license, or renewal license within the time period required by this Code section and the application or request has been properly filed, the applicant may bring an action in mandamus or other legal proceeding in order to obtain a license, temporary renewal license, or renewal license. When an applicant is otherwise denied a license, temporary renewal license, or renewal license and contends that he or she is qualified to be issued a license, temporary renewal license, or renewal license, the applicant may bring an action in mandamus or other legal proceeding in order to obtain such license. Additionally, the applicant may request a hearing before the judge of the probate court relative to the applicant's fitness to be issued such license. Upon the issuance of a denial, the judge of the probate court shall inform the applicant of his or her rights pursuant to this subsection. If such applicant is the prevailing party, he or she shall be entitled to recover his or her costs in such action, including reasonable attorney's fees.

    8. Data base prohibition.

      A person or entity shall not create or maintain a multijurisdictional data base of information regarding persons issued weapons carry licenses.

    9. Verification of license.

      The judge of a probate court or his or her designee shall be authorized to verify the legitimacy and validity of a weapons carry license of a license holder pursuant to a subpoena or court order, for public safety purposes to law enforcement agencies pursuant to paragraph (40) of subsection (a) of Code Section 50-18-72, and for licensing to a judge of a probate court or his or her designee pursuant to paragraph (40) of subsection (a) of Code Section 50-18-72; provided, however, that the judge of a probate court or his or her designee shall not be authorized to provide any further information regarding license holders.

    HISTORY: Ga. L. 1910, p. 134, §§2, 3; Code 1933, §§26-5104, 26-5105; Ga. L. 1960, p. 938, §1; Code 1933, §26-2904, enacted by Ga. L. 1968, p. 1249, §1; Ga. L. 1976, p. 1430, §4; Ga. L. 1978, p. 1607, §§1, 2; Ga. L. 1981, p. 946, §1; Ga. L. 1981, p. 1325, §1; Ga. L. 1983, p. 1431, §1; Ga. L. 1984, p. 935, §1; Ga. L. 1984, p. 1388, §1; Ga. L. 1986, p. 305, §1; Ga. L. 1986, p. 481, §§1, 2; Ga. L. 1990, p. 138, §1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 2012, §1; Ga. L. 1992, p. 6, §16; Ga. L. 1994, p. 351, §1; Ga. L. 1996, p. 108, §§3-5; Ga. L. 1997, p. 514, §2; Ga. L. 2002, p. 1011, §2; Ga. L. 2006, p. 264, §1/HB 1032; Ga. L. 2008, p. 1199, §6/HB 89; Ga. L. 2009, p. 453, §3-2/HB 228; Ga. L. 2010, p. 963, §1-7/SB 308; Ga. L. 2011, p. 752, §16/HB 142; Ga. L. 2014, p. 604, §1-7/HB60; Ga. L. 2015, p. 805, § 6/HB 492.

§16-11-130 - (2016) Exemptions from Code Sections 16-11-126 through 16-11-127.2
  1. Code Sections 16-11-126 through 16-11-127.2 shall not apply to or affect any of the following persons if such persons are employed in the offices listed below or when authorized by federal or state law, regulations, or order:
    1. Peace officers, as such term is defined in paragraph (11) of Code Section 16-1-3, and retired peace officers so long as they remain certified whether employed by the state or a political subdivision of the state or another state or a political subdivision of another state but only if such other state provides a similar privilege for the peace officers of this state;
    2. Wardens, superintendents, and keepers of correctional institutions, jails, or other institutions for the detention of persons accused or convicted of an offense;
    3. Persons in the military service of the state or of the United States;
    4. Persons employed in fulfilling defense contracts with the government of the United States or agencies thereof when possession of the weapon or long gun is necessary for manufacture, transport, installation, and testing under the requirements of such contract;
    5. District attorneys, investigators employed by and assigned to a district attorney's office, assistant district attorneys, attorneys or investigators employed by the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of the State of Georgia, and any retired district attorney, assistant district attorney, district attorney's investigator, or attorney or investigator retired from the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of the State of Georgia, if such employee is retired in good standing and is receiving benefits under Title 47 or is retired in good standing and receiving benefits from a county or municipal retirement system;
    6. State court solicitors-general; investigators employed by and assigned to a state court solicitor-general's office; assistant state court solicitors-general; the corresponding personnel of any city court expressly continued in existence as a city court pursuant to Article VI, Section X, Paragraph I, subparagraph (5) of the Constitution; and the corresponding personnel of any civil court expressly continued as a civil court pursuant to said provision of the Constitution;
    7. Those employees of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles when specifically designated and authorized in writing by the members of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles to carry a weapon or long gun;
    8. The Attorney General and those members of his or her staff whom he or she specifically authorizes in writing to carry a weapon or long gun;
    9. Community supervision officers employed by and under the authority of the Department of Community Supervision when specifically designated and authorized in writing by the commissioner of community supervision;
    10. Public safety directors of municipal corporations;
    11. Explosive ordnance disposal technicians, as such term is defined by Code Section 16-7-80, and persons certified as provided in Code Section 35-8-13 to handle animals trained to detect explosives, while in the performance of their duties;
    12. Federal judges, Justices of the Supreme Court, Judges of the Court of Appeals, judges of superior, state, probate, juvenile, and magistrate courts, full-time judges of municipal and city courts, and permanent part-time judges of municipal and city courts;

      12.1. Former federal judges, Justices of the Supreme Court, Judges of the Court of Appeals, judges of superior, state, probate, juvenile, and magistrate courts, full-time judges of municipal and city courts, permanent part-time judges of municipal courts, and administrative law judges who are retired from their respective offices, provided that such judge or Justice would otherwise be qualified to be issued a weapons carry license;

      12.2. Former federal judges, Justices of the Supreme Court, Judges of the Court of Appeals, judges of superior, state, probate, juvenile, and magistrate courts, full-time judges of municipal and city courts, permanent part-time judges of municipal courts, and administrative law judges who are no longer serving in their respective office, provided that he or she served as such judge or Justice for more than 24 months and provided, further, that such judge or Justice would otherwise be qualified to be issued a weapons carry license;

    13. United States Attorneys and Assistant United States Attorneys;
    14. County medical examiners and coroners and their sworn officers employed by county government;
    15. Clerks of the superior courts; and
    16. Constables employed by a magistrate court of this state.
  2. Code Sections 16-11-126 through 16-11-127.2 shall not apply to or affect persons who at the time of their retirement from service with the Department of Community Supervision were community supervision officers, when specifically designated and authorized in writing by the commissioner of community supervision.
  3. Code Sections 16-11-126 through 16-11-127.2 shall not apply to or affect any:
    1. Sheriff, retired sheriff, deputy sheriff, or retired deputy sheriff if such retired sheriff or deputy sheriff is eligible to receive or is receiving benefits under the Peace Officers' Annuity and Benefit Fund provided under Chapter 17 of Title 47, the Sheriffs' Retirement Fund of Georgia provided under Chapter 16 of Title 47, or any other public retirement system established under the laws of this state for service as a law enforcement officer;
    2. Member of the Georgia State Patrol or agent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation or retired member of the Georgia State Patrol or agent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation if such retired member or agent is receiving benefits under the Employees' Retirement System;
    3. Full-time law enforcement chief executive engaging in the management of a county, municipal, state, state authority, or federal law enforcement agency in the State of Georgia, including any college or university law enforcement chief executive that is registered or certified by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council; or retired law enforcement chief executive that formerly managed a county, municipal, state, state authority, or federal law enforcement agency in the State of Georgia, including any college or university law enforcement chief executive that was registered or certified at the time of his or her retirement by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, if such retired law enforcement chief executive is receiving benefits under the Peace Officers' Annuity and Benefit Fund provided under Chapter 17 of Title 47 or is retired in good standing and receiving benefits from a county, municipal, State of Georgia, state authority, or federal retirement system; or
    4. Police officer of any county, municipal, state, state authority, or federal law enforcement agency in the State of Georgia, including any college or university police officer that is registered or certified by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, or retired police officer of any county, municipal, state, state authority, or federal law enforcement agency in the State of Georgia, including any college or university police officer that was registered or certified at the time of his or her retirement by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, if such retired employee is receiving benefits under the Peace Officers' Annuity and Benefit Fund provided under Chapter 17 of Title 47 or is retired in good standing and receiving benefits from a county, municipal, State of Georgia, state authority, or federal retirement system.
    In addition, any such sheriff, retired sheriff, deputy sheriff, retired deputy sheriff, active or retired law enforcement chief executive, or other law enforcement officer referred to in this subsection shall be authorized to carry a handgun on or off duty anywhere within the state and the provisions of Code Sections 16-11-126 through 16-11-127.2 shall not apply to the carrying of such firearms.
  4. A prosecution based upon a violation of Code Section 16-11-126 or 16-11-127 need not negative any exemptions.

HISTORY: Code 1933, §26-2907, enacted by Ga. L. 1968, p. 1249, §1; Ga. L. 1974, p. 481, §1; Ga. L. 1979, p. 1019, §1; Ga. L. 1982, p. 3, §16; Ga. L. 1982, p. 789, §2; Ga. L. 1984, p. 22, §16; Ga. L. 1985, p. 283, §1; Ga. L. 1986, p. 1205, §2; Ga. L. 1988, p. 472, §1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 558, §1; Ga. L. 1991, p. 94, §16; Ga. L. 1993, p. 604, §1; Ga. L. 1994, p. 547, §2; Ga. L. 1996, p. 416, §6; Ga. L. 1996, p. 748, §12; Ga. L. 1997, p. 514, §3; Ga. L. 1998, p. 657, §§1-3; Ga. L. 2000, p. 843, §§1, 2; Ga. L. 2003, p. 140, §16; Ga. L. 2006, p. 531, §1/HB 1044; Ga. L. 2008, p. 577, §16/SB 396; Ga. L. 2010, p. 963, §2-7/SB 308; Ga. L. 2011, p. 508, §1/HB 266; Ga. L. 2014, p. 604, §1-8/HB 60; Ga. L. 2015, p. 422, § 5-28/HB 310. Ga. L 2016 Act 379 § 1

§16-11-130.1 - (2014) Allowing personnel to carry weapons within certain school safety zones and at school functions
  1. As used in this Code section, the term:
    1. "Bus or other transportation furnished by a school" means a bus or other transportation furnished by a public or private elementary or secondary school.
    2. "School function" means a school function or related activity that occurs outside of a school safety zone for a public or private elementary or secondary school.
    3. "School safety zone" means in or on any real property or building owned by or leased to any public or private elementary or secondary school or local board of education and used for elementary or secondary education.
    4. "Weapon" shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 16-11-127.1.
  2. This Code section shall not be construed to require or otherwise mandate that any local board of education or school administrator adopt or implement a practice or program for the approval of personnel to possess or carry weapons within a school safety zone, at a school function, or on a bus or other transportation furnished by a school nor shall this Code section create any liability for adopting or declining to adopt such practice or program. Such decision shall rest with each individual local board of education. If a local board of education adopts a policy to allow certain personnel to possess or carry weapons as provided in paragraph (6) of subsection (c) of Code Section 16-11-127.1, such policy shall include approval of personnel to possess or carry weapons and provide for:
    1. Training of approved personnel prior to authorizing such personnel to carry weapons. The training shall at a minimum include training on judgment pistol shooting, marksmanship, and a review of current laws relating to the use of force for the defense of self and others; provided, however, that the local board of education training policy may substitute for certain training requirements the personnel's prior military or law enforcement service if the approved personnel has previously served as a certified law enforcement officer or has had military service which involved similar weapons training;
    2. An approved list of the types of weapons and ammunition and the quantity of weapons and ammunition authorized to be possessed or carried;
    3. The exclusion from approval of any personnel who has had an employment or other history indicating any type of mental or emotional instability as determined by the local board of education; and
    4. A mandatory method of securing weapons which shall include at a minimum a requirement that the weapon, if permitted to be carried concealed by personnel, shall be carried on the person and not in a purse, briefcase, bag, or similar other accessory which is not secured on the body of the person and, if maintained separate from the person, shall be maintained in a secured lock safe or similar lock box that cannot be easily accessed by students.
  3. Any personnel selected to possess or carry weapons within a school safety zone, at a school function, or on a bus or other transportation furnished by a school shall be a license holder, and the local board of education shall be responsible for conducting a criminal history background check of such personnel annually to determine whether such personnel remains qualified to be a license holder.
  4. The selection of approved personnel to possess or carry a weapon within a school safety zone, at a school function, or on a bus or other transportation furnished by a school shall be done strictly on a voluntary basis. No personnel shall be required to possess or carry a weapon within a school safety zone, at a school function, or on a bus or other transportation furnished by a school and shall not be terminated or otherwise retaliated against for refusing to possess or carry a weapon.
  5. The local board of education shall be responsible for any costs associated with approving personnel to carry or possess weapons within a school safety zone, at a school function, or on a bus or other transportation furnished by a school; provided, however, that nothing contained in this Code section shall prohibit any approved personnel from paying for part or all of such costs or using any other funding mechanism available, including donations or grants from private persons or entities.
  6. Documents and meetings pertaining to personnel approved to carry or possess weapons within a school safety zone, at a school function, or on a bus or other transportation furnished by a school shall be considered employment and public safety security records and shall be exempt from disclosure under Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50.

HISTORY: Code 1981, § 16-11-130.1, enacted by Ga. L. 2014, p. 604, §1-9/HB 60.

§16-11-130.2 - (2014) Carrying a weapon or long gun at a commercial service airport
  1. No person shall enter the restricted access area of a commercial service airport, in or beyond the airport security screening checkpoint, knowingly possessing or knowingly having under his or her control a weapon or long gun. Such area shall not include an airport drive, general parking area, walkway, or shops and areas of the terminal that are outside the screening checkpoint and that are normally open to unscreened passengers or visitors to the airport. Any restricted access area shall be clearly indicated by prominent signs indicating that weapons are prohibited in such area.
  2. A person who is not a license holder and who violates this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. A license holder who violates this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor; provided, however, that a license holder who is notified at the screening checkpoint for the restricted access area that he or she is in possession of a weapon or longgun and who immediately leaves the restricted access area following such notification and completion of federally required transportation security screening procedures shall not be guilty of violating this Code section.
  3. Any person who violates this Code section with the intent to commit a separate felony offense shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $1,000.00 nor more than $15,000.00, imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years, or both.
  4. Any ordinance, resolution, regulation, or policy of any county, municipality, or other political subdivision of this state which is in conflict with this Code section shall be null, void, and of no force and effect, and this Code section shall preempt any such ordinance, resolution, regulation, or policy.

HISTORY: Code 1981,§ 16-11-130.2, enacted by Ga. L. 2014, p. 604, §1-9/HB 60.

§16-11-131 - Possession of firearms by convicted felons and first offender probationers
  1. As used in this Code section, the term:
    1. "Felony" means any offense punishable by imprisonment for a term of one year or more and includes conviction by a court-martial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for an offense which would constitute a felony under the laws of the United States.
    2. "Firearm" includes any handgun, rifle, shotgun, or other weapon which will or can be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or electrical charge.
  2. Any person who is on probation as a felony first offender pursuant to Article 3 of Chapter 8 of Title 42 or who has been convicted of a felony by a court of this state or any other state; by a court of the United States including its territories, possessions, and dominions; or by a court of any foreign nation and who receives, possesses, or transports any firearm commits a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned for not less than one nor more than five years; provided, however, that if the felony as to which the person is on probation or has been previously convicted is a forcible felony, then upon conviction of receiving, possessing, or transporting a firearm, such person shall be imprisoned for a period of five years.
    1. Any person who is prohibited by this Code section from possessing a firearm because of conviction of a forcible felony or because of being on probation as a first offender for a forcible felony pursuant to this Code section and who attempts to purchase or obtain transfer of a firearm shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.
  3. This Code section shall not apply to any person who has been pardoned for the felony by the President of the United States, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, or the person or agency empowered to grant pardons under the constitutions or laws of the several states or of a foreign nation and, by the terms of the pardon, has expressly been authorized to receive, possess, or transport a firearm.
  4. A person who has been convicted of a felony, but who has been granted relief from the disabilities imposed by the laws of the United States with respect to the acquisition, receipt, transfer, shipment, or possession of firearms by the secretary of the United States Department of the Treasury pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 925, shall, upon presenting to the Board of Public Safety proof that the relief has been granted and it being established from proof submitted by the applicant to the satisfaction of the Board of Public Safety that the circumstances regarding the conviction and the applicant's record and reputation are such that the acquisition, receipt, transfer, shipment, or possession of firearms by the person would not present a threat to the safety of the citizens of Georgia and that the granting of the relief sought would not be contrary to the public interest, be granted relief from the disabilities imposed by this Code section. A person who has been convicted under federal or state law of a felony pertaining to antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, or restraint of trade shall, upon presenting to the Board of Public Safety proof, and it being established from said proof, submitted by the applicant to the satisfaction of the Board of Public Safety that the circumstances regarding the conviction and the applicant's record and reputation are such that the acquisition, receipt, transfer, shipment, or possession of firearms by the person would not present a threat to the safety of the citizens of Georgia and that the granting of the relief sought would not be contrary to the public interest, be granted relief from the disabilities imposed by this Code section. A record that the relief has been granted by the board shall be entered upon the criminal history of the person maintained by the Georgia Crime Information Center and the board shall maintain a list of the names of such persons which shall be open for public inspection.
  5. As used in this Code section, the term "forcible felony" means any felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any person and further includes, without limitation, murder; felony murder; burglary in any degree; robbery; armed robbery; kidnapping; hijacking of an aircraft or motor vehicle; aggravated stalking; rape; aggravated child molestation; aggravated sexual battery; arson in the first degree; the manufacturing, transporting, distribution, or possession of explosives with intent to kill, injure, or intimidate individuals or destroy a public building; terroristic threats; or acts of treason or insurrection.
  6. Any person placed on probation as a first offender pursuant to Article 3 of Chapter 8 of Title 42 and subsequently discharged without court adjudication of guilt pursuant to Code Section 42-8-62 shall, upon such discharge, be relieved from the disabilities imposed by this Code section.

HISTORY: Code 1933, §26-2914, enacted by Ga. L. 1980, p. 1509, §1; Ga. L. 1982, p. 1171, §2; Ga. L. 1983, p. 945, §1; Ga. L. 1987, p. 476, §§1, 2; Ga. L. 1989, p. 14, §16; Ga. L. 2000, p. 1630, §5; Ga. L. 2012, p. 899, §8-5/HB 1176.

§16-11-132 - (2013) Possession of handgun by person under the age of 18 years
  1. For the purposes of this Code section, a handgun is considered loaded if there is a cartridge in the chamber or cylinder of the handgun.
  2. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this part and except as otherwise provided in this Code section, it shall be unlawful for any person under the age of 18 years to possess or have under such person's control a handgun. A person convicted of a first violation of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 or by imprisonment for not more than 12 months, or both. A person convicted of a second or subsequent violation of this subsection shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by a fine of $5,000.00 or by imprisonment for a period of three years, or both.
  3. Except as otherwise provided in subsection (d) of this Code section, the provisions of subsection (b) of this Code section shall not apply to:
    1. Any person under the age of 18 years who is:
      1. Attending a hunter education course or a firearms safety course;
      2. Engaging in practice in the use of a firearm or target shooting at an established range authorized by the governing body of the jurisdiction where such range is located;
      3. Engaging in an organized competition involving the use of a firearm or participating in or practicing for a performance by an organized group under 26 U.S.C. Section 501(c)(3) which uses firearms as a part of such performance;
      4. Hunting or fishing pursuant to a valid license if such person has in his or her possession such a valid hunting or fishing license if required; is engaged in legal hunting or fishing; has permission of the owner of the land on which the activities are being conducted; and the handgun, whenever loaded, is carried only in an open and fully exposed manner; or
      5. Traveling to or from any activity described in subparagraphs (A) through (D) of this paragraph if the handgun in such person's possession is not loaded;
    2. Any person under the age of 18 years who is on real property under the control of such person's parent, legal guardian, or grandparent and who has the permission of such person's parent or legal guardian to possess a handgun; or
    3. Any person under the age of 18 years who is at such person's residence and who, with the permission of such person's parent or legal guardian, possesses a handgun for the purpose of exercising the rights authorized in Code Section 16-3-21 or 16-3-23.
  4. Subsection (c) of this Code section shall not apply to any person under the age of 18 years who has been convicted of a forcible felony or forcible misdemeanor, as defined in Code Section 16-1-3, or who has been adjudicated for committing a delinquent act under the provisions of Article 6 of Chapter 11 of Title 15 for an offense which would constitute a forcible felony or forcible misdemeanor, as defined in Code Section 16-1-3, if such person were an adult.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §16-11-132, enacted by Ga. L. 1994, p. 1012, §12; Ga. L. 2000, p. 1630, §6; Ga. L. 2010, p. 963, §1-8/SB 308; Ga. L. 2013, p. 294, §4-11/HB 242.

§16-11-134 - Discharging firearm while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  1. It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge a firearm while:
    1. Under the influence of alcohol or any drug or any combination of alcohol and any drug to the extent that it is unsafe for the person to discharge such firearm except in the defense of life, health, and property;
    2. The person's alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams or more at any time while discharging such firearm or within three hours after such discharge of such firearm from alcohol consumed before such discharge ended; or
    3. Subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of this Code section, there is any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance, as defined in Code Section 16-13-21, present in the person's blood or urine, or both, including the metabolites and derivatives of each or both without regard to whether or not any alcohol is present in the person's breath or blood.
  2. The fact that any person charged with violating this Code section is or has been legally entitled to use a drug shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this Code section; provided, however, that such person shall not be in violation of this Code section unless such person is rendered incapable of possessing or discharging a firearm safely as a result of using a drug other than alcohol which such person is legally entitled to use.
  3. Any person convicted of violating subsection (a) of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §16-11-134, enacted by Ga. L. 1995, p. 139, §1.

§16-11-135 - (2015) Public or private employer's parking lots; right of privacy in vehicles in employer's parking lot or invited guests on lot; severability; rights of action
  1. Except as provided in this Code section, no private or public employer, including the state and its political subdivisions, shall establish, maintain, or enforce any policy or rule that has the effect of allowing such employer or its agents to search the locked privately owned vehicles of employees or invited guests on the employer's parking lot and access thereto.
  2. Except as provided in this Code section, no private or public employer, including the state and its political subdivisions, shall condition employment upon any agreement by a prospective employee that prohibits an employee from entering the parking lot and access thereto when the employee's privately owned motor vehicle contains a firearm or ammunition, or both, that is locked out of sight within the trunk, glove box, or other enclosed compartment or area within such privately owned motor vehicle, provided that any applicable employees possess a Georgia weapons carry license.
  3. Subsection (a) of this Code section shall not apply:
    1. To searches by certified law enforcement officers pursuant to valid search warrants or valid warrantless searches based upon probable cause under exigent circumstances;
    2. To vehicles owned or leased by an employer;
    3. To any situation in which a reasonable person would believe that accessing a locked vehicle of an employee is necessary to prevent an immediate threat to human health, life, or safety; or
    4. When an employee consents to a search of his or her locked privately owned vehicle by licensed private security officers for loss prevention purposes based on probable cause that the employee unlawfully possesses employer property.
  4. Subsections (a) and (b) of this Code section shall not apply:
    1. To an employer providing applicable employees with a secure parking area which restricts general public access through the use of a gate, security station, security officers, or other similar means which limit public access into the parking area, provided that any employer policy allowing vehicle searches upon entry shall be applicable to all vehicles entering the property and applied on a uniform and frequent basis;
    2. To any penal institution, correctional institution, detention facility, diversion center, jail, or similar place of confinement or confinement alternative;
    3. To facilities associated with electric generation owned or operated by a public utility;
    4. To any United States Department of Defense contractor, if such contractor operates any facility on or contiguous with a United States military base or installation or within one mile of an airport;
    5. To an employee who is restricted from carrying or possessing a firearm on the employer's premises due to a completed or pending disciplinary action;
    6. Where transport of a firearm on the premises of the employer is prohibited by state or federal law or regulation;
    7. To parking lots contiguous to facilities providing natural gas transmission, liquid petroleum transmission, water storage and supply, and law enforcement services determined to be so vital to the State of Georgia, by a written determination of the Georgia Department of Homeland Security, that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on public health or safety; or
    8. To any area used for parking on a temporary basis.
  5. No employer, property owner, or property owner's agent shall be held liable in any criminal or civil action for damages resulting from or arising out of an occurrence involving the transportation, storage, possession, or use of a firearm, including, but not limited to, the theft of a firearm from an employee's automobile, pursuant to this Code section unless such employer commits a criminal act involving the use of a firearm or unless the employer knew that the person using such firearm would commit such criminal act on the employer's premises. Nothing contained in this Code section shall create a new duty on the part of the employer, property owner, or property owner's agent. An employee at will shall have no greater interest in employment created by this Code section and shall remain an employee at will.
  6. In any action relating to the enforcement of any right or obligation under this Code section, an employer, property owner, or property owner's agent's efforts to comply with other applicable federal, state, or local safety laws, regulations, guidelines, or ordinances shall be a complete defense to any employer, property owner, or property owner's agent's liability.
  7. In any action brought against an employer, employer's agent, property owner, or property owner's agent relating to the criminal use of firearms in the workplace, the plaintiff shall be liable for all legal costs of such employer, employer's agent, property owner, or property owner's agent if such action is concluded in such employer, employer's agent, property owner, or property owner's agent's favor.
  8. This Code section shall not be construed so as to require an employer, property owner, or property owner's agent to implement any additional security measures for the protection of employees, customers, or other persons. Implementation of remedial security measures to provide protection to employees, customers, or other persons shall not be admissible in evidence to show prior negligence or breach of duty of an employer, property owner, or property owner's agent in any action against such employer, its officers or shareholders, or property owners.
  9. All actions brought based upon a violation of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be brought exclusively by the Attorney General.
  10. In the event that subsection (e) of this Code section is declared or adjudged by any court to be invalid or unconstitutional for any reason, the remaining portions of this Code section shall be invalid and of no further force or effect. The General Assembly declares that it would not have enacted the remaining provisions of this Code section if it had known that such portion hereof would be declared or adjudged invalid or unconstitutional.
  11. Nothing in this Code section shall restrict the rights of private property owners or persons in legal control of property through a lease, a rental agreement, a contract, or any other agreement to control access to such property. When a private property owner or person in legal control of property through a lease, a rental agreement, a contract, or any other agreement is also an employer, his or her rights as a private property owner or person in legal control of property shall govern.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §16-11-135, enacted by Ga. L. 2008, p. 1199, §7/HB 89; Ga. L. 2009, p. 8, §16/SB 46; Ga. L. 2010, p. 963, §1-9/SB 308; Ga. L. 2015, p. 805, § 7/HB 492.

§16-11-136 - Restrictions on possession, manufacture, sale, or transfer of knives
  1. As used in this Code section, the term:
    1. "Courthouse" shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 16-11-127.
    2. "Government building" shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 16-11-127.
    3. "Knife" means any cutting instrument with a blade and shall include, without limitation, a knife as such term is defined in Code Section 16-11-125.1.
  2. Except for restrictions in courthouses and government buildings, no county, municipality, or consolidated government shall, by rule or ordinance, constrain the possession, manufacture, sale, or transfer of a knife more restrictively than the provisions of this part.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §16-11-136, enacted by Ga. L. 2012, p. 1141, §1/SB 432.

§16-11-137 - (2014) Required possession of weapons carry license or proof of exemption when carrying a weapon; detention for investigation of carrying permit
  1. Every license holder shall have his or her valid weapons carry license in his or her immediate possession at all times when carrying a weapon, or if such person is exempt from having a weapons carry license pursuant to Code Section 16-11-130 or subsection (c) of Code Section 16-11-127.1, he or she shall have proof of his or her exemption in his or her immediate possession at all times when carrying a weapon, and his or her failure to do so shall be prima-facie evidence of a violation of the applicable provision of Code Sections 16-11-126 through 16-11-127.2.
  2. A person carrying a weapon shall not be subject to detention for the sole purpose of investigating whether such person has a weapons carry license.
  3. A person convicted of a violation of this Code section shall be fined not more than $10.00 if he or she produces in court his or her weapons carry license, provided that it was valid at the time of his or her arrest, or produces proof of his or her exemption.

HISTORY: Code 1981, § 16-11-137, enacted by Ga. L. 2014, p. 604, §1-10/HB 60.

§16-11-138 - (2015) Defense of self or others as absolute defense

Defense of self or others, as contemplated by and provided for under Article 2 of Chapter 3 of this title, shall be an absolute defense to any violation under this part.

HISTORY: Code 1981 § 16-11-138, enacted by Ga. L. 2014, p. 604, §1-10/HB 60; Ga. L. 2015, §16/HB90.

Part 4 - Antiterroristic Training

§16-11-151 - Prohibited training
  1. As used in this Code section, the term "dangerous weapon" has the same meaning as found in paragraph (1) of Code Section 16-11-121.
  2. It shall be unlawful for any person to:
    1. Teach, train, or demonstrate to any other person the use, application, or making of any illegal firearm, dangerous weapon, explosive, or incendiary device capable of causing injury or death to persons either directly or through a writing or over or through a computer or computer network if the person teaching, training, or demonstrating knows, has reason to know, or intends that such teaching, training, or demonstrating will be unlawfully employed for use in or in furtherance of a civil disorder, riot, or insurrection; or
    2. Assemble with one or more persons for the purpose of being taught, trained, or instructed in the use of any illegal firearm, dangerous weapon, explosive, or incendiary device capable of causing injury or death to persons if such person so assembling knows, has reason to know, or intends that such teaching, training, or instruction will be unlawfully employed for use in or in furtherance of a civil disorder, riot, or insurrection.
  3. Any person who violates any provision of subsection (b) of this Code section shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $5,000.00 or by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years, or both.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §16-11-151, enacted by Ga. L. 1987, p. 866, §1; Ga. L. 1992, p. 6, §16; Ga. L. 1995, p. 574, §4.

§16-11-152 - Authorized training

This part shall not apply to:

  1. Any act of any peace officer which is performed in the lawful performance of official duties;
  2. Any training for law enforcement officers conducted by or for any police agency of the state or any political subdivision thereof or any agency of the United States;
  3. Any activities of the National Guard or of the armed forces of the United States; or
  4. Any hunter education classes taught under the auspices of the Department of Natural Resources, or other classes intended to teach the safe handling of firearms for hunting, recreation, competition, or self-defense.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §16-11-152, enacted by Ga. L. 1987, p. 866, §1.

Part 4A - Enhanced Criminal Penalties

§16-11-160 - (2015) Use of machine guns, sawed-off rifles, sawed-off shotguns, or firearms with silencers during commission of certain offenses; enhanced criminal penalties
    1. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess or to use a machine gun, sawed-off rifle, sawed-off shotgun, or firearm equipped with a silencer, as those terms are defined in Code Section 16-11-121, during the commission or the attempted commission of any of the following offenses:
      1. Aggravated assault as defined in Code Section 16-5-21;
      2. Aggravated battery as defined in Code Section 16-5-24;
      3. Robbery as defined in Code Section 16-8-40;
      4. Armed robbery as defined in Code Section 16-8-41;
      5. Murder or felony murder as defined in Code Section 16-5-1;
      6. Voluntary manslaughter as defined in Code Section 16-5-2;
      7. Involuntary manslaughter as defined in Code Section 16-5-3;
      8. Sale, possession for sale, transportation, manufacture, offer for sale, or offer to manufacture controlled substances in violation of any provision of Article 2 of Chapter 13 of this title, the "Georgia Controlled Substances Act";
      9. Terroristic threats or acts as defined in Code Section 16-11-37;
      10. Arson as defined in Code Section 16-7-60, 16-7-61, or 16-7-62 or arson of lands as defined in Code Section 16-7-63;
      11. Influencing witnesses as defined in Code Section 16-10-93; and
      12. Participation in criminal gang activity as defined in Code Section 16-15-4.
      1. As used in this paragraph, the term "bulletproof vest" means a bullet-resistant soft body armor providing, as a minimum standard, the level of protection known as "threat level I," which means at least seven layers of bullet-resistant material providing protection from at least three shots of 158-grain lead ammunition fired from a .38 caliber handgun at a velocity of 850 feet per second.
      2. It shall be unlawful for any person to wear a bulletproof vest during the commission or the attempted commission of any of the following offenses:
        1. Any crime against or involving the person of another in violation of any of the provisions of this title for which a sentence of life imprisonment may be imposed;
        2. Any felony involving the manufacture, delivery, distribution, administering, or selling of controlled substances or marijuana as provided in Code Section 16-13-30; or
        3. Trafficking in cocaine, illegal drugs, marijuana, or methamphetamine as provided in Code Section 16-13-31.
  1. Any person who violates paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by confinement for a period of ten years, such sentence to run consecutively to any other sentence which the person has received. Any person who violates paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by confinement for a period of one to five years, such sentence to run consecutively to any other sentence which the person has received.
  2. Upon the second or subsequent conviction of a person under this Code section, the person shall be punished by life imprisonment. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, the sentence of any person which is imposed for violating this Code section a second or subsequent time shall not be suspended by a court or a probationary sentence imposed in lieu thereof.
  3. The punishment prescribed for the violation of subsections (a) and (c) of this Code section shall not be probated or suspended as is provided by Code Section 17-10-7.
  4. Any crime committed in violation of this Code section shall be considered a separate offense.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §16-11-160, enacted by Ga. L. 1996, p. 354, §1; Ga. L. 2003, p. 256, §1; Ga. L. 2008, p. 444, §4/SB 400; Ga. L. 2015, §16/HB90.

§16-11-161 - Consistent local laws or ordinances authorized

Nothing in this part shall be construed to prohibit a local governing authority from adopting and enforcing laws consistent with this part relating to gangs and gang violence. Where local laws or ordinances duplicate or supplement this part, this part shall be construed as providing alternative remedies and not as preempting the field.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §16-11-161, enacted by Ga. L. 1996, p. 354, §1.

§16-11-162 - Exemption for use of force in defense of others

This part shall not apply to persons who use force in defense of others as provided by Code Section 16-3-21. This part is intended to supplement not to supplant Code Section 16-11-106.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §16-11-162, enacted by Ga. L. 1996, p. 354, §1.

Part 5 - Brady Law Regulations

§16-11-171 - (2015) Definitions

As used in this part, the term:

  1. "Center" means the Georgia Crime Information Center within the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
  2. "Dealer" means any person licensed as a dealer pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 921, et seq.
  3. "Firearm" means any weapon that is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any firearm muffler or firearm silencer, or any destructive device as defined in 18 U.S.C. Section 921(a)(3).
  4. "Involuntarily hospitalized" means hospitalized as an inpatient in any mental health facility pursuant to Code Section 37-3-81 or hospitalized as an inpatient in any mental health facility as a result of being adjudicated mentally incompetent to stand trial or being adjudicated not guilty by reason of insanity at the time of the crime pursuant to Part 2 of Article 6 of Title 17.
  5. "NICS" means the National Instant Criminal Background Check System created by the federal "Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act" (P. L. No. 103-159).

HISTORY: Code 1981, §16-11-171, enacted by Ga. L. 1995, p. 139, §2; Ga. L. 2005, p. 613, §1/SB 175; Ga. L. 2015, §16/HB90; Ga. L. 2015, p. 805, § 8/HB 492.

§16-11-172 - Transfers or purchases of firearms subject to the NICS; information concerning persons who have been involuntarily hospitalized to be forwarded to the FBI; penalties for breach of confidentiality; exceptions
  1. All transfers or purchases of firearms conducted by a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer shall be subject to the NICS. To the extent possible, the center shall provide to the NICS all necessary criminal history information and wanted person records in order to complete an NICS check.
  2. The center shall forward to the Federal Bureau of Investigation information concerning persons who have been involuntarily hospitalized as defined in this part for the purpose of completing an NICS check.
  3. Any government official who willfully or intentionally compromises the identity, confidentiality, and security of any records and data pursuant to this part shall be guilty of a felony and fined no less than $5,000.00 and shall be subject to automatic dismissal from his or her employment.
  4. The provisions of this part shall not apply to:
    1. Any firearm, including any handgun with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system, manufactured in or before 1898;
    2. Any replica of any firearm described in paragraph (1) of this subsection if such replica is not designed or redesigned to use rimfire or conventional center-fire fixed ammunition or uses rimfire or conventional center-fire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade; and
    3. Any firearm which is a curio or relic as defined by 27 C.F.R. 178.11.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §16-11-172, enacted by Ga. L. 1995, p. 139, §2; Ga. L. 1997, p. 1411, §1; Ga. L. 2005, p. 613, §1/SB 175.

§16-11-173 - (2015) Legislative findings; preemption of local regulation and lawsuits; exceptions
    1. It is declared by the General Assembly that the regulation of firearms and other weapons is properly an issue of general, state-wide concern.
    2. The General Assembly further declares that the lawful design, marketing, manufacture, and sale of firearms and ammunition and other weapons to the public is not unreasonably dangerous activity and does not constitute a nuisance per se.
    1. Except as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, no county or municipal corporation, by zoning, by ordinance or resolution, or by any other means, nor any agency, board, department, commission, political subdivision, school district, or authority of this state, other than the General Assembly, by rule or regulation or by any other means shall regulate in any manner:
      1. Gun shows;
      2. The possession, ownership, transport, carrying, transfer, sale, purchase, licensing, or registration of firearms or other weapons or components of firearms or other weapons;
      3. Firearms dealers or dealers of other weapons; or
      4. Dealers in components of firearms or other weapon.
    2. The authority to bring suit and right to recover against any weapons, firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association, or dealer by or on behalf of any governmental unit created by or pursuant to an Act of the General Assembly or the Constitution, or any department, agency, or authority thereof, for damages, abatement, or injunctive relief resulting from or relating to the lawful design, manufacture, marketing, or sale of weapons, firearms or ammunition to the public shall be reserved exclusively to the state. This paragraph shall not prohibit a political subdivision or local government authority from bringing an action against a weapons, firearms, or ammunition manufacturer or dealer for breach of contract or express warranty as to weapons, firearms, or ammunition purchased by the political subdivision or local government authority.
    1. A county or municipal corporation may regulate the transport, carrying, or possession of firearms by employees of the local unit of government, or by unpaid volunteers of such local unit of government, in the course of their employment or volunteer functions with such local unit of government; provided, however, that the sheriff or chief of police shall be solely responsible for regulating and determining the possession, carrying, and transportation of firearms and other weapons by employees under his or her respective supervision so long as such regulations comport with state and federal law.
    2. The commanding officer of any law enforcement agency shall regulate and determine the possession, carrying, and transportation of firearms and other weapons by employees under his or her supervision so long as such regulations comport with state and federal law.
    3. The district attorney, and the solicitor-general in counties where there is a state court, shall regulate and determine the possession, carrying, and transportation of firearms and other weapons by county employees under his or her supervision so long as such regulations comport with state and federal law.
  1. Nothing contained in this Code section shall prohibit municipalities or counties ,by ordinance or resolution, from requiring the ownership of guns by heads of households within the political subdivision.
  2. Nothing contained in this Code section shall prohibit municipalities or counties, by ordinance or resolution, from reasonably limiting or prohibiting the discharge of firearms within the boundaries of the municipal corporation or county.
  3. As used in this Code section, the term "weapon" means any device designed or intended to be used, or capable of being used, for offense or defense, including but not limited to firearms, bladed devices, clubs, electric stun devices, and defense sprays./li>
  4. Any person aggrieved as a result of a violation of this Code section may bring an action against the person who caused such aggrievement. The aggrieved person shall be entitled to reasonable attorney's fees and expenses of litigation and may recover or obtain against the person who caused such damages any of the following:
    1. Actual damages or $100.00, whichever is greater;
    2. Equitable relief, including, but not limited to, an injunction or restitution of money and property; and
    3. Any other relief which the court deems proper.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §16-11-173, enacted by Ga. L. 1995, p. 139, §2; Ga. L. 2005, p. 613, §1/SB 175; Ga. L. 2011, p. 752, §16/HB 142; Ga. L. 2014, p. 604, §1-11/HB 60; Ga. L. 2015, p. 805, § 9/HB 492.

CHAPTER 12 - Offenses Against Public Health And Morals

Article 4 - Offenses Against Public Transportation

Part 2 - Transportation Passenger Safety

§16-12-127 - Prohibition on firearms, hazardous substances, knives, or other devices; penalty; affirmative defenses
  1. It shall be unlawful for any person, with the intention of avoiding or interfering with a security measure or of introducing into a terminal any explosive, destructive device, or hoax device as defined in Code Section 16-7-80; firearm for which such person does not have on his or her person a valid weapons carry license issued pursuant to Code Section 16-11-129 unless possessing such firearm is prohibited by federal law; hazardous substance as defined by Code Section 12-8-92; or knife or other device designed or modified for the purpose of offense and defense, to:
    1. Have any such item on or about his or her person, or
    2. Place or cause to be placed or attempt to place or cause to be placed any such item:
      1. In a container or freight of a transportation company;
      2. In the baggage or possessions of any person or any transportation company without the knowledge of the passenger or transportation company; or
      3. Aboard such aircraft, bus, or rail vehicle.
  2. A person violating the provisions of this Code section shall be guilty of a felony and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than 20 years, a fine not to exceed $15,000.00, or both. A prosecution under this Code section shall not be barred by the imposition of a civil penalty imposed by any governmental entity.
  3. It is an affirmative defense to a violation of this Code section if a person notifies a law enforcement officer or other person employed to provide security for a transportation company of the presence of such item as soon as possible after learning of its presence and surrenders or secures such item as directed by the law enforcement officer or other person employed to provide security for a transportation company.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §16-12-127, enacted by Ga. L. 2002, p. 1094, §5; Ga. L. 2003, p. 423, §4; Ga. L. 2010, p. 963, §2-9/SB 308.

§16-12-129 - (2015) Defense of self or others an absolute defense to violation under this part

Defense of self or others, as contemplated by and provided for under Article 2 of Chapter 3 of this title, shall be an absolute defense to any violation under this part.

HISTORY: Code 1981, § 16-12-129, enacted by Ga. L. 2014, p. 604, §1-12/HB 60; Ga. L. 2015, §16/HB90.

TITLE 17 - CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

CHAPTER 5 - Searches And Seizures

Article 3 - Disposition Of Property Seized

§17-5-51 - (2015) Civil forfeiture of weapons used in commission of crime, possession of which constitutes crime or delinquent act, or illegal concealment generally

Any device which is used as a weapon in the commission of any crime against any person or any attempt to commit any crime against any person, any weapon the possession or carrying of which constitutes a crime or delinquent act, and any weapon for which a person has been convicted of violating Code Section 16-11-126 are declared to be contraband and shall be forfeited in accordance with the procedures set forth in Chapter 16 of Title 9, notwithstanding the time frames set forth in Code Section 9-16-7.

HISTORY: Ga. L. 1967, p. 749, §1; Ga. L. 1977, p. 1131, §1; Ga. L. 1994, p. 963, §1; Ga. L. 2010, p. 963, §2-10/SB 308; Ga. L. 2012, p. 1285, §2/SB 350; Ga. L. 2015, p. 693, § 3-14/HB 233.

§17-5-52 - (2015) Disposition of weapons used in commission of crime or delinquent act involving possession; civil forfeiture

When a final judgment is entered finding a defendant guilty of the commission or attempted commission of a crime against any person or guilty of the commission of a crime or delinquent act involving the illegal possession or carrying of a weapon, any device which was used as a weapon in the commission of the crime or delinquent act shall be turned over by the person having custody of the weapon or device to the sheriff, chief of police, or other executive officer of the law enforcement agency that originally confiscated the weapon or device when the weapon or device is no longer needed for evidentiary purposes. Within one year after receiving the weapon or device, the sheriff, chief of police, or other executive officer of the law enforcement agency shall return or sell the weapon as provided in Code Section 17-5-54, or if the weapon or device is subject to forfeiture, the procedures set forth in Chapter 16 of Title 9 shall be followed notwithstanding the time frames set forth in Code Section 9-16-7. A state attorney seeking forfeiture under this Code section shall commence civil forfeiture proceedings within 60 days of the entry of a final judgment as contemplated by this Code section; the remaining provisions of Chapter 16 of Title 9 shall be applicable.

HISTORY: Ga. L. 1967, p. 749, § 3; Ga. L. 1976, p. 167, § 1; Ga. L. 1994, p. 963, § 2; Ga. L. 2008, p. 344, § 1/HB 333; Ga. L. 2012, p. 1285, § 3/SB 350; Ga. L. 2015, p. 693, § 3-15/HB 233.

§17-5-52.1 - (2015) Disposal of forfeited or abandoned firearms; innocent owners; auctions; record keeping; liability of government entities

Repealed by Ga. L. 2015, p. 693, § 3-16/HB 233, effective July 1, 2015.

TITLE 27 - GAME AND FISH

CHAPTER 3 - Wildlife Generally

Article 1 - Hunting

Part 1 - General Provisions

§27-3-1.1 - Acts prohibited on wildlife management areas

It shall be unlawful for any person on any wildlife management area owned or operated by the department:

  1. To possess a firearm other than a handgun, as such term is defined in Code Section 16-11-125.1, during a closed hunting season for that area unless such firearm is unloaded and stored in a motor vehicle so as not to be readily accessible or to possess a handgun during a closed hunting season for that area unless such person possesses a valid weapons carry license issued pursuant to Code Section 16-11-129;
  2. To possess a loaded firearm other than a handgun, as such term is defined in Code Section 16-11-125.1, in a motor vehicle during a legal open hunting season for that area or to possess a loaded handgun in a motor vehicle during a legal open hunting season for that area unless such person possesses a valid weapons carry license issued pursuant to Code Section 16-11-129;
  3. To be under the influence of drugs, intoxicating liquors, beers, or wines. The determination of whether any person is under the influence of drugs or intoxicating liquors, beers, or wines may be made in accordance with Code Section 27-3-7;
  4. To hunt within 50 yards of any road which receives regular maintenance for the purpose of public vehicular access;
  5. To target practice, except where an authorized shooting range is made available by the department, and then only in a manner consistent with the rules for shooting ranges promulgated by the board;
  6. To drive a vehicle around a closed gate, cable, sign, or other structure or device intended to prevent vehicular access to a road entering onto or within such an area;
  7. To hunt within any posted safety zone;
  8. To camp upon or drive a motor vehicle over any permanent pasture or area planted in crops;
  9. While hunting bears in any such area opened to bear hunting, to kill a female bear with a cub or cubs or to kill a cub weighing less than 75 pounds;
  10. To fail to report if he or she kills a deer, bear, or turkey in the manner specified by the rules of the department for that wildlife management area on the date killed to the state game and fish checking station on the area;
  11. To construct any tree stand or to hunt from any tree stand except a portable or natural tree stand; or
  12. To trap except with a special trapping permit issued by the department.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §27-3-1.1, enacted by Ga. L. 1982, p. 1729, §8; Ga. L. 1993, p. 91, §27; Ga. L. 1996, p. 1134, §1; Ga. L. 2003, p. 140, §27; Ga. L. 2010, p. 963, §2-13/SB 308.

TITLE 33 - INSURANCE

CHAPTER 24 - Insurance Generally

Article 1 - General Provisions

§33-24-30.1 - Excluding or denying coverage on basis of lawful firearms possession

No policy of insurance issued or delivered in this state covering any loss, damage, expense, or liability shall exclude or deny coverage because the insured, members of the insured's family, or employees of the insured will keep or carry in a lawful manner firearms on the property or premises of the insured.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §33-24-30.1, enacted by Ga. L. 1998, p. 261, §1.

TITLE 38 - MILITARY, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, AND VETERANS AFFAIRS

CHAPTER 3 - Emergency Management

Article 3 - Emergency Powers

Part 1 - Governor

§38-3-37 - (2014) Prohibited actions by government official or employee during declared state of emergency
  1. As used in this Code section, the term:
    1. "Firearm" means any handgun, rifle, shotgun, or similar device or weapon which will or can be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or electrical charge.
    2. "License holder" shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 16-11-125.1.
    3. "Weapon" shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 16-11-125.1.
  2. No official or employee of the state or any political subdivision thereof, member of the National Guard in the service of the state, or any person operating pursuant to or under color of state law, while acting during or pursuant to a declared state of emergency, shall:
    1. Temporarily or permanently seize, or authorize the seizure of, any firearm or ammunition or any component thereof the possession of which was not prohibited by law at the time immediately prior to the declaration of a state of emergency, other than as provided by the criminal or forfeiture laws of this state;
    2. Prohibit possession of any firearm or ammunition or any component thereof or promulgate any rule, regulation, or order prohibiting possession of any firearm or ammunition or any component thereof if such possession was not otherwise prohibited by law at the time immediately prior to the declaration of a state of emergency;
    3. Prohibit any license holder from carrying any weapon or promulgate any rule, regulation, or order prohibiting such carrying if such carrying was not otherwise prohibited by law at the time immediately prior to the declaration of a state of emergency; or
    4. Require the registration of any firearm.

HISTORY: Code 1981, § 38-3-37, enacted by Ga. L. 2014, p. 599, §2-2/HB 60.

§38-3-51 - (2014) Emergency powers of Governor; termination of emergency; limitations in energy emergency; immunity
  1. In the event of actual or impending emergency or disaster of natural or human origin, or pandemic influenza emergency, or impending or actual enemy attack, or a public health emergency, within or affecting this state or against the United States, the Governor may declare that a state of emergency or disaster exists. As a condition precedent to declaring that a state of emergency or disaster exists as a result of a public health emergency, the Governor shall issue a call for a special session of the General Assembly pursuant to Article V, Section II, Paragraph VII of the Constitution of Georgia, which session shall convene at 8:00 A.M. on the second day following the date of such declaration for the purpose of concurring with or terminating the public health emergency. The state of emergency or disaster shall continue until the Governor finds that the threat or danger has passed or the emergency or disaster has been dealt with, to the extent that emergency or disaster conditions no longer exist, and terminates the state of emergency or disaster. No state of emergency or disaster may continue for longer than 30 days unless renewed by the Governor. The General Assembly by concurrent resolution may terminate a state of emergency or disaster at any time. Thereupon, the Governor shall by appropriate action end the state of emergency or disaster.
  2. A declaration of a state of emergency or disaster shall activate the emergency and disaster response and recovery aspects of the state and local emergency or disaster plans applicable to the political subdivision or area in question and shall be authority for the deployment and use of any forces to which the plan or plans apply and for use or distribution of any supplies, equipment, and materials and facilities assembled, stockpiled, or arranged to be made available pursuant to Articles 1 through 3 of this chapter or any other law relating to emergencies or disasters.
  3. The Governor shall have and may exercise for such period as the state of emergency or disaster exists or continues the following additional emergency powers:
    1. To enforce all laws, rules, and regulations relating to emergency management and to assume direct operational control of all civil forces and helpers in the state;
    2. To seize, take for temporary use, or condemn property for the protection of the public in accordance with condemnation proceedings as provided by law;
    3. To sell, lend, give, or distribute all or any such property among the inhabitants of the state and to account to the proper agency for any funds received for the property; and
    4. To perform and exercise such other functions, powers, and duties as may be deemed necessary to promote and secure the safety and protection of the civilian population.
  4. In addition to any other emergency powers conferred upon the Governor by law, he may:
    1. Suspend any regulatory statute prescribing the procedures for conduct of state business, or the orders, rules, or regulations of any state agency, if strict compliance with any statute, order, rule, or regulation would in any way prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the emergency or disaster;
    2. Utilize all available resources of the state government and of each political subdivision of the state as reasonably necessary to cope with the emergency or disaster;
    3. Transfer the direction, personnel, or functions of state departments and agencies or units thereof for the purpose of performing or facilitating emergency services;
    4. Commandeer or utilize any private property if he finds this necessary to cope with the emergency or disaster;
      1. Compel a health care facility to provide services or the use of its facility if such services or use are reasonable and necessary for emergency response. The use of such health care facility may include transferring the management and supervision of the health care facility to the Department of Public Health for a limited or unlimited period of time not extending beyond the termination of the public health emergency;
    5. Direct and compel the evacuation of all or part of the population from any stricken or threatened area within the state if he deems this action necessary for the preservation of life or other disaster mitigation, response, or recovery;
    6. Prescribe routes, modes of transportation, and destinations in connection with evacuation;
    7. Control ingress and egress to and from a disaster area, the movement of persons within the area, and the occupancy of premises therein;
    8. Suspend or limit the sale, dispensing, or transportation of alcoholic beverages, explosives, or combustibles; provided, however, that for purposes of this paragraph, the terms 'explosives' and 'combustibles' shall not include firearms or ammunition or any component thereof; and
    9. Make provision for the availability and use of temporary emergency housing.
  5. When the available funds are not sufficient for the purpose of paying the expenses incident to carrying out the provisions authorized by Articles 1 through 3 of this chapter, the Governor may transfer from any available fund in the state treasury such sum as may be necessary to meet the emergency or disaster; and the moneys so transferred shall be repaid to the fund from which transferred when moneys become available for that purpose by legislative appropriation or otherwise.
  6. In the event that the Governor proclaims an emergency or disaster, as defined by Articles 1 through 3 of this chapter, to be a catastrophe within the meaning of Article III, Section IX, Paragraph VI(b) of the Constitution of the state, the funds referred to in the paragraph may be utilized by the Governor for the purpose of carrying out the provisions authorized by Articles 1 through 3 of this chapter.
  7. In the event that the Governor proclaims an emergency or disaster, as defined in Articles 1 through 3 of this chapter, the Governor may provide welfare benefits to the citizens of this state in the form of grants to meet disaster related necessary expenses or serious needs of individuals or families adversely affected by an emergency or disaster in those cases where the individuals or families are unable to meet the expenses or needs from other means, provided that such grants are authorized only when matching federal funds are available for such purposes pursuant to the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 (Pub. L. 93-288).
  8. If the Governor declares a state of emergency solely because of an energy emergency, he shall not have the authority to:
    1. Seize, take for temporary use, or condemn property other than energy resources as authorized by paragraph (2) of subsection (c) of this Code section;
    2. Sell, lend, give, or distribute property other than energy resources as authorized by paragraph (3) of subsection (c) of this Code section; or
    3. Commandeer or utilize property other than energy resources as authorized by paragraph (4) of subsection (d) of this Code section.
    1. The Governor may direct the Department of Public Health to coordinate all matters pertaining to the response of the state to a public health emergency including without limitation:
      1. Planning and executing public health emergency assessments, mitigation, preparedness response, and recovery for the state;
      2. Coordinating public health emergency responses between state and local authorities;
      3. Collaborating with appropriate federal government authorities, elected officials of other states, private organizations, or private sector companies;
      4. Coordinating recovery operations and mitigation initiatives subsequent to public health emergencies;
      5. Organizing public information activities regarding state public health emergency response operations; and
      6. Providing for special identification for public health personnel involved in a public health emergency.
    2. The following due process procedures shall be applicable to any quarantine or vaccination program instituted pursuant to a declaration of a public health emergency:
      1. Consonant with maintenance of appropriate quarantine rules, the department shall permit access to counsel in person or by such other means as practicable that do not threaten the integrity of the quarantine;
      2. An order imposing a quarantine or a vaccination program may be appealed but shall not be stayed during the pendency of the challenge. The burden of proof shall be on the state to demonstrate that there exists a substantial risk of exposing other persons to imminent danger. With respect to vaccination, the state's burden of proof shall be met by clear and convincing evidence. With respect to quarantine, the state's burden of proof shall be met by a preponderance of the evidence;
      3. An individual or a class may challenge the order before any available judge of the superior courts in the county where the individual or a member of the class resides or in Fulton County. Such judge, upon attestation of the exigency of the circumstances, may proceed ex parte with respect to the state or may appoint counsel to represent the interests of the state or other unrepresented parties. The judge hearing the matter may consolidate a multiplicity of cases or, on the motion of a party or of the court, proceed to determine the interests of a class or classes. The rules of evidence applicable to civil cases shall be applied to the fullest extent practicable taking into account the circumstances of the emergency. All parties shall have the right to subpoena and cross-examine witnesses, but in enforcement of its subpoena powers the court shall take into account the circumstances of the emergency. All proceedings shall be transcribed to the extent practicable. Filing fees shall be waived and all costs borne by the state;
      4. The judge hearing the matter may enter an appropriate order upholding or suspending the quarantine or vaccination order. With respect to vaccination, the order may be applicable on notice to the department or its agents administering the vaccination, or otherwise in the court's discretion. With respect to quarantines, the order shall be automatically stayed for 48 hours;
      5. The department or any party may immediately appeal any order to the Supreme Court pursuant to paragraph (7) of subsection (a) of Code Section 5-6-34. The Supreme Court, or any available Justice thereof in the event that circumstances render a full court unavailable, shall consider the appeal on an expedited basis and may suspend any time requirements for the parties to file briefs. In the event no Justice is available, then a panel of the Court of Appeals, or any Judge thereof in the event that circumstances render a panel unavailable, shall consider the appeal on an expedited basis and may suspend any time requirements for the parties to file briefs. If the trial judge has proceeded ex parte or with counsel appointed for the state, the trial court shall either direct the filing of an appeal in its order or itself certify the order for appeal. Filing fees for appeal shall be waived, all costs shall be borne by the state, and such appeals shall be heard expeditiously; and
      6. No provisions of this paragraph shall be construed to limit or restrict the right of habeas corpus under the laws of the United States.
  9. Any individual, partnership, association, or corporation who acts in accordance with an order, rule, or regulation entered by the Governor pursuant to the authority granted by this Code section will not be held liable to any other individual, partnership, association, or corporation by reason thereof in any action seeking legal or equitable relief.

HISTORY: Ga. L. 1951, p. 224, §7; Ga. L. 1973, p. 74, §4; Ga. L. 1974, p. 558, §1; Ga. L. 1975, p. 1551, §1; Ga. L. 1977, p. 192, §§2, 3; Ga. L. 1981, p. 389, §2; Ga. L. 1983, p. 3, §59; Ga. L. 2002, p. 1386, §§12, 13, 14, 15; Ga. L. 2009, p. 184, §4/HB 217; Ga. L. 2009, p. 453, §1-4/HB 228; Ga. L. 2011, p. 701, §1/HB 339; Ga. L. 2011, p. 705, §6-3/HB 214; Ga. L. 2014, p. 604, §2-3/HB 60.

TITLE 41 - NUISANCES

CHAPTER 1 - General Provisions

§41-1-9 - Sport shooting ranges
  1. As used in this Code section, the term:
    1. "Person" means an individual, proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or unincorporated association.
    2. "Sport shooting range" or "range" means an area designated and operated by a person for the sport shooting of firearms and not available for such use by the general public without payment of a fee, membership contribution, or dues or by invitation of an authorized person, or any area so designated and operated by a unit of government, regardless of the terms of admission thereto.
    3. "Unit of government" means any of the departments, agencies, authorities, or political subdivisions of the state, cities, municipal corporations, townships, or villages and any of their respective departments, agencies, or authorities.
  2. No sport shooting range shall be or shall become a nuisance, either public or private, solely as a result of changed conditions in or around the locality of such range if the range has been in operation for one year since the date on which it commenced operation as a sport shooting range. Subsequent physical expansion of the range or expansion of the types of firearms in use at the range shall not establish a new date of commencement of operations for purposes of this Code section.
  3. No sport shooting range or unit of government or person owning, operating, or using a sport shooting range for the sport shooting of firearms shall be subject to any action for civil or criminal liability, damages, abatement, or injunctive relief resulting from or relating to noise generated by the operation of the range if the range remains in compliance with noise control or nuisance abatement rules, regulations, statutes, or ordinances applicable to the range on the date on which it commenced operation.
  4. No rules, regulations, statutes, or ordinances relating to noise control, noise pollution, or noise abatement adopted or enacted by a unit of government shall be applied retroactively to prohibit conduct at a sport shooting range, which conduct was lawful and being engaged in prior to the adoption or enactment of such rules, regulations, statutes, or ordinances.

HISTORY: Code 1981, §41-1-9, enacted by Ga. L. 1997, p. 796, §1.