Georgia law allows people to possess handguns inside their home, car, or place of business, without a weapons carry license (sometimes known as a“concealed carry permit”). Likewise, you are also lawfully allowed to carry a loaded gun on your body, but it has to be carried in an open and fully exposed way. The issue of carrying a weapon becomes illegal when you want to carry it in a concealed way.
Concealed Carry Permits
If you want to carry your loaded gun in your purse, brief case, book bag, or under your clothing, you will need to apply for a weapons carry license. If you are found to be in possession of a firearm in your purse, but you do not have a weapons license, you can be arrested for the offense of Carrying a Weapon without a Valid Weapons Carry license.
Under O.C.G.A. § 16-11-126, Georgia treats a first offense of this as a misdemeanor charge, meaning the maximum penalty is $1,000 fine and 12 months in jail if convicted. Once convicted, you lose your right to lawfully carry your concealed weapon forever, so it is important to hire a defense team prevent the snowball effect of a conviction under this statute. If you are convicted for a second time for this crime within the past five years, Georgia treats it as a felony. Georgia law requires a prison sentence of two to five years on a second conviction.
Concealed Carry Limitations
There are several places you cannot bring a concealed weapon despite having a valid weapons carry license. These places include courthouses, jail or prisons, and within 150 feet of polling places when elections are being conducted. Having a gun in these locations can also result in a misdemeanor charge despite having a valid weapons carry permit.
Concealed carry permits can be obtained through your local probate court. You must be 21 years or older to apply, and have lawful presence in the United States as well as be a resident in the County you apply. You may be able to obtain a firearms license if you are between 18 and 21 if you are in active service with the military or have been honorably discharged. The probate court will run a criminal background check, which in some situations could result in you being ineligible for a carry permit.
Many States share reciprocity with Georgia as far as allowing you to carry in Georgia, with your out of state license. Those States are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia,Wisconsin and Wyoming. Your Georgia firearms license will also be looked as valid in the states mentioned with reciprocity.
If you have been arrested for Carrying a Weapon without a Valid Weapons Carry License, and have questions about your rights, then call the Law Office of W.Scott Smith. We will provide a free case evaluation.
by Mary Agramonte