Let’s Talk Guns
License to Carry: What you Can and Cannot Do
• License to Carry: The Basics
Over the last few weeks, our clients and followers seem to have a lot of questions about guns. Most of the questions we are getting are from gun owners who want to know more about what their rights are when it comes to owning guns or carrying their gun in public situations. This can be a very tricky situation depending on a lot of key factors. What we are hoping to accomplish in this article is to tackle some of the most frequently asked questions regarding a gun owner’s license to carry. First off, let’s touch on the basic question; what is a License to Carry? Basically, to carry a long gun in Georgia you do not have to have a license to carry as long as you are not prohibited from owning a firearm. To carry a handgun openly or concealed in the state of Georgia (other than on your property or inside your home, car, or your place of business), you must have a Georgia Weapons Carry License (or the older Georgia Firearm License) issued under code 16-11-129. From this we have some good starting information. To carry a long gun (rifles, shotguns, etc.) we don’t need a carry license, but we cannot be prohibited from owning a firearm. The law changes when it comes to handguns. In order to carry a handgun, we have to apply for what’s called the Georgia Weapons Carry License.
• License to Carry: the Georgia Weapons Carry License
Now we need to talk about what it takes to get a License to Carry. First off, there is a basic age requirement. You must be 21 years of age or older, unless you are age 18 or older and provide proof that you have completed basic training in the armed forces of the United States and can provide proof that you are actively serving in the armed forces of the United States or have been honorably discharged from such service. Now let’s talk who CANNOT get a license:
No License shall be granted to:
• 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;
o Has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year;
o Is a fugitive from justice;
o Is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance;
o Has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to a mental institution;
o Is an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States or an alien admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa;
o Has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
o Having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced his or her citizenship;
o Is subject to a court order that restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner; or
o Has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence cannot lawfully receive, possess, ship, or transport a firearm.
o Is under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
• Any person under 21 years of age;
• Any person who has been convicted of a felony (unless pardoned);
• Any person against whom proceedings are pending for any felony;
• Any person who is a fugitive from justice;
• * 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;
• Any person who has had his or her weapons carry license revoked;
• Any person who was convicted of violation of Code Sections:
o 16-11-102 (pointing a gun at someone),
o 16-11-126 (carrying a weapon without a license),
o 16-11-127 (carrying a weapon or long gun in an unauthorized location),
and has not been free of all restraints and supervision for 5 years from the date of application;
• * 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:
o (i) A second conviction of any misdemeanor involving the use or possession of a controlled substance; or
o (ii) Any conviction for unlawful manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance or other dangerous drug, or for a conviction which prohibits possession of firearms in interstate commerce, or a revocation of carry license,
for at least five years immediately preceding the date of the application;
• Any individual who has been hospitalized as an inpatient in any mental hospital or alcohol or drug treatment center within five years of the date of his or her application. The Probate Judge may consider the reason for the hospitalization and decide whether to issue a permit or not;
* If first offender treatment without adjudication of guilt for a conviction (of the * marked convictions above) was entered and such sentence was successfully completed and such person has not had any other conviction since the completion of such sentence and for at least five years immediately preceding the date of the application, he or she shall be eligible for a weapons carry license provided that no other license exception applies.
• License to Carry: How Long Does it Last and Where do I Get it?
A Weapons Carry License is good for 5 years no matter where you move. It costs between $70 and $78. A Weapons Carry License covers open and concealed carry of handguns and knives with a blade of 5 inches or longer. The Weapons Carry License is also exempts a firearm buyer from a NICS background check.
The place to apply for and receive issuance of the license is the County Probate Court in your county of residence. Documents required are Photo ID and Proof of Residency (a Georgia Driver’s License usually covers both requirements, but it may not so check before you go). Call your County Probate Court to find out what they will accept.
• License to Carry: What You Can and Can’t Do
Now that we know how to get a License to Carry, and who can and cannot apply for one, it’s time to talk about what we can do with it. Obviously the main thing you get out of a License to Carry is the legal option to carry a handgun or long knife on your person in public situations without fear of legal backlash. However we can’t carry a firearm or long knife in every situation. It’s important to understand when and where we CAN carry, and when and where we CANNOT. This is where it gets rather tricky depending on the specific scenario or situation. Generally, it IS actually legal to carry a weapon with a Carry License into or on the grounds of a government building or property. HOWEVER, if there is a manned security checkpoint in the government ground or building, it is NOT legal to carry the weapon beyond the checkpoint. You may calmly inform the standing officer overseeing the security checkpoint of a weapon you are legally carrying and turn it over to them until you exit the building, however you will not be able to carry the weapon beyond the checkpoint.
When it comes to private property or private businesses, it becomes even trickier because it is often left up to the discretion of the individual business or property owner. We recommend that you save yourself the trouble and leave your legally carried weapons behind in these scenarios. For any specific questions about a specific legal scenario and the Georgia Carry License, feel free to call us and we will try to help you out.
We hope that this blog helps answers some questions some of our clients have expressed interest in understanding how to receive a Georgia Carry License and what it offers. As always we ask that you let us know if there are any other areas of law or specific issues you would like to better understand; we will research the questions you ask us and give you our insight! Call us anytime!
-Cansino Blanchette Law Firm, LLC