How to Purchase a Firearm in Georgia

By Mary Jane Freeman
Buyers aren't required to obtain a permit to purchase guns in Georgia.
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Purchasing a firearm in Georgia can be a relatively easy process. This is because you have a variety of options available, from private sellers and licensed dealers to gun shows. Unlike many states, Georgia law doesn't require you to first obtain a permit before purchasing a gun. However, depending on where you purchase the gun, you may have to meet additional requirements to complete a sale. Additionally, if you wish to carry your gun in public, state law requires that you first obtain a license to carry.

Purchase

If you choose to purchase a gun from a licensed dealer, such as a gun shop, you'll be required to provide a valid, state-issued identification, such as a driver's license, and submit to a background check. The same holds true if you make a gun purchase from a dealer at a gun show. On the other hand, when purchasing a gun from an unlicensed private seller, these items are not required. However, private sellers are free to make such requests as a condition of gun purchase. Gun registration is not required under state law.

Possession

Although you're free to purchase a gun in Georgia without first obtaining a permit, you must be eligible for possession. Generally, to purchase and possess a gun in the state, you must be at least 18 years of age and have no criminal convictions. For example, individuals convicted of murder, rape, kidnapping, armed robbery or child molestation aren't eligible to purchase or possess a firearm in Georgia. It's also against the law for anyone to possess a "dangerous weapon" under state law, such as machine guns, sawed off shotguns and rifles, and silencers.

License to Carry

If you wish to carry your gun in public, open or concealed, you must first obtain a permit to carry. You may apply for a carry license at your local probate court. You'll be required to complete an application, provide valid, state-issued identification and your fingerprints, submit to a background check and pay a fee. To be eligible, you must be at least 21 years old, a resident of Georgia and not prohibited from firearm possession under state law. The background check requires a review of your criminal history and mental health records. Carry licenses are valid for a period of five years and may be renewed within three months of expiration.

Penalties

If you're ineligible to possess a firearm or carry your gun in public or any unauthorized place without a carry license, you may be convicted of a misdemeanor for any violation. If you're caught doing so more than once within a five year period, you may convicted of a felony, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.