How to Purchase a Firearm in Georgia

By Mary Jane Freeman ; Updated June 17, 2017
man firing usp pistol at target in indoor shooting range

Purchasing a firearm in Georgia can be a relatively easy process. You have a variety of options available, from private sellers and licensed dealers to gun shows. Unlike many states, Georgia doesn't require that you first obtain a permit before purchasing a gun. Depending on where you purchase the gun, however, you may have to meet additional requirements to complete the sale. If you want 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 valid, state-issued identification, such as a driver's license. You must submit to a background check. The same holds true if you make a gun purchase from a dealer at a gun show. When purchasing a gun from an unlicensed private seller, these steps are not required, but private sellers are free to make such requests as a condition of purchase. Gun registration is not required under Georgia 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, you must be at least 18 years of age and have no criminal convictions to purchase and possess a gun in the state. 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, either openly or concealed, you must first obtain a permit to carry. You can apply for a carry license at your local probate court. You'll be required to complete an application, provide valid, state-issued identification and you must be fingerprinted. You'll have to submit to a background check and pay a fee. 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 not eligible 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.

About the Author

Based on the West Coast, Mary Jane Freeman has been writing professionally since 1994, specializing in the topics of business and law. Freeman's work has appeared in a variety of publications, including LegalZoom, Essence, Reuters and Chicago Sun-Times. Freeman holds a Master of Science in public policy and management and Juris Doctor. Freeman is self-employed and works as a policy analyst and legal consultant.