The hardest part about buying a gun in Georgia is choosing the brand and caliber of the firearm. A buyer can purchase one from a private individual, keep the gun at his home or business, as well as in his vehicle or boat, and then use it for hunting without registering it or getting a background check. Georgia does require a license for buyers who wish to carry their weapons with them.
Buying a Firearm in Georgia
Laws regulating the purchase of firearms in Georgia are few and far between, and those that exist are largely federal. The state does not have any requirement that gun owners register their firearms, which means that a Georgia resident who buys, inherits or is gifted a gun has no hoops to jump through. A gun does not have to be transferred to the new buyer's name, unless it is a type of weapon covered by the National Firearms Act (NFA).
Georgia does not have any waiting period to buy guns. While Georgia statutes do not regulate the purchase of machine guns, silencers and sawed-off shotguns, these types of firearms may need to be registered under the requirements of the National Firearms Act.
Requirements to Purchase a Gun in Georgia
When a Georgia resident sets out to buy a gun, he won't need to bring much documentation with him other than a credit card if he intends to charge it. He will need to bring a valid, government-issued photo identification card with him, however, if he is purchasing a long gun. This has nothing to do with state law but is a regulation under the National Firearms Act.
An individual owning a long gun licensed under the National Firearms Act is prohibited from transferring it to an out-of-state owner. This involves keeping peace among the states, since other states do impose stricter and more complex controls on gun ownership.
What about a background check? The buyer won't be subjected to a background check if he buys from a private seller. However, he will need to pass a background check if he is buying from a dealer. Anyone holding a Georgia Weapons License is exempt from the background check.
Firearm Licenses to Carry a Gun in Georgia
A gun owner doesn't need to register her firearm or get a license for it as long as she keeps it in her home, her place of business or in her boat or car. However, she needs a firearm license if she plans to take it anywhere else. This doesn't apply to those who own guns for hunting or sporting. A Georgia hunting license authorizes the person holding the license to carry the necessary firearms.
A person seeking a Georgia firearm carry license must apply with the probate court in her county. (That's the same place where the estates of deceased people are processed.) She must be a United States citizen and at least 21 years of age to get a Georgia license to carry a firearm. The license is valid for five years and there is a fee to obtain it.
Process for Getting a License
The procedure for getting a firearm license in Georgia starts with an application. Some people are not able to get the one, including:
- Fugitives from justice.
- Anyone convicted of a felony.
- Anyone who has been hospitalized in a mental institution or drug/alcohol rehabilitation center within five years of applying.
- Anyone dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces.
- Anyone with a restraining order against him, ordering him not to harass, stalk or threaten an intimate partner or that partner's child.
- Anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
- Anyone not lawfully present in the country.
After the application is complete, the individual gets his fingerprints taken. The county probate judge may request a criminal history records check and a background check. After that, the license is ready to go.
Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.