The following is a video transcript.
Today, I’d like to discuss gun myths in Georgia. We’d like to identify and discuss three of the most common misconceptions regarding the carry and possession of firearms in Georgia.
Myth Number One: Open carry of a handgun requires no license.
This could not be further from the truth. This myth may stem from a time when Georgia had competing laws—separate laws—concerning the possession of a license and concealed carry, but there has been no real concealed license law since 2010.
Open carry of a handgun, in most cases, requires:
- A weapons carry license; and
- Possession of that weapons carry license.
If you wish to carry a handgun openly, you must obtain and possess a valid weapons carry license, unless you are in a location that allows carry without a license.
Some locations, by law, will allow you to carry without a license. If you are eligible to possess a handgun, you do not have to have a weapons carry license, in your home, your car, your place of business, when hunting or fishing with a valid hunting and fishing license, or on property that you own or that you lease. If, however, you are in public (a place that you are not automatically allowed to carry by law) then you must have a weapons carry license to carry both openly and concealed.
Now, the above specifically relates to handguns. Long guns, rifles, and shotguns are a little different. This is where it gets tricky.
In Georgia, rifles and shotguns can be carried openly or concealed without a weapons carry license. You never need a weapons carry license to carry a rifle or a shotgun. In fact, you can carry a rifle or shotgun concealed, so long as it’s not loaded. Loaded means a round in the chamber, ready to fire. For handguns, if you are in a place where the law allows you to carry without a license, you can carry openly or concealed.
Myth Number Two: You must possess a license to carry concealed.
Sounds a little close to what we just discussed, and in fact it is that flip side of the coin. When it comes to licenses, the myth is that you must possess a weapons carry license to carry concealed.
This is also not true. Remember, the law allows you specific places where you do not need a license to carry (home, car, place of business, property that you own or lease, or if you’re hunting and fishing, subject to a valid hunting and fishing license). In those locations, you do not need a weapons carry license to possess a firearm. That also means you can carry both openly and concealed in those locations.
Myth Number Three: You must present a weapons carry license and your firearm to an officer if you’re stopped for a traffic infraction.
By “present,” you must let an officer know that you have a weapons carry license and that you are carrying a firearm. That is untrue.
You have no duty to inform an officer of your weapons carry license or a firearm if you are stopped for a traffic infraction. You have no duty to produce either your weapons carry license or your firearm if you are stopped for a traffic infraction, and you have no duty to surrender your weapons carry license.
If you have questions concerning gun laws in Georgia, please call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney today.