Defending Your Flock | Georgia

Carrying in Places of Worship

Georgia law forbids possession of firearms in certain locations. The statute we will be addressing is Official Code of Georgia 16-11-127. One of the locations where carry is prohibited is in a place of worship, meaning you cannot carry there to protect yourself, your family, or anyone else unless the governing authority or the governing body of the place of worship permits the carry of weapons or long guns by license holders. This permission may be given orally or in writing, but permission may not be given selectively. If any one individual is granted the right to carry in the place of worship, all may exercise that right.

It is important to know you must be given permission before carrying a firearm in a place a worship. If your house of worship does not explicitly or expressly say yes, then you may not carry a firearm. License holders who choose to carry without permission into their place of worship may not be arrested if they are found in possession of a firearm on church property and may be fined $100 for the offense arising from their unlawful carry. They may, however, still be subject to a revocation of their Weapons Carry License.

Punishments for Carrying in a Place of Worship

A non-license holder found in possession of a firearm at a place of worship without permission is subject to arrest and will be punished by misdemeanor if convicted.

Firearms carry in a place of worship has special sentencing provisions for Weapons Carry License holders versus those who carry without a license, which is yet another example of the importance of obtaining a Weapons Carry License in Georgia.

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There is a significant unintended consequence as well, the probate court that issued the offender’s Weapons Carry License can and will revoke his or her Weapons Carry License for a period of five years. If you’re found guilty, even though as a Weapons Carry License holder you cannot be arrested, you may lose your Weapons Carry License.

Carrying a firearm in a place of worship is legal for Weapons Carry License holders only when the place of worship has given express permission to carry. Otherwise, it is still a violation of the law.

For any questions about laws and regulations concerning the protection of religious organizations in Georgia, please call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney today.

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Comment section

3 comments on “Defending Your Flock | Georgia

  1. Very good analysis. One question I have is I was given permission to carry in my church near Atlanta by the Pastor. He has since retired. Would I need to renew permission from the new pastor to be legal?

  2. In the video it states that a church may not selectively grant permission to carry. What is the authority for this statement? I don’t find that anywhere in the Georgia statutes. If there is a case that says this, could you please provide the citation. I’m thinking of a church that wants to have an armed security team, but still wants to ban all others from carrying

  3. I have not seen a response to Mr. Fisher’s comment about selective permission to carry in churches in Ga.
    I have spent a lot of time looking at the OCGA and talking to prosecutors. I cannot find in the OCGA where a church can or cannot give permissions to one and not another to carry a weapon in campus. Like so many other laws in Ga this one as well is vague at best. I cannot find a case law either that covers this. Its proberly going to be hard to find a church or prosecutor that is going to charge a church member as well. The state really needs to go back and define this law specifically especially with so many churches now having armed security teams to protect their flock. If anyone has supporting documentation please respond via email.
    Also, one more note is in the law if a school is apart of the church then that trumps this as well. A school administrator is allowed to designate a person to carry on school grounds that meets a specific criteria. A school is a school 24/7 365.

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