Let’s say you’re a lawful gun owner carrying a concealed weapon: you’re out running errands and realize you need to make a bank deposit. The question arises: can you carry a firearm into a bank?
The answer in Georgia is, “Absolutely, yes!” There is nothing magical or complicated about the carry of a firearm into a bank.
Of course, for many people, the thought of carrying a firearm into a bank brings up “Old West” fantasies and concerns about shootouts, or more practically, being mistaken for someone who wants to rob the bank. Clearly that should be a concern, but a bank is no different than any other private location in Georgia.
What if a concerned citizen (or a bank teller) becomes upset and informs the branch manager? We covered this very issue when we discussed someone who becomes upset when your firearm is seen in public. It’s fine. With your Weapons Carry License, you may lawfully carry in a public space, either openly or concealed. If the bank manager asks you to leave, you must leave. It’s a simple point: if the individual in control of the premises says go, you take your firearm and you go. That’s the law.
WHAT IF THE POLICE ARE CALLED?
Remember, you’ve done nothing wrong. You are a Weapons Carry License holder, and therefore may carry in public, either openly or concealed. Go on about your business. If the officer arrives and begins to question you, keep these two things in mind:
- You must have your Weapons Carry License with you. Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 16-11-137 clearly requires every license holder possess his or her valid Weapons Carry License in his or her immediate possession at all times when carrying a weapon. If you are exempted for any reason from carrying a Weapons Carry License, carry proof of the exemption with you. You lose the benefits and protections of your Weapons Carry License if you fail to carry it and have it with you when carrying a firearm. No license equals bad news and likely arrest—especially in a bank—so make sure you carry it with you.
- The very same statute, Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 16-11-137, states in plain language understandable by every police officer that a person carrying a weapon shall not be subject to detention for the sole purpose of investigating whether such person has a Weapons Carry License.
It is highly questionable whether the mere fact you have a firearm in public provides enough suspicion for an officer to question you about that firearm, but the law is without question: if you have a weapon, you are not subject to detention solely to determine whether you possess a Weapons Carry License. If you find yourself in a position where the officer won’t take no for an answer, don’t answer questions; invoke your right to an attorney. Be polite but firm. Always remember, you never have to submit to questioning by law enforcement.
For more information on carrying a firearm into a bank (or any other location), please contact U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.