The following is a video transcript.
Are you traveling to Georgia soon? If you’re an out-of-state license holder, what should you know? If you’re traveling from out of state without a license, what should you know?
To begin, Georgia shares reciprocity with 32 other states. That means that Georgia recognizes the weapons carry licenses and permits from those states just as if they were Georgia licenses. Those who have licenses that share reciprocity with Georgia have the same rights and abilities to carry in locations in Georgia that a Georgia resident does.
Where Can You NOT Carry?
So, let’s talk about carrying with a weapons license versus carrying without a weapons carry license. With a weapons carry license you can carry virtually anywhere in Georgia. There are some specific places enumerated by statute where you cannot carry: courthouses, jails, mental health facilities, government buildings with law enforcement screening. These are commonsensical places where you can’t carry. Places of worship without permission: if you do have permission to carry in a place of worship, and that permission must be a specific, an affirmative “yes,” then it’s okay to carry. Otherwise, you cannot carry, but you can leave it in your vehicle.
In all other locations, you can leave your firearm in your vehicle. But with a weapons carry license, you can carry both openly or concealed; the law makes no distinction between the two. With a weapons carry license, you can carry on your hip, on the small of your back, under your arm; you can carry openly. The law allows you to do this in virtually any location: private property or public property.
Where You Can Carry
If there’s a sign at a property, the law doesn’t necessarily state that that sign is enough to keep you out of the property. However, if you are approached by someone who’s in legal control of the property, manages the property, or has been tasked to perform a security, and they ask you to leave, then you must leave. If you don’t leave, then it could be a violation of the law called criminal trespass.
Let’s say you’re traveling to a hotel. Now, with a weapons carry license and even without a weapons carry license, you can always carry in your home, your car, or your place of business. These three places are called your habitation. If you’re staying in a hotel, that location becomes your habitation if you have excluded all others from the use of that specific room or specific suite that you have.
With a weapons carry license, you can carry in public. You can carry in a state park. Which means in Georgia, if you can carry in a state park, you can also carry in a federal park. But you cannot take the firearm into any federal buildings. If you go to a national park to hike, you can’t take it into the bathroom or the Visitor’s Center.
There’s no distinction in Georgia between restaurants that serve alcohol and restaurants that do not serve alcohol. You don’t have to stay away just because a location serves alcohol. It’s okay to take a firearm in with you, but again, if the owner or the person in legal control asks you to leave, then you must leave.
More generally, let’s talk about those without a weapons carry license for just a moment. If you’re eligible to possess a firearm, then you can carry in your home, your car, and your place of business. You can carry in any location so long as the firearm is enclosed in the case and unloaded. You can carry in another person’s vehicle with that person’s permission, except that in Georgia you must otherwise be eligible for a weapons carry license in order to do this. So, we do run into some issues there, potentially if you’re an out-of-state resident, because the law is not very clear on that point.
So if you are traveling from out-of-state and do not have a weapons carry license, be very careful about carrying in another person’s vehicle.