Georgia gun laws, like Nevada’s, are among weakest in the nation

Historically, Georgia has been known as a gun-friendly state, usually earning failing scores by groups that advocate for tougher laws. Because of those lax laws, Georgia has been a key source for guns shipped up Interstate 95, or the “iron pipeline,” to more restrictive states in the Northeast.

And three years ago, Georgia added to its reputation for welcoming guns when the General Assembly approved a law which significantly expanded the number of places where firearms could be carried.

There are now 1 million people permitted to carry handguns in Georgia.

Here is a look at the laws that govern gun sales and use in Georgia and Nevada:

Federal law, which Georgia follows

  • Suppressors, or silencers, for handguns and rifles must be registered with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
  • Individual ownership of automatic weapons is allowed for guns that were manufactured prior to 1986, but not newer models. All automatic weapons must be registered with ATF.

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  • A carry permit or a gun purchase requires a federal background check with three possible responses: approve, deny or delay. If the response is delay, the sale can go through or the permit will issued if there is no response from federal authoritieswithin three days.
  • Those prohibited by federal law from buying guns include felons, anyone involuntarily committed for mental health treatment, anyone convicted of domestic violence, anyone subject to a temporary restraining order and anyone with a pending felony indictment.

Georgia law 

  • Under Georgia law, one must be 21 to get a handgun carry permit with one exception; anyone who is at least 18 and has been honorably discharged from the military.
  • Gun registration is not required though the law requires a permit to carry a handgun whether it be concealed or in the open. A handgun can be transported as an unloaded gun inside a case without a carry permit.
  • Carry permits are issued by probate judges in each of Georgia’s 159 counties and it is in their offices that records are maintained. The law prohibits a central repository, and it is illegal to release to the public any gun permit information.
  • A federal background check or a valid carry permit is required to buy a handgun from a licensed firearms dealer in Georgia. A permit is not required to carry so-called “long guns” like shotguns or semi-automatic rifles, which automatically load ammunition but require individual pulls on the trigger to fire. No background check is required for gun sales between individuals. The “gun show exemption” so many mention applies if the sale is between individuals; licensed dealers, even at gun shows, must do a background check if the buyer doesn’t have a permit.
  • Georgia has a “stand your ground” law that said a shooting is lawful if an individual fears for their own safety or the safety of others.
  • Training on the use of firearms is not required to secure a carry permit.
  • Earlier this year, legislators also said firearms could be carried in certain locations on public college campuses. And according to the law revised in 2014, guns are only prohibited in jails, prisons, nuclear power plants, courthouses and government buildings that station a law enforcement officer at outside doors to screen those entering. Guns are now permitted in state and local parks, inside bars unless prohibited, in churches that specifically approve them and at public schools while picking up or dropping off a student. A gun can be carried inside an airport up to the security check points manned by Transportation Safety Administration officers.
  • Georgia will honor carry permits of visitors from 32 states that in turn honor gun permits from Georgia. Georgia does not have reciprocity with Nevada.

Nevada law

  • Nevada, like Georgia, has a “stand your ground law.”
  • Firearms are not registered.
  • A permit is required to carry concealed gun but not to openly carry one.
  • When applying for a permit in Nevada, applicants must answer basic questions on a form at the local sheriff’s office and they must have been training on the use of the specific model of firearm they own.
  • Nevada law prohibits law enforcement inspections of gun stores.
  • A background check is required for all gun sales, including online sales and sales between individuals.
  • Loaded handguns can be transported inside a vehicle.
  • Nevada law prohibits local governments from enacting firearms laws except for those regarding the discharge of them within city or county limits.
  • Nevada law prohibits guns on public and private school and college campuses, on child care facility property, inside buildings on airport property, in local public parks, inside buildings with metal detectors at the entrance, inside state and municipal government buildings that have “no weapons” signs post at entrance and on private property when “no weapons” signs are posted.
  • Nevada recognizes carry permits from 31 states, but not Georgia.

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