AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Gun control in Georgia? Not so much


NPR has published a handy state-by-state guide to gun-control laws, and if Georgia stands out, it’s for a lack of firearms regulations.

Georgia, after all, is the home of what is considered one of the most expansive pro-gun laws in the nation. It allows people with a license to carry a gun in bars, some government buildings and schools, and churches that have approved the practice. This law, enacted in 2014, has been described both as the nation’s strongest defense of Second Amendment rights and its most extreme promotion of gun violence.

In any event, here’s how Georgia lines up in the gun-control arena, according to NPR’s compilation:

  • Georgia does not require a license or permit to buy or own a firearm.
  • Georgia imposes no waiting period on firearms purchases.
  • Unlike 17 other states, Georgia doesn’t require background checks of gun buyers in private sales or gun shows.
  • Georgia not only doesn’t require firearms registration, it is one of eight states with laws that specifically forbid registration.
  • Georgia is one of 44 states that grant permits for carrying concealed weapons.
  • Georgia and 12 other states allow open carry of handguns by permit-holders. Six states – including neighbors South Carolina and Florida – ban the practice.
  • Unlike 13 other states, Georgia has no restriction on the open carry of long guns.
  • Georgia doesn’t bar people convicted of domestic violence from possessing guns, a restriction imposed by 20 states.

Do such laws reduce gun violence? That’s hard to say. Delaware, Illinois and the District of Columbia have some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. But, according to FBI statistics, but they also lead the nation in percentage of homicides committed with firearms (85 percent, 84 percent and 79 percent, respectively). On the other hand, Georgia, Mississippi and Indiana, with few gun restrictions, are right behind at 77 percent.


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