Are you one of the estimated 80,000 people heading to the NRA’s Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Atlanta (GA) later this week? Thought about carrying a gun with you, but aren’t sure what the local laws are?
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has you covered.
Who can carry? Georgia residents who have been issued a weapons carry license or anyone who is visiting Georgia with a reciprocal permit.
What’s a reciprocal permit? Georgia has agreements with 32 states to recognize weapons carry licenses issued by those states (and vice-versa). Those states are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
I’m a Georgia resident but don’t have a permit. How do I get one? In Georgia, county probate courts issue firearms licenses to state residents who are at least 21 years old, provided they consent to be fingerprinted and pass a criminal background check. Certain other exemptions or restrictions may apply. This is not, however, a quick process. If you have never had a weapons carry license before, the process may take more than a month.
If I want to go eat or get a drink outside the convention, can I carry a gun into a restaurant or bar? Yes. However, Georgia law allows a restaurant or bar owner to ask you to leave if they do not want you to carry in their establishment. The best way to avoid a problem is to ask before you are seated.
What if I want to go to church service on Sunday? License holders may carry their guns into a church or religious building, but only with permission from the church.
Can I carry at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport? Yes, in what are considered “non-secure” portions of the main terminals. You are not allowed to carry past the TSA security checkpoints or in the concourses.
Can I carry while attending the convention itself? Yes. Firearms will be permitted in the Georgia World Congress Center and the Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center. However, be mindful that no guns are allowed in other areas of the CNN including the food court and retail shops.
There are a few more pertinent details at the link, and Georgia Carry has a more exhaustive FAQ that should be able to answer even more questions, including this very relevant Q & A on open carry in Georgia.
Q: Can I carry a handgun openly, without concealing it?
A: No! Georgia is one of the minority of states that requires a Georgia Weapons License to carry a handgun openly outside of your home, car, or place of business. However, any person with a valid hunting or fishing license on his or her person, or any person not required by law to have a hunting or fishing license, who is engaged in legal hunting, fishing, or sport shooting when the person has the permission of the owner of the land on which the activities are being conducted may have or carry on his or her person a handgun or long gun without a valid weapons carry license while hunting, fishing, or engaging in sport shooting.
In short, it’s probably better than you carry concealed.