Last Updated: May 30, 2020
Disclaimer: While the information provided here is legal in nature, it is not to be construed as legal advice, and is for educational and entertainment purposes only.
Every state has its own set of gun laws, so it’s no surprise that the laws on concealed carry are different from state to state as well. As states go, Georgia is one of the more gun-friendly ones, so getting a permit to carry is not nearly as difficult as restrictive states like California or New York. We’ll go over all the requirements and steps in getting your CCW permit and have you out defending your freedom in no time!
Getting the Permit
Before you even apply for the permit, you should know that Georgia is a shall-issue state. That means, as long as you fill out the application correctly and meet all the requirements, a CCW permit will be issued to you. So don’t mess it up!
Applications can be downloaded online or picked up in person at the probate court of your county. The actual filing of the application must be done in person at the probate court, however, so it may be easier to just pick up the application and fill it out once you’re there.
For those of you new to the state, a valid CCW permit from your previous state will grant you a 90-day grace period to continue to carry while you apply for a Georgia license. Welcome to the Peach State!
So how do you qualify?
To apply for a CCW permit (called a Weapons Carry License), you must:
- Be 21 or older;
- A legal resident of the county where you are applying.
In addition to those basic requirements, the same prohibitions on gun purchase and possession apply here as well. Even if you meet the two requirements above, you would still be denied the license if you:
- Have been convicted of a felony;
- Have any pending felony proceedings against you;
- Are a fugitive from justice (!);
- Were convicted of an offense related to unlawful manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance or dangerous drug;
- Had a previous WCL revoked within the past 3 years;
- Were convicted of carrying without a WCL or carrying in an unauthorized location and under supervision for the conviction in the last 5 years;
- Were convicted of a misdemeanor involving use or possession of a controlled substance and still be under restraint or supervision for another misdemeanor for drug or weapon related conviction in the last 5 years;
- Received treatment at a mental institution or drug or alcohol treatment center in the last 5 years;
- Were found mentally incompetent to stand trial;
- Were found not guilty by reason of insanity in trial.
None of those prohibitions should be a surprise, though if you do fall into any of those categories, remember that you may always have convictions pardoned and have your firearm rights restored by the Governor of your state.
But there’s more!
Good news! If you are under 21, you might still be eligible for a WCL!
If you are 18 or older, you qualify for a WCL if you:
- Provide proof you completed basic training in the US armed forces;
- Can provide proof you are actively serving in the US armed forces or have been honorably discharged;
- Are a legal resident of your local county where you are applying.
The Waiting Game
Once you’ve applied, by paying the fee, providing fingerprints, and filling out all the other information requested on the application form, you can sit back and wait for the license. Assuming everything was done correctly, you will need to wait about 30 days for the license to be issued. After that, just remember to renew every 5 years!
Where do you think you’re going?
Once you’ve got your WCL, you’ll still need to be careful where you bring your handgun. The WCL allows you to carry in places like bars and restaurants, and all state parks and buildings owned and operated by the state on those lands. You can also carry in all city and county parks.
However, federal lands and buildings, like parks and courthouses, are off-limits.
Recently, the state of Georgia enacted “campus carry,” which allows all WCL holders to carry when they are in or on buildings or property owned by, or leased by any public technical school, vocational school, college, university, or other institution of postsecondary education.
In general, you should probably lock your gun in the car when you are going anywhere that seems like firearms would not be welcome, or has security checkpoints (jails, police stations, courthouses, etc.).
And of course, the second best part of having a WCL license is being able to carry when you’re out of the state too!
Your Georgia WCL is recognized in the following states:
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
It’s worth noting that Vermont has Constitutional Carry, so even if it technically doesn’t recognize a WCL, you don’t need one to carry in the state as long as you are legally allowed to own the gun.
One other thing to keep in mind is that the states of Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Virginia, and Wisconsin only recognize WCLs if you are 21 or older.
And if you’re just visiting
Georgia decided to keep things simple, so every CCW permit from a state that recognizes the Georgia WCL is also recognized by Georgia. True reciprocity!
That’s it! You’ve got all you need to know to get a Weapons Carry License in Georgia! For those of you looking for a refresher on the state’s gun laws in general, check out our Georgia Gun Laws section.