Child Access Prevention
Georgia law generally makes it unlawful for any person to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly furnish a handgun to a minor under age 18, subject to multiple exceptions discussed below.1 A minor’s parent or legal guardian may also be held criminally liable for “permit[ting]” their minor child to possess a handgun in circumstances where they know the minor is engaging in conduct that constitutes illegal possession of a handgun and the parent or guardian failed to take reasonable efforts to prevent them from doing so.2
These restrictions do not prevent a parent or guardian from furnishing handguns to a minor, or permitting a minor to access handguns, when the minor is:
1) Attending a hunter education course or a firearms safety course;
2) Engaging in practice in the use of a firearm or target shooting at an established range authorized by the governing body of the jurisdiction where such range is located;
3) Engaging in an organized competition involving the use of a firearm or participating in or practicing for a performance by an organized group under 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3) which uses firearms as a part of such performance;
4) Hunting or fishing pursuant to a valid license if such person has in their possession a valid hunting or fishing license if required; is engaged in legal hunting or fishing; has permission of the owner of the land on which the activities are being conducted; and the pistol or revolver, whenever loaded, is carried only in an open and fully exposed manner;
5) Traveling to or from any of the aforementioned activities, if the pistol or revolver is not loaded;
6) Who is on their parent’s, legal guardian’s, or grandparent’s real property and who has the permission of their parent, legal guardian, or grandparent to possess the handgun; or
7) Who is at their residence and possesses a handgun while exercising rights authorized in Ga. Code Ann. §§ 16-3-21 or 16-3-23 (provisions regarding the justified use of force against another) with the permission of their parent or legal guardian.3
A separate provision of Georgia law prohibits any parent or legal guardian from intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly furnishing, or permitting a minor to possess a handgun, if the parent or legal guardian is aware of a substantial risk that the minor will use the handgun to commit a felony.4 This criminal liability also attaches if the parent or legal guardian, who is aware of a substantial risk that the minor will use the handgun to commit a felony, fails to make reasonable efforts to prevent commission of the offense by the minor.5 A parent or legal guardian may also criminally liable if they furnish a handgun to, or permit possession of a handgun by, any minor who has been convicted of a forcible felony or forcible misdemeanor, or who has been adjudicated delinquent for an offense which would constitute a forcible felony or forcible misdemeanor if such minor were an adult.6
Georgia law does not otherwise expressly make it unlawful for an adult to negligently or recklessly leave unsecured firearms, including handguns and long guns, accessible to unsupervised minors.
Georgia does not require a locking device to accompany the sale of a firearm, although federal law applies, and generally does not require firearm owners to affirmatively lock their weapons. State administrative regulations may govern the secure control of firearms in certain locations.
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- Ga. Code Ann. §§ 16-11-101.1(a)(1), (c).
- Ga. Code Ann. §§ 16-11-101.1(c)(1).
- Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-132(c).
- Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-101.1(c)(2).
- Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-101.1(c)(3).