Georgia prohibits parents and legal guardians from allowing persons under age 18 to possess a handgun.1 A parent or legal guardian of a minor is criminally liable if he or she knows of the minor’s unlawful possession of a handgun and fails to make reasonable efforts to prevent it.2
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.3 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.4
A parent or legal guardian is also criminally liable if he or she furnishes a handgun to, or permits 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.5
Georgia law does not penalize a person who negligently stores a firearm, even if a minor gains access to it.
See our Child Access Prevention policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
- Ga. Code Ann. §§ 16-11-101.1(c)(1), 16-11-132.
- Ga. Code Ann. §§ 16-11-101.1(c)(1). These provisions do not apply to a minor: 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 his or her 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 his or her parent’s, legal guardian’s, or grandparent’s real property and who has the permission of his or her parent, legal guardian, or grandparent to possess the handgun; or 7) At his or her 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 his or her parent or legal guardian. 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).