Georgia law generally bars any person (including the holder of a “weapons carry” license and other “lawful weapons carriers”)1 from carrying or possessing any firearm within a school safety zone (any property or building owned by or leased to any elementary, secondary, or local board of education that is used for elementary or secondary education),2 at a school function,3 or on a bus or other transportation furnished by the school.4
There are numerous exceptions to this restriction, however. Among other exceptions, this prohibition does not apply to:5
- A firearm used for classroom work authorized by a teacher;
- Participants in organized sports shooting events or firearms training courses;
- A person authorized in writing by a duly authorized school, local board of education, or postsecondary institution official to have a firearm in their possession or use within a school safety zone or on a bus or other transportation furnished by a school;
- A “lawful weapons carrier” who is within a school safety zone or on a bus or other transportation furnished by a school, or when he or she has a firearm legally kept within a vehicle parked within a school safety or in transit through a designated school safety zone;
- A firearm under the control of a lawful weapons carrier in a locked compartment, container or firearms rack in or on a motor vehicle being used by a non-student adult over 21 years old within a school safety zone or on a bus or other transportation furnished by a school, or when such vehicle is used to transport someone to an activity being conducted within a school safety zone which has been authorized by a duly authorized official; or
- A person residing or transacting lawful business or visiting such resident located within a school safety zone but outside a school building, school property, a school function, or school-furnished transportation.6
In 2017, Georgia repealed its law prohibiting guns on campuses of higher education. The state now generally allows lawful weapons carriers to carry concealed7 handguns inside any building, or on real property, owned by or leased to any public technical school, vocational school, college, or university, or other public institution of postsecondary education.8 However, guns are still generally prohibited in the following areas of campus:
- Buildings or property used for athletic sporting events or student housing, including, but not limited to, fraternity and sorority houses;
- Preschools or childcare spaces located on campus;
- Rooms or spaces being used for classes related to a college and career academy or other specialized schools;
- Rooms or spaces being used for classes in which high school students are enrolled through a dual enrollment program; and
- Faculty, staff, or administrative offices or rooms where disciplinary proceedings are conducted.
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- A person is a lawful weapons carrier if (1) they would be eligible for a weapons carry license under Georgia law (whether or not they have a license) and are not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun, (2) if they are a resident of any other state who would otherwise be eligible to obtain a weapons carry license under Georgia law but for the residency requirement, or (3) if they are licensed to carry a weapon in any other state. Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-125.1(2.1).
- Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-127.1(a)(3).
- Defined to mean “a school function or related activity that occurs outside of a school safety zone and is for a public or private elementary or secondary school.” Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-127.1(a)(3).
- Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-127.1(b)(1).
- Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-127.1(c).
- Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-127.1(c), (d)(1). Regarding the suspension or expulsion of students who have carried a firearm in school, see Ga. Code Ann. §§ 20-2-751.1(a); 20-2-751(4).
- For the purposes of this campus carry law, Georgia law provides the following definition of carrying “concealed”:
‘Concealed’ means carried in such a fashion that does not actively solicit the attention of others and is not prominently, openly, and intentionally displayed except for purposes of defense of self or others. Such term shall include, but not be limited to, carrying on one’s person while such handgun is substantially, but not necessarily completely, covered by an article of clothing which is worn by such person, carrying within a bag of a nondescript nature which is being carried about by such person, or carrying in any other fashion as to not be clearly discernible by the passive observation of others.
Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-127.1(c)(20)(C)(i).
- Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-127.1(c)(20).