Recently, the State of Georgia has been featured in national news stories because of new gun regulations, or reductions thereto, that was signed into law this spring and went into effect in July, known as the Safe Carry Protection Act. This new law means that people are able to carry their guns in many locations that previously were restricted, including bars, religious buildings, and school zones in certain circumstances. However, the bar owners or religious leaders do have the right to ban guns from their premises. Individuals even may carry guns into some government buildings that do not have security measures that prohibit this, specifically metal detectors or security personnel. However, despite the ability to carry a firearm in many more situations, there still are regulations that can get a person into serious trouble if he or she violates them.
It is important to remember that even though people now may carry a gun with far fewer restrictions, there are actions that may lead to weapons charges in Georgia, including:
- Being in possession of a firearm when a person has been convicted of a felony;
- Being in possession of a handgun as a minor – there are certain exceptions to this provision, including a minor who is using a gun owned by his parents on land belonging to his parents, with permission;
- Possessing a weapon that is restricted or prohibited – restricted weapons include sawed off rifles and shotguns, silencers, racket launchers, and mortars. The recent gun law does permit hunters to use silencers as long as the property owner of the land on which they are hunting are aware of the use of the silencers or other similar devices;
- Possessing a gun in a school zone without specific authorization to do so – the school board may designate officials to carry firearms, but handguns generally are still prohibited in these locations. The penalty for carrying a handgun without authorization on a college campus has been reduced in accordance with the provisions of the new law to a fine;
- Discharging a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Pointing a gun at someone or firing a gun in the direction of another person – it is illegal to use a gun to scare someone, even if the person holding the firearm has no intention of firing the gun;
- Using a firearm in the commission of a crime.
The new gun law does remove some restrictions that prevented individuals convicted of specific misdemeanors from obtaining a carry permit. Georgia does require people to have a carry permit, although they do not have to possess a permit to purchase a firearm. Under the provisions of the new law, it is not acceptable for a police officer to stop a person strictly for the purpose of asking to see their carry permit. This new provision is likened to the prohibition of a police officer from pulling over a driver merely to request to see his driver’s license.
Penalties for a weapons charge vary widely depending in the nature of the violation, but a felony conviction can lead to a mandatory two-year sentence and a fine up to $10,000.00. A person may face incarceration of up to 10 years, so it is important to get the right legal assistance when being charged with a gun law violation.
The Abt Law Firm, LLC. Aggressively Fights for its Clients
Despite the fact that there is a new gun law in place that eases many restrictions on carrying a handgun in Georgia, a person who is charged with being in violation of a gun law faces the possibility of serious prison time and large fines. The Atlanta Criminal Defense Firm of the Abt Law Firm, LLC. knows how to fight against these charges in order to minimize the risk to our clients. If you do not want a criminal record, call us immediately at 1 (800) NO JAIL 9 or 1 (800) 665-2459 and we can help. We offer free consultations at our office, over the telephone, and are ready to come to you in jail.