This week we are comparing two neighboring states: Alabama and Georgia. Both states are good states for gun owners as neither state requires registration or permits to purchase firearms. Georgia has child access prevention laws that make it necessary for parents or legal guardians to have secure gun storage but Alabama has no such laws. On the federal level dealers, must still provide a locking device or secure gun storage with all handgun purchases. Note that there are a few exceptions to this law such as when law-enforcement officers purchase handguns.
On many levels, Georgia and Alabama have similar gun laws. Neither state:
- Requires registration of firearms.
- Requires background checks between private sellers.
- Bans assault style weapons and large capacity magazines.
- Bans the number of firearms one may possess.
- Impose a waiting period on firearms purchases.
Both states do have concealed weapons permit however, in Alabama you do not need this permit to carry openly. More on this shortly.
Child Access Laws
One big difference between these two states is Alabama has no child access prevention laws and Georgia does. Georgia child access prevention law makes parents or legal guardians liable if their child gains access to their handgun. There are a number of separate provisions that make parents criminally liable if they knew there was substantial risk that the child would use the handgun to commit a felony.
Concealed carry Permit
Both states require concealed carry permits to carry around a handgun in public hidden from view. The difference is that Alabama permits open carry of handguns without a permit if the handgun is in a holster or other secured manner (Ala. Code 13A-11-7). Georgia on the other hand only allows open carry if the person has a concealed weapons permit. Georgia also has a number of provisions that allow people to carry handguns in certain circumstances, even if they do not have a concealed carry permit. Notably Georgia permits carrying in these circumstances:
- Has a valid hunting or fishing license.
- Has a license to carry in another recognized state.
- Is eligible for a weapon carry license (even if the person doesn’t have it) and is transporting a firearm in a vehicle.
- Is open carrying a long gun and that long gun is unloaded.
- Is inside their own vehicle, property or place of business.
For a full list and more detail on the requirements for carry licenses in Georgia see Ga. Code Ann. 16-11-126.
Georgia and Alabama are the same in respect to private sales. Neither requires a background check in sales between private unlicensed dealers. Alabama has a couple unique laws in relation to private sales that make it illegal for anyone to deliver or sell a handgun to anyone who is a minor, a drug addict, a habitual drinker, with mental illness, has committed a misdemeanor or violent crime. To see this law in detail, look at Ala. Code 13A-11-76.
As mentioned in the beginning of the article neither state regulates large capacity machine guns, or magazine capacity. Georgia has no significant regulation in terms of ammo however Alabama bans brass or steel Teflon-coated ammo, which is designed to penetrate bulletproof vests. This law does not apply if the bullet expands on impact.
This article is part of a weekly series comparing basic gun laws in different States. Like all laws these are subject to change. There may also be county and city laws not covered in this article that change your ability to carry, transport and otherwise possess your firearm.