2020 Georgia Code
Title 16 - Crimes and Offenses
Chapter 11 - Offenses Against Public Order and Safety
Article 4 - Dangerous Instrumentalities and Practices
Part 1 - General Provisions
§ 16-11-103. Discharge of Gun or Pistol Near Public Highway; Penalty

Universal Citation: GA Code § 16-11-103 (2020)
  1. As used in this Code section, the term:
    1. "Firearm" means any handgun, rifle, or shotgun.
    2. "Public highway" means every public street, road, and highway in this state.
    3. "Sport shooting range" means an area designated and operated by a person or entity for the sport shooting of firearms, target practice, trapshooting, skeet shooting, or shooting sporting clays and not available for such use by the general public without payment of a fee, membership contribution, or dues or without the invitation of an authorized person, or any area so designated and operated by a unit of government, regardless of the terms of admission thereto.
    4. "Unit of government" means any of the departments, agencies, authorities, or political subdivisions of the state, cities, municipal corporations, townships, or villages and any of their respective departments, agencies, or authorities.
  2. Except as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, it shall be unlawful for any person, without legal justification, to discharge a firearm on or within 50 yards of a public highway.
  3. This Code section shall not apply to a discharge of a firearm which occurs within 50 yards of a public highway if such discharge is shielded from the view of a traveler on the public highway and occurs at:
    1. An indoor or outdoor sport shooting range;
    2. Facilities used for firearm or hunting safety courses sponsored by a unit of government, nonprofit corporation, or commercial enterprise; or
    3. The business location of any person, firm, retail dealer, wholesale dealer, pawnbroker, or corporation licensed as a firearm dealer.
  4. Any person who violates subsection (b) of the Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(Ga. L. 1882-83, p. 131, §§ 1, 2; Penal Code 1895, § 508; Penal Code 1910, § 504; Code 1933, § 26-7301; Code 1933, § 26-2909, enacted by Ga. L. 1968, p. 1249, § 1; Ga. L. 2014, p. 200, § 1/HB 773; Ga. L. 2017, p. 774, § 16/HB 323.)

The 2017 amendment, effective May 9, 2017, part of an Act to revise, modernize, and correct the Code, deleted "pursuant to Chapter 16 of Title 43" following "dealer" at the end of paragraph (c)(3).

Cross references.

- Prohibition against discharging weapon across public road while hunting, § 27-3-10.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

No merger into conviction for felony murder.

- Conviction under O.C.G.A. § 16-11-103 for discharging a gun within 50 yards of a public highway does not merge into a felony murder conviction. Hawkins v. State, 262 Ga. 193, 415 S.E.2d 636 (1992).

Not lesser included offense of attempted murder.

- Offense of O.C.G.A. § 16-11-103 was not a lesser included offense of attempted murder and aggravated assault on a police officer when the evidence showed that the latter crimes were completed. Thomas v. State, 226 Ga. App. 441, 487 S.E.2d 75 (1997).

Mentally retarded individuals.

- Defendant admitted to knowing that defendant should not discharge a gun within the city limits, that defendant was already in trouble for shooting a dog, and defendant knew that defendant was still holding the gun when defendant pointed the gun at a person; thus, defendant, even though mentally retarded, could be convicted of reckless conduct. Cox v. State, 216 Ga. App. 86, 453 S.E.2d 471 (1995).

Defense of accidental homicide was not involved when death results from violation of former Code 1933, § 26-7301 (see now O.C.G.A. § 16-11-103). Creel v. State, 216 Ga. 233, 115 S.E.2d 552 (1960).

Evidence sufficient to support conviction.

- When a witness testified that the defendant fired a gun from "right there at a clothesline" and an officer testified that the distance from the clothesline to the street was "right at 50 yards," the evidence was sufficient to support a conviction. Parker v. State, 234 Ga. App. 137, 505 S.E.2d 784 (1998).

Evidence was sufficient to support a juvenile's delinquency adjudication based on charges of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a minor, and discharge of a gun or pistol near a street, in violation of O.C.G.A. §§ 16-5-21(a),16-11-132(b), and16-11-103, as the juvenile was at a party and went outside with a crowd of others due to a fight, and the juvenile fired a gun into the air while standing in the midst of a crowd; the juvenile was identified by three eyewitnesses, whose testimony established that the eyewitnesses were placed in reasonable apprehension of immediate violent injury due to the juvenile's actions. In the Interest of C.D.G., 279 Ga. App. 718, 632 S.E.2d 450 (2006).

No fatal variance between the indictment and the proof at trial was shown since the indictment specifically alleged that defendant discharged a firearm, a .380 caliber handgun, near a public road and highway and the state offered proof of that very conduct. Jett v. State, 246 Ga. App. 429, 540 S.E.2d 209 (2000).

Cited in Burns v. State, 240 Ga. 827, 242 S.E.2d 579 (1978).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

There is no restriction against carrying an unloaded shotgun in a vehicle through this state. 1970 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U70-30.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 79 Am. Jur. 2d, Weapons and Firearms, § 32.

C.J.S.

- 94 C.J.S., Weapons, § 62 et seq.

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