2020 Georgia Code
Title 16 - Crimes and Offenses
Chapter 11 - Offenses Against Public Order and Safety
Article 4 - Dangerous Instrumentalities and Practices
Part 3 - Carrying and Possession of Firearms
§ 16-11-130. Exemptions From Code Sections 16-11-126 Through 16-11-127.2

Universal Citation: GA Code § 16-11-130 (2020)
  1. Except to the extent provided for in subsection (c.1) of this Code section, Code Sections 16-11-126 through 16-11-127.2 shall not apply to or affect any of the following persons if such persons are employed in the offices listed below or when authorized by federal or state law, regulations, or order:
    1. Peace officers, as such term is defined in paragraph (11) of Code Section 16-1-3, and retired peace officers so long as they remain certified whether employed by the state or a political subdivision of the state or another state or a political subdivision of another state but only if such other state provides a similar privilege for the peace officers of this state;
    2. Wardens, superintendents, and keepers of correctional institutions, jails, or other institutions for the detention of persons accused or convicted of an offense;
    3. Persons in the military service of the state or of the United States;
    4. Persons employed in fulfilling defense contracts with the government of the United States or agencies thereof when possession of the weapon or long gun is necessary for manufacture, transport, installation, and testing under the requirements of such contract;
    5. District attorneys, investigators employed by and assigned to a district attorney's office, assistant district attorneys, attorneys or investigators employed by the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of the State of Georgia, and any retired district attorney, assistant district attorney, district attorney's investigator, or attorney or investigator retired from the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of the State of Georgia, if such employee is retired in good standing and is receiving benefits under Title 47 or is retired in good standing and receiving benefits from a county or municipal retirement system;
    6. State court solicitors-general; investigators employed by and assigned to a state court solicitor-general's office; assistant state court solicitors-general; the corresponding personnel of any city court expressly continued in existence as a city court pursuant to Article VI, Section X, Paragraph I, subparagraph (5) of the Constitution; and the corresponding personnel of any civil court expressly continued as a civil court pursuant to said provision of the Constitution;
    7. Those employees of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles when specifically designated and authorized in writing by the members of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles to carry a weapon or long gun;
    8. The Attorney General and those members of his or her staff whom he or she specifically authorizes in writing to carry a weapon or long gun;
    9. Community supervision officers employed by and under the authority of the Department of Community Supervision when specifically designated and authorized in writing by the commissioner of community supervision;
    10. Public safety directors of municipal corporations;
    11. Explosive ordnance disposal technicians, as such term is defined by Code Section 16-7-80, and persons certified as provided in Code Section 35-8-13 to handle animals trained to detect explosives, while in the performance of their duties;
    12. Federal judges, Justices of the Supreme Court, Judges of the Court of Appeals, judges of superior, state, probate, juvenile, and magistrate courts, full-time judges of municipal and city courts, permanent part-time judges of municipal and city courts, and administrative law judges;

      (12.1) Former federal judges, Justices of the Supreme Court, Judges of the Court of Appeals, judges of superior, state, probate, juvenile, and magistrate courts, full-time judges of municipal and city courts, permanent part-time judges of municipal courts, and administrative law judges who are retired from their respective offices, provided that such judge or Justice would otherwise be qualified to be issued a weapons carry license;

      (12.2) Former federal judges, Justices of the Supreme Court, Judges of the Court of Appeals, judges of superior, state, probate, juvenile, and magistrate courts, full-time judges of municipal and city courts, permanent part-time judges of municipal courts, and administrative law judges who are no longer serving in their respective office, provided that he or she served as such judge or Justice for more than 24 months; and provided, further, that such judge or Justice would otherwise be qualified to be issued a weapons carry license;

    13. United States Attorneys and Assistant United States Attorneys;
    14. County medical examiners and coroners and their sworn officers employed by county government;
    15. Clerks of the superior courts; and
    16. Constables employed by a magistrate court of this state.
  2. Except to the extent provided for in subsection (c.1) of this Code section, Code Sections 16-11-126 through 16-11-127.2 shall not apply to or affect persons who at the time of their retirement from service with the Department of Community Supervision were community supervision officers, when specifically designated and authorized in writing by the commissioner of community supervision.
    1. As used in this subsection, the term "courthouse" means a building or annex occupied by judicial courts and containing rooms in which judicial proceedings are held.
    2. Except to the extent provided for in subsection (c.1) of this Code section, Code Sections 16-11-126 through 16-11-127.2 shall not apply to or affect any:
      1. Sheriff, retired sheriff, deputy sheriff, or retired deputy sheriff if such retired sheriff or deputy sheriff is eligible to receive or is receiving benefits under the Peace Officers' Annuity and Benefit Fund provided under Chapter 17 of Title 47, the Sheriffs' Retirement Fund of Georgia provided under Chapter 16 of Title 47, or any other public retirement system established under the laws of this state for service as a law enforcement officer;
      2. Member of the Georgia State Patrol, agent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, retired member of the Georgia State Patrol, or retired agent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation if such retired member or agent is receiving benefits under the Employees' Retirement System;
      3. Full-time law enforcement chief executive engaging in the management of a county, municipal, state, state authority, or federal law enforcement agency in the State of Georgia, including any college or university law enforcement chief executive who is registered or certified by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council; or retired law enforcement chief executive who formerly managed a county, municipal, state, state authority, or federal law enforcement agency in the State of Georgia, including any college or university law enforcement chief executive who was registered or certified at the time of his or her retirement by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, if such retired law enforcement chief executive is receiving benefits under the Peace Officers' Annuity and Benefit Fund provided under Chapter 17 of Title 47 or is retired in good standing and receiving benefits from a county, municipal, State of Georgia, state authority, or federal retirement system;
      4. Police officer of any county, municipal, state, state authority, or federal law enforcement agency in the State of Georgia, including any college or university police officer who is registered or certified by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, or retired police officer of any county, municipal, state, state authority, or federal law enforcement agency in the State of Georgia, including any college or university police officer who was registered or certified at the time of his or her retirement by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, if such retired police officer is receiving benefits under the Peace Officers' Annuity and Benefit Fund provided under Chapter 17 of Title 47 or is retired in good standing and receiving benefits from a county, municipal, State of Georgia, state authority, or federal retirement system; or
      5. Person who is a citizen of this state and:
        1. Has retired with at least ten years of aggregate service as a law enforcement officer with powers of arrest under the laws of any state of the United States or of the United States;
        2. Separated from service in good standing, as determined by criteria established by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, from employment with his or her most recent law enforcement agency; and
        3. Possesses on his or her person an identification card for retired law enforcement officers as issued by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council; provided, however, that such person meets the standards for the issuance of such card as provided for by the council, including, but not limited to, maintenance of qualification in firearms training.

        In addition, any such sheriff, retired sheriff, deputy sheriff, retired deputy sheriff, member or retired member of the Georgia State Patrol, agent or retired agent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, officer or retired officer of the Department of Natural Resources, active or retired law enforcement chief executive, person who is a retired law enforcement officer as provided for in paragraph (2) of this subsection, or other law enforcement officer referred to in this subsection shall be authorized to carry a handgun on or off duty anywhere within this state, including, but not limited to, in a courthouse except to the extent provided for in subsection (c.1) of this Code section, and Code Sections 16-11-126 through 16-11-127.2 shall not apply to the carrying of such firearms.

    3. Notwithstanding a security plan implemented by law enforcement personnel, including as provided for under a comprehensive plan as provided for in subsection (a) of Code Section 15-16-10, active law enforcement officers referred to in subsection (c) of this Code section shall be authorized to carry their service handguns and weapons in any courthouse if they are wearing the assigned uniform of their law enforcement office or have the official badge and identification credentials issued to them by their law enforcement office displayed and plainly visible on their person while in the performance of their official duties.
    1. (c.1) (1)
      1. As used in the subsection, the term:
        1. "Active" means nonretired.
        2. "Courthouse" means a building or annex occupied by judicial courts and containing rooms in which judicial proceedings are held.
        3. "Law enforcement agency" means sheriffs or any unit, organ, or department of this state, or a subdivision or municipality thereof, whose functions by law include the enforcement of criminal or traffic laws; the preservation of public order; the protection of life and property; the prevention, detection, or investigation of crime; or court security that is providing security for a courthouse.
        4. "Law enforcement personnel" means sheriffs or deputy sheriffs or peace officers employed by a law enforcement agency.
      2. (A) Pursuant to a security plan implemented by law enforcement personnel, including as provided for under a comprehensive plan as provided for in subsection (a) of Code Section 15-16-10, the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over a courthouse may provide for facilities or the means for the holding of weapons carried by persons enumerated under this Code section, except as provided for in paragraph (3) of this subsection, provided that ingress to such courthouse is actively restricted or screened by law enforcement personnel and such facilities or means are located in the immediate proximity of the area which is restricted or screened by such law enforcement personnel.
        1. If the requirements of this paragraph are met, the persons enumerated under this Code section shall, except as provided for in paragraph (3) of this subsection, upon request of law enforcement personnel place his or her weapons in such holding with law enforcement personnel while such persons are within the restricted or screened area. Upon request of any person enumerated under this Code section, in preparation for his or her exit from the restricted or screened area, law enforcement personnel shall immediately provide for the return of the person's weapons which are in holding.
  3. A prosecution based upon a violation of Code Section 16-11-126 or 16-11-127 need not negative any exemptions.

(Code 1933, § 26-2907, enacted by Ga. L. 1968, p. 1249, § 1; Ga. L. 1974, p. 481, § 1; Ga. L. 1979, p. 1019, § 1; Ga. L. 1982, p. 3, § 16; Ga. L. 1982, p. 789, § 2; Ga. L. 1984, p. 22, § 16; Ga. L. 1985, p. 283, § 1; Ga. L. 1986, p. 1205, § 2; Ga. L. 1988, p. 472, § 1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 558, § 1; Ga. L. 1991, p. 94, § 16; Ga. L. 1993, p. 604, § 1; Ga. L. 1994, p. 547, § 2; Ga. L. 1996, p. 416, § 6; Ga. L. 1996, p. 748, § 12; Ga. L. 1997, p. 514, § 3; Ga. L. 1998, p. 657, §§ 1-3; Ga. L. 2000, p. 843, §§ 1, 2; Ga. L. 2003, p. 140, § 16; Ga. L. 2006, p. 531, § 1/HB 1044; Ga. L. 2008, p. 577, § 16/SB 396; Ga. L. 2010, p. 963, § 2-7/SB 308; Ga. L. 2011, p. 508, § 1/HB 266; Ga. L. 2014, p. 599, § 1-8/HB 60; Ga. L. 2015, p. 422, § 5-28/HB 310; Ga. L. 2016, p. 263, § 1/SB 332; Ga. L. 2017, p. 24, § 1/SB 18; Ga. L. 2017, p. 555, § 7/HB 292.)

The 2016 amendment, effective July 1, 2016, substituted the present provisions of paragraph (a)(12) for the former provisions, which read: "State and federal judges, judges of probate, juvenile, and magistrate courts, full-time judges of municipal and city courts, and permanent part-time judges of municipal and city courts."; substituted the present provisions of paragraph (a)(12.1) for the former provisions, which read: "Former state and federal judges, judges of probate, juvenile, and magistrate courts, full-time judges of municipal and city courts, and permanent part-time judges of municipal courts who are retired from their respective offices, provided that such judge would otherwise be qualified to be issued a weapons carry license;"; and substituted the present provisions of paragraph (a)(12.2) for the former provisions, which read: "Former state and federal judges, judges of probate, juvenile, and magistrate courts, full-time judges of municipal and city courts, and permanent part-time judges of municipal courts who are no longer serving in their respective office, provided that he or she served as such judge for more than 24 months; and provided, further, that such judge would otherwise be qualified to be issued a weapons carry license;".

The 2017 amendments. The first 2017 amendment, effective July 1, 2017, in paragraph (c)(2), substituted "Patrol, agent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation," for "Patrol or agent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation or", inserted a comma following "Georgia State Patrol", and inserted "retired" preceding "agent"; substituted "who" for "that" throughout paragraphs (c)(3) and (c)(4); deleted "or" at the end of paragraph (c)(3); in paragraph (c)(4), substituted "such retired police officer" for "such retired employee" in the middle, and added "; or" at the end; added paragraph (c)(5); and in the ending undesignated text of subsection (c), inserted the language beginning "member of the Georgia State Patrol," and ending with "Georgia Bureau of Investigation," near the middle, inserted "person who is a retired law enforcement officer as provided for in paragraph (5) of this subsection," in the middle, and substituted "this state" for "the state" near the end. The second 2017 amendment, effective May 8, 2017, in subsections (a) and (b), added "Except to the extent provided for in subsection (c.1) of this Code section," at the beginning; rewrote subsection (c); and added subsection (c.1).

Cross references.

- State-wide Probation Act, T. 42, C. 8, A. 2.

Exemptions for private detectives and private security agents who hold firearms permits issued by Georgia Board of Private Detective and Security Agencies, § 43-38-10.

Power of employees of Department of Juvenile Justice designated to investigate and apprehend escaping delinquent and unruly children to carry weapons, § 49-4A-8.

Code Commission notes.

- Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1996, the redesignation of paragraph (5.1) as paragraph (6) by Ga. L. 1996, p. 416, § 6 was not given effect; and paragraph (5.1), as amended by Ga. L. 1996, p. 748, § 12 was redesignated as paragraph (6) and, a semicolon was substituted for a period at the end of paragraph (a)(11).

Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2017, the amendment of subsection (c) of this Code section by Ga. L. 2017, p. 24, § 1/SB 18, was treated as impliedly repealed and superseded by Ga. L. 2017, p. 555, § 7/HB 292, due to irreconcilable conflict.

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2010, p. 963, § 3-1/SB 308, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part, that the amendment of this Code section shall apply to all offenses committed on and after June 4, 2010, and shall not affect any prosecutions for acts occurring before June 4, 2010, and shall not act as an abatement of any such prosecution.

Ga. L. 2014, p. 599, § 1-1/HB 60, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "This Act shall be known and may be cited as the 'Safe Carry Protection Act.'"

Ga. L. 2015, p. 422, § 6-1/HB 310, not codified by the General Assembly, provides, in part, that this Act shall apply to sentences entered on or after July 1, 2015.

Ga. L. 2017, p. 555, § 1/HB 292, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "The General Assembly finds that:

"(1) The ownership of firearms is a clear and explicit right protected by the United States Constitution and the Constitution of this state;

"(2) Access to financial services provides for the functioning of a firearms industry and, thus, the constitutionally protected right of firearm ownership; and

"(3) The provisions of this Act are intended to implement the constitutional protections provided for under the law."

Ga. L. 2017, p. 24, § 1/SB 18, which amended this Code section, purported to amend subsection (c) but actually amended paragraph (c)(1).

Law reviews.

- For article on the 2015 amendment of this Code section, see 32 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 231 (2015).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Private detectives and security guards are not peace officers.

- Private detective or security guard, even though given courtesy of a card labeling the person a "special" deputy sheriff was not a peace officer under former Code 1933, § 26-2907 (see now O.C.G.A. § 16-11-130). Talley v. State, 129 Ga. App. 479, 199 S.E.2d 908 (1973).

Scope of exemption.

- Exemptions stated in former Code 1933, § 26-2907 (see now O.C.G.A. § 16-11-130) appertain only to certain persons employed by government and its subdivisions, and then only when engaged in pursuit of official duty or otherwise specifically authorized by law to do so. Talley v. State, 129 Ga. App. 479, 199 S.E.2d 908 (1973).

Carrying of service weapons by officers in courthouse.

- Department of Public Safety officers are permitted to carry their service weapons and handguns into courthouses, but O.C.G.A. § 16-11-30 does not authorize the officers' entry into courtrooms where the courthouse's security plan and/or judges of that court have directed otherwise. 2017 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 17-5.

Former Code 1933, § 26-2907 (see now O.C.G.A. § 16-11-130(b)) was burden reducing but not burden shifting. Simmons v. State, 246 Ga. 390, 271 S.E.2d 468 (1980), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 1125, 101 S. Ct. 942, 67 L. Ed. 2d 111 (1981).

Cited in Simmons v. State, 154 Ga. App. 234, 267 S.E.2d 806 (1980).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Trooper cadets are not "peace officers" within meaning of former Code 1933, § 26-2907 (see now O.C.G.A. § 16-11-130), and thus, are subject to licensing requirements. 1974 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 74-135.

Solicitor (now solicitor-general) of a state court does not fall within the definition of "peace officer," and is not thereby exempt from the requirements of O.C.G.A. §§ 16-11-126 through16-11-128 (now repealed), nor is that office otherwise exempt from these requirements. 1985 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U85-5 (rendered prior to 1996 amendment, adding paragraph (5.1), (now (6)).

Full-time peace officers are entitled to the same exemption as are active duty military personnel. 1997 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U97-13.

Off-duty police officers may carry a concealed weapon only if the officers are authorized to do so by state or federal law, regulation or order. 1987 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U87-28.

License may not be issued to underage off-duty peace officer.

- Although peace officers under 21 are exempt from handgun licensing requirements when engaged in official duties, a probate judge may not lawfully issue handgun licenses to peace officers under 21 for use while off duty. 1984 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U84-23.

Security guards employed by State Board of Education are not "peace officers" within meaning of former Code 1933, § 26-2907 (see now O.C.G.A. § 16-11-130). 1978 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 78-3.

Correctional officers at a state prison are peace officers. 1987 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U87-28.

Special deputy sheriff is not authorized, by virtue of that office, to carry firearms. 1970 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U70-204.

Investigators employed by the solicitor's office of the juvenile court may not be authorized by the solicitor to carry weapons and may not exercise the powers of a peace officer unless they are certified as peace officers pursuant to O.C.G.A. Ch. 8, T. 35. 1990 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U90-22.

Military personnel.

- Active duty military personnel are exempt from the requirement of a firearms license, and the exemption is not limited to military action on the military reservation. 1997 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U97-13.

Active duty military personnel may obtain a firearms license if otherwise qualified, and dependents of military personnel are eligible for a license if it is determined that they have established domicile. 1997 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U97-13.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 79 Am. Jur. 2d, Weapons and Firearms, § 22.

C.J.S.

- 94 C.J.S., Weapons, § 51 et seq.

ALR.

- Who is entitled to carry concealed weapons, 51 A.L.R.3d 504.

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