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
§ 16-11-132. Possession of Handgun by Person Under the Age of 18 Years

Universal Citation: GA Code § 16-11-132 (2020)
  1. For the purposes of this Code section, a handgun is considered loaded if there is a cartridge in the chamber or cylinder of the handgun.
  2. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this part and except as otherwise provided in this Code section, it shall be unlawful for any person under the age of 18 years to possess or have under such person's control a handgun. A person convicted of a first violation of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 or by imprisonment for not more than 12 months, or both. A person convicted of a second or subsequent violation of this subsection shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by a fine of $5,000.00 or by imprisonment for a period of three years, or both.
  3. Except as otherwise provided in subsection (d) of this Code section, the provisions of subsection (b) of this Code section shall not apply to:
    1. Any person under the age of 18 years who is:
      1. Attending a hunter education course or a firearms safety course;
      2. Engaging in practice in the use of a firearm or target shooting at an established range authorized by the governing body of the jurisdiction where such range is located;
      3. Engaging in an organized competition involving the use of a firearm or participating in or practicing for a performance by an organized group under 26 U.S.C. Section 501(c)(3) which uses firearms as a part of such performance;
      4. Hunting or fishing pursuant to a valid license if such person has in his or her possession such a valid hunting or fishing license if required; is engaged in legal hunting or fishing; has permission of the owner of the land on which the activities are being conducted; and the handgun, whenever loaded, is carried only in an open and fully exposed manner; or
      5. Traveling to or from any activity described in subparagraphs (A) through (D) of this paragraph if the handgun in such person's possession is not loaded;
    2. Any person under the age of 18 years who is on real property under the control of such person's parent, legal guardian, or grandparent and who has the permission of such person's parent or legal guardian to possess a handgun; or
    3. Any person under the age of 18 years who is at such person's residence and who, with the permission of such person's parent or legal guardian, possesses a handgun for the purpose of exercising the rights authorized in Code Section 16-3-21 or 16-3-23.
  4. Subsection (c) of this Code section shall not apply to any person under the age of 18 years who has been convicted of a forcible felony or forcible misdemeanor, as defined in Code Section 16-1-3, or who has been adjudicated for committing a delinquent act under the provisions of Article 6 of Chapter 11 of Title 15 for an offense which would constitute a forcible felony or forcible misdemeanor, as defined in Code Section 16-1-3, if such person were an adult.

(Code 1981, §16-11-132, enacted by Ga. L. 1994, p. 1012, § 12; Ga. L. 2000, p. 1630, § 6; Ga. L. 2010, p. 963, § 1-8/SB 308; Ga. L. 2013, p. 294, § 4-11/HB 242.)

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 1994, p. 1012, § 1, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that the Act shall be known and may be cited as the "School Safety and Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 1994".

Ga. L. 1994, p. 1012, § 2, not codified by the General Assembly, sets forth legislative findings and determinations for the "School Safety and Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 1994".

Ga. L. 1994, p. 1012, § 29, not codified by the General Assembly, provides for severability.

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. 2013, p. 294, § 5-1/HB 242, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "This Act shall become effective on January 1, 2014, and shall apply to all offenses which occur and juvenile proceedings commenced on and after such date. Any offense occurring before January 1, 2014, shall be governed by the statute in effect at the time of such offense and shall be considered a prior adjudication for the purpose of imposing a disposition that provides for a different penalty for subsequent adjudications, of whatever class, pursuant to this Act. The enactment of this Act shall not affect any prosecutions for acts occurring before January 1, 2014, and shall not act as an abatement of any such prosecutions."

Law reviews.

- For article, "Crimes and Offenses," see 27 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 131 (2011).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Involuntary manslaughter.

- When the defendant's indictment charged that while committing possession of a firearm by a person under the age of 18 years, in violation of O.C.G.A. § 16-11-132, the defendant caused a victim's death without any intention to do so, the indictment was fatally defective because it was not sufficient to allege that the unintentional death was caused solely by the defendant's possession of the firearm as the state did not allege an unlawful act which under any circumstances could be the proximate cause of the unintentional death. Scraders v. State, 263 Ga. App. 754, 589 S.E.2d 315 (2003).

Evidence sufficient for adjudication.

- 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 they 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).

Adjudication of delinquency for giving a false name to a law enforcement officer, carrying a concealed weapon, and possession of a pistol by a person under the age of 18 was proper when juvenile defendant who was driving a relative's vehicle had free run of the relative's property while the relative was deployed overseas; also, defendant was in the vehicle the morning of and night before a traffic stop, defendant directed the other juvenile where to drive, neither gun was registered to the relative, defendant seemed to know about the guns' existence, and defendant gave a deputy false information about the defendant's identity. In the Interest of C.M., 290 Ga. App. 788, 661 S.E.2d 598 (2008).

Juvenile court did not err in adjudicating the defendant juvenile delinquent based on the defendant's possession of firearms because the evidence authorized the juvenile court to find that the juvenile had possessed firearms in violation of O.C.G.A. § 16-11-132; at the adjudicatory hearing, an officer who searched the juvenile's house testified to finding two handguns in a bedroom along with the juvenile's school report card, and although a person under 18 could produce evidence to support an affirmative defense that he or she was in possession of firearms with his or her parent's permission at real property under the parent's control, the juvenile did not produce any such evidence. In re A.Z., 301 Ga. App. 524, 687 S.E.2d 887 (2009), cert. denied, No. S10C0492, 2010 Ga. LEXIS 335 (Ga. 2010).

Because proof of the fact that the defendant juvenile was under the age of 18 was not required to establish a violation of former O.C.G.A. § 16-11-128 (now repealed), and proof of the facts that the defendant carried a pistol outside the defendant's home, vehicle, or business without a license were not necessary to show a violation of O.C.G.A. § 16-11-132, the weapons offenses did not merge, and the defendant was not exempt from adjudication of delinquency and punishment for each offense; the statutes defining the offenses of carrying a pistol without a license and possession of a handgun by a minor each require proof of at least one fact that the other does not. In the Interest of D. M., 307 Ga. App. 751, 706 S.E.2d 683 (2011).

Evidence was sufficient to support a finding of guilt on six counts of aggravated assault and one count of possession of a handgun by an underage person because the evidence included direct evidence in the form of eyewitness testimony identifying the juvenile as shooting and discarding the gun. In the Interest of T. D. J., 325 Ga. App. 786, 755 S.E.2d 29 (2014).

Adjudication of delinquency was affirmed because the officer's testimony that the weapon was inside the juvenile's pocket and the description of the weapon as a small-caliber revolver was sufficient evidence from which the juvenile court could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that the juvenile committed the crime charged. In the Interest of A. P., 348 Ga. App. 638, 824 S.E.2d 94 (2019).

Evidence sufficient for conviction.

- Because the defendant pointed a gun at the victim while defendant's accomplices robbed the victim, and thereafter shot at the victim's trailer, hitting a child and killing the victim's sister-in-law, the evidence was sufficient to find defendant guilty of felony murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery, cruelty to children, possession of a gun during the commission of a crime, and possession of a revolver by a person under the age of 18. Lytle v. State, 290 Ga. 177, 718 S.E.2d 296 (2011).

Evidence insufficient to prove weapon was handgun or long gun.

- After the motion to suppress hearing was converted to an adjudicatory hearing, the state retained the burden of proof to present evidence to support each element of the weapons possession offenses of possession of a handgun by a person under the age of 18, and possession and carrying of a handgun or a long gun by persons prohibited by law from such possession, but the state failed to carry the state's burden of proof to establish the elements of the weapons possession offenses by failing to show that the weapon met the definition of a handgun or long gun; furthermore, the state's failure to raise an objection to the procedure and the state's acquiesce to it did not constitute induced error or relieve the state of the state's burden of proof. In the Interest of A. A., 334 Ga. App. 37, 778 S.E.2d 28 (2015).

Evidence insufficient for adjudication.

- State failed to present sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the firearm that fell from the juvenile's pocket met the requirements of the firearm offenses of possession of a handgun by a person under the age of 18, and possession and carrying of a handgun or a long gun by persons prohibited by law from such possession because the state never introduced into evidence either photographs of the firearm recovered during the July 18 incident or the firearm itself; and the officer referred to it only as a firearm, weapon, or gun, and never identified the recovered weapon as a handgun or described the length of its barrel; thus, the appellate court reversed the juvenile's adjudications of delinquency as to those offenses. In the Interest of A. A., 334 Ga. App. 37, 778 S.E.2d 28 (2015).

Sentencing error.

- Defendant's sentence for violating O.C.G.A. § 16-11-132(b) was vacated and the case was remanded for resentencing because the trial court improperly sentenced the defendant to a felony-level sentence of five years on the conviction for misdemeanor possession of a pistol by a person under the age of 18. Oliphant v. State, 295 Ga. 597, 759 S.E.2d 821 (2014).

Cited in Rodriguez v. State, 284 Ga. 803, 671 S.E.2d 497 (2009); Johnson v. State, 308 Ga. 141, 839 S.E.2d 521 (2020).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

ALR.

- What constitutes "constructive possession" of unregistered or otherwise prohibited weapon under state law, 88 A.L.R.5th 121.

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