2020 Georgia Code
Title 16 - Crimes and Offenses
Chapter 11 - Offenses Against Public Order and Safety
Article 4 - Dangerous Instrumentalities and Practices
Part 5 - Brady Law Regulations
§ 16-11-173. (See Editor's notes.) Legislative Findings; Preemption of Local Regulation and Lawsuits; Exceptions

Universal Citation: GA Code § 16-11-173 (2020)
    1. It is declared by the General Assembly that the regulation of firearms and other weapons is properly an issue of general, state-wide concern.
    2. The General Assembly further declares that the lawful design, marketing, manufacture, and sale of firearms and ammunition and other weapons to the public is not unreasonably dangerous activity and does not constitute a nuisance per se.
    1. Except as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, no county or municipal corporation, by zoning, by ordinance or resolution, or by any other means, nor any agency, board, department, commission, political subdivision, school district, or authority of this state, other than the General Assembly, by rule or regulation or by any other means shall regulate in any manner:
      1. Gun shows;
      2. The possession, ownership, transport, carrying, transfer, sale, purchase, licensing, or registration of firearms or other weapons or components of firearms or other weapons;
      3. Firearms dealers or dealers of other weapons; or
      4. Dealers in components of firearms or other weapons.
    2. The authority to bring suit and right to recover against any weapons, firearms, or ammunition manufacturer, trade association, or dealer by or on behalf of any governmental unit created by or pursuant to an Act of the General Assembly or the Constitution, or any department, agency, or authority thereof, for damages, abatement, or injunctive relief resulting from or relating to the lawful design, manufacture, marketing, or sale of weapons, firearms, or ammunition to the public shall be reserved exclusively to the state. This paragraph shall not prohibit a political subdivision or local government authority from bringing an action against a weapons, firearms, or ammunition manufacturer or dealer for breach of contract or express warranty as to weapons, firearms, or ammunition purchased by the political subdivision or local government authority.
    1. A county or municipal corporation may regulate the transport, carrying, or possession of firearms by employees of the local unit of government, or by unpaid volunteers of such local unit of government, in the course of their employment or volunteer functions with such local unit of government; provided, however, that the sheriff or chief of police shall be solely responsible for regulating and determining the possession, carrying, and transportation of firearms and other weapons by employees under his or her respective supervision so long as such regulations comport with state and federal law.
    2. The commanding officer of any law enforcement agency shall regulate and determine the possession, carrying, and transportation of firearms and other weapons by employees under his or her supervision so long as such regulations comport with state and federal law.
    3. The district attorney, and the solicitor-general in counties where there is a state court, shall regulate and determine the possession, carrying, and transportation of firearms and other weapons by county employees under his or her supervision so long as such regulations comport with state and federal law.
  1. Nothing contained in this Code section shall prohibit municipalities or counties, by ordinance or resolution, from requiring the ownership of guns by heads of households within the political subdivision.
  2. Nothing contained in this Code section shall prohibit municipalities or counties, by ordinance or resolution, from reasonably limiting or prohibiting the discharge of firearms within the boundaries of the municipal corporation or county.
  3. As used in this Code section, the term "weapon" means any device designed or intended to be used, or capable of being used, for offense or defense, including but not limited to firearms, bladed devices, clubs, electric stun devices, and defense sprays.
  4. Any person aggrieved as a result of a violation of this Code section may bring an action against the person who caused such aggrievement. The aggrieved person shall be entitled to reasonable attorney's fees and expenses of litigation and may recover or obtain against the person who caused such damages any of the following:
    1. Actual damages or $100.00, whichever is greater;
    2. Equitable relief, including, but not limited to, an injunction or restitution of money and property; and
    3. Any other relief which the court deems proper.

(Code 1981, §16-11-173, enacted by Ga. L. 1995, p. 139, § 2; Ga. L. 2005, p. 613, § 1/SB 175; Ga. L. 2011, p. 752, § 16/HB 142; Ga. L. 2014, p. 599, § 1-11/HB 60; Ga. L. 2015, p. 805, § 9/HB 492.)

For application of this statute in 2020, see Executive Orders 06.11.20.01, 06.29.20.02, 07.15.20.01, 07.31.20.02, 08.15.20.01, and 08.31.20.02.

A listing of Executive Orders issued in 2020 can be found at https://gov.georgia.gov/executive-action/executive-orders/2020-executive-orders.

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.'"

Law reviews.

- For survey article on local government law, see 60 Mercer L. Rev. 263 (2008). For article on the 2014 amendment of this Code section, see 31 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 47 (2014). For note, "Education Under Fire?: An Analysis of Campus Carry and University Autonomy in Georgia," see 54 Ga. L. Rev. 387 (2019).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Plain language of

§ 16-11-173 expressly precludes a county from regulating the carrying of firearms. - Because the plain language of O.C.G.A. § 16-11-173 expressly precluded a county from regulating the carrying of firearms in any manner, a county ordinance attempting to regulate the carrying of firearms was preempted by the statute; thus, the trial court erred in concluding otherwise and by denying summary judgment to a citizen and advocacy group on those grounds. GeorgiaCarry.Org, Inc. v. Coweta County, 288 Ga. App. 748, 655 S.E.2d 346 (2007).

Local ordinance did not preempt federal law on handguns.

- Because the current versions of the cities' ordinances did not create a local violation, the ordinances did not regulate the carrying of firearms in contravention of the state preemption in O.C.G.A. § 16-11-173(b)(1); accordingly, a gun advocacy organization's objections, however meritorious, to previous versions of the ordinances were rendered moot. GeorgiaCarry.Org, Inc. v. City of Roswell, 298 Ga. App. 686, 680 S.E.2d 697 (2009).

Cited in GeorgiaCarry.Org, Inc. v. City of Atlanta, 602 F. Supp. 2d 1281 (N.D. Ga. 2008); Sosniak v. State, 292 Ga. 35, 734 S.E.2d 362 (2012); Evans v. Gwinnett County Public Schools, 337 Ga. App. 690, 788 S.E.2d 577 (2016).

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