2021 Georgia Code
Title 16 - Crimes and Offenses
Chapter 12 - Offenses Against Public Health and Morals
Article 4 - Offenses Against Public Transportation
Part 2 - Transportation Passenger Safety
§ 16-12-123. Bus or Rail Vehicle Hijacking; Boarding With Concealed Weapon; Company Use of Reasonable Security Measures

Universal Citation: GA Code § 16-12-123 (2021)
    1. A person commits the offense of bus or rail vehicle hijacking when he or she:
      1. Seizes or exercises control by force or violence or threat of force or violence of any bus or rail vehicle within the jurisdiction of this state;
      2. By force or violence or by threat of force or violence seizes or exercises control of any transportation company or all or any part of the transportation facilities owned or operated by any such company; or
      3. By force or violence or by threat of force or violence substantially obstructs, hinders, interferes with, or otherwise disrupts or disturbs the operation of any transportation company or all or any part of a transportation facility.
    2. Any person convicted of the offense of bus or rail hijacking shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for life or by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 20 years.
  1. Any person who boards or attempts to board an aircraft, bus, or rail vehicle with any explosive, destructive device, or hoax device as such term is defined in Code Section 16-7-80; firearm for which such person does not have on his or her person a valid weapons carry license issued pursuant to Code Section 16-11-129 unless possessing such firearm is prohibited by federal law; hazardous substance as defined by Code Section 12-8-92; or knife or other device designed or modified for the purpose of offense and defense concealed on or about his or her person or property which is or would be accessible to such person while on the aircraft, bus, or rail vehicle shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years. The prohibition of this subsection shall not apply to any law enforcement officer, peace officer retired from a state or federal law enforcement agency, person in the military service of the state or of the United States, or commercial security personnel employed by the transportation company who is in possession of weapons used within the course and scope of employment; nor shall the prohibition apply to persons transporting weapons contained in baggage which is not accessible to passengers if the presence of such weapons has been declared to the transportation company and such weapons have been secured in a manner prescribed by state or federal law or regulation for the purpose of transportation or shipment. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to any privately owned aircraft, bus, or rail vehicle if the owner of such aircraft or vehicle has given his or her express permission to board the aircraft or vehicle with the item.
  2. The company may employ reasonable security measures, including any method or device, to detect concealed weapons, explosives, or hazardous material in baggage or freight or upon the person of the passenger. Upon the discovery of any such item or material in the possession of a person, unless the item is a weapon in the possession of a person exempted under subsection (b) of this Code section from the prohibition of that subsection (b), the company shall obtain possession and retain custody of such item or materials until they are transferred to the custody of law enforcement officers.

(Ga. L. 1978, p. 2238, § 3; Ga. L. 1982, p. 3, § 16; Ga. L. 1988, p. 415, § 2; Ga. L. 1996, p. 416, § 7; Ga. L. 2002, p. 1094, § 5; Ga. L. 2010, p. 963, § 2-8/SB 308.)

Cross references.

- Time limitation on prosecutions for crimes punishable by death or life imprisonment, § 17-3-1.

Transportation of passengers by carriers generally, § 46-9-130 et seq.

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2002, p. 1094, § 1, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "This Act shall be known and may be cited as the 'Transportation Security Act of 2002'."

Ga. L. 2010, p. 963, § 3-1, 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.

Law reviews.

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


Application to airports.

- In a case in which a gun rights organization and a Georgia state representative sought declaratory and injunctive relief because they asserted that Georgia House Bill (HB) 89 permitted any person who possessed a valid Georgia firearms license to carry a firearm in the non-sterile areas of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, they argued unsuccessfully that the "notwithstanding" language of HB 89, codified at O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127(e), which authorized Georgia firearms license (GFL) holders to carry firearms in public transportation notwithstanding O.C.G.A. §§ 16-12-122 through16-12-127, which is the Transportation Passenger Safety Act (TPSA), would be superfluous unless it was intended to make clear that a GFL holder could carry a firearm in an airport. They misleadingly focused only on O.C.G.A. § 16-12-127, but the "notwithstanding" language in HB 89 referred to all of the TPSA, and O.C.G.A. § 16-12-123(b), another section of the TPSA, prohibited boarding any bus or rail vehicle with a firearm; since public transportation included bus and rail vehicles such as those operated by Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, the "notwithstanding" language was needed to make clear that GFL holders could carry firearms onto such vehicles notwithstanding the TPSA. GeorgiaCarry.Org, Inc. v. City of Atlanta, 602 F. Supp. 2d 1281 (N.D. Ga. 2008), aff'd, 318 Fed. Appx. 851 (11th Cir. 2009).

Evidence supported verdict of guilty but mentally ill on the defendant's bus hijacking charge as the defendant's mental illness did not prove legal insanity since the defendant told a psychologist that the defendant grabbed the steering wheel of a moving bus because the driver was in difficulty; a trier of fact could conclude that if the defendant was motivated by a delusion that others were planning to harm the defendant, the delusion did not justify forcibly exercising control over the bus as the defendant did not tell the psychologist that the defendant took over steering the bus because of the defendant's fear of being harmed. Robinson v. State, 272 Ga. App. 87, 611 S.E.2d 759 (2005).

Evidence was sufficient to convict the defendant of boarding a bus with a concealed weapon under O.C.G.A. § 16-12-123(b) because neither the bus driver nor a police officer detected a gun on defendant while the defendant was on a bus, but during an altercation with the officer immediately after leaving the bus, the defendant was seen striking the officer with a gun. Smith v. State, 301 Ga. App. 670, 688 S.E.2d 636 (2009).

Evidence sufficient for bus hijacking.

- Trial court did not err in denying the defendant's motion for a directed verdict after a jury found the defendant guilty of bus hijacking, O.C.G.A. § 16-12-123(a)(1)(A), because the jury was authorized to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant exercised control of the bus by force; the defendant brandished a handgun in the open door of the bus as the defendant ordered a passenger to get off, and the bus driver testified that the driver did not feel free to drive away because the driver felt the driver's life was in danger and the driver did not want to agitate the defendant. Cannon v. State, 310 Ga. App. 262, 712 S.E.2d 645 (2011).

Cited in Herndon v. State, 277 Ga. App. 374, 626 S.E.2d 579 (2006).



- Pocket or clasp knife as deadly or dangerous weapon for purposes of statute aggravating offenses such as assault, robbery, or homicide, 100 A.L.R.3d 287.

What constitutes "dangerous weapon" under statutes prohibiting the carrying of dangerous weapons in motor vehicle, 2 A.L.R.4th 1342.

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