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What You Need to Know About Buying a Gun at a Gun Show

The 146th annual meeting and exhibit of the NRA, or National Rifle Association, was held in Atlanta in 2017. Dubbed as a celebration of freedom, the convention left many people with questions regarding gun safety and the ability to purchase a firearm.

For supporters of the NRA, the convention is a place to gather, see the latest in weaponry, listen to speakers and perhaps attend a concert. For those who stand against the NRA, the convention is seemingly wrought with danger. Which is true?

The truth of the matter is that the NRA convention is perhaps one of the safest there is. The event is tightly controlled and regulated, following the laws of the state it is held in, and often setting forth its own additional restrictions.

Even so, many wonder if buying a gun at a gun show is legal in Georgia. Here’s what you need to know about buying and owning a gun in Georgia, no matter the seller.

Georgia Background Checks

Georgia follows federal law because it must. If a person wishes to purchase a firearm from a federally licensed dealer, they must submit to a background check. Every state is permitted to use state and federal records or only federal, and Georgia has made the choice to only conduct background checks at the federal level. This simply cuts down on a step as all of the state’s criminal history information is provided to the national system.

If a person already holds a state permit, such as a concealed weapons permit, they are exempt from the requirement of a federal background check. It is important to know that those who become unable to purchase or possess firearms due to some crime or circumstance, may often still purchase weapons for a period of time after they have become restricted to do so. This is because it often takes some time for the state system to be updated with these new restrictions.

Private Sellers

A private firearms dealer is one who does not make their living off of the sale of weapons. In the past, a private dealer was considered one who sold no more than four weapons per year, but this definition was eliminated.

Private sellers are not required to conduct background checks on the individuals purchasing their guns. Because many people at gun shows are considered to be private sellers, it is easier to purchase a weapon from a gun show than a dealer.

For example:

James is looking for a certain firearm and attends a gun show in Atlanta. He finds the weapon for sale by a private vendor and is interested in making the purchase. James, should he choose to do so, can buy the weapon and walk away with it without a background check being conducted.

On the other hand, if James locates that firearm at a federally licensed dealer, he will need to submit to a federal background check unless he already holds a concealed weapons permit in the state of Georgia.

Some gun shows still require background checks, even if it is not mandated by state or federal law. The NRA Convention eliminated the need for background checks by not allowing guns to be sold on site.

Whether a person is buying a firearm from a dealer or private seller, there is no waiting period in the state. There is, however, a 60-day waiting period for any person wishing to hold a license to carry a handgun. This means that while you may purchase your firearm and receive it immediately, it will not be legal to carry it in public for approximately two months after you have applied for your carrying permit.

Who May Not Own a Firearm in Georgia

While the Second Amendment is certainly protected in the state of Georgia, there are people who may not legally possess a firearm. Those people include:

  • Convicted Felons: A person who has been convicted of any felony may not own or possess a firearm.

  • Other Convictions: Certain other convictions prohibit a person from owning or possessing a firearm in the state. Those include any conviction for possession, manufacture or use of a controlled substance, a person who is a fugitive from justice, a person who is pending a criminal trial after being charged with a felony, forcible misdemeanor or having a deadly weapon at a public gathering or in a school zone.

  • Minors: A person must be 18 years of age or older to purchase a firearm.

  • Mental Patient: Any person who has been in inpatient at a mental hospital within the last five years of the date of application for a gun license will not be approved.

  • Drug or Alcohol Treatment: Any person who has been an inpatient at a center that offers drug or alcohol treatment within five years of the date of the gun license application will not be approved.

Illegal Weapons in Georgia

A person may possess only certain types of firearms in the state. Most military-style firearms are illegal, as are fully automated machine guns. A person may not purchase or possess a sawed-off shotgun or rifle.

Bazookas, hand grenades and mortars are also illegal within the state. A person who does possess a handgun may not possess a silencer as they are illegal in Georgia.

Talk to a DeKalb County Gun Crimes Attorney Today

If you are charged with a gun crime in Atlanta, you are facing serious consequences if convicted. Those consequences include steep fines and years behind bars. Reach out to our team of criminal defense attorneys for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your case and advise you of your legal rights and options. Do not face your charges alone. Call our team today.

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