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While learning to shoot can be fun, it is important to learn all the laws of the State you are in so as not to find yourself in trouble. Different states have put in place different regulations and provisions on the use of firearms on both private and public property. Georgia isn’t any different. The information below can help you in your firearm etiquette.
Can You shoot on Your Property in Georgia?
Yes, you can shoot on your property in Georgia because it has no rules prohibiting this. Prohibition of the use of firearms is limited to some public areas outlined by the law. According to the NRA-ILA, anyone legally allowed to possess a firearm may carry their weapon on their person, in their motor vehicle, on their property or at their business premises.
Despite the friendly Georgia gun laws, there are some things that you need to take into consideration before you enjoy the privileges of shooting on private property. The top three things to pay attention to are:
- Castle doctrine
- Exceptions to castle doctrine
- Permits and other regulations
According to the USSCA, Georgia is one of the states that honors the castle doctrine. The castle doctrine is more of a legal philosophy than an actual statute. It comes from an age-old tradition whereby every property owner is considered king or queen of her castle. As such, you are entitled to defend your ‘castle’ from an intruder who invades your property.
This philosophy works together with the ‘stand your ground’ law which states that you have no business retreating from using force to defend your habitat, others, self or property. The law allows you to use deadly force as long as you are justified to do so. Both laws apply to whatever is considered your castle and are woven into the statute on defense of habitation.
Exceptions to the Castle Doctrine
Just as with other laws, there are circumstances in which the castle doctrine does not apply. Most of the exceptions tend to address the use of deadly force. This is basically the use any force that may lead to death or great bodily harm. In the use of deadly force on private property, you must demonstrate that there was cause and necessity for its use.
If the intruder is outside and you are inside, the castle doctrine may not apply unless they trespass or threaten your property. If you are both outside and you feel threatened, you are protected by the doctrine. Furthermore, if you are trying to protect real property and lawfully use deadly force, you will be acting within your rights.
Permits and Other Regulations
If you reside in Georgia, you do not need a permit to shoot on private property or to carry a handgun on public property. It is an open carry state. Thus, all you need to do is make sure that you observe the restrictions of the open carry so you can legally carry a weapon your property or in a gun range. For instance, if you own a handgun, you should apply for a permit for both open and concealed carry.
Georgia law protects its citizens from the 21-foot law. According to US Law Shield, the law is not applicable in this state. If you are defending your ‘castle’, you are justified to use force, 21 feet or not. This is because a person close to you can do as much damage to you as one who is further away.
In Georgia, it is legal to shoot on private property. However, you need to make sure that you do so within the state’s regulations. If you are defending yourself, others or your property, only use deadly force when necessary. You also need to keep your firearm licenses valid as stated by law.