Georgia law bars any person (including the holder of a “weapons carry” license) from carrying, possessing or having under the person’s control any firearm while within a school safety zone (meaning in or on any real property or building owned by or leased to any elementary, secondary, or local board of education used for elementary or secondary education),1 or on a bus or other transportation furnished by the school.2 There are numerous exceptions to this prohibition, however. Among other exceptions, this prohibition does not apply to:
- A firearm used for classroom work authorized by a teacher;
- Participants in organized sports shooting events or firearms training courses;
- A person authorized in writing by a duly authorized school, local board of education, or postsecondary institution official to have a firearm in his or her possession or use within a school safety zone or on a bus or other transportation furnished by a school;
- A holder of a weapons carry license when he or she is within a school safety zone or on a bus or other transportation furnished by a school, or when he or she has a firearm legally kept within a vehicle parked within a school safety or in transit through a designated school safety zone;
- A firearm under the control of a weapons carry license holder in a locked compartment, container or firearms rack in or on a motor vehicle being used by a non-student adult over 21 within a school safety zone or on a bus or other transportation furnished by a school, or when such vehicle is used to transport someone to an activity being conducted within a school safety zone which has been authorized by a duly authorized official; or
- A person residing or transacting lawful business or visiting such resident located within a school safety zone but outside a school building, school property, a school function, or school-furnished transportation.3
In 2017, Georgia repealed its law prohibiting guns on campuses of higher education. The state now allows holders of weapons carry licenses to carry concealed handguns inside any building, or on real property, owned by or leased to any public technical school, vocational school, college, or university, or other public institution of postsecondary education.4 Guns are still prohibited in the following areas of campuses, however:
- Buildings or property used for athletic sporting events or student housing, including, but not limited to, fraternity and sorority houses;
- Preschools or childcare spaces located on campus;
- Rooms or spaces being used for classes related to a college and career academy or other specialized schools;
- Rooms or spaces being used for classes in which high school students are enrolled through a dual enrollment program; and
- Faculty, staff, or administrative offices or rooms where disciplinary proceedings are conducted.
See our Guns in Schools policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.