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I Have a Felony – Can I Have a Gun in Georgia?

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution has long been viewed to be about a citizen’s right to bear arms. In Georgia, felons cannot own a gun. That right is forfeited because of your felony conviction.

Currently, felons face many restrictions and limitations on various aspects of their lives, including the right to own or possess a gun. In Georgia, the laws regarding firearm ownership for felons are strict and prohibitive.

Felons cannot own a gun in Georgia

Possessing Firearms If You Have a Felony in Georgia

In accordance with G.A. § 16-11-131 (Possession of firearms by convicted felons and first offender probationers), if you have been convicted of a felony in Georgia or if you are currently on probation, you cannot own or possess a firearm. If you are caught violating this law, you could face imprisonment between one and ten years. If a repeat violator, for subsequent convictions, you could face 5 to 10 years in prison. If you were convicted of a forcible felony and were caught in possession of a firearm, you would have minimally five years in prison.

What is a Forcible Felony?

A forcible felony is a type of crime that typically involves the use of force, violence, or coercion. These crimes are considered particularly heinous because they involve the physical violation or harm of another person. Examples of forcible felonies include murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, arson, and assault with a deadly weapon. In general, a felony is a serious crime that is punishable by imprisonment for more than one year, but a forcible felony is distinguished from other felonies by the fact that it involves the use of force or violence. If you use a deadly firearm in the commission of the crime that would add additional charges.

Felons Cannot Own a Gun or Purchase a Firearm

A convicted felon in Georgia cannot purchase a firearm or receive transfer ownership of a firearm. This includes firearms you may have owned prior to your felony conviction. If there is a gun in your household, even if is not yours, you could potentially be charged with possession of the firearm – even if you keep the gun locked in a safe. So felons cannot own a gun, or purchase one, nor can they possess one, even if if they do not own it.

Is there a Way to Own a Firearm After a Felony Conviction in Georgia?

Technically, there are a couple of ways. You need to get your felon conviction expunged. Expungement is a legal process that involves requesting the court to seal or eliminate your criminal record. If you are successful, you would not have to disclose your conviction when applying for a job or purchasing a gun (firearm). However, Georgia is very strict about expunging records for felonies. There is a process and you may eventually be granted the expungement, but do not count on it. Serious felony convictions such as armed robbery or aggravated stalking, are not even considered eligible for expungement. 

Another option is to apply for a pardon, which is official forgiveness from the government for your past felonious crime. A pardon does not erase your criminal record, but it can restore some of your civil rights, including the right to own a firearm. However, pardons are granted only in rare cases, and you will have to demonstrate extraordinary circumstances to be considered for one, such as a significant contribution to society or proof of a wrongful conviction.

So assuming neither expungement nor pardon is possible, you will need to follow Georgia’s strict firearm laws as a convicted felon and not own or possess a gun or any firearm. As stated, under current Georgia law, it is illegal for a convicted felon to purchase or possess a firearm. Be sure to consult with your criminal defense attorney before making any purchases or if there is any chance you could be deemed to be in possession of a firearm. To be clear, felons cannot own a gun in Georgia. They cannot possess a gun even if it is not their own.

Contact Phillips Carson Phillips-Savannah Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you been accused of a crime involving a weapon like a gun in Georgia, or if charged with a felony crime, contact the law firm of Phillips Carson Phillips. We have the experience and skill to defend you against criminal charges. If you are facing felony charges, it is important that you retain excellent legal counsel to defend your rights and avoid a conviction. Call us at (912) 232-0081 or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation today. We are ready and able to launch a strong criminal defense and protect your rights.