Open carry is pretty self-explanatory: It is the practice of carrying a weapon in plain view of the casual observer or outsider—usually in a holster or sling.
Pursuant to Georgia Code 16-11-126(a), “any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry on his or her person a weapon or long gun on his or her property or inside his or her home, motor vehicle , or place of business without a valid weapons carry license.”
Essentially, if you are eligible to own a firearm, you can transport that firearm (handgun or long gun) anywhere, assuming it is unloaded.
This is where the laws get a little tricky, though.
For long guns (rifles and shotguns), it is legal to open carry if you are not prohibited by law from possessing a firearm. It is legal to carry a loaded long gun without needing a valid Weapons Carry License (WCL), as long as the gun is fully exposed from concealment.
Laws pertaining to the carrying of long guns are pretty cut and dry.
The laws on carrying handguns, in any capacity, are more stringent. According to georgiapacking.org, “To carry a handgun openly or concealed in the state of Georgia (other than on your property or inside your home, car, or your place of business), you must have a Georgia Weapons Carry License or WCL (or the older Georgia Firearm License) issued under code 16-11-129.”
As long as one obtains the WCL, he or she may carry a loaded handgun anywhere that does not specifically prohibit guns. College classrooms and private businesses as well as state, local and federal Government buildings forbid the carrying of firearms.
The Georgia WCL is acquired by applying through one’s county probate court. The process requires applicants to give fingerprints and a background check, as well as a $75 fee. If the applicant is eligible, they will receive a WCL for a duration of five years.
Applicants must be 21 years old (military exceptions apply) and must not have a felony or be in current court proceedings involving a felony. Charges relating to the manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance also bar applicants. The same goes for those with a revoked WCL for improper carry.
If the applicant has been institutionalized in any mental hospital or substance abuse treatment center within five years preceding the application, they must fill out a waiver informing the deciding judge of his or her mental health history. In this situation, it is up to the judge to contact the facility and or doctors of the patient to determine if that person is fit to have a WCL.