The world has gone crazy. How do you protect yourself and your loved ones when you’re not at home? Do you carry? Are you considering carrying a firearm with you in public? We hear this and answer these questions literally every day here at SharpShooters. We thought it would be a good idea to consolidate all the info into one place, so anyone would is looking can find simple instructions for getting a concealed carry permit, which, in Georgia, is officially called a “Weapons Carry License” (WCL). For reference, each explanation below is for getting your license for the first time. Renewals are completely different, but easier in most cases.
Georgia Concealed Carry Law
The NRA provides a good summary of Georgia gun laws here and the USCCA provides an even better summary here. Georgia is a very 2A friendly state. The bottom line is, you don’t need a permit for anything firearm related except to carry a concealed handgun, and no training is required to obtain a Georgia Weapons Carry Permit. However, you must be 21 years old or older. For 18-21 year old people, if you have completed basic training and are active military, bring proof and you can apply for and get your license.
And we highly recommend getting proper training for carrying a concealed weapon, if, God forbid, you ever need to use it. Having a gun at your side is worse than worthless if you don’t know how to use it.
Also, for that permit, Georgia is what is known as a “shall issue” state, as opposed to New York, which can refuse to issue anyone a weapons carry permit. The difference is that in Georgia, as long as you’re not a felon, Georgia “shall issue” you your permit. In New York, the state is not required by its constitution to issue anyone a permit, and if they don’t want to, they simply turn you down.
Concealed Carry Permit Application: Where to Go / What to Do
Below, we’ve listed things county by county so, depending on where you live, you’ll see exactly where you need to go and what you need to do to get your concealed carry permit (WCL). In all Georgia counties, expect to wait at last 60 days before receiving your WCL in the mail.
Schedule an appointment here. Your appointment will be at the Cherokee County Courthouse, located at 90 North Street, Canton, GA 30114. When you go to your appointment, get there early, and bring the completed Concealed Carry Permit application (PDF download here), your current I.D., current WCL (if you’re renewing), and payment (cash or credit/debit card). If you’re going to pay with cash, it’s a good idea to bring exact change for $78.25. If you’re paying with a credit or debit card, there’s a 4% processing fee added to the $78.25.
Start here, and schedule an appointment here. Your appointment will take place at the Cobb County Probate Court, located at 32 Waddell St SE, Marietta, GA 30090. For your appointment, you’ll go to Before you go to your appointment, complete the Concealed Carry Permit application form (PDF download here). Bring your current government ID, your completed application, and either exact change for $78.25 or a credit card ($2.50 processing fee) to pay for your license. You must then get fingerprinted within 5 days of your appointment. Fingerprinting is a separate charge.
Dekalb County is a little different than others in that you must first complete an online application, and then schedule an appointment. Also, we’re hearing bad anecdotal accounts of Dekalb taking as much as a year to issue a Concealed Carry Permit, and they don’t call you when it’s ready to pick up. You either call them and push them, or it just kinda goes away.
Regardless, start here to understand the process. Then go here to complete the initial online application. After you’ve completed the online application, you’ll get an order number. Use that order number to schedule an in-person appointment here.
Your in-person appointment will be in downtown Decatur at the Courthouse, 556 North McDonough Street, Room B-190 (Basement Level), Decatur, GA 30030. You will need printed proof of your appointment. You can’t just say, “I have an appointment,” so bring a printout of your scheduled appointment confirmation.
The fee is $78 in cash or credit card, and, like the other counties, there’s a 2.75% addition if you use a credit or debit card. Part of that, $5 in cash only, goes to pay for your fingerprinting service, which is required. You’ll get fingerprinted at Bobby Burgess Building at 3630 Camp Circle; Decatur, GA 30032, AFTER your in-person appointment at the Courthouse.
Start here. Make an appointment for a fingerprint & background check with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office by calling (770) 781-2105 within 5 days of completing your Concealed Carry Permit application. Best idea is to do both on the same day. Fingerprinting appointments are on Tuesdays and Thursdays only. When you make your appointment, show up early, and bring the money for the application fee for a new license is $73.25, and this must be paid in cash, in the exact amount. You’ll complete the concealed carry application in person.
Fulton County has several locations (Downtown, North Service Center and South Service Center) at which you can apply for your WCL. Start here, and fill out the application document from this link (PDF). The cost is $75 plus the $5 charge for fingerprinting. The $75 must be paid using a credit or debit card. Cash is the only payment accepted for fingerprinting fees.
Fulton County calls it a “Four Step Process”, but it’s really 2 steps. First, you take the application (do NOT sign it until you get there!), payment, and proof of Fulton County residence with a government photo ID to one of the three locations, depending on where in Fulton County is most convenient for you. Second, you get fingerprinted at one of five different locations. If you’re on the north side of Atlanta, it’s easiest to do everything at the North Service Center (7741 Roswell Road, Suite 219, Atlanta, Georgia 30350; 404-613-7638), and then get fingerprinted in the same building.
You can have your WCL mailed to you or you can come pick it up. With few exceptions, it takes almost exactly 60 days to get your WCL from the day you complete the process.
Start here. You can then download the application here. Then you take your application, government ID, proof of residency, and payment ($73.25, cash or credit/debit card) to the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center located at 75 Langley Drive, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30046. After completing the application process in the Vital Records division of the Probate Court, the law requires that you must be fingerprinted within five (5) business days of the date your application is filed.
What to Expect
You’re working with municipal governments here, and each of these locations has multiple functions, so don’t expect Chick-Fil-A like efficiency. That said, it’s not bad, and certainly no worse than getting a new driver’s license or something similar. The initial application process at the location will likely take anywhere from 1 – 3 hours. Make sure you bring everything you’re supposed to bring:
- Current government photo ID
- Exact change or proper payment for the application and fingerprints
- Proof of residency (this may be your ID)
- Completed, but not signed, application
Once you’re done applying and getting fingerprinted, you will wait 60 days no matter how you slice it. For Dekalb County, again, we’re hearing lots of different things, but the bottom line there is, stay on them. Call them at 60 days and ask for a status. They’re not going to call you.
If you live outside of these counties, your process will be very similar. The easiest way to get started is to search “<<county>> concealed carry permit process”, and go to the link for the County’s actual website.
Help Make Georgia a Constitutional Carry State!
We’ve explained here how to get your license to carry your own firearm in public. Texas just recently joined another twenty states who have passed Constitutional Carry laws. These 21 states do not require a permit for a lawful gun owner to carry their gun in public. The movement is known as “Constitutional Carry”, because it refers to the Constitution’s original wording, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Here are the states that have passed Constitutional Carry laws:
- West Virginia
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
These 21 states agree with the founders that requiring a license and a 60 day wait means that the lawful gun owners Constitutional right to bear arms is “infringed”. We agree. We encourage you to call and write to your state legislators and Governor Kemp, and encourage them to pass Constitutional Carry in Georgia.