Georgia law on Sawed Off Shotguns

Discussion in 'GA Laws and Politics' started by gunsmoker, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

    Georgia Code section 16-11-121 defines what a "sawed off shotgun" is. Basically it looks like the federal definition. The main points being that the gun has a barrel of under 18" or has been modified to have an overall length of less than 26"

    This definition does not have any exceptions or exemptions for legally-registered NFA weapons. For that, you'd have to look at the code section that creates the crime and lists the elements of the offense.

    The trouble is, there appear to be TWO (2) such code sections.

    The first, 16-11-122, bans sawed-off shotguns (and machineguns, and silencers) but says to see 16-11-124 for exemptions. There you can find four (4) enumerated exemptions, the last of which is that the weapon is properly registered with the feds.

    The second Code section making it a crime to simply possess a sawed-off shotgun is 16-11-123. It does not make any reference to 16-11-124, nor does it have its own list of exemptions. What it does have is a fixed penalty of 5 years. No range of possible sentences, just 5 years in prison. Period.

    So, if 5 years is the penalty for violating 16-11-123, what is the penalty for violating 16-11-122? Or is 16-11-122 a mere declaration of public policy or legislative intent, rather than a Code section and subsection that actually creates a crime? Note that it doesn't start out with the same language announcing the creation of a crime. It doesn't say "don't do this or else..." It just says "don't do it."

    Finally, I suppose as long as your NFA / class 3 / Class III weapons are registered with BATFE, you're covered by the exemptions found in 16-11-124, because that subsection says that it applies to "This Part", and Part 2 of Article 4 of Chapter 11 of the code includes 16-11-120 through 16-11-125.

    But IF somebody possessed an illegal sawed-off shotgun, what would be the proper Code section to charge them under, and what would be the penalty prescribed by law?
  2. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

    Test-Firing an NFA Firearm

    Here's another NFA / Class 3 / Class III question: Can you borrow somebody else's machinegun, silencer, AOL, short-barreled rifle, or sawed off shotgun just for the purpose of taking a few test shots with it on the range? If the registered owner is with you, looking over your shoulder, and even in constructive possession of the weapon, even while it's in your hands and you have "actual" possession over it?

    The exemption for legally-registered NFA weapons, 16-11-124 (4) says that the laws against such weapons shall not apply to " a person who is authorized to possess the same because he has registered [it]...[per the NFA].

    So if I'm shooting at a range side-by-side with, let's say, Joe Blow, and Joe is shooting HIS submachinegun (UZI) that's legally registered to him, and I'm shooting my submachinegun (Tommygun), legally registered to me, and we decide to trade weapons for just one burst lasting all of two seconds, did we both commit felonies?

    And if the answer is YES, does anyone really care? :wink:

  3. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

    Yes. It would be fine. It is my understanding that so long as you are both in "possession" of the weapon (it doesn't wander off without you being there) you are legal.
  4. juju151

    juju151 Member

    Re: Test-Firing an NFA Firearm

  5. jgullock

    jgullock Active Member

    And I beleive you have to keep the paperwork with the suppressor at all times.