Welcome to the Georgia Gun Club!
There are so many reasons to purchase your first firearm. You could be interested in hunting or home defense, competitive or recreational shooting, or even just exercising your Second Amendment rights! Whether you are looking for a handgun, a tactical rifle, or a .22 rifle for the kids, purchasing a firearm can and should be a relatively simple process. Unlike most states, Georgia has no mandatory waiting period or licensing requirements for gun ownership. Though it may seem easy for just anyone to get a gun, any firearm purchased through a reputable dealer is done in accordance to current federal law. Deciding to purchase a firearm is a serious decision that should not be rushed into or taken lightly. Individuals interested in purchasing a firearm should follow these steps to ensure that the experience is a good one.
Step 1: RESEARCH
The internet can be a wonderful and useful tool. It allows you to shop around to see the various firearms that are available, the models that each type offer, and reviews from other consumers. It will also allow you to see the shops in your area that sell the firearms you are interested in. Most first time buyers want a firearm that looks cute or cool when in reality, they should look for one that they can safely handle and that suits their personal needs. Friends, firearms instructors and retail associates are also great resources to consider when looking for the perfect gun.
Step 2: PURPOSE OF THE FIREARM
Every firearm is different and can have its own unique purpose. Some are used for hunting, some for home defense and some for everyday carry and personal protection. There are many different reasons why a person would want to purchase a firearm. You should ask yourself “Why do I want to buy this gun?” and “What do I intend to do with it?”. Someone wanting to take care of some pesky coyotes on their property might be interested in a .22 rifle or an AR-15. While a revolver or a semi-automatic pistol would be better for someone interested in personal protection or concealed carry. Keep in mind that all guns are fun to shoot at the range, but it is the intended use outside of the range that should be a deciding factor in choosing a gun.
Step 3: COMFORT
Just like the person purchasing them, all guns are unique. Some are lightweight while others are heavy. Some have long barrels and some have short, snub-nose barrels. Some firearms may be too heavy or powerful for the user to shoot safely and accurately. Just because a friend or website says that a particular gun is the best thing since sliced bread, doesn’t mean that everyone will enjoy it or that it is the right gun for you. Look for a gun that feels good in your hand, that has a comfortable grip, that feels balanced and is not too heavy.
Step 4: THE TEST DRIVE
When you go to purchase a new car, you test drive it before you buy it. You want to know how it feels to drive it, how it handles, what features and accessories come with it and what can be added later. The same can be said for firearms. While not every gun is available for rent, most of the time you can find one close enough to give you an idea of what you are getting into. The “test drive” is when you will see if the gun is as comfortable to shoot as it is to hold. Is it too heavy or is there too much recoil? Can you easily load and unload it? Do you prefer a revolver or a semi-automatic pistol, a pump-action shotgun or a bolt-action rifle? These are just some of the questions you should answer for yourself before purchasing a gun. Once you have found what you like and are comfortable with, then you are ready to purchase.
Step 5: THE PURCHASE
Now for the fun part…Paperwork! Upon selecting the firearm you wish to purchase, you will be required to fill out a Firearms Transaction Record, commonly known as a Form 4473. Along with this form, you will need to bring a hard copy of your driver’s license to confirm your identity. For rifle or shotgun purchases, the buyer must be at least 18 years old. To purchase a handgun, you must be at least 21 years old. Once you have completed your section of the Form 4473, the sales associate will complete the rest and call the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to see whether or not the purchaser is eligible to own a firearm. Once the check has been completed, you will get one of three answers: Yes, No, or wait a few days before the transaction can be completed. Hopefully, being the outstanding and law-abiding citizen that you are, you will be able to take your new gun home with you the same day and begin enjoying your new status as a gun owner!
Remember, training courses are available for all shooters, no matter what your skill level may be.