Wearing Masks and Carrying Guns in Public in Georgia

We at GeorgiaCarry.Org have had numerous inquiries on the legality of carrying a firearm while wearing a mask in public in Georgia.  The short answer is that it is not illegal to carry a firearm while wearing a mask.  Under normal circumstances, other than this declared health emergency, it is illegal simply to wear a mask to hide one’s identity.

In 1951, Georgia enacted Code Section O.C.G.A.§ 16-11-38 – Wearing mask, hood, or device which conceals identity of wearer.  This bill was passed to prohibit KKK members from wearing masks in public.

O.C.G.A.§ 16-11-38 states:

“A person is guilty of a misdemeanor when he wears a mask, hood, or device by which any portion of the face is so hidden, concealed, or covered as to conceal the identity of the wearer and is upon any public way or public property or upon the private property of another without the written permission of the owner or occupier of the property to do so.”

It further states:

“This Code section shall not apply to:

(1) A person wearing a traditional holiday costume on the occasion of the holiday;

(2) A person lawfully engaged in trade and employment or in a sporting activity where a mask is worn for the purpose of ensuring the physical safety of the wearer, or because of the nature of the occupation, trade, or profession, or sporting activity;

(3) A person using a mask in a theatrical production including use in Mardi gras celebrations and masquerade balls; or

(4) A person wearing a gas mask prescribed in emergency management drills and exercises or emergencies.

There is no mention of a firearm in this statute as the law is aimed at persons who wear masks in public to hide their identity.

This bill was passed in 1951 to prohibit KKK members from covering their faces when wearing their regalia.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, through his Executive Order 04.13.20.02 ordered that this Code Section not be enforced on anyone “if that person is wearing such device for the purpose of complying with the guidance of any healthcare agency or to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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