Here in the United States, we have some of the loosest gun regulation laws in the world. They rank somewhere on the level of Yemen. In Yemen, if you want to buy a gun, you simply go to the market and buy one.
Sure, we have a few more hoops to jump through, but our laws are nothing in comparison to say China, Japan, or Germany. In these countries, there are as many as 7 different requirements that much be met before you may purchase your gun.
Want to know more about the firearm regulations that govern gun owners here in the US? We have ten that every gun owner needs to know.
The federal government bars certain people from being able to purchase a gun. While it is a constitutionally protected right, the safety of the general public overpowers that right.
Because of this, fugitives, those with felony convictions, and those deemed a danger to society are barred from buying weapons. Those who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution are also barred.
If you’ve been found guilty of possessing an unlawful substance in the last year, then you are also barred. Finally, those who have a restraining order against them are barred to help protect those who requested protection.
Then there are some who are barred not because they are deemed dangerous, but because they have given up their rights by denouncing their citizenship.
So federal law gives you the right or bars you from being able to purchase a firearm. But it is the states that govern how their citizens go about buying and carrying their weapons.
As a responsible gun owner, you need to learn your state’s specific laws. If you plan on traveling you need to learn each state’s laws that you will travel through.
There is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, or ATF, that regulates licensing standards for those that sell guns. The National Firearms Act of 1924 regulates firearm mufflers, rifles, shotguns, and machine guns.
An automatic weapon made before 1986 is a legal purchase, but if it was made after that year, they are not. Semi-automatic weapons are legal in most states.
Most states these days don’t require someone to obtain a permit to be able to purchase a gun. There are only about a dozen states that require a permit.
Then only 3 of those require a permit to purchase a rifle or shotgun. The most stringent being California. To purchase in California, you must pass a written test and enroll in a gun safety course.
While most states don’t require a permit to buy, they do require one to carry. Whether you can conceal carry or open carry varies by state.
These states specifically prohibit its gun owners from open carrying:
These states permit you to carry in the open, but require that you obtain a permit or license to do so.
Then there are some states that will limit the location of the open carrying. You will need to be careful about carrying in public places.
There are just ten states these days have a mandatory waiting period for any gun purchase you wish to make. The general standard is 72 hours or three days.
The theory behind this waiting period is that it prevents crimes of passion. Hopefully, that anger fueling your gun purchase subsides in three days. For Tasers and AR-15s, there is a 24 hour waiting period.
There are some states like Florida that will waive the waiting period if you have a permit. The assumption is that you are familiar with guns and the applicable laws regulating your actions so you will act more responsibly.
Studies have shown that by having a waiting period, gun homicides could reduce by 17%. That is almost 1,000 people a year whose lives would be saved.
Thanks to an amendment that was passed in 1968, everyone that purchases a gun through an FFL holding gun dealer will be subject to a background check. About 25 million background checks get performed in anticipation of a gun purchase each year.
Keep in mind that that means private sales do not require a background check. So there is a big gap in the regulation when it comes to checking who is buying and selling guns privately.
These background checks are pretty painless, though. You should have your approval or denial in under ten minutes. Sometimes it comes back with a delay, and this will require a few more days before an answer is determined.
The laws governing the buying and selling of guns seems pretty clear. So now we are going to make it a bit more confusing. Not everyone that sells guns must file and obtain an FFL dealer’s license.
The only people who must obtain an FFL are those who sell guns with the purpose of making a profit as part of their regular business activity. So sellers at a gun show who are selling “from their personal collection” are not required to have an FFL.
This creates a large loophole in the background check requirement and further gun regulation in general. There is no way to stop someone who is federally not permitted to buy a gun from purchasing. Then we will also never know they own it because many states do not require their citizens to register their guns.
Picture this: you’re sound asleep in the middle of the night. A bump in the night awakes you and you grab your pistol and go investigate.
There in the living room is a strange man rummaging through your belongings. A confrontation ensues and you shoot.
When considering this and other self-defense scenarios, consider what a jury would think is reasonable. If a group of strangers agrees that your actions are reasonable, then you get to leave the courtroom and go home. If they disagree, you’ll be escorted to spend time behind bars.
Always keep in mind that what one person considers reasonable, someone else will inevitably not agree. However, there are a few guidelines that you can use as a baseline.
In many states, the force or danger must be imminent. Otherwise, it is not reasonable to use deadly force (aka use your gun).
It is never reasonable to use deadly force to protect your property. So put your firearms away when it comes to protecting your belongings.
You carry a firearm for the purpose of self-protection. We all hope that the needs never arises, but if it does, as a gun owner, you should be prepared to use it.
People typically feel a need to explain themselves and their actions. Do not do this! It is your constitutional right to remain silent an avoid potential self-incrimination.
Do not give this right away freely by making statements. It cannot be used against you that you invoked your right to remain silent. Conversely, if you start talking, anything you say can and will be used against you.
Before you do anything to your gun, make sure you know what is legal and not legal. Otherwise, you risk having your firearm taken away and even jail time.
You cannot make a shotgun or rifle that has a total length under 26 inches. They also cannot have a barrel length of fewer than 16 inches. You might have heard of these guns as a sawed-off shotgun.
You cannot turn your gun into a machine gun. Though you can do a number of AR-15 upgrades such as to the grips, triggers, sights, stock, handguard, and muzzle device. You cannot turn your .50 caliber or larger firearm into a fixed cartridge.
These modifications are all things that will create a safety hazard for yourself and those around you. So stick with these modifications that are legal.
There are many modifications that you can make that are to the functionality and aesthetic features of the gun. Cosmetic changes focus on changing the look of your gun.
You can change the caliber of your gun. This entails re-barreling and re-chambering so you can fire a different caliber bullet.
There is nothing stopping you from modifying your gun to make it more accurate. Finally, you can alter a military grade gun into one that is legal for personal use.
Whether you currently own or are planning on buying a gun, it is vital that you know the current firearm regulations. This will keep you from accidentally getting yourself into some serious trouble.
Check your state’s laws to determine the requirements for purchasing. Then familiarize yourself with the law pertaining to carrying.
Watch this video and learn more about how to reduce gun crimes.