What You Need To Know About Gun Laws in the US
The United States Constitution, through its Second Amendment, guarantees the right of Americans to bear arms. The right to own a gun, however, is not absolute. There are laws—both state and federal—that cover and limit the ownership of firearms. Here are some facts that you need to know about gun laws in the United States.
you cannot legally own a gun if you are a convicted felon
Not everyone can legally own a gun
Under federal law, you cannot legally own a gun if you are any of the following:
- A convicted felon sentenced to a prison term of more than a year
- A fugitive from justice
- A drug user or addict
- Declared by a court as mentally ill or have been committed to a mental institution
- An illegal immigrant
- Dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces
- A former US citizen who renounced his/her citizenship
- Subject to a court restraining order issued on behalf of your ‘intimate partner,’ your partner’s child, or children
- Convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence
Not legally allowed to own guns means no ammunition or “ammo,” also
If you cannot legally own a gun, you are also prohibited from buying or owning bullets. In fact, possessing a single, live bullet can already get you in trouble since no minimum amount of ammunition has been set such that a prohibited person is safe from prosecution.
Age restrictions apply
Anyone under 18 is not allowed by federal law to possess a handgun or handgun ammunition, subject to limited exceptions. Conversely, federal law doesn’t set a minimum age for owning long guns (rifles and shotguns) or ammunition for them.
If you want to buy a gun, you have to undergo a background check. Licensed firearm dealers are required by federal law to run your information through the national background check system to determine whether or not you are eligible for gun ownership. But if the dealer doesn’t get a notification about your eligibility or ineligibility within three business days, he or she can legally sell you the gun of your choice.
Not all types of firearms are fair game
The National Firearms Act (NFA) has certain restrictions in place on the sale or possession of machine guns, short-barreled shotguns, and silencers. If you want to purchase any of these so-called NFA firearms or devices, you have to undergo a thorough background check, buy a tax stamp for manufacturing the firearm or device, and log it with the NFA registry of the ATF.
If you find yourself facing charges of illegal gun possession and you think your Constitutional right to bear arms is being violated, you should get the services of a gun lawyer immediately so you can discuss your legal options. You should also do the same if you are being accused of other gun-related crimes.