5 Facts About U.S Gun Laws You Should Know
The United States is unique in the world is that it is the only country that gives its citizens the right to bear arms and doesn’t have any laws in place that explicitly restrict this right. With the right enshrined in the Constitution through the Second Amendment, Americans enjoy unparalleled access to firearms that would virtually be impossible anywhere else. The Second Amendment has also partly served as a bulwark against tyranny with the U.S being one of the few continuous democracies in the world.
With that said, the right to bear arms isn’t completely unrestricted with plenty of laws, at both the State and Federal levels, regulating firearm use and possession. To avoid any legal troubles, it is important to be better aware of such U.S gun laws (Gun Laws by U.S State – The Complete Guide 2020). In this article, we present you with X important facts about U.S gun laws that you should know.
1. The Legal Age to Bear Arms
As per Federal Law, the legal age to own or purchase a firearm for citizens and legal residence is 18 years. However, for firearms such as handguns, SMGs and or virtually any type that isn’t a rifle or a shotgun, the minimum age is set to 21 years.
However, in certain states, the legal age can be lowered under certain conditions. For instance, in the U.S state of Vermont, Maine, Alaska, New York, and Minnesota you can buy a rifle if you are of 16 years of age or older. In the case of the last state, the age can be lowered to 14 as long as you are not in a city.
2. You Can Have Your Rights Revoked
You can legally have your gun rights revoked if you are deemed to be a danger to the society at large or have been involuntarily admitted into a mental institution. In addition, if you have any prior felony conviction with a prison sentence that exceeded one year, or a misdemeanor carrying a sentence of more than two years, this will also bar you from purchasing a firearm.
Illegal possession or use of controlled substances can also lead to your gun rights revoked. Such substances do include marijuana, which while now legalized in many states, is still illegal under U.S federal law.
3. Certain Automatic Weapons Are Legal (Kind of)
Not all fully automatic weapons are illegal to purchase, exchange and own, only those that were manufactured after 1986. However, before you try planning on getting your hands on one of those Vietnam-era M2-Brownings, the process is still kind of difficult and complex due to there being a lot of legal hurdles.
For one, since the supply of automatic weapons circulating the market has been effectively capped by the government, they tend to be prohibitively expensive. To illustrate, a typical semi-auto AR-15 may cost around $450 in most gun stores. However, its fully automatic variant, the M-16, could cost you easily $10,000 regardless of the condition.
Secondly, being classified as a Title II weapon, you will need find a gun dealer who is licensed in the selling of such arms. In addition, before you can buy, you will need to submit a $200 12-page application to the federal government and wait for their approval which if you are lucky can be as short as one year. Now once you have gone through the exhausting process and gotten you shiny machine gun, it would be good to know that authorities in your state have been alerted and will be monitoring where you will take it.
Did You Know?
In the past such as during the early 1900s, there were so few restrictions in place that you could even buy a machine gun and have it delivered to your doorstep via mail order!
4. Who can Sell Firearms?
To legally sell firearms, the person interested must be 21 years or older. In addition, they will need to acquire a special $200 license called Federal Firearms License (FFL), which is valid up to 3 years before renewal. In addition, they will need to show proof that they have valid premises for conducting business as well as alert the local security officials when submitting the application for the license. A license is still required even if you plan on selling through an online store.
However, a license isn’t required if the selling of a firearm is a private transaction, that is the individual involved in the selling of the firearm who isn’t doing so as a means of regular income. So, you, your relative, friend or neighbor or even a gun collector who has rented a table to sell his guns aren’t required to acquire a license.
5. When is a Background Check Not Required?
Starting with the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, it is required in all US states for a person to go through a background check before they can purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer. However, this doesn’t apply if the purchase involved was a private transaction. But this may not be true for all states. Some states such as California, Oregon, and New York have universal background checks at the point of sale for all classes of firearms, regardless of whether they are purchased from a licensed dealer or from a yard sale at your next-door neighbor.
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