Licensing and Purchasing A Firearm in the United States
According to the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right of an individual to own firearms. Requiring individuals to license their arms is one aspect of the “well-regulated” part of the amendment.
Guns are regulated at the federal, state, and local levels. Prevailing federal gun control legislation includes the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act 1993, the 1968 Gun Control Act, and the National Firearms Act of 1934.
How to Obtain a Federal Firearms License
In order to obtain a license to own, sell or repair firearms, you need to meet ten eligibility requirements:
- You are over 21.
- You have never had a dishonorable discharge from the Armed Forces.
- You are not an illegal alien.
- You have never renounced your US citizenship.
- You have never used controlled substances without a prescription.
- You have never had a restraining order.
- You have never been imprisoned for a crime for more than one year.
- You have never been institutionalized in a mental hospital.
- You have never broken any firearms laws.
- You are resident in the state where you intend to conduct business.
A Federal Firearms License does not allow you to carry a gun. For this, you need a special permit. You do not
need a license if you are purchasing guns for a personal collection, if you have a non-profit business or if you sell only ammunition.
How to Buy a Gun
There are three types of places where you can buy a gun:
- Retail outlet, such as Walmart or a sporting goods store
- Friend or family
- At a gun show
If you purchase a gun from a retail outlet, you will have to complete a form from the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and submit to a background check. You will need to disclose your name, address, birthplace, race and citizenship, as well as a lot of personal information, such as whether you have ever been declared mentally defective in a court of law.
You will not have to submit to a background check if you buy your firearm at a gun show. These are held frequently in most cities, although not in Chicago, New York, or Washington, DC.