So you’ve determined to buy a handgun. But what’s subsequent? Opposite to what some folks claim, you possibly can’t just walk into a store and buy a gun as simply as you will get bread or milk — but even for those who could, there are still good reasons to take your time and think careabsolutely all through the process.
The first query it’s good to reply is “Why do I want a handgun?” Most individuals have one among three answers: for self-protection, for leisure shooting or for hunting. Most handguns are designed primarily for one among these uses, and in case you buy one ill-suited to your wants, you will likely have a disappointing experience.
Self-protection handguns typically have good stopping power (more on calibers a bit later), streamlined controls and either a high capacity or good concealability. Sporting handguns are normally small-caliber, affordable and mechanically simple, though organized shooting sport leagues can require all manner of handguns. Hunting handguns are typically heavy, massive-caliber revolvers that require confidence and experience to deal with correctly.
If you take a while to get really clear on why you want a handgun and what you need it to do for you, the research and shopping phases will be more productive and enjoyable, and you will be more happy with your purchase within the lengthy run.
In the event you live within the U.S., that you must know and abide by federal, state and county firearm laws. In cases where laws from different jurisdictions contradict one another, the stricter law applies.
The first step in turning into a responsible handgun owner is to develop into thoroughly acquainted with these laws. Internet research is a good place to start, however it’s finest to cross-reference everything you find in opposition to a number of different sources to make sure the information is accurate. Finally, we suggest checking with your native police department or sheriff’s office. They will help you make sure that you understand the law, and most will provide concise pamphlets or web pages which you can reference later.
Sure federal laws are fairly primary and apply to all gun owners in all states. With a purpose to purchase a handgun legally, you could:
Not have a criminal report, with certain limited exceptions
Pass a strict background check (for those who’re shopping for a gun from a licensed firearm supplier; private sellers usually are not required to conduct background checks on patrons, but most do anyway)
Not suffer from sure mental illnesses that may impair your judgment
Not have undergone treatment for drug or alcohol addiction within the final 5 years
Be a U.S. citizen or authorized immigrant
Be at the very least 18 if shopping for from a private seller or 21 if shopping for from a licensed supplier (note that in most (if not all) states, the minimum age to hold a handgun in public is 21. Also, there isn’t any federal age restriction regarding rifle or shotgun ownership.)
Federal firearm laws do not mandate any particular licensing or training, though many state laws do. Few states require licensing or training in order merely to own a handgun, though most require some form of license or permit so as to carry one in public. Some state laws further distinguish between open and concealed carry, and will require licensing for one but not the other.
A small number of states (notably New York and California) will not challenge permits to hold a handgun in public unless you’ll be able to show proof of a credible menace towards your life or property. Though it is legal to hold a handgun in such places in very limited circumstances, for most people, it’s effectively illegal.
For those who plan to buy a handgun for concealed carry, know that there are just a few completely different sets of laws that fluctuate by state. Also, remember to read our guide on how to decide on a hid carry handgun for more information.
Constitutional Carry (or Unrestricted)
This is probably the most permissive hid carry paradigm. In case you can legally own the handgun, you can legally conceal it in public, no license or permit required. Nevertheless, obtaining a license could confer additional privileges. As an example, in Arizona, you could carry wherever without a permit, except in bars or restaurants that serve alcohol. Acquiring a CCW license lets you carry in those places as well, with the owner’s consent. Note that a CCW permit doesn’t override property rights; enterprise owners are free to prohibit weapons on their property for any reason, in the event that they so choose.
“Shall-subject” jurisdictions are these in which the sheriff or other relevant writerity will situation CCW permits to anyone who applies for one, barring those that fail to satisfy basic eligibility criteria.
In these places, chances are you’ll or may not obtain a permit for those who apply for one. The federal government agency that makes these decisions does so on a case-by-case basis and should or could not use objective criteria.
Essentially the most restrictive states effectively do not enable civilians to hold at all. Native sheriffs might problem a very small number of permits (usually to their friends and allies), however average citizens shouldn’t rely on getting one.
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