Understanding United States Gun Laws
About 40 percent of Americans say that they or someone in their household owns a gun, and 22 percent of individuals report owning a gun, according to surveys from Pew and Harvard and Northeastern. However, when it comes to knowing your rights in addition to the laws and regulations behind firearm ownership in the United States, it can be easy to get confused. From federal to local laws and those coming into place to reduce gun violence, here’s what you need to know.
Basic federal laws
While the second amendment of the constitution states that people have a right to keep and bear arms, there are basic federal laws regarding firearm ownership to be aware of. For example, according to the National Firearms Act of 1934, there are strict restrictions on the ownership and sale of certain firearms including machine guns, short barreled shotguns, and silencers. Laws are also in place in order to prevent certain people from owning a firearm as well, apart from the general age requirement — for instance, individuals that aren’t allowed to possess a firearm includes those who have committed certain crimes, such as those who have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. When it comes to buying a firearm via a licensed firearm dealer, federal law also requires background checks as well.
Being aware of state regulations
Though there are federal laws in place regarding firearms, it’s very important to take into account that individual states may also have their own regulations and laws regarding the matter as well. “Open carry” laws are just one example of this, which involves restrictions on carrying a handgun openly in public. For example, in Ohio, open carry is generally allowed without a permit, whereas other states allow the practice so long as the owner has a permit or license on hand. California, on the other hand, is considered to be an anomalous open carry state, where the practice is prohibited unless under special circumstances or in certain areas.
Firearms are a controversial subject in the United States, and one that involves a significant amount of restrictions and laws both federally and locally speaking. If you’re planning on getting a firearm yourself, knowing the basic federal laws as well as familiarizing yourself with local laws is imperative in becoming a responsible gun owner.
Reducing gun violence
Gun violence within the United States has been a major issue for quite some time, and it’s necessary to be aware that action is being taken on the matter and may result in further restrictions on firearms. For example, recent acts of gun violence across the country has resulted in state lawmakers to fight for new restrictions on firearms to be put into place. Democratic New York state Sen. Anna Kaplan, for example, sponsored legislation that would prohibit the manufacturing, sale, and ownership of “ghost guns,” or firearms that can be assembled at home and don’t have serial numbers.
Privately made firearms have become extremely controversial due to their involvement in crime and gun violence — in fact, President Biden has issued an executive order targeting homemade guns, which will give the Justice Department 30 days to propose a rule in order to reduce the number of such guns. However, it’s important to mention that not all privately made firearms are created for the purpose of violence, as it’s a hobby that many firearm enthusiasts enjoy and take pride in. Building your own AR-15, or Armalite Rifle 15, for instance, can be done at home and allow for maximum customization, allowing you to gain first hand insight on how it works as well as build it with custom parts in order to meet your own preferences.