Guide to Buying Your First Handgun

So you have decided to purchase a handgun. However what’s next? Opposite to what some individuals claim, you’ll be able to’t just walk into a store and purchase a gun as easily as you may get bread or milk — however even should you could, there are still good reasons to take your time and think carefully throughout the process.

The first question you need to reply is “Why do I want a handgun?” Most people have one in all three solutions: for self-protection, for leisure shooting or for hunting. Most handguns are designed primarily for one in every of 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 easy, though organized shooting sport leagues can require all method of handguns. Hunting handguns are generally heavy, large-caliber revolvers that require confidence and experience to handle correctly.

If you happen to take a while to get really clear on why you desire 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 satisfied with your buy within the long run.

If you live in the U.S., you must know and abide by federal, state and county firearm laws. In cases the place laws from different jurisdictions contradict each other, the stricter law applies.

The first step in changing into a accountable handgun owner is to turn out to be totally acquainted with these laws. Internet research is a good place to start, but it’s greatest to cross-reference everything you find in opposition to several different sources to ensure the information is accurate. Finally, we advocate checking with your local police department or sheriff’s office. They can assist you ensure that you understand the law, and most will provide concise pamphlets or web pages that you can reference later.

Certain federal laws are fairly primary and apply to all gun owners in all states. As a way to purchase a handgun legally, you could:

Not have a criminal document, with sure limited exceptions

Pass a strict background check (for those who’re buying a gun from a licensed firearm supplier; private sellers are not required to conduct background checks on consumers, but most do anyway)

Not suffer from sure mental illnesses which will impair your judgment

Not have undergone treatment for drug or alcohol addiction within the last five years

Be a U.S. citizen or authorized immigrant

Be at the least 18 if shopping for from a private seller or 21 if shopping for from a licensed seller (note that in most (if not all) states, the minimum age to hold a handgun in public is 21. Additionally, there is no federal age restriction concerning 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, zebre01 although most require some form of license or permit with a view to carry one in public. Some state laws further distinguish between open and concealed carry, and may require licensing for one but not the other.

A small number of states (notably New York and California) will not issue permits to carry a handgun in public unless you possibly can show proof of a credible menace against your life or property. Though it is legal to carry a handgun in such places in very limited circumstances, for most people, it’s effectively illegal.

When you plan to buy a handgun for hid carry, know that there are a few completely different sets of laws that modify by state. Also, make sure you read our guide on how to decide on a concealed carry handgun for more information.

Constitutional Carry (or Unrestricted)

This is probably the most permissive concealed carry paradigm. Should you can legally own the handgun, you possibly can legally conceal it in public, no license or permit required. However, acquiring a license may confer additional privileges. As an example, in Arizona, chances are you’ll carry anyplace without a permit, besides in bars or eating places that serve alcohol. Obtaining a CCW license permits you to carry in those places as well, with the owner’s consent. Note that a CCW permit does not override property rights; enterprise owners are free to prohibit weapons on their property for any reason, if they so choose.


“Shall-problem” jurisdictions are these in which the sheriff or different relevant authority will subject CCW permits to anyone who applies for one, barring those who fail to meet primary eligibility criteria.


In these places, chances are you’ll or could not obtain a permit when you apply for one. The government company that makes these selections does so on a case-by-case foundation and should or may not use goal criteria.


Probably the most restrictive states effectively do not enable civilians to hold at all. Native sheriffs could situation a really small number of permits (often to their friends and allies), however average citizens shouldn’t rely on getting one.

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