So you’ve determined to buy a handgun. But what’s subsequent? Opposite to what some folks declare, you’ll be able to’t just walk into a store and purchase a gun as simply as you may get bread or milk — however even in the event you might, there are still good reasons to take your time and think caretotally throughout the process.
The primary query you want to answer is “Why do I want a handgun?” Most individuals have considered one of three solutions: for self-protection, for recreational shooting or for hunting. Most handguns are designed primarily for one among these uses, and in the event you buy one ill-suited to your needs, you will likely have a disappointing experience.
Self-defense 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 often small-caliber, affordable and mechanically simple, though organized shooting sport leagues can require all method of handguns. Hunting handguns are usually heavy, giant-caliber revolvers that require confidence and experience to handle correctly.
In the event 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 glad with your buy in the long run.
If you happen to live within the U.S., it is advisable to know and abide by federal, state and county firearm laws. In cases where laws from completely different jurisdictions contradict one another, the stricter law applies.
Step one in changing into a accountable handgun owner is to develop into thoroughly acquainted with these laws. Internet research is an effective place to start, but it’s greatest to cross-reference everything you find towards a number of other sources to ensure the information is accurate. Finally, we advocate checking with your native police department or sheriff’s office. They can assist 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 basic and apply to all gun owners in all states. In order to buy a handgun legally, it’s essential to:
Not have a criminal report, with certain limited exceptions
Pass a strict background check (in case you’re shopping for a gun from a licensed firearm dealer; private sellers should not required to conduct background checks on consumers, but most do anyway)
Not endure from certain mental illnesses that will impair your judgment
Not have undergone treatment for drug or alcohol addiction within the last 5 years
Be a U.S. citizen or authorized immigrant
Be not less than 18 if shopping for from a private seller or 21 if shopping for from a licensed dealer (note that in most (if not all) states, the minimal age to carry a handgun in public is 21. Also, there isn’t a federal age restriction concerning rifle or shotgun ownership.)
Federal firearm laws don’t mandate any particular licensing or training, though many state laws do. Few states require licensing or training so as merely to own a handgun, although most require some form of license or permit with the intention to carry one in public. Some state laws additional distinguish between open and hid carry, and may require licensing for one but not the other.
A small number of states (notably New York and California) will not concern permits to carry a handgun in public unless you possibly can show proof of a credible menace in opposition to your life or property. Though it is authorized to carry a handgun in such places in very limited circumstances, for most individuals, it’s effectively illegal.
For those who plan to buy a handgun for concealed carry, know that there are a number of completely different sets of laws that modify 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 the most permissive concealed carry paradigm. If you happen to can legally own the handgun, you can legally conceal it in public, no license or permit required. Nonetheless, acquiring a license might confer additional privileges. As an example, in Arizona, you could carry anywhere without a permit, besides in bars or eating places that serve alcohol. Acquiring a CCW license allows you to carry in these places as well, with the owner’s consent. Note that a CCW permit does not override property rights; business owners are free to prohibit weapons on their property for any reason, if they so choose.
“Shall-challenge” jurisdictions are those in which the sheriff or different related writerity will issue CCW permits to anybody who applies for one, barring those who fail to satisfy primary eligibility criteria.
In these places, you could or may not receive a permit if you apply for one. The government company that makes these decisions does so on a case-by-case foundation and may or might not use objective criteria.
Essentially the most restrictive states effectively don’t permit civilians to hold at all. Local sheriffs might problem a really small number of permits (often to their friends and allies), zebre01 but average citizens shouldn’t rely on getting one.