What is a Gun Law?

Bethney Foster

Gun law is a local, state, or federal statute that governs the use, sale, or ownership of firearms. The law may restrict ownership, the type and number of weapon owned, or the locations in which weapons may be carried. It may also place restrictions on who can sell, who can buy, and the process for purchasing firearms.

The Second Amendment, part of the US Bill of Rights, concerns the right of the people to keep and bear arms.
The Second Amendment, part of the US Bill of Rights, concerns the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

The restriction of firearms is a heated debate in many countries. Gun law varies significantly among countries and may vary from one local government’s jurisdiction to another in some countries. The debate surrounding the restriction on firearms usually centers on whether gun ownership helps or hinders public safety.

Some countries allow firearms to be owned only for hunting or sport.
Some countries allow firearms to be owned only for hunting or sport.

Gun law can include requiring gun owners to obtain a permit in order to own a firearm. The law may also allow gun owners to seek a permit to carry their guns as concealed weapons in some countries and states. Gun law may require firearm owners to register their guns.

Gun laws may be used in an attempt to crack down on gang violence.
Gun laws may be used in an attempt to crack down on gang violence.

In some countries, gun law may require that a person be of legal age in order to own a gun. The buyer may be subject to a police background check before being allowed to purchase the weapon. The gun owner may also be required to pay a special tax on the weapon.

Self-defense is not considered a legally recognized reason for gun ownership in many countries. Though the law may allow for gun ownership, the firearm may legally be purchased only for hunting or other sport. Even with this type of law, however, most countries will allow for the use of a gun in self-defense, depending on the circumstances of the use.

Many countries, such as the United States and Australia, traditionally allow citizens to own firearms with few, if any, restrictions. Mass shootings in the early 21st century have changed attitudes toward firearm ownership. This change has led to pushes for the strengthening of gun control laws in some countries.

In the United States, the National Rifle Association (NRA) is an organization formed in 1871 that seeks to counter the push for gun control laws. The NRA’s mission is to protect the U.S. Second Amendment. The Second Amendment is a gun law that guarantees American citizens the right to keep and bear firearms.

An even older gun law, the English Bill of Rights of 1689 was likely an influence on those who wrote the Second Amendment. The English Bill of Rights protects against the taking away of citizens’ firearms. The right to own firearms was considered part of natural law in England before passage of the Bill of Rights of 1689.

Most gun laws require someone to obtain a permit in order to carry a concealed weapon.
Most gun laws require someone to obtain a permit in order to carry a concealed weapon.

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Discussion Comments

anon997227

I don't mind background checks. I understand it. That being said, however I do believe that this is a positive infringement of the Second Amendment. To have to submit to government approval to exercise a right is clearly an infringement of that right. There is nothing "vague" about the second amendment. If you got past 4th grade reading it is very simple to understand.

However you need to educate yourself on firearm laws. It is not "illegal" to own a machine gun. You just have to jump through the ATF application, be approved and pay the $200 tax stamp fee. It takes about six months. I don't know why someone would want a machine gun. The only reason to have a fully auto weapon is to lay down suppressor fire to advance or flee an area in combat. "Spray and pray" is not a real good tactic for anything else.

Logicfest

@Soulfox -- Most of the restrictions on gun ownership in the United States have to do with pistols and what some consider assault weapons. If you just want a long gun to hunt deer or something, it is very easy to buy one of those, for example.

The Second Amendment has been broadly interpreted to allow for a lot more freedom to purchase and own guns in the United States that citizens in most countries in the world enjoy.

Soulfox

People in the United States are allowed to own firearms with few restrictions? I don't believe that has been true for a long time.

Since the 1990s, buyers have had to deal with background checks and waiting periods before they can purchase a pistol. And how about fully automatic weapons? Those are totally illegal.

Those are just a couple of examples, but the point is made. The problem with gun ownership in the United States is that the Second Amendment is very vague when it comes to stating what arms the people may "keep and bear" and new interpretations have been necessary as technology has improved.

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