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 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.
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.
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.