In all fairness, weapons are a major part of America’s image, as the US is leading the world in gun ownership. In 2021 alone, Americans collectively purchased 17 million firearms.
- Top 10 gun control facts
- 1. About four-in-ten US adults say they are in a family with guns
- 2. Who is prohibited from buying or carrying firearms?
- 3. Personal safety is at the top of the list of reasons why gun owners believe they have a gun
- 4. Are weapons regulated by the state or the federal government?
- 5. Do you have a minimum age for buying guns?
- 6. Who is allowed to sell firearms?
- 7. Does each state require permits for purchasing guns?
- 8. Does each state require permits to carry guns?
- 9. Does a background check have to be completed in order to purchase a gun?
- 10. What is the “gunshow loophole”?
Top 10 gun control facts
We have decided to discuss guns! Our top 10 gun control facts are below!
1. About four-in-ten US adults say they are in a family with guns
According to a June 2021 Pew Research Center poll, 4 in 10 US adults say they are in a family with a firearm, with 30% claiming to own one.
Gun ownership rate varies by gender, political affiliation, and other variables. For example, 44% of Republicans and independent Republican supporters say they have guns, as opposed to 20% of Democrats as well as Democratic supporters.
More men than women admit they own a gun (39% versus 22%). The majority of people living in rural areas are reported to have weapons, compared with 29% of those living in suburbs and two out of ten people living in cities (1).
2. Who is prohibited from buying or carrying firearms?
Anyone who has been convicted of a felony, sentenced to imprisonment for more than one year, or misdemeanors for more than two years, is prohibited from buying firearms.
Fugitives, individuals who pose a threat to society, and patients voluntarily admitted to psychiatric institutions are some of those who should not buy weapons.
Other restrictions apply to:
Federal law also prohibits the sale of firearms to individuals accused of illegal possession and/or use of controlled drugs in the past year. This is the case with marijuana, which, while legal in a number of US states, is still prohibited by federal law.
3. Personal safety is at the top of the list of reasons why gun owners believe they have a gun
In a Gallup survey conducted in August 2019, gun owners most often cited safety or personal safety as the main reason they own a gun.
Approximately six out of ten (63%) responded this way in an open poll. A smaller percentage of respondents indicated other reasons, such as hunting (40%) and non-specific recreation or sports (11%), and that their firearms were antiques or family heritage (6%) or the weapons were related to their work (5.5 %).
A Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2017 found similar patterns among firearm owners who reported reasons for owning a gun (3).
4. Are weapons regulated by the state or the federal government?
The Second Amendment serves as the legal basis of the “right of the people to keep and bear arms” (4).
While local and state authorities regulate whether citizens can be allowed to carry firearms in public, the rules governing who is allowed to access or own firearms are adopted at the federal level.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which is part of the Department of Justice, operates the GCA. ATF also monitors compliance with the licensing requirements for weapons dealers.
Machine weapons, firearm mufflers, and silencers are controlled by the National Firearms Act of 1934 (5).
5. Do you have a minimum age for buying guns?
The Gun Control Act of 1968 (regulates firearms on a federal scale) states that citizens and residents with legal status must be at least 18 years old in order to purchase shotguns or ammunition and rifles.
Other firearms, such as handguns, are only available to those over the age of 21 (6). Local or state officials can apply age limits that are higher, but cannot lower the federal minimum age.
Here is a short video of the process of buying a gun:
6. Who is allowed to sell firearms?
As gun owners, dealers who are interested in getting the Federal Firearms License (FFL) must be at least 21 years old.
They must be in a location for conducting business and they must inform an official from the local police department prior to submitting an application to the Federal Bureau responsible for firearms regulation.
Like gun owners, license holders must meet the same requirements with regard to past convictions as well as their mental health. The license fee is $ 200 (€ 170) for the initial three-year period and $ 90 for each subsequent three-year renewal.
The sale of firearms over the Internet is also subject to regulations. Although the purchase can be made through the website, the weapon must be delivered to the FFL holder, who will conduct a background check before handing the weapon over to the owner.
However, it remains unclear in the law what constitutes a sale of firearms for profit. Anyone can sell firearms without a license if they do not intend to make a profit to support their family through regular sales (7).
7. Does each state require permits for purchasing guns?
Only twelve of the 50 US states require a handgun purchase permit. Of these states, only three — California, Connecticut, and Hawaii — need permits to purchase shotguns and rifles.
|State||Type of Firearms||Type of License||Safety Training or Exam Requirement||Duration|
|California||All guns||Firearms Safety Certificate||Yes||5 years|
|Connecticut||All guns||Permit to purchase|
|District of Columbia||All guns|
|Yes||So long as eligible|
|Hawaii||All guns||Permit to purchase||Yes (handguns)|
No (long guns)
|Illinois||All guns||License to own||No||10 years|
|Maryland||Handguns||Permit to purchase||Yes||10 years|
|Massachusetts||All firearms and ammunition devices||License to own and|
Permit to purchase (handguns only)
|Michigan||Handguns||Permit to purchase||No||30 days|
|Permit to purchase||No||3 years|
|New Jersey||All guns||Permit to purchase||No||So long as eligible (long guns) 90 days (handguns)|
|License to own||No||5 years|
|North Carolina||Handguns||Permit to purchase||No||5 years|
|Rhode Island||Handguns||Permit to purchase||Yes||Unspecified|
|Washington||Semiautomatic rifles||Firearms safety certification||Yes||5 years|
In California, for example, candidates take a written exam and a gun safety course to obtain a purchase permit.
States that have this requirement cannot accept those that adhere to certain states’ “reciprocity concealment” policies, which allow gun owners licensed in one State to import their firearms into another State (8).
8. Does each state require permits to carry guns?
A majority of states require permits for carrying handguns. Open carry and concealed carry are different for each state. In some states, citizens are allowed to carry weapons without permission.
The use of semi-automatic weapons during the mass shooting has raised questions about what types of weapons are being sold to the civilian population.
9. Does a background check have to be completed in order to purchase a gun?
Yes. This amendment of the Gun Control Act, called the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, is a requirement for FFL holders to conduct background checks (12).
|New Mexico||New York||North Dakota|
|N. Mariana Islands||Ohio||Oklahoma|
|Puerto Rico||Rhode Island||South Carolina|
|Florida||Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement for all firearms,|
except licensees may contact the FBI for certain
|Maryland||Maryland State Police – handguns and assault weapons|
FBI – long guns and pawn redemptions
|Nebraska||Permit POC for handguns|
FBI – long guns
|New Hampshire||New Hampshire Department of Safety for handguns|
FBI – long guns
|North Carolina||Permit POC for handguns|
FBI – long guns
|Washington||Chief law enforcement officer for handguns without CPL|
FBI – for handguns with CPL
FBI – long guns
|Wisconsin||Department of Justice for handguns|
FBI – long guns
States can decide whether background checks are conducted solely through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background System (NICS), or using a combination of NICS data and government agency data. About 30 states depend solely on NICS.
Potential firearms buyers fill out a federal form called ATF 4473. This checks criminal records and other suspicious signs. The FFL holders then apply the information provided on the form to check the background.
The estimated time is less than 10 minutes by phone or online. The check gives FFL holders an instant response: Accept, Delay, or Decline.
If the delay is not approved, it indicates the need for additional research within three days, after which FFL holders are able to act on their own initiative when the research is not conclusive.
The Brady’s Law, however, does not apply to a person who buys a firearm from someone who does not have an FFL.
10. What is the “gunshow loophole”?
Not everyone who offers a firearm in exchange for a transfer is required to have an FFL. This implies that not every buyer is legally liable to an background investigation. This could allow guns to fall into people who would otherwise be unable to own firearms.
According to the ATF, anyone can sell non-FFL firearms at home or online, at a gun auction or event, as long as the seller is not in the business of selling. An example would be someone selling a shotgun from their private collection.
Other exempt individuals include those who give firearms as presents. Only those with the “main motive” – making a profit from sales, need an FFL.
The term is commonly used to describe what is commonly referred to as a “gunshow loophole,” a way of explaining how purchases can occur without prior investigation and still not violate the law.
A gun can also be purchased by another person as the purchase is an offer of gift as it does not violate federal laws regarding the ownership of guns to the greatest of the gift-giver’s knowledge. This is the same for general transfer of firearms.
Research shows that in regions where firearms are less regulated, there will be more firearm deaths per person. Alabama and Mississippi have some of the mildest laws in the United States, and the death rate is seven times higher than in Massachusetts, where guns are often regulated.
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