Gun control is a hot topic in the US these days. Advocates want it due to fears of violence and think that lives will be saved. Opponents don’t want it as it’s Constitutional right. I’m not here to debate. You’ve made your decision and I want to help by laying out the process to make a gun purchase online.
Laws have been enacted to regulate sales and are covered by the Gun Control Act of 1968 Basically this means no deliveries to your door.
I will outline what you need to know so that you are armed (no pun intended) with information and know what to do to make the process as easy as possible and you can enjoy this hobby.
Right To Bear Arms
I thought I’d start with the Second Amendment of the Constitution as it is it that lets us citizens have firearms. It reads as follows:
Article [II] (Amendment 2 – Bearing Arms)
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
That’s it. Straight from the Constitution. I thought it would be longer with more complicated words.
Rules and Regulations – What you need to know
In the US, you can buy rifles or shotguns if you’re over the age of 18 but it’s 21 for handguns.
There are federal regulations:
- You must be a current citizen or a permanent resident.
- No indictments or convictions of any crimes.
- No restraining orders or domestic violence issues.
- Not a fugitive or use drugs.
- You can’t have a mental condition you’re being treated for.
In general, state and municipal laws are specific and more restricted than federal laws. I would Google “Your state gun laws” to learn local guidelines. These are pretty standard though:
- No federal license is required to own a gun so most states follow suit. Most however, require licenses to carry a concealed weapon.
- Some states have waiting periods where you pay for the firearm, submit paperwork, then wait for a period of time before you take your gun home.
- Some states have safety regulations in place as a precautionary measure. So locks and or gunsafes must be bought and a gunsafety course taken.
If you decide to buy a gun in person instead of online, the gun shop must have a Federal Firearm License (FFL) to sell firearms legally. If you like the Amazon way of shopping and buy online, the gun will not be shipped to your home but to a gun shop with a FFL. Be sure to purchase your weapon from a licensed FFL seller so you won’t have any problems with the sale. These licensed dealers will ensure the legal process is followed. Whichever way you choose, make sure every gun you purchase has a registered serial number and a bill of sale.
A FFL seller will require more than a handshake, a smile and money. A valid id and confirmation of the above Federal guidelines are necessary.
- You’ll need to furnish a photo ID and fill out Form 4473. This form is used to confirm your status as a buyer that raises no red flags. The gun stores keep these forms readily available for customers.
- The information on this form is used to perform background checks. These checks are performed through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), and are a must any time you buy a handgun.
- A background check is not the same as a waiting period. Sometimes, the background check will come back immediately or it could take a few days if the system is backed up. Eventually, a response will come back as “approved,” “disapproved,” or “delay,” which requires more investigation. All of that before a waiting period starts.
Deciding What to Buy
So, pistol, rifle or shotgun? To decide, first agree on a purpose home defense, conceal carry, skeet shoot, hunting. It will be different for each of those.
Guns need to be cleaned periodically which means taking them apart to clean then putting them back together. This makes its shooting performance better. You should look for low maintenance models that come apart easily.
Quality – Competent Brand
It’s true “You get what you pay for” so look to the brand names with history behind them. They include :
- Smith and Wesson
- Winchester Repeating Arms Company
- Sig Sauer
- Heckler and Koch
- Barrett Firearms Manufacturing
- Colt Defense
- Springfield Armory
- Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.
This will be the hardest part to do as the recommended way to determine the grip size is to hold the weapon in your hand to see how it feels. For those of you that want to purchase online, taking measurements of your hand then comparing those to the gun measurements becomes your option. Hands come in different sizes and as the firearm you choose will become an extension of you, this part becomes vary important. There are different grip sizes too. The standard size is 83-98mm. Different models are also offered in S=70-85mm, XL= 95-105mm and XXL=100-110mm. There are adjustable grip systems whereby the gun that you purchase comes with multiple grips that can be attached to align the fit with your hand.
Be aware that there are safeties available for guns. The different types are below. Select one as your preference and include it in your choice of weapon. Learn to operate its mechanism as you learn to shoot.
- Thumb Safeties
- Grip Safeties
- Trigger Safeties
Caliber – Recoil
The higher the caliber of the bullet being shot, 22 caliber or 45 caliber, determines the recoil amount when shooting. This recoil is the backward movement of the gun caused by momentum when pulling the trigger. This is important to consider because if not managed accidental discharges or injuries to the shooter could occur.Smaller sized persons probably shouldn’t consider 45 caliber weapons at least not as a first weapon.
Why? Safety, not looking silly and saving time. There exists tons of information on the internet and youtube from which you can learn from but taking a course provides a structure to learn as the instructors are certified and know what to teach. Google “gun safety classes near me” to see what’s available.
A national course, National Handgun Safety Course can be taken online. You can select your state to get started.
I wanted to provide you with some things to review when considering the purchase of a firearm. Don’t take it lightly and just go out and buy the first gun you see, if you know what I mean. Make an informed decision so that you have the best experience buying, learning to shoot, taking care of your weapon and being safe with it.