US Firearm Laws

US Firearm Laws

This is a discussion on US Firearm Laws within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I might be opening up a big can o worms here, but im interested in knowing a bit more about US Firearm Laws. I know ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array heylin's Avatar
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    US Firearm Laws

    I might be opening up a big can o worms here, but im interested in knowing a bit more about US Firearm Laws.

    I know there are variations between each state but there must be some standard \ basic laws around the obtaining of firearms

    3 questions I have, but feel free to enlighten me on other things.

    1) Do the majority of US gun related incidents involved unlicensed firearm owners, illegal guns or people who have previously committed crimes ?

    2) Do you need to sit a test \ course \ police interview to prove you are responsible and safe enough to own a gun (ie no previous criminal convictions, aware of safe storage and handeling, no mental illnesses) or does the 2nd amendment say anyone can have a gun regardless ?

    3) If you are convicted of a gun related crime are your firearms taken away and are you prevented from obtaining further ones ?

    Here in NZ we must sit a safety test, pass a police check and renew our licence every 10 years. You also need to show your licence in order to purchase guns, ammunition and parts. We also have restrictions on military style weapons (anything that holds more than 10 rounds of ammo is classed in a MSSA (military style semi automatic). Pistols are restricted and further checks are required to obtain them. Automatic weapons are banned for civililan use.

    Consequently the very few gun related crimes we have involve older .22 rifles, sawn off shotguns, air pistols and more recently high powered .22 air rifles (soon to require licence) and in rare cases the odd old style 9mm.

    Obviously there are illegal weapons still that get out there to criminals but our system does make it harder for people who intend to commit crimes to obtain a firearm.
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    The NRA has a decent guide on the web:

    NRA-ILA :: Gun Laws

    On the Federal Level you pass a instant background check and complete an application whereby you confirm that you are not addicted to drugs, a felon, haven't been involuntarily committed to a mental institution, been found criminally insane, etc.

    In my State, there is a waiting period for handguns unless you have a concealed pistol license.

    That is all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heylin View Post
    I might be opening up a big can o worms here, but im interested in knowing a bit more about US Firearm Laws.

    I know there are variations between each state but there must be some standard \ basic laws around the obtaining of firearms
    Not a felon, not having a mental condition/been committed to a facility, not a drug user, or have a domestic violence conviction

    Quote Originally Posted by heylin View Post
    3 questions I have, but feel free to enlighten me on other things.

    1) Do the majority of US gun related incidents involved unlicensed firearm owners, illegal guns or people who have previously committed crimes ?
    In most states, gun owners are not licensed, as it is a freedom for all citizens outlined in our Constitution, affirmed in MOST state constitutions, and recently affirmed by our U.S. Supreme Court as an "individual" versus collective right. Generally, those who have committed crimes with firearms have been previously convicted of other crimes and are illegally possessing firearms. The only "illegal guns" are those rifles with a barrel less than 16"; shotguns with a barrel less than 18"--but are legal to own in certain states provided it is legal to possess with a federal tax stamp. In some states, a 16 year old may own/possess a rifle or shotgun; 18 years old to purchase (from a private dealer, or parent) a rifle, shotgun or pistol; 21 years old to purchase any firearm from a Federal Firearm License holder.

    Quote Originally Posted by heylin View Post
    2) Do you need to sit a test \ course \ police interview to prove you are responsible and safe enough to own a gun (ie no previous criminal convictions, aware of safe storage and handeling, no mental illnesses) or does the 2nd amendment say anyone can have a gun regardless ?
    It is assumed that if you are not a felon, drug user, wife batterer, or mental case, you are responsible enough to own a firearm. In some states, a safety course is required, but generally, as long as you are not specifically prohibited, and are old enough to purchase, you can walk out the door. Some states have a silly 10-day waiting period.

    Police interviews are generally held for those who apply for a concealed carry permit (Massachusetts)

    Quote Originally Posted by heylin View Post
    3) If you are convicted of a gun related crime are your firearms taken away and are you prevented from obtaining further ones ?
    Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by heylin View Post
    Here in NZ we must sit a safety test, pass a police check and renew our licence every 10 years. You also need to show your licence in order to purchase guns, ammunition and parts. We also have restrictions on military style weapons (anything that holds more than 10 rounds of ammo is classed in a MSSA (military style semi automatic). Pistols are restricted and further checks are required to obtain them. Automatic weapons are banned for civililan use.
    I'm sorry to hear that...unfortunately, your law makers are very misguided in preventing crime. All they have done is make it difficult on people who follow the law, and not impact the criminals. They will still commit crimes nonetheless.
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    Obviously there are illegal weapons still that get out there to criminals but our system does make it harder for people who intend to commit crimes to obtain a firearm.
    No it doesnt. Criminals that dont follow the law laugh as such things.

    Its not about crime at all, its about your countries willingness to follow United Nations mandate that will eventually abolish private ownership of firearms.
    It is nothing more than a step in that direction.

    Dont take my word for it, look it up.
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    My answers are in bold:


    Quote Originally Posted by heylin View Post
    I might be opening up a big can o worms here, but im interested in knowing a bit more about US Firearm Laws.

    I know there are variations between each state but there must be some standard \ basic laws around the obtaining of firearms

    3 questions I have, but feel free to enlighten me on other things.

    1) Do the majority of US gun related incidents involved unlicensed firearm owners, illegal guns or people who have previously committed crimes ?
    YES

    2) Do you need to sit a test \ course \ police interview to prove you are responsible and safe enough to own a gun (ie no previous criminal convictions, aware of safe storage and handeling, no mental illnesses) or does the 2nd amendment say anyone can have a gun regardless ?

    Some states require a test of sorts and/or an interview with a law enforcement official. California only issues to certain people who can show a "need" to be armed. Other states, such as my state of Florida, only requires you send in an application which is reviewed and a federal background check. License is a "must issue" in Florida for those that pass the background check. OUr 2nd Amendment mentions nothing about tests, interviews, applications or background checks. It simply says that the peoples right to keep and bear arms "shall not be infringed". I think all of our current gun laws and rules infringe upon that right.

    3) If you are convicted of a gun related crime are your firearms taken away and are you prevented from obtaining further ones ?

    In most cases YES. If you are convicted of a felony charge, your gun rights are most likely lost for many years if not forever.

    Here in NZ we must sit a safety test, pass a police check and renew our licence every 10 years. You also need to show your licence in order to purchase guns, ammunition and parts. We also have restrictions on military style weapons (anything that holds more than 10 rounds of ammo is classed in a MSSA (military style semi automatic). Pistols are restricted and further checks are required to obtain them. Automatic weapons are banned for civililan use.

    It is near impossible to get licensed here for fully auto weapons. If not impossible, it is certainly very expensive. Military style "assault" weapons are completely legal in nearly every state with some states having certain restrictions on magazine capacity and functions.


    Consequently the very few gun related crimes we have involve older .22 rifles, sawn off shotguns, air pistols and more recently high powered .22 air rifles (soon to require licence) and in rare cases the odd old style 9mm.

    If your country didnt have guns your criminals would use sticks or rocks, or knives, as in the case of England. People will always murder other people.

    Obviously there are illegal weapons still that get out there to criminals but our system does make it harder for people who intend to commit crimes to obtain a firearm.
    Agreed, when firearms dont really exist its harder for the criminal to obtain them, but when they do, the innocent have no defense.
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    "Obviously there are illegal weapons still that get out there to criminals but our system does make it harder for people who intend to commit crimes to obtain a firearm."

    You have to remember that the entire NZ population is only about a quarter that of New York city. So when comparing crime statistics and systems of law it's not really an apples to apples comparison.
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    Member Array heylin's Avatar
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    You have to remember that the entire NZ population is only about a quarter that of New York city. So when comparing crime statistics and systems of law it's not really an apples to apples comparison.
    True there, but the procurement process for guns here and our safety programmes most likley account for lower proportion of gun related crime and accidental deaths (even after taking into account population)

    Im not saying the NZ system is perfect yet, its far from, some rules are silly and make things a hassle, some checks need to be enhanced, and of course the main problem of not being able to defend ourselves with firearms.

    But really if you think about, our rights arent encroached on that much, any law abiding citizen here that passes the basic safety test, and can provide proof of secure storage at home is entitled to go and buy any range of high powered rifles and shotguns for sporting purposes. Within 6 months that same person can then go through a bit more paperwork, join a pistol club and have access to pretty much any handgun they want (except sub compacts and full auto).

    So its not like we have a shortage of guns here in NZ or that are rights are being infringed (except fot the self defence thing). The powers that be are just making sure gaining a firearm isnt a free for all affair thus stemming the flow of arms to unsafe, irresponsible people, and mabey partially stemming the supply to criminals.

    Some stats for thought

    Accidental gun death stats per 100,000 population
    USA 14.24;
    Australia 2.65;
    New Zealand 2.38;

    Notice how we have alot less "accidental" deaths, our rate of gun ownerhip (like Canada) would be just as high as US, yet for some strange reason we have less accidents. I have no doubt this is attributed to our firearm safety programme which is a requirement for all people that wish to purchase and own a gun.

    Anyway I think NZ could learn a few things about the right of self defence from the US, just as the US could learn from us about safety and procurement or arms.

    Would making a 1/2 day firearms course to obtain a licence to purchase arms be infringing on the 2nd amendment ????

    I must admit I have noticed many You Tube videos of US gun owners (cleaning videos, reviews etc) that really drive home the safety aspect and this is great to see, though like here you get idiots making us gun owners look bad and giving us a bad name.
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  8. #8
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    "Would making a 1/2 day firearms course to obtain a licence to purchase arms be infringing on the 2nd amendment ????"

    Yes it would. Our Constitution does not grant rights to the people only if they are good enough to earn them or smart enough to pass a test.

    Back to the population part of the conversation. When you post statistics you need to research what an "accidental death" is. The US census has stats for 1999 available and the # of accidental deaths in the US from firearms was 1,134. That number does not include criminal and suicide deaths IE true accidents. With a population of about 300 million you get 2.64 per hundred thousand. Falling from ladders accounted for 14,986 deaths in 1999. Drowning 3,488 deaths. Choking 3,206.

    MORE THAN TWICE AS MANY PEOPLE CHOKE TO DEATH EACH YEAR THAN ARE ACCIDENTALLY KILLED BY GUNS in the US!

    So I would say that all of the gun control and hoops you jump through in NZ doesn't really change the amount of accidents each year. The major problem we have in the US is that our court system doesn't put violent criminals behind bars. That and with a hyper liberal media reporting guns as evil results in a skewed picture of reality to people on the outside looking in.
    Last edited by atctimmy; October 21st, 2008 at 01:53 PM.
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  9. #9
    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heylin View Post
    Accidental gun death stats per 100,000 population
    USA 14.24;
    Australia 2.65;
    New Zealand 2.38;
    Be careful what you think- stats say what the publishers desire.
    As far as "raw" data, I would not be terribly surprised, based simply on supply & demand (we do have lots of firearms).

    Removing illegally owned weapons and "accidents" occuring in the commission of a crime from the data might show closer partity among "responsible owners".

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    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    This data is from the CDC WISQARS system, available here: http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars/

    I pulled all 2005 data (latest available) for the top ten leading causes of death. In order:

    Heart Disease 652,091
    Malignant Neoplasms 559,312
    Cerebrovascular 143,579
    Chronic Low Resp. Disease 130,933
    Unintentional Injury 117,809
    Diabetes Mellitus 75,119
    Alzheimer's Disease 71,599
    Flu & Pneumonia 63,001
    Nephritis 43,901
    Septicemia 34,136

    The only thing in the top ten that is not specific enough to be considered a single cause is unintentional Injury. This is the CDC breakdown of unintentional injury:

    2005 U.S.
    UNINTENTIONAL INJURIES
    All Ages, All Races, Both Sexes
    Total Deaths: 117,809

    MV Traffic 37.1% 43,667
    Poisoning 20% 23,618
    Fall 16.7% 19,656
    Unspecified 5.6% 6,551
    Suffocation 5.0% 5,900
    Drowning 3.0% 3,582
    Fire/burn 2.8% 3,299
    Natural/Environment 2.1% 2,462
    Other Land Transport 1.3% 1,533
    Other Spec., classifiable 1.3% 1,479
    Pedestrian, Other 1.0% 1,157
    Other Transport 1.0% 1,133
    Other Spec., NEC 0.9% 1,020
    Struck by or Against 0.7% 880
    Firearm 0.7% 789
    Machinery 0.6% 755
    Pedal cyclist, Other 0.2% 227
    Cut/pierce 0.1% 90
    Overexertion 0.0% 11

    Note that if firearms weren't lumped into unintentional injuries they wouldn't even be on the top ten list. In fact, the lowest ranking cause of death on the top ten list is Septicemia, which kills 43 times as many Americans as accidental firearm injuries.

    If motor vehicle accidents were broken out they'd be on the top ten list by themselves.

    Heart disease kills 827 times as many Americans...

    If we want to adopt the "public health" approach dictated to us by anti-gun Doctors then we should focus on the real killer - heart disease.
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    Quote Originally Posted by heylin View Post

    and of course the main problem of not being able to defend ourselves with firearms.

    and later

    (except fot the self defence thing).
    To me, your own words condemn the NZ sytem. What else is there to say? If you can't defend yourself with firearms then why have them at all? Hunting is great but my life and the life of my family is of the utmost importance to protect.
    A word of warning; if you can afford to do more Bear does not recommend giving your wife two pieces of bubble gum for her birthday.

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    Gun laws in my state.

    I live in the state of New Mexico and we probably have some of the most liberal laws in the nation. To buy a handgun or long gun I need nothing but proof of residence, usually a drivers license, and to pass an instant background check. A gun can be purchased and taken possession of, in about 15-20 minutes. My state has no waiting period.
    I am allowed to own machine guns, sawed off shotguns, silencers, et. as long as prior gov't. approval is obtained.
    I can carry a loaded weapon concealed in my vehicle without any type of permit. I am required to have a permit to carry concealed in public. I can carry a visible weapon in public without a permit.
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    Member Array heylin's Avatar
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    To me, your own words condemn the NZ sytem. What else is there to say? If you can't defend yourself with firearms then why have them at all? Hunting is great but my life and the life of my family is of the utmost importance to protect.
    Yes I definately condemn some parts of it, defense aside, shooting is a fun sport and Im quite happy to abide by the law for now if it means I can continue shooting. Pistol shooting shouldnt be just about self defense, its like saying a sports car should only be used for racing.

    I cant say what I might do in a home invasion scenario, perhaps if the situation presented all the rules would go out the window and I would be forced to choose between living and being dragged through the courts or dying because of our stupid laws.

    Mabey I should post a defensive scenario for a NZ home invasion :) Keep an eye out in that section of the forum.
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    As was previously mentioned you shouldn't take statistics at face value. I don't know if it is still the case but for a while the Brady bunch was listing shooting victims up to 24 years old as "children".

    They would also pick through police reports and list any case where the bad guy said anything along the lines of " The gun just went off" or " I didn't mean to shoot him" as accidental shootings. These were frequently other felonies (robberies, drug deals etc.) that escalated.

    If you have some free time and want to have some fun, compare the statistics from some of these anti gun groups with the numbers from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Makes me wonder what they are basing their numbers on.

    As far as your comfort level with the level of regulation in NZ, that of course is a product or you upbringing in that society. What one person in one culture finds totally outrageous, someone else in a different culture views as perfectly normal. Even here in the U.S. the laws regarding weapons and use of force that seem normal in Maryland are draconian to a Texan.

    You say that other than for self defense you don't feel your rights are being violated that much. That is cool. Different country, different rights there. But to many of us here in the states the most basic human right is the right to effective self protection. The most effective and practical tool of self protection is a handgun.
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  15. #15
    Member Array heylin's Avatar
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    The most effective and practical tool of self protection is a handgun.
    Yes very true, dont forget 95% of New Zealanders could have possession of a handgun if they wanted, its not like the states where you can get one within a couple of days, we have a few more checks and balances as we want people to use them and store them safely.

    We view owning a handgun as a responsibility and privilage (as opposed to a right), due to the differences in safety and handeling of pistols compared to rifles, + we dont want undue amounts of them falling into criminal hands due to incorrect storage.

    In fact it takes about 8 months here if you go through the process.

    -1 month and $80 to get your A class licence (rifles only)
    -6 months member at club to learn pistol safety, shooting techiniques and different shooting events.
    -1 month and $200 to get your B class licence, $250 approved safe for storage and $XXXX for firearm purchase.

    8 Months is a bit long compared to 3 days, I think 2 months would be better.

    I think everyone who purchases a pistol should have to do some basic safety course (even a couple of hours) if they havent done so and if not CCW should be able to prove to local authority that their guns are secured whilst home is empty.

    I gather in the US alot of guns get into criminal hands through robbery where the homeowner leaves their guns in side cabinets, drawers and under the bed.

    I gaurantee if you broke into my home you would be with my safe for at least 1/2 an hour trying to get into it. :) by then the cops would have arrived.

    As ive said before, ownership in NZ isnt a problem, we are quite happy to wait a bit longer to get our handguns, its using the thing to protect yourself where it becomes a problem.

    Mabey in another few years our goverment will wake up when more people die.
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