Gun Control Laws and What to Know About Them

Gun Control Laws and What to Know About Them


What You Should Know About Gun Control Laws

In America, the topic of gun control often elicits strong emotions, yet it is a crucial issue that merits discussion. Effective and fair gun control laws are one of the first defenses to preventing gun violence and accidental deaths. Gun violence and accidental shootings are a serious and rising problem, but it is possible to curtail the rise of gun incidents with the proper and dedicated application of laws designed to ensure that guns are only in the hands of law-abiding citizens. So what is gun control?

Gun Control Defined

Like other fundamental constitutional rights, such as the right to vote, the right to bear arms necessitates the implementation of regulations to prevent the irresponsible use of deadly weapons. Gun control is the effort, through the passage of laws and responsible behavior, to regulate the possession, transport, and manufacture of firearms. At the moment, a combination of both federal and state-level regulations attempts to do this, though there is very little uniformity between these laws and their application.

What to Know About Laws

Most gun control laws aim through regulation to achieve the following objectives:

  • Regulate the sale of different types of firearms for different purposes, such as hunting versus self-defense.

  • Prevent those convicted of felonies from owning firearms.

  • aPrevent fugitives from justice from possessing firearms.

  • Be in possession of firearms while intoxicated or mentally incompetent.

  • Enforce mandatory waiting periods for conducting a background check before a firearm purchase.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 is legislation that prevents certain classes of people from buying, selling, owning, or shipping firearms, while subsequent acts such as the Brady Bill mandate background checks before the sale of a firearm.

State-specific Laws

State-level laws take federal regulations and expand upon them within the state’s borders. Examples of this include the tightening or relaxing of concealed carry regulations for handguns, the purchase and possession of ammunition, the secondhand sale of guns through private sales, and the requirement to register the weapon with the state police. Other state-level regulations cover magazine capacity, semi-automatic weapon ownership, types of firearm permits, and firearm owners’ certification on gun ranges and firearms safety courses. Be familiar with your own state’s laws before purchasing a firearm, and even if it is not required, consider taking a gun safety course and qualifying on a gun range.


The debate on the effectiveness of gun control laws is lively, with some arguing that they do not work and infringe on the second amendment rights of American citizens, while others contend that countries with strict gun control laws, such as Japan and Australia, have far fewer gun deaths and incidents and thus must indeed be effective. Certainly, there must be some form of regulation to keep guns out of the hands of children, criminals, and unstable people. However, if gun control is not uniform across the country, then criminals will always be able to get them.

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