3 Things Every U.S. Citizen Should Know About Federal Gun Laws

Throughout the 20th century and especially within the last few years, the gun laws in American have come under scrutiny with the general public and lawmakers. The first primary federal firearms law that was passed in the 20th century was the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934, followed by the Gun Control Act of 1968, the Firearms Owner’s Protection Act of 1986 and Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 and the 1994 Omnibus Crime. In addition to these federal acts, states and municipalities have their own individual firearm laws.

These acts and the multitude of headlines that bombard our various media platforms can be overwhelming and challenging to understand at best. As citizens of the United States living in the 21st century, our gun laws are a bit more complicated than the Second Amendment, which states, “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.”

To understand the complexities of the federal gun laws, Missouri Legal, your Springfield firearm attorneys have compiled three of the most critical factors that U.S. citizens should know about federal gun laws. Many times, a person may be charged with an illegal firearm charge in Springfield, without even knowing they are breaking the law. However, ignorance of the law is not a legal defense if you are facing criminal charges.

If you or a loved one is currently facing charges for an alleged illegal firearm or illegal weapon, contact Missouri Legal immediately to schedule a free consultation. At your meeting, one of our Springfield firearm attorneys will assist you in finding the most optimal solution for your case.

Continue reading to find information regarding the current federal gun laws* in the United States of America.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Own A Gun?Gun lying on top on the U.S. constitution  - Springfield firearm attorney

Under Federal law, a person must be 21 years or older to purchase a handgun or handgun-caliber ammunition. Federal law does allow a person 18 years old to buy a shotgun or rifle and ammunition for those types of firearms. However, Missouri is one of the laxest states when it comes to gun laws, and there is currently no minimum-age law for buying firearms. The Federal Youth Handgun Safety Act prohibits anyone under 18 to possess a handgun. This act does not apply to the following:

  • If the minor is on the premises owned or leased by the minor, parent, guardian or immediate family member
  • If the firearm is used for target shooting, hunting, ranching, trapping, or gun safety instruction.

Who Cannot Own A Gun In The U.S.?

According to the NRA-ILA (National Rifle Association Institute for Legal Action), the following individuals and classes of people are not eligible to possess, ship, receive or transport firearms or ammunition:

  • Individuals convicted of crimes punishable by imprisonment for more than one year (except misdemeanors of the state that are punishable by less than two years.
  • Fugitives from justice.
  • Illegal aliens.
  • Unlawful users of narcotics, depressants, or other stimulant drugs.
  • Those adjudicated as mental defectives or incompetents or those committed to any mental institution
  • Citizens who have relinquished citizenship.
  • Individuals who have been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces
  • Persons convicted of the crime of domestic violence (misdemeanor or felony)
  • Persons who are subject to a court-ordered restraint order.

Buying, Selling, And Transporting Firearmspistol in holster - Springfield firearm attorney

Any firearm attorney in Springfield will tell you it’s vital to understand the laws pertaining to the purchase, transportation, and selling of firearms in Springfield. Below are the requirements and restrictions that must be followed when legally purchasing a firearm:

  • A firearm sale from a federally licensed dealer must be documented with form 4473. Sales to a person of multiple handguns within five days must be reported to the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Failure to comply with record-keeping requirements is punishable by one year in prison and fines up to $1000
  • Unless a federal firearms licensee receives notice of approval from a certified source approving a transfer it is unlawful for a licensed dealer, manufacturer or importer to sell, deliver or transfer a firearm.
  • If a person does not have a federal firearms license, he or she may not sell the firearm in question to a person from a different state without first transferring the firearm to a licensed dealer in the purchaser’s state, according to this article from NRA-ILA.
  • Federal law states that a person is entitled to transport a firearm to any place where it is legal to carry and possess that particular firearm. The firearm must be unloaded and in the trunk of a vehicle or unloaded and in a locked container that is neither the glove compartment or console of the car.
  • Under federal law, it is illegal to carry a firearm (concealed or not) aboard an aircraft either on the person or stowed away in a carry-on. TSA has specific regulations on how firearms and ammunition are to be transported. If you plan on taking a firearm on an aircraft, speak with your Springfield firearm attorney as well as the airline itself.

*Gun laws frequently change, and some states and local jurisdictions may have other laws, not listed here. The above information should not be taken in place of legal advice, nor should it be used as a restatement of the law. Additionally, the information provided above is not a full dictation of federal firearm laws, but rather a summary of the laws citizens should be aware of and understand. For a proper and accurate explanation of the law, contact your local firearms attorney in Springfield at Missouri Legal.