Gun laws are regulated by both the state and federal governments. This means you often have two regulatory schemes with which to comply. Additionally, just because it is permitted under federal law, does not mean that your local state government does not include additional restrictions.
There are several federal laws that regulate the ownership of guns. For example, the National Firearms Act restricts the ownership of machine guns, short-barrel shotguns and silencers. You may still own one of these weapons, however, you must go through a serious background check to get approval. Take note, that some states, like California and New York, absolutely prohibit ownership of these weapons and tools.
Additionally the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act prohibits certain individuals from owning or possessing guns, such as:
- If you are a fugitive from justice
- You renounced your U.S. citizenship.
- You are an illegal immigrant.
- You are subject to a restraining order for or convicted of domestic violence.
- You were convicted of a crime that carried a sentence of a year or more in prison
- You received a dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces.
You are also prohibited from gun ownership if you have been deemed as suffering from certain mental conditions or have issues with drugs.
Federal law only loosely regulates the use and ownership of guns. It is up to the States to pass stricter or looser gun laws. Whether or not you may openly carry a weapon, require a license or can never carry a weapon all depends upon your state laws. You may want to consult with an attorney to confirm how you may handle your weapons before openly carrying any of them.
If you are unsure that your weapon was properly registered or is “legal,” then you may want to consult with an attorney. A legal professional can go over the vagaries of federal and state law with you to ensure that you are compliant. It is very easy to run afoul of these laws, so don’t take them too lightly. You don’t want to put your freedom on the line because you didn’t take the time to run an Internet search.