In the US as a whole, President Obama has moved to tighten gun laws. The reality is that there are broad variations across the country, due to the fact that gun legislation in the US is enacted at the state level. This brings many different approaches to issues ranging from sales, permits, licensing, self-defense and gun carry laws. There really isn’t a one-size-fits all set of laws to zone in on.
CONFUSION SETS IN
While researching, I found that trying to pin down a basic set of general rules for the US is down rite challenging because most states have not enacted detailed legislation. It’s more common to find that the state regulates one area of gun control much different and isolated way than another. For example, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania have enacted universal background checks for prospective gun owners which applies to sales at gun shows. On the other hand, states like Virginia have imposed other administrative requirements that focus on record keeping over regulation that pertains to gun shows as well. Many states require background checks as part of the permit or licensing process, but a person could become ineligible between the time the state issues the permit or license and the sale of the firearm. To add to the confusion, some states do not have a formal process of revoking licenses or permits once one becomes ineligible. Sales between private owners, often do not have to undergo background checks. There is a very interesting interactive graph at www.theguardian.com that I found details of the variation from state to state. It helped me get a general breakdown.
THE BASICS FOR EVERY STATE
As stated before, gun control laws vary according to region. Through all of the research I have managed to put together a basic basket of GENERAL REGULATIONS that do apply to all states.
• Waiting Periods: Many states require about three days to pass between the time they purchase a gun to the time it is in their hands. This “cool-off” period is intended to discourage the spur-of-the-moment crime intention.
• Background Checks: A criminal record search is required in some states along with possible gun safety courses.
• Gun Permits and Registration: A gun permit is required to purchase and use a firearm, and some states require all guns to be registered.
• Bans on Certain Types of Guns: These include unregistered and illegal guns, concealed weapons and assault weapons such as machine guns, sawed off shotguns, automatic firearms, and guns with silencers.
• Possession of Guns in a School Zone: Nearly all states impose this.
• Restricted Classes: People who can’t purchase or own are convicted felons, minors and aliens.