How is a firearm bought in America

Can a tourist buy a gun in the US?

This came up as a discussion. Given recent events on the news, it is widely argued by some US citizens that guns are a safety requirement and that everyone should have the right to own a gun.

Obviously they are talking about citizens. If a tourist visits them, they should surely have the same concerns (probably more so since you don't know as much as the locals do).

Anyway, the question being asked here (and I try to avoid politics as much as possible) - can be one not resident Tourist buying a gun for their travels in the US?


Quite simply, no, you can't.

To buy a firearm in the United States, you must be a resident of the state where you are buying it and have proof of residency. Since a tourist is not a resident of the state, he cannot buy firearms.

Previously, there was an additional requirement for non-citizens to have been resident in a state for 90 days before they could purchase a firearm in that state, but that additional requirement was removed earlier this year.

Even if you could buy a firearm, "traveling the US" would have problems because gun laws vary from state to state. So what is legal in one state may be illegal in another.

Update: Please refer to this Q&A document on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) website for more information.

Sure you can. Just go to the real gun show. Selling guns is very difficult for private individuals, so they can leave out all these stupidities. We were unable to fill the gap in the arms display, despite discovering documents from Al-Qaeda advising cell members to buy arms at arms displays. It's not legal, of course, but obviously no one is interested in stopping you if they really want a gun in this country.

The federal law of 18 USC prohibits the sale of firearms or ammunition to foreigners who are eligible under a nonimmigrant visa ("as that term is defined in Section 101 (a) (26) of the Immigration and Citizenship Act (8 USC 1101 (a) (26))") and under 27 CFR 478.29a further states, that

No person other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer or licensed collector who is not in a state may obtain firearms unless such receipt is for lawful athletic purposes.

This would preclude foreign tourists from buying weapons from a licensed dealer. For constitutional reasons, the federal ban only applies if the weapon or ammunition is transported across national borders. However, there is no such restriction in state law, and I am not aware of any state that does not prohibit the sale of firearms or ammunition to non-residents. The ATF provides an information sheet for non-immigrant foreigners who buy firearms and ammunition in the United States.

States and municipalities place many additional restrictions on the sale, possession, transport, and use of firearms and ammunition, particularly pistols.

U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents must comply with the laws of both their state of residence and the dealer and applicable federal laws when purchasing from an arms dealer. Some states require prior handgun approval. The NRA Institute for Legislative Action offers some summaries of state gun laws

Honestly, start with a taser and some pepper spray. If you're really concerned, a bulletproof vest is likely a lot more helpful against the threat of gun violence than any other weapon.

Short answer: It is likely possible to acquire a firearm if a person is familiar with the possible (extremely serious) consequences. Note: I said "acquire". I didn't say "buy and own legally" let alone "legally own".

... except in Texas, of course.

(I bet no one saw this coming.)

Legally, in Texas at least, all you need is a state-issued ID to buy a shotgun (not 100% safe about handguns.) There's no shotgun wait and no state registration. There is probably one exception that specifically allows hunting tourism. (By the way, a license is required to hunt. Otherwise you will be poached.)

point: if you're not here for hunting tourism, forget it. Srsly.

American rights extend only to Americans. Non-citizens are legally protected from criminal offenses, but cannot use items such as the 2nd additional article, which by the way does not automatically grant the right to use a hidden or open weapon wear . Beyond private property, very few people have concealed carry permits, and open carrying in public is very rarely legal outside of a handful of specific situations (e.g., transportation).

The only exception that comes to mind is a grandfather (which differs depending on the location, type of weapon, etc.). "Grandfather" guns generally refer to antiques or historical reproductions - i.e. black powder, muzzle, etc. - except for the usual restrictions on purchase, possession, etc. (Some types of weapons are always illegal for non-military / law enforcement purposes In general, it can be assumed that this will apply to everyone non-grandfather's working firearms applies that takes a bayonet or needs wheels). In this regard, a rendition revolver, like a Civil War era Colt .45 or Remington .44 could be completely legal - especially if you ordered it as a kit. Granted, it's a 6-round revolver that's nearly three feet long and takes 15 or 20 minutes to reload, but that would probably be the most realistic, possibly the most legal, option.

What leads to the question: ... what would you do with it? When Americans talk about "self-defense" in relation to firearms, we mean it pretty much against intruders staying in a home.

As a rule of thumb, America's people don't run around packing heat.

Covert takeaway permits are quite rare. Having a permit does not make it legal to take a gun to an old location - i.e. it is always a criminal offense where alcohol is sold or gambling takes place, including gas stations, bars, liquor stores, casinos, many restaurants, department stores and grocery stores , even within 1000 feet of a school, government building, airport, hospital, pharmacy, etc. That Carrying a firearm openly, whether technically permitted or not, is absolutely guaranteed to upset people.Americans tend to assume that a gun is loaded (whether or not it is actually loaded, they behave like that) and are likely to call the police, try to negotiate, etc. as if a crime was ongoing. Life gets clumsy and only clumsier when the cops arrive. Law enforcement agencies tend to react very, very poorly to situations that may include a firearm, in particular an invisible firearm is involved. Hence the terms "armed and dangerous" and "Police suicide".

HTH ...

After asking around on some gun forums (that was an interesting experience!), I got the following useful answers (in reformulations and in parts corrected):

No. To buy a gun, a person must be legally resident in a state and have ID that federal law allows for the purchase of that gun. Legal residence, according to the ATF, is a presence in a state with the intention of finding a home in that state, which is why tourism definitely does not play a role.

Acceptable ID is also defined as ID issued by a federal government agency or a state in the United States. This could be a federal ID like a green card, a state issued ID like a driver's license, a water bill from a local council, a garbage disposal bill from a district government, or what do you have? Without this ID, it is illegal in the United States to sell you firearms.

However, you can also purchase guns on a nonimmigrant visa (like an H1B work visa) if you qualify for an exemption (by having a valid hunting permit and being a resident of the state). However, someone in the US with VWP (like a tourist) cannot buy a gun under any circumstances.

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