Four Things You Must Know About Gun Control in the U.S.

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Written By Juliet D'cruz

There is a lot of controversy surrounding the topic of gun control in the U.S. Those in favor of gun control vehemently blame the use of guns for associated crimes and violence, such as mass shootings. 

However, the leftists continue to fight against gun control laws, claiming that access to firearms is a fundamental, constitutional right of all Americans that helps them fight oppression. This tug of war often has the executive functionaries of the government caught in a riptide between the political parties. 

The state of Minnesota is located in the heart of the Upper Midwest, which is a pretty divided region in terms of political ideology. As a result, the state has maintained a neutral stance on gun control. 

However, in the past few months, the state government has introduced laws to limit access to guns. As an American passionate about protecting your right to bear firearms, here are the most important gun control laws you must be mindful of. 

1. Carrying a Concealed Firearm

Conceal carry is an essential gun control law many people are unaware of. We all know you need a permit to purchase and operate a firearm; however, if you want to carry a concealed firearm (CCW), you must obtain a separate license.

In Minnesota, the process starts with obtaining a certificate after undergoing thorough Firearms Training. Once you receive the certificate, you must forward it along with an application to your local sheriff’s office, where it will be scrutinized. 

Upon approval, your license will be issued. A standard concealed carry license is valid for five years, and organizations such as the Minnesota Concealed Coalition can help you through the process. 

Once you receive your license, you can legally carry your weapon around with you in a concealed manner. However, there are some exceptions. For instance, even with a license, you cannot carry a concealed weapon into an educational institute, hospital, or place of worship. 

There is an entire list of places where concealed carry is banned, which can be found on the official website of the Department of Public Safety.

2. Purchasing a Firearm

Every state has its own set of laws and regulations governing firearm purchase. Based on where you live, you need to check your state laws about gun control to find out what you need to do to purchase a firearm. However, the process is fairly similar in most states.

For instance, purchasing a handgun in Minnesota requires obtaining a permit. This can be a Permit to Carry a Pistol (PCP) or a Permit to Purchase/Transfer a Firearm (PTP). There is a major difference between these permits. 

A PCP allows you to purchase and carry a gun, while a PTP only authorizes you to legally possess a firearm that is stored inside your home. That is why most people opt for the PCP. For either of these permits, the applicant must submit an application to the sheriff’s office, which undergoes scrutiny and is approved/rejected by the police. 

On the federal level, there are certain restrictions on the sale of firearms. For instance, the following people are not allowed to purchase or possess firearms:

a.  Convicted Felons who served a 1-year sentence 

b.  Convicted Misdemeanours having served a 2-year sentence

c.  Fugitives of law

d.  Persons of Unsound Mind or Unstable Behaviour

e.  Persons found unlawfully possessing guns/controlled substances in the past

3. Minimum Age

There is a legal minimum age for possessing or handling a firearm, like voting or drinking. The federal government regulates this age through the Gun Control Act of 1968, which stipulates that an individual must be over 18 to buy guns typically used for hunting, such as shotguns and rifles. 

The legal age to purchase is 21 for all other types of firearms. However, the exact age limits vary from state to state. 

In Minnesota, 18-year-olds can transport handguns, while children as young as 13 can hunt with adult supervision. Children aged 14 can handle hunting guns, even without adult supervision, with a Firearms Safety Certificate. 

In Montana, the legal age to own a hunting gun has dropped to 14. While in nearly 30 states, there is no legal age limit for gun ownership. That means that although you cannot purchase a firearm before age 18, there is no legal bar upon a child owning or possessing a gun well before they hit adulthood.

4. Gun Reciprocity Laws

Gun reciprocity laws are among the most important things about gun control. This is essential for firearms owners planning to travel or move across states. In America, each state has reciprocity agreements with other states that work similarly to an international treaty between two countries. 

States that have reciprocity arrangements with one another recognize each other’s firearms licenses and permits. Reciprocity laws primarily aim to protect the right to concealed carrying of weapons across the country. You can check an online map to determine whether two states have reciprocity arrangements.

If yes, you can safely enter the state with your weapon tucked away wherever you like. However, suppose your state does not have a reciprocity arrangement with the state you’re heading to. In that case, you must examine the destination state’s laws concerning entering with unlicensed firearms. 

The general rule is to keep your gun unloaded and have it stored in its case when entering a non-reciprocity state.

Final Words

Gun control laws and regulations are constantly evolving. There is intense pressure from both sides, which leaves the government unable to pick a stance. While gun control advocates may have a fair point, the solution to gun-related violence and crime is not to attack the constitutional right to bear firearms.   

Being able to possess firearms is extremely important for American citizens as guns not only help defend one’s person and property but also help fight against state oppression. As a supporter of free gun ownership, what you can do to help is learn all you can about gun control laws and find legal ways to own firearms. 

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