The second amendment of the United States Constitution provides a basic right to bear arms in order to protect oneself from harm. The wording is clear and concise: "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Specifically the founders of our great nation allowed for the lawful and rightful permission of all law abiding citizens to maintain the right to own firearms without the government being able to remove that right from them provided they continue to be law abiding.
There are many specifications for the prohibition of purchase of a firearm. Following is a list of the major exclusions to possessing a handgun.
- A person who is under indictment for a felony
- A person who is a fugitive from the law
- A person diagnosed with a mental defect
- A person committed to a mental institution
- Members of the military dishonorably discharged
- A person who is addicted to narcotics
- Anyone convicted of domestic violence, stalking or harassing
- Anyone under a restraining order
- Anyone under the age of 18 may not purchase any fire arm.
- Anyone under age 21 but at least 18 may not purchase a hand gun.
- Federal parks
- Federal buildings
- Exception: A licensed gun may be brought into a National Forest
Recently it was determined by the Supreme Court that concealed gun licenses are only effective in the state they were written in. Persons who wish to carry concealed weapons in other states should check with their laws to ensure the legality.
Within the federal government there are evergreen laws, those that can be changed with the passing of time and the changes in abilities, education, and technologies available. There are currently debates being brought forward in Congress and within the Supreme Court to determine if the second amendment is one of the laws that can be changed to work with the new kind of criminal that exists. The debate will continue until a full understanding of inalienable rights can be agreed upon by our national legislature.
Primarily the federal gun laws are strictly for federal properties or the specific restrictions on who may purchase and keep weapons. Specific laws are the responsibility of the state regarding specific restrictions on concealed weapons and on who can legally obtain a license to bear arms. States can further restrict who is able to purchase a firearm beyond the laws put forth by the federal government.