Gun laws in the US

General aspects

The United States have a federal system of government . This means that governing powers are divided between national and state governments. Each level of government has full autonomy to pass laws and rules in certain areas while in other areas they share power. For instance, only the federal government can declare war, but both levels have authority regarding ta…


Federal laws

There are over a dozen federal laws that include references to gun laws in the US.

For example, the 1934 National Firearms Act established the taxation of production and transfer of weapons such as machine guns, heavy weapons, and certain types of rifles.

Another example is the Federal Firearms Act of 1938 which, among others, requires a firearm license and bans the transfer of weapons to convicted felons.

A more recent federal law is the 1990 Gun Free School Zones Act that ba…


State laws

States also have the right to regulate certain aspects regarding gun ownership and use. In many instances, state gun laws are less restrictive than federal ones. Here are some examples of common gun ownership aspects that are regulated at a state level:

  • Obtaining a license or permit to buy or own firearms.
  • Registering…


Conflict between state and federal laws

Because the power to pass gun laws is shared between federal and state governments, sometimes conflict arises between different types of laws.

The right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed by the  Second Amendment of the US Constitution, but because of the language used in the text, there is a considerable legal debate about how the amendment should be interpreted.

For example, it was not until the District of Columbia v. Hel…

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