Who may legally own a gun

People may be curious to know who can legally own a gun in the U.S. Because gun laws can change from state to state, it is important to understand the law in Pennsylvania, as well as the restrictions that determine who can and cannot purchase a gun.

FindLaw says that in the U.S., people cannot own a gun if they have been dishonorably discharged from the military or if they have a substance addiction. People with a domestic violence conviction or restraining order, as well as those who have been imprisoned for one year, are also barred from owning guns. Mental illness also determines whether or not someone owns a gun, as someone who is legally mentally defective usually cannot posses a firearm. Illegal immigrants and fugitives also may not have guns. Additionally, someone cannot own a firearm if they have renounced U.S. citizenship.

People who do not fall into one of the above categories typically are required to undergo a background check and the gun usually must also be registered. When people can legally own a firearm, they are typically not allowed to buy a machine gun or a short-barreled shotgun.

Each state usually determines its own gun laws. According to FindLaw, in Pennsylvania someone cannot purchase a gun if within five years they have had three DUI convictions, and people also have to be over the age of 18. Additionally, people cannot own a firearm which has been modified to operate silently. People are allowed to have a concealed weapon if they have a permit from their county of residence. There is usually also a 48 hour waiting period to purchase a gun.