How To Get A Gun Owner's License

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

Firearms licensing requirements vary from state to state, so it can be tricky to find definitive information on how to get a gun owner's license. In some states you don't even need a license to own a gun. Firearm licensing and ownership is a hot topic in the United States, and it is best to find extremely local information to get the knowledge you need.

How to Find Out How to Get a Gun License

If you are interested in purchasing a firearm, the two best places to go for information would be a local reputable gun store and the website of your state police department.

Licensing laws vary; some states require each gun to have its own license, while other states only require the owner to have a license. Some states license the ownership of guns, others license the carrying and use of guns through laws such as concealed carry laws, and still others license both. Some states have different laws depending on the type of gun - hunting rifles may have one set of laws, while handguns and concealed weapons have another, and assault weapons have still another. Still other states ban the ownership of certain types of laws entirely.

The process of getting a gun license in the states that require any sort of licensing is similar to that of getting a background check. You will find that certain classes of people are generally prohibited from owning a gun including convicted felons, the mentally ill, drug users, illegal immigrants, dishonorably discharged Armed Forces members, people with restraining orders against them and more. You may be required to submit your fingerprints, complete a firearms safety course and submit necessary payment to the state police department.

Regulations Regarding the Use of a Gun Owner's License

Once you've applied for your gun owner's license, you must wait until your license card comes in the mail before you purchase a firearm. Depending on the nature of the licensing requirements, you may need to carry your license with you at all times, make a copy to keep in your car or simply keep the license in the carrying case for your weapon.

Many states require you to periodically renew your gun license to make sure that you are still competent and fit to use a firearm. Renewal requirements are typically every three to five years and consist of passing another background check and completing another safety course.

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