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"What do you need to obtain a firearms licence in the U.S." Topic

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834 hits since 13 Jul 2015
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Feet up now Inactive Member13 Jul 2015 10:19 a.m. PST

As a UK person looking in and seeing the 'banishment from the Kingdom' of an iconic flag, why blame the flag?……what can you do with a flag , wrap someone into submission?
How easy is it to obtain a Glock and walk into a place of worship with it? Are there serious vetting and phycological questionnaires etc. done before purchase of such a destructive weapon? What requirements and tests are needed?

I recently had a conversation about this and it is very worrying as this is one of those things we need to learn from.
How does the removal of a flag attempt to fix it when it is the mind that pulls the trigger doing the damage?
Sorry to bring this up as it came from a chat with brits in a pub Including two paras discussing what could the consequences be if people who murdered Lee Rigby had a Glock instead of blades in Greenwich.
One thing led to another and prevention was the key . Anyone across the pond able to enlighten us on how one acquires a firearm like the Glock and the ammo needed to used liberally. Opinions welcome but links would be helpful for our next chat.

doug redshirt13 Jul 2015 10:27 a.m. PST

Basically just be breathing. Or able to walk into a gun show where they dont do background checks. As far as i can tell basically anyone can get a gun if they want one.

Personal logo Rrobbyrobot Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member13 Jul 2015 10:51 a.m. PST

While a license of some sort is needed in order to buy a handgun just about everywhere in the U.S. The most recent mass news subject bought one even though he was supposed to be unable to do so. The Govt. messed up. Even with all the wonderful technology we have available today. So, the individual involved managed to buy his weapon of choice.
As for the flag, that was an opportunity action brought about by a loud, obnoxious minority. They've been at this for some time. And they were not fully successful.
Sorry, but I don't have any links for you.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP13 Jul 2015 10:55 a.m. PST

It depends on the state and in some cases the city.

RavenscraftCybernetics Inactive Member13 Jul 2015 11:20 a.m. PST

If you want it, you can get it.
doesnt matter what "it" is.
We live in a capitalistic society, if someone can make a buck off your desires, your desires will be met.
-regardless of the law.
-regardless of sensibility.
you'd think we'd have a higher murder rate per capita but we dont.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP13 Jul 2015 11:32 a.m. PST

He asked about a license, not a gun.
So let's present facts and not a debate.

Getting an illegal gun is easy. A legal one not so much.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP13 Jul 2015 11:32 a.m. PST

Feet Up Now, the perpetrator on the 9 murders at the church
should NOT have been able to buy a firearm.

Details are sketchy, but apparently the place where he
bought the firearm filled-in all the correct paperwork and
submitted it to the appropriate government agency for
the required background check, which he would have failed.

Weeks went by with no response. No one is saying why.
Finally, he was allowed to purchase the firearm. And no one
is saying why to that, either.

System failure and 9 dead.

Personal logo Ditto Tango 2 3 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member13 Jul 2015 12:20 p.m. PST

troll post. Just bought a new popcorn pan.

PS, I have no problem with responsible fire arm ownership. My wife, an American, is not comfortable with them in the house.

evil grin BTW, a gun is a large calibre artillery piece like a tank gun, artillery tube or autocannon. The term "gun" is what you get when you have godddamn civilians pretending to experts. laugh

sunderland13 Jul 2015 1:14 p.m. PST

You have the right to keep and bear arms (knives as well as guns), but each state will have it's own rules on how you can go about doing that, as long as those rules do not infringe on your constitutional rights.

You can have background checks, fees and whatnot, restrictions on concealed carry, but if they are too onerous they have eventually gotten struck down by the Supreme Court (but probably wouldn't if there was one more liberal on there). I'm not sure if background checks apply to private sales or gun show sales, so you can give your kid a gun without dealing with the federal gov't. Where I live guns are heavily restricted, while in other parts of the country they are not. Note that places that have restrictive gun laws also tend to have had high murder rates (chicago, washington dc, etc), which the gun laws have not ameliorated.

As for the flag thing, it's an Deleted by Moderator thing that they've had a hard-on for years. Everytime there's a shooting, there's a rush to trample people's gun rights (and I do mean rights, not privileges), but since that always fails, they went after the flag instead. To me it just meant someone was from the south, but others see it as a symbol of racism.

Who asked this joker13 Jul 2015 2:42 p.m. PST

Details are sketchy, but apparently the place where he
bought the firearm filled-in all the correct paperwork and
submitted it to the appropriate government agency for
the required background check, which he would have failed.

From what has been reported on the news, there were violations on the kid's record including drug possession. The person doing the review found some items and had trouble obtaining these items. In SC at least, after 3 days, if there is no response, the investigation is deemed cleared and the sale can go through. Maybe it is federal law? Dunno. So that is how the perpetrator of the SC murder got his gun. The gun shop did nothing wrong.

goragrad13 Jul 2015 2:49 p.m. PST

Federal law in the US requires a background check if a firearm is purchased from a licensed dealer.

Aside from that it varies as noted by others from state to state and in some instances municipality.

With some jurisdictions there is also a requirement to have a license/permit to own a firearm. Amusingly even in those jurisdictions politicians and those with connections seem to have access to firearms or armed security.

As to Trooper Rigby, he was first hit with a car. One presumes that had the attackers possessed a Glock they would just have shot him prior to decapitation. It is possible that had they had a firearm they would have fired on the onlookers, but as they appear to have been intent on sending a 'message,' that appears unlikely.

It would perhaps have made it a bit more difficult/dangerous for the police to apprehend them (although it might have precluded the need for a trial).

As it was their available weaponry was quite sufficient to accomplish their task and intimidate onlookers.

P.S. In the hysteria following Sandyhook, my state – Colorado – passed a requirement that any firearm transaction – gift, sale, long term loan – requires a background check. Local pharmacist ran into this when picking up a rifle at the gunsmith after repair. It had been longer than three days (the max grace period under the law) and so he had to pay the fee and undergo a background check.

P.P.S. As to the background check time frame – the feds have three days to complete it, if at the end of three days they haven't the sale/transfer can take place. As any condition (crime, mental incapacity, etc.) that would disqualify an individual from owning a gun is to be reported to the FBI and records are computerized it was believed that three days were sufficient. Bureaucratic errors or inefficiency should not keep a citizen from obtaining a firearm.

Colorado does its own checks and rarely do they take more than a few hours at worst – some go in 15 minutes or less.

As noted at NRO in no case does the failure to have the check completed within the three day period preclude law enforcement completing the check at a later date and confiscating the firearm if indeed sold to an unqualified buyer.

Rdfraf Supporting Member of TMP13 Jul 2015 3:05 p.m. PST

Each state has their own set of laws governing in obtaining a handgun. Here in California where is a bit more restrictive you have to pass a background check, a test, and go through a waiting period before you can own a handgun which must be registered with the state. Ownership alone does not allow you to carry it concealed.

If you want to carry a concealed handgun you must obtain a concealed weapons permit. Each county sets it own guideline in issuing these permits. In urban counties such as San Francisco they are impossible to get while in the rural counties less so. Generally you have to demonstrate a specific need to carry a concealed weapon and the "I carry a lot of cash" is not usually going to do it. You have to take some safety classes, an oral test, a written test and demonstrate a minimal proficiency in shooting. But the specifics will vary county to county. Some counties require you carry insurance. The city I live in requires a $1,000,000 USD insurance policy.

I got my concealed weapons permit when I first joined the District Attorney's Office 25 years ago and now I carry a Glock 26 on a pretty regular basis.

nvdoyle13 Jul 2015 3:21 p.m. PST

The best answer is, 'It depends.'

The follow-on questions I would ask you are 'What state are you talking about?' and 'What kind of firearm?'

In Indiana, there's no such thing as a 'firearm license'. We have a 'Permit to carry handgun', which involves a routine background check, fingerprinting, and if there's no problems with the former, the state mails you a pink piece of paper with all the relevant info on it. Laminate it, put it in your wallet or purse. Good for 4 years for $50 USD (maybe $75 USD now), or $150 USD for lifetime.

As Indiana law is silent on concealed or open carry, that's up to you.

Feet up now Inactive Member13 Jul 2015 3:48 p.m. PST

Cheers for the response from what can be gathered there was apparently a Bleeped text in the system that inadvertently allowed a handgun to be purchased by an individual who would otherwise be totally unsuitable.

It seems to be a very fine line in some areas and we actually rely on the sensible majority to be responsible for there personal arms and how they use it.
Unfortunately even with strict laws and checks a persons determination and exploitation or official loopholes let the stupid and immoral minority use personal arms destructively.

Personal logo Ditto Tango 2 3 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member13 Jul 2015 4:17 p.m. PST

It would perhaps have made it a bit more difficult/dangerous for the police to apprehend them

"Perhaps". Nooooo, I don't believe it.

And now, the first line from Pink Floyd's The Hero's Return.

As I said, I have no issue with responsible fire arms ownership, though perhaps I and most other western societies are not big on movie/TV style cops and robbers shoot ups.

Annnnd repeat the above song line.

pmwalt13 Jul 2015 6:46 p.m. PST

Here's an article describing the breakdown in the records check on the murderer. link

Irish Marine Supporting Member of TMP13 Jul 2015 6:56 p.m. PST

More people are killed by cars every year and they easier to buy then a gun in some states. I'm in law enforcement so my opinion is different then most. Criminals will always get a gun, don't they have them in the U.K? Anyway here in New York State to get a handgun permit you fill out a very long questionnaire, get three references from neighbors(always loved that one make sure people know which house to rob) and the local police do a background check and then signed off by a Judge. When I signed up for my permit back in the 90's I was still on active duty with the Marine Corps it took nine months, and that was just to be able to buy it and keep it in my home and go to the range and back, not to carry it. Now as a law enforcement officer I know criminals who get one and carry it within 12 hours. So you guys in the U.K don't care because you never had the right to carry you are dependent on the state for your protection Hell the cops don't even have them, what crap is that.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP13 Jul 2015 7:48 p.m. PST

In the USA most mass shootings have been done by either terrorists or mentally ill people. In the vast number of cases the mentally ill should have been locked up, they usually give plenty of warning prior to their murders. The Sandy Hook, Colorado theater and Charleston shootings were all done by people with severe mental illness.

There are federal, state and sometimes local regulations on firearms in the United States. Firearms are some of the most regulated consumer products in the USA. Over a million semi-automatic rifles are sold in the USA every year. Most sales require a criminal and psychological background check, and often a waiting period.


In some states, like California, there is a state preemption of firearms laws, so no county or city may have additional firearms laws.

In other states, like New York, many counties and cities have their own firearms laws that are more restrictive than the state law.

Many states require special training, licenses, and they vary between regular citizens, security guards, police, hunters and other gun users.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek
SGT Says blog

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP13 Jul 2015 11:03 p.m. PST

The proper question should be "Why do you need …" Rather than "What do you need …"
The Second Amendment clearly says "…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
What part of that is unclear?

VCarter Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2015 8:01 a.m. PST

In the dim past, when we used books for research, I was relocating for a few years from Colorado to New Jersey for work. I looked up the Colorado firearm laws and it was about 2 paragraphs. The New Jersey laws took up several full pages. The NJ laws had 2 paragraphs related to owing a muzzle loading cannon.

CorroPredo14 Jul 2015 8:41 a.m. PST

+1 Irish Marine

Personal logo Ironwolf Supporting Member of TMP15 Jul 2015 7:58 p.m. PST

Like other posted above, it really depends on what State you are going to own or purchase a gun in. The USA does not have a gun problem. We have a mental health crisis! But that another topic.

In Illinois you must obtain a Firearm Owners ID (FOID) To get one you fill out a form, pay a fee and the state does a background check on you. Once completed you get the FOID card. This just allows you to own a gun and ammunition. If you want to carry a concealed pistol. you must complete a training class and have another background check done before getting a permit for this. Even after you obtain your FOID card. Every time you purchase a gun, there is another background check and a waiting period before you can take possession of the gun. Also if you give away a gun to a family member or sell one of your guns. You have to go to the IL. State Police webpage and verify their FOID card is valid.

mandt216 Jul 2015 6:26 p.m. PST

Here in Arizona you don't need a background check nor do you need any paperwork for a private purchase.

Arizona has one of the highest gun-crime rates in the country, and rank last in keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.

BTW, no matter where you buy a pistol here, you can load it right up and put it right into your pocket. Concealed carry is legal here, without a permit.

goragrad17 Jul 2015 6:05 a.m. PST

Insofar as I am concerned, mandt2, Arizona has it right.

But, interestingly in the case of NC murderer, the reason he should have failed the background check is the answer to question 11e – 'Are you a user of illegal drugs.' – which he should obviously have answered in the affirmative. The failure to have his arrest record up to date merely meant that the lie wasn't caught.

Federal law says that any person "who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance" is barred from possessing guns. 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(3).

Why this more particularly applies to this topic is that while several states have decriminalized the possession and use of marijuana (Colorado for example) the federal government hasn't.

Therefore any resident of one of the states where it is legal by state law who uses marijuana either lies on their background check or will fail that check. Feds aren't pushing this, but any user who obtains a firearm has just given the government another club to use on him if he ever catches its attention.

GarrisonMiniatures Inactive Member17 Jul 2015 8:12 a.m. PST

'BTW, a gun is a large calibre artillery piece like a tank gun, artillery tube or autocannon. The term "gun" is what you get when you have godddamn civilians pretending to experts.'

No it isn't, a gun is simply a general term used for a particular range of weapons.

One subset being the handgun:

mandt219 Jul 2015 6:39 p.m. PST

Insofar as I am concerned, mandt2, Arizona has it right.

It's too far goragrad. I think we have a responsibility to at least try to keep guns out of the hands of felons, children, and the homicidal. The data shows what happens of you don't.

Criminals will always get a gun, don't they have them in the U.K?

Some, but nowhere near the rate that we have here in the states. As a result, gun-crime is comparatively rare in the UK compared to the U.S. Look, there is a correlation between how easy it is to get a gun, and the level of gun crimes. See here:


which links to:

These certainly are not the definitive links. But if you do a search, you'll find this data readily available.

I am not anti-gun (I own five pistols and a rifle), but I do think that background checks should be required for all sales and transfers, including private. I also think that concealed carry permits should be required.

The Sandy Hook, Colorado theater and Charleston shootings were all done by people with severe mental illness.

I would remind you that the Sandy Hook shooter's mother owned the guns. He killed her before heading for the school.

How do you deal with that? Do you make it illegal for anyone in a household to own a gun if one family member is unstable? What the heck would the criteria for "insanity" be anyway? And even if someone is determined to be "insane" that diagnosis is protected under doctor/patient confidentiality.

Martin Rapier20 Jul 2015 2:35 a.m. PST

Are we really having The Gun Debate on TMP? It used to be a popular topic on Current Affairs, but like climate change, I don't think anyone's mind is going to be changed by what is mentioned here.

As noted above, yes, some criminals in the UK have guns, but not very many, and the police take gun crime extremely seriously. The police in general aren't armed, it is called policing by consent.

It is however perfectly possible to buy, own and shoot guns in the UK just as in the USA. You just need to fill in the appropriate paperwork. Wandering around with them in pubic probably isn't a great idea however. Culturally, it tends to be a minority interest – hunters, farmers, target shooters, re-enactors. Ahem.

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