Firearms & Guns: Frequently Asked Questions

A variety of weapons that people fire from their hands or shoulders. Guns are used in both peacetime and wartime for hunting, target shooting, and fighting. The earliest guns were developed in China as early as the 12th century. After the invention of gunpowder and the widespread development of firearms during the 16th century, guns became the most important weapons in warfare until their replacement by missiles in modern warfare.

We know the guns and firearms industry can be a confusing one, especially when entering at first. We want you to ask us questions because we’re here for you—and that’s why we are happy to answer them. Our staff includes long-time members of the gun community who continue to share their passion and experience with anyone who asks.

The following are concise responses to the most often asked questions by weapons enthusiasts:

  • Is it legal for a person barred from owning a weapon to purchase and use a black powder muzzleloading pistol?
  • A person barred from owning a weapon is forbidden by statute to own firearms and to buy, possess, and use black powder muzzleloading pistols. The Federal Gun Control Act prohibits all persons who have ever been convicted of a felony from buying, possessing, and using any type of firearm in the United States, including antique or Black Powder muzzle loading pistols. The only exception to this prohibition is if the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) determines that it is not likely that the person might be involved in activities that would result in a violation of the Gun Control Act or in the carrying out of an unlawful purpose.
  • Can I legally transfer a handgun to a relative who lives in another state?
  • There are two ways to lawfully transfer a firearm to an out-of-state resident. A firearms business may transfer a firearm to a resident of another State, provided the transfer complies with both the laws of the State where the business is located and where the purchaser resides. The second method is for an individual in one State to sell or otherwise transfer his or her personal firearms to an individual in a different State. This method does not involve the sale of a firearm by a federal firearms licensee (FFL) but rather is an arrangement that allows individuals to buy or obtain personal firearms from non-licensed persons who reside in other States.
  • Is it legal for me to transfer a firearm to a resident of the same state in which I live?
  • The legal term for a resident of the same state is “intra-state sale.” Section 922(a)(3) of the GCA provides that in an intra-state sale, a licensee may sell firearms to residents of his/her own state without conducting a background check. This means that a licensee may sell firearms to residents of his/her own state without obtaining permission from ATF or conducting a background check with NICS. If a licensee complies with the requirements for selling firearms to residents of his/her own state, no further action is required on their part should they decide to resell those firearms at a later date.
  • Is there any government agency that regulates weapons to ensure their safety?
  • Currently, there is a wide variety of government agencies that handle firearm ownership and usage differently in different countries. The only official government agency that regulates gun usage is the Department of Justice who is responsible for civilian firearm ownership and usage in the United States. In the U.S. all firearm manufacturing, importers, exporters, dealers, manufacturers are required to be licensed by the Department of Justice if they handle or sell firearms at any level.
  • How can I register a firearm?
  • The registration of firearms (both guns and firearms) is required under the National Firearms Act. People must register their firearms if the weapon meets the legal definition of either “firearm” or “gun.” The registration requirements include: Inform the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) of your name and mailing address; Give a description of the firearm that identifies it specifically; Give the date it was acquired, and Pay a tax.