Your Constitutional Right to Bear Arms
We all know that the Second Amendment allows us to bear arms. However that right is not unlimited and is subject to regulation. Each state has its own gun laws which are more or less similar to federal law. However federal law provides the minimum standard. If your state law seems to say you now qualify for gun ownership but federal law says no, federal law prevails.
Who Is Prohibited from Gun Ownership?
18 USC A? 922 sets forth the federal restrictions on the ownership or possession of firearms. These include anyone who: Has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year; Is a fugitive from justice; Is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance; Has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to a mental institution; Is an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States or an alien admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa; Has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions; Having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced his or her citizenship; Is subject to a court order that restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner; or Has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence Cannot lawfully receive, possess, ship, or transport a firearm.
Most people have some general idea that felons can't legally own guns. but as you can see from the list above the prohibition is much broader than that. It includes some misdemeanors (such as DV) as well as any charge which has as its maximum punishment more than 12 months. Some states punish misdemeanors with greater than 12 month sentences. The other prohibitions are not likely to apply to you but may. What if you are here illegally or on a non-immigrant visa? If so you have no right to own a gun.
What Can I Do?
Take up archery; Learn to use a knife (in self-defense of course); Get Zen.