USA's gun laws
i don't know if this is the right place for this thread so i apologize if i've made a mistake..
anyway, i have a couple of questions about US' gun laws..
as you certainly know here in italy(and generally in europe), the US are seen like a sort of gun heaven and are the dream for most of the gun owners..so i'd like to know a little more about the real situation and i'd very appreciate if you guys wanted to enlighten me..
1) is it true that you can shoot everywhere you want(obviously in the countryside)?
2)is it ACTUALLY possible to bear a gun in a public place(in those states that allow CC)?just to understand, could you bear a gun in a club or something like that?
3)are people on vacation in the States allowed to shoot?if so, but only in some states,then which ones?
thank you very much for your attention and forgive me if i've posted the thread in the wrong place..
1) you can NOT shoot everywhere, many counties have some kind of restrictions about where you can discharge a firearm, others do not. its is a patchwork of laws here.
Originally Posted by Emperor
2)bearing a gun in public is called "open carry" , it is legal in my home state of oregon, i open carry anywhere i go, to the market, to the movies, to the library.... my gun on my hip.... in some states open carry is not legal. again, a patchwork of laws.
3)yes, people on vacation are allowed to shoot IF they are legally able to possess a firearm here in america... again all states vary, a patchwork of laws. BUT you are legal entitled to do as a normal citizen would do, while on vacation. in most places.
there are many forums about handgun laws and open carry ..... handgunlaws.us and opencarry.org will give you statutes in each state.
Very good response TBFH, you see we are made up of 50 states forming a union, if you want to include California and New Jersey and a few others as part of the union. Texas and California for example differ night and day regarding gun rights. Likewise, we have Federal Law which usurps and/or holds precedence over any State Law concerning gun rights.
1. You generally cannot legally discharge firearms in city limits, unless at a gun range, but you would need to check on local laws in the locale. Generally you can shoot out in the country, but most land is owned by someone and you would need permission from the land owner, public land should be ok, but it's back to determining local laws.
2. The majority of states have open carry, so yes, you would be able to bear your firearm in public places, or concealed if you wish, however there are restrictions and they vary between the states. Im familiar with FLA law so in essence you cannot carry a firearm in an establishment that is primarily a bar or club which the primary function is to serve alcohol, likewise, no stadiums(i.e. pro football games) and other paid admission venues of the like, no post office's, government buildings, police stations, court houses etc...
3. You cannot possess a firearm or buy one, but to shoot with a legal owner when they are present or show your ID, passport, and rent at a gun range is fine. Of course convicted felons, fugitives from justice, DV's is a no go, but I don't know if they would let one in the country w/ a background as mentioned. I know in Hawaii for example a state that is known for strict gun laws allows tourist's with visa's to rent and shoot at their gun ranges. I'm not aware of any state that would forbid you under the circumstances aforementioned, but you would need to check into their laws.
Last edited by denner; 08-22-2012 at 09:34 PM.
To refine Denner's post,in Florida you can only open carry while going,doing ,or returning from hunting and fishing.Otherwise it's unlawful.I believe you can add shooting at a range to the fishing and hunting but that can be a grey area of the law.
The gun club to which I belonged, in Southern California, would occasionally host groups of Japanese tourists who wanted to shoot real guns.
Japanese are forbidden from possessing pistols (and, I believe, most rifles), so they came to California to play "Wild West" and "World War 2."
We club members could provide the guns, ammunition, and supervision, and be paid quite well for doing it.
(I never participated in this charade, however.)
At least at the time (15—20 years ago), there were no state or federal restrictions on who could or could not shoot a club member's pistol or rifle, as long as the gun owner was present and in charge of the visitor who was shooting.
No special paperwork, neither federal nor state, was involved. The only requirement was that the visitor had to be in the US legally, with the normal tourist visa.
I had a long-time friend, a senior sergeant in the Caribinieri (the Italian federal police), who told me that even he was not permitted to carry a pistol when he was off-duty.
He did privately own a pistol, for which he had a possession permit: He was permitted only that one pistol, and he had to have passed a psychological evaluation in order to get his permit. He was not allowed to carry it. Not at any time. Ever.
Added Later: My wife and I have concealed-carry licenses from Washington State, to obtain which one need only apply, provide fingerprints, and pass a background check. Having the permits also means that we can buy pistols without a fuss, and take immediate delivery of them. If there has to be a license, this seems to be the best scheme.
Our Washington State licenses are accepted in many, but not all, states across the country.
We practice pistol shooting on a friend's property, since the land we own is too small for safe shooting. For rifle shooting, we need to travel to the mainland, and drive to a state or federal wilderness area, or to a county-run rifle range in the county to the north of us.
As others have stated, it is a patchwork...and a very messy (RIDICULOUS!) one at that. Here in New York City there have been several recent cases where authorities have arrested American citizens, who otherwise legally possess guns in their home states, while they were on visiting New York City with their guns on their person. Mind you, these are not criminals in NYC for a crime spree, these are regular Americans on vacation in NYC, i.e. tourists. Eventually charges were dropped but it was inconvenient, expensive and humiliating - to say the least - for those involved.
I live in a county near NYC where I have a license to possess handguns for target shooting only - if I am caught with my firearms by the police and they determine that I am not traveling to or from a target facility, they can arrest me. Contrast that with many others states where you will regularly see people carrying handguns on their person.
When it comes to gun laws and cultural views about guns - there is no such thing as the USA.
I live in West Virginia where open carry is legal, though I rarely do it since I have a concealed carry permit. WV is a "shall issue" state where you apply for a permit through the county sheriff and the permit is issued if you pass a background check. There are laws against discharging firearms in city/town limits except at gun ranges. You can shoot on your own property outside city limits, and on some public lands. I have two private club ranges in easy reach of my home and I belong to both of them. There are also public ranges at some of the state parks.
I live in North Dakota, and there are many wide-open spaces here where it is safe to hunt and target-shoot with firearms. We have very relaxed firearm carry and purchase laws, and with the two different Concealed Weapon Permits that I possess, I can legally carry a concealed handgun in 38 of the 50 United States (exceptions being California, Oregon, Hawaii, Nevada, Illinois, and many of the highly populated and firearms-restricted Northeast states).
Within a 45-minute drive of my home, there is a free outdoor open-to-the-public rifle/pistol range, and a members-only outdoor rifle/pistol/shotgun range ($20 a year for membership). Within 12 minutes of my home, there is an indoor pistol/pistol-caliber-rifle/.22-rifle range ($75 to $200 a year, depending on membership type, used mostly in the winter or during other nasty weather). I use the last two ranges quite regularly, and take out-of-town guests to the indoor range when they visit (if they want to target-shoot with any of my firearms).
I never openly carry a handgun, except when hunting (I cannot legally carry a concealed weapon in North Dakota when hunting).
I am a handgun and rifle competition shooter (less frequently, as I enter my later years), and a certified firearms instructor. I target-shoot or compete with some kind of handgun about every two weeks on average, and never less than once a month.
I know many people who have visited the popular vacation destination of Las Vegas, Nevada (USA), and taken advantage of several shooting ranges there that host visitors from other states or countries, and allow them to rent and shoot various firearms. These rentals can include small- or large-caliber autoloading pistols, magnum revolvers, and fully-automatic machineguns or submachineguns. Here are some links with more information on a few of these ranges (not all-inclusive; there may be more of them):
THE GUN STORE | GUN RENTALS
The Vegas Machine Gun Experience - Discount Firearms and Ammo
"Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
(RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)
All good information above. In case you want an overview of the status of our gun laws, from a gun enthusiasts viewpoint, I'll give that a try.
Over the last couple of decades (at least), the United States has descended into what I can only describe as a semi-socialist state, in which the federal government has increasingly attempted to exert more power over its sovereign states, often in defiance of our Constitution, but sometimes by having the courts re-interpret it. This process has been hotly contested by those who wish to preserve the Constitution, and the result has been that all of these political manipulations (by people on both sides of the argument) have resulted in some foolish laws.
Unlike Europe, guns have been here since this nation's birth, and are a major part of our culture. Some estimates are that there are 330 million guns in the US, so obviously, gun control is never going to be a viable way to reduce crime. Yet, liberal/socialist politicians continue to press for more restriction, despite the fact that the least violent places are usually the ones where there are the most concealed carry permits. When armed criminals know that citizens have the capability to successfully resist them, they look elsewhere - usually for a place where guns cannot be carried by a citizen.
Still, in most cases, the individual states and cities have control of most of the law-making about guns, as long as they don't try to override federal law. What you will mostly find, if you visit, is that the further you get from large urban areas, the more relaxed people are about gun ownership and use, and therefore the laws are less restrictive. In Texas, I can legally fire a gun on my own land (outside the city limits), as long as the fired projectile does not leave my property, and since my neighbors don't care (as long as I am safe), that doesn't even matter. In fact, I can fire a gun anywhere (on private property) as long as the landowner doesn't object - most don't (if they will allow you on their land in the first place).
I live in Virginia, the cradle of America (had to add that). We are the most gun-friendly and gun-lenient state in the South and the carrying of a sidearm is a no-brainer, be it open or concealed. Open carry is our normal mode of carry (read that as the standard or default mode). In order to conceal your gun, you must obtain a CHP (Concealed Handgun Permit) which is also a no-brainer since Virginia is a shall issue state. But we're working on removing that impediment.
There aren't many places where we cannot carry a handgun, open or concealed in my state. This means banks, police stations (that do not have detention or lockup for suspects), restaurants which serve alcohol for consumption on the premises (there are no bars in Virginia), our state legislator buildings and offices, and a host of other places. No restrictions on us for parades, large crowds, or any of that nonsense.
Just this week I open carried into several grocery stores, a gas station, a few clothing stores, a gun shop, and a fast food place.
As for discharging a firearm in my county.... You may do so at a range, during a hunt, on your own land provided your property meets certain criteria (distance from roads or other structures), and in defense of yourself or someone else.
If you have some time on your hands, you can browse through this site and examine our patchwork of handgun laws.
Kind of a bummer about Italy. So many nice firearms made there, yet so much restriction.
thank you all guys!
very exhaustive answers!..it's amazing to see how great the USA are for gun enthusiasts...
i'm already thinking about my next vacation!
speaking of which, soon i'll post a new thread in the off topic session, asking for suggestions..i hope you will help me to choose the right state where to satisfy my need of guns!
thanks again and if anyboby has some curiosity about guns culture here in italy or italy in general just ask!
If you want to vacation in Southern California, I can direct you to a group of people who would probably be pleased to be your hosts at a large private range where there is monthly practical-shooting competition. Guns could be supplied, but you would have to pay for ammunition.
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