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How to Buy a Gun?

How to Buy a Gun?Photo from Unsplash

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About 40% of Americans live in a household with a gun. There are many reasons that someone may want to become a gun owner, be it for self-defense, hunting, or recreational shooting. Are you finally ready to purchase your own firearm?

In that case, it’s time to learn how to buy a gun the right way. Buying a gun can be complicated in a state like New York, but we’re here to help break down and simplify the process. Read on to learn everything you need to know, from eligibility requirements to choosing the right seller.

Ensure You Meet Eligibility Requirements

Not everyone is eligible to purchase a legal firearm in New York. If you want a legally obtained gun, you have to make sure that you meet all of the eligibility requirements. No responsible gun shop or independent seller will sell you a firearm without those requirements being met.

First, you must be at least 18 years of age for a long gun (rifles and shotguns) or 21 years of age for a handgun and have a valid pistol permit. The distinction matters here. Until you’re 21, you’ll be limited in the type of gun you can buy.

In New York, you must be 21 years of age or older to buy a semi-automatic rifle and have either a valid pistol permit with the semi-automatic rifle endorsement or have received a semi-automatic rifle permit from the issuing authority in your specific county.

You must also be a legal citizen of the United States or an eligible non-citizen with proper documentation.

If you’ve struggled with mental health in the past, you may not be able to purchase a firearm. This isn’t true for everyone, but someone who has been involuntarily held for psychiatric care may not be eligible for gun ownership.

The same is true if you are a convicted felon or otherwise convicted of a serious crime. While your crime may be in the past, federal law prohibits you from buying or carrying a gun.

Some people are able to get a certificate of good conduct if they’ve been on good behavior and they’ve paid their debt to society. This can restore your right to bear arms.

In short, don’t waste your time looking into purchasing a gun if you’re unable to meet eligibility requirements.

Research Local Gun Laws

On that note, you should also know your local (and federal) gun laws. Gun laws in New York State are fairly comprehensive and strict, so if you’re originally from out-of-state, there may be a few that you’re not used to.

First, all firearm purchases, whether handguns or long guns, from licensed dealers require a background check. Private sales between individuals must also go through licensed dealers with background checks.

Handgun ownership also requires a handgun license, which involves a background check and character references. Different types of handgun licenses are available, including premises, concealed carry, and target/hunting licenses. We’ll talk more about those later on.

New York has an “Assault Weapons Ban” that restricts the ownership and sale of specific types of firearms, including certain semi-automatic rifles with features considered to be “assault weapon” characteristics.

Among other things, there are also safe storage requirements as well as a mandatory waiting period between buying and taking ownership of your new gun.

There are a lot of laws to go through, so be sure to familiarize yourself with all of them so you can be a responsible and well-informed gun owner.

Go Through a Background Check

All would-be gun owners need to go through a background check before buying a gun or ammunition.

A federal background check (NICS check) is mandatory for all firearm purchases from licensed dealers. This check examines criminal history, mental health issues, restraining orders, and other disqualifying factors.

This may seem troublesome, but it shouldn’t take too long or be too obstructive. The average person without a criminal record will have no problem passing a background check for a firearm, so don’t think of this as something that’s getting in the way.

Purchase Any Required Permits or Licenses

In New York State, individuals who wish to purchase a firearm, whether a handgun or a long gun, typically need to obtain specific licenses or permits.

To purchase a handgun in New York State, you must obtain a Handgun Purchase Permit (often referred to as a Pistol Permit). This permit allows you to purchase a handgun from a licensed dealer. The process for obtaining this permit can vary by county, as the issuance of permits occurs at the county level.

In some counties in New York, you may need a separate permit to purchase a long gun, such as a rifle or shotgun. However, many counties do not require a separate long gun permit. Make sure you’re familiar with your own county’s laws and regulations!

If you wish to carry a handgun concealed on your person, you will need a Concealed Carry Permit (sometimes known as a Carry Concealed Weapon or CCW permit). These permits are typically more challenging to get and may require a “justifiable need for self-defense,” as well as meeting additional criteria.

Getting the right permits and licenses can be troublesome, but don’t skip this step.

Have a Safe Place Ready for Your Firearm

In New York, you need to have a safe and secure place for your firearm to go. This is extra important if you have children in your household.

Firearms should be stored in locked containers or safes. These containers must be designed to prevent unauthorized access, and they should not be accessible to minors.

Ammunition should be stored separately from firearms, and both should be secured. This separation helps ensure that unauthorized users cannot easily load a firearm.

Note that New York has Child Access Prevention laws that make it a crime for a firearm owner to fail to safely store their firearms, resulting in a child accessing and using the firearm. Violation of these laws can lead to criminal liability for the owner.

Find the Right Place to Purchase

Alright, you’ve done all of the necessary groundwork and now you’re ready to actually purchase a gun. Now what?

You need to find a responsible and honest seller. There are many people who sell firearms out there, but not all of them have good intentions. You want to find a reliable seller who knows all about firearms and who is willing to offer fair prices on the guns and gun accessories you need.

Choose a shop where the staff is approachable, respectful, and willing to assist you throughout the buying process. This is especially important for first-time buyers who may need extra guidance.

Look for a shop that carries a wide selection of firearms, ammunition, and accessories. A diverse inventory allows you to explore different options and find the right firearms and accessories to meet your needs.

Consider whether the shop conducts business in an ethical and responsible manner. This includes following the law, respecting customer privacy, and not engaging in unethical sales tactics. You want to give your hard-earned money and business to a shop that respects you as a customer.

Once you find the right shop, you may be purchasing firearms and accessories there for years to come!

Find Your Ideal Firearm

So what type of gun are you looking for? There are so many to choose from. The helpful staff at the gun shop can help, but it’s good to have a starting point.

First, identify the primary purpose of your firearm. Is it for self-defense, target shooting, hunting, or sport shooting? This will heavily influence your choice.

Next, consider caliber and ammunition. The caliber of a firearm determines the size of the ammunition it uses. Research different calibers and ammunition types to understand their characteristics, including recoil, stopping power, and availability. If any of this is unclear or confusing, talk to the staff!

Whenever possible, try handling and firing different firearms at a shooting range. This hands-on experience will help you understand what feels most natural and comfortable to you before you officially make a purchase.

Look into reputable firearm manufacturers and the specific models they offer. Read reviews, seek recommendations, and consider factors like reliability, durability, and customer support.

When in doubt, you can always ask someone who works at the gun shop for guidance. They’re firearm enthusiasts and they’ll be happy to help.

Consider Firearm Safety Training

All responsible gun owners should consider firearm safety training. This will help you prepare yourself for your new gun. A good instructor will teach you how to hold and shoot your gun to minimize risks to yourself or any potential bystanders.

Many people feel this is a “waste of time,” but it can be very helpful and it may even protect you from harm.

That’s How to Buy a Gun

That’s how to buy a gun the responsible way. It may seem tedious, but if you want to be a legal and responsible gun owner, going through all of the right steps is necessary and worthwhile.

Do your research and you’ll end up with the right gun to meet your needs.

At S&S Sales, we don’t just sell guns. We’re firearm experts and enthusiasts who value responsible gun ownership and the Second Amendment. We’d love to help you find and purchase your first firearm.

Visit our store in person or view our online catalog today.

**PLEASE NOTE: Do your due diligence and check your local and state regulations before purchasing a firearm from your home state or another.

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