Frequently Asked Questions

The Second Amendment is one of ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution comprising the Bill of Rights which states, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." 

Read More at the NRA Website

It depends. Most licensing of firearms and their owners is done at the state and local level. Thus, it is important to understand your state and local laws. Talk to a lawyer in your area if you still have questions.

There are many companies and organizations around the country offering firearm training and safety.  Below are some resources you can use to find a training center in your area. 

  1. Use the "Find an NRA Training Course near you" website.  Click here to be taken to their website.
  2. Ask your local firearm shop.
  3. Search the Internet (ex. Firearm Training Near Me)

We strongly recommend doing your due diligence when selecting a firearm training and safety instructor.

The gun laws in every state and community will vary.  It is your responsibility as a gun owner to know and follow your state and local gun laws.  We encourage you to start by visiting the NRA State Gun Laws web page and to then searching your state's website.

  1. NRA "State Gun Laws" web page.  Click here.
  2. Visit and search your state website.
  3. Visit and search your county and local city website.
  4. Consult an attorney.

Please note, while you can ask questions of your local firearms store, firearms trainer, and even a law-enforcement officers, it is still your responsibility to be aware of the actual laws in your state and community.

Per federal law, firearms may only be shipped to a valid Federal Firearms License holder.  If you purchase a firearm from a website, you will be required to pick up the firearm from a local FFL dealer in your area.  Typically, online firearm vendors will ship to an FFL dealer of your choosing or will direct you to a specific FFL dealer.    

It depends. Under federal law, when a gun dealer conducts a background check, he may get a proceed, a deny, or a delay. In the event of a delay, you may have to wait several days before you can pick up your gun. Some states, however, conduct background checks using their own state systems, and those processes can vary widely. Also, some states have waiting periods where, even if you receive a proceed on your background check, you may still have to wait before you can have you gun. Thus, it is important to know and understand all of your state and local laws.

This is a very important question, and it is one of the most common ways that lawful firearms owners can unknowingly break the law. Some states require that a gun be inaccessible to the passenger compartment of a vehicle, in a locked case, unloaded, etc. Additionally, if you are traveling between or through states, all of their laws apply, so a gun that is legal in one state can easily and unknowingly be taken to another state where it is illegal, even if you are just passing through. While you always have to check with a lawyer if you have any questions, a good starting point is the Traveler’s Guide to the Firearms Laws of the 50 States*.

* NOTE:  Always seek the most recent version of this book.  Also, be aware that state laws could change between publications of this book. 

This is often referred to as "open carry".  The laws for state vary regarding their open carry laws.  It is your responsibility as a gun owner to know and follow your state and local gun laws.  We encourage you to start by visiting the NRA State Gun Laws web page and  then searching your state's website.

  1. NRA "State Gun Laws" web page.  Click here.
  2. Visit and search your state website.
  3. Visit and search your county and local city website.
  4. Consult an attorney.

Please note, while you can ask questions of your local firearms store, firearms trainer, and even a law-enforcement officers, it is still your responsibility to be aware of the actual laws in your state and community.

Concealed carry, also referred to as "carrying a concealed weapon" (CCW), is the practice of carrying a weapon in a concealed manner while in public.  Each state has passed laws regarding CCW.  Some states allow CCW after taking classes and/or obtaining a permit.

  1. Visit the NRA Carry Guard website to learn where you can concealed carry.  Click here.
  2. See Wikipedia for basic information.  Click here.

Please note, it is your responsibility as a gun owner to know and follow your state and local gun laws.  We encourage you to start by visiting the NRA State Gun Laws web page and to then searching your state's website.

  1. NRA "State Gun Laws" web page.  Click here.
  2. Visit and search your state website.
  3. Visit and search your county and local city website.
  4. Consult an attorney.

Please note, while you can ask questions of your local firearms store, firearms trainer, and even a law-enforcement officers, it is still your responsibility to be aware of the actual laws in your state and community.

There is no "best" firearm for home defense. Some homeowners prefer pistols, others rifles, others shotguns.  The right firearm depends on your needs and what you are most comfortable with.  The specifics of the firearm itself such as caliber, ammo type used, and magazine size may also vary based on the laws within your state. 

We suggest you first start by visiting a local firearms retailer in your area.  They will ask you questions that will help you to select a firearm that best suits your specific needs.  Be sure to consider the size of the firearm, the weight, and how much work will be needed to properly clean and care for the firearm.  Also, if you are interested in a pistol, be sure to ask about the differences between a revolver and a semi-automatic.

You may also be able to rent a firearm at a local firing range.  Renting a firearm may be a great way to try out a firearm before making your purchase.

Please tell the proprietor of the firing range about your level of training, or lack thereof, with firearms.  You want to be very clear on their rules and how they wish for you to handle the firearm while you are at their facility.

A straw purchase is when someone acquires a firearm for someone other than themselves (even if that person is allowed to have a gun) and it is not a legitimate gift.  In general, people who are to receive a firearm need to be the ones who fill out the paperwork, pass the background check, etc.  While there are a few exceptions to this, this is another area where law abiding people can unknowingly step into a minefield, so it is important to talk to your local dealer about the circumstances of your purchase to make sure you are in fact the actual purchaser.   

There are typically two types of sellers at gun shows, FFL dealers and private non-FFL sellers.  While federal law generally allows you to buy a gun from either of them, state laws can vary widely.  For example, some states do not allow private sales of firearms without taking them to a dealer for paperwork and a background check.  Other states have waiting periods and other restrictions.  Furthermore, private sellers should generally not be selling new guns, so your options in that regard are fairly limited.  You must always know your state and local laws to make sure you are properly purchasing any gun you may want to buy. 

Finally, we recommend first-time gun buyers purchase from a local firearm retailer rather than purchase during a gun show.  Purchasing locally eliminates the pressure of purchasing before the show's end and gives the first-time buyer someone to speak to face-to-face if there are questions and concerns after the sale is complete.

The needed documentation and required forms vary widely by state and local law, and even by a dealer’s in-store policies and practices.  At a minimum, to buy a gun from a dealer, you will need to provide a valid, government issued, photo ID with your full name, current residence address and DOB.  You will also need to fill out a federal BATF Form 4473.  Depending on your location, there may be no other requirements or, there may be a whole host of other requirements, forms, fees, etc.  If you have any questions, be sure to call your dealer before you go so you can make sure you bring what you need with you the first time.

Under federal law, you need to be 18 to purchase a rifle or shotgun and 21 to purchase a pistol or revolver.  Some states have increased the minimum purchase age to 21 for all firearms, so always be sure to check your local laws before you head to your local firearms dealer.

NO.  

AR means ArmaLite.

ArmaLite is the name of the company that came up with the design for the AR firearm in the mid 1900s.

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Though many people use the terms interchangeably, clips and magazines are not the same thing.

Magazines feed ammo into the chamber of a gun.

Clips make it easier to load ammo into a magazine by holding it in the correct place.

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Extractors hook onto fired shell casings and remove them from a gun's chamber.

Ejectors eject spent shells.

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AR-15 style rifles are semi-automatic, lightweight firearms. 

Modern sporting rifle is a term used to describe the semi-auto rifles that are popular today.

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An automatic rifle is also known as a machinegun.  

Semi-automatic rifles are available for civilians and are not capable of continuous firing. 

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