10 Essential Things to Know Before Exercising Your Right to Keep and Bear Arms 1

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

Recent studies have shown that there are more guns than people in the United States. Many Americans are exercising their right to bear arms and this seems to be increasing every year.

However, that doesn’t mean gun ownership should be taken lightly. If you’re a first time gun buyer, it’s important that you do your homework before you make a purchase. This will help secure your own knowledge and safety, as well as that of others around you.

Read on for our top 10 essential things to know for first-time gun buyers.

  1. Make Sure You Know Gun Safety

Guns are dangerous weapons. That means properly storing them, securing them, and keeping them away from anyone who might harm themselves (especially children).

This goes beyond purchasing secure gun safes and trigger locks. Gun safety is all about education to prevent them from improper use. Talk to your whole family about gun safety as soon as possible.

If you’re a first-time gun buyer, you should also consider taking firearms safety courses as well as ownership training classes. These can help you learn to use your gun the right way.

  1. Not Everyone Is Legally Allowed to Buy Guns

Although the right to bear arms is in the Constitution, the federal government still places restrictions on who can legally purchase guns. This preserves the safety of the general public by keeping guns away from dangerous individuals.

Individuals falling under any of these categories cannot legally purchase a gun in the United States:

  • Convicted Felons
  • Individuals who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health institution
  • Fugitives of the law
  • Those recognized to be a danger to society
  • Those with restraining orders filed against them (this protects the person who filed the order of protection)
  • Those who are not legal citizens or have renounced their citizenship
  1. You Need a Permit in Order to Carry

Before you can purchase a gun, you will need the proper Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) issued by your state.

While you may be able to legally purchase a gun, you will still need a proper permit in order to have it with you. If you’re a first-time gun buyer, be sure to take care of all your permits first in order to avoid issues down the road.

Concealed carry is federally legal, provided you have a permit. However, some states have varying laws regarding open carrying.

These states prohibit open carrying:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • New York
  • South Carolina

However, you can carry in these states if you have a permit:

  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  1. Gun Laws Vary by State

While there are some general regulations for gun ownership on the federal level, individual laws vary by state. There are a few federal laws in place that deal with guns, but many states choose to have their own individual gun laws for first-time gun buyers, as well as gun ownership in general.

  1. Know Your Reasons for Having a Gun

If you’re a first-time gun buyer, it’s especially important to know all your reasons for wanting to own a gun. For example, are you more interested in self-defense? Or are you a collector that wants to start a new hobby?

If you’re buying a handgun to defend yourself, it’s important that you learn when it’s a reasonable time to use it. Practice your impulse control and be sure you’re prepared to act rationally if you’re ever faced with a possible reason to use it. One last thing to consider is whether a jury would find it reasonable in a court of law.

Here are some general steps of protection to consider:

  1. Practice deterrence. Know your neighborhood as well as your neighbors, and try to keep up a neighborhood watch.
  2. Make sure you are able to detect any unauthorized entrance into your home or property. Do this with security cameras, home security systems, or even guard dogs.
  3. Keep your home secured at all times. Do not leave windows open or doors unlocked. Be sure all entrances are always locked so intruders cannot get in.
  4. If you encounter an intruder, confront them with the gun. You may want to use a flashlight as well to stun them and impair their vision. If the intruder is hostile, shoot them at your own discretion.

As you can see, the fourth step is the most escalated situation and is the only one where the use of your gun may be required for self-defense. If you’re a first-time gun buyer looking for another level of defense, be sure you’re focusing on the previous steps above everything else. That way, you can be proactive instead of reactive.

  1. If You Do Shoot, Stay Silent

In the event that you decide to use your gun to defend yourself, exercise your constitutional right to stay silent during the whole ordeal. It can be tempting to explain yourself when the police arrive, but anything you say can (and will) be used against you in a court of law. It’s best to stay calm and silent in order to avoid incriminating yourself or blurring the police’s understanding of the scene.

  1. If You’re a First Time Gun Buyer, Know the Law

Although federal firearms license (FFL) and other reputable dealers are very knowledgable and able to assist you, it’s important that you research the laws on your own. That way, you’ll have a good grasp on it before you start shopping, which is going to be a big help for everyone involved.

If you decide to purchase modifications for your guns, there are individual laws for that as well. Be sure to have a thorough understanding of your state’s individual laws before you modify.

  1. Wear the Proper Protection

Almost all guns can produce noise at or above the 140 dB level, which can permanently damage your hearing. That’s why it’s necessary to protect your ears with earplugs when you’re out shooting, at the very least. If you want to enhance your protection, invest in a good pair of electronic shooting earmuffs for maximum comfort and protection.

In addition to ear protection, you should also be sure to keep your eyes protected as well. Shooting a gun can also lead to flying shards of metal and other hazards, so keeping on a good pair of safety glasses is crucial to your safety.

  1. Be Prepared to Invest

Guns aren’t cheap. Considering the damage they can do, they shouldn’t be. That’s why you’re not going to want to jump into gun ownership unless you have the proper cash to invest.

Start by doing some preliminary research online or at your favorite sporting goods store. Once you have a general idea of the price range for the type of gun you want, it will be a lot easier to designate a budget and start saving. Cheap guns can jam and malfunction, so you want to be sure you’re investing in a good model that’s going to last.

In addition to the cost of your gun, you must also factor in the cost of ammunition and targets for shooting. You will also need to think about the proper personal protective gear, as well as membership fees to nearby clubs if you want to practice on a shooting range. This hobby can be quite expensive to maintain, so it’s important that first-time gun buyers know what they’re getting into.

  1. Think About Building Your Own Gun

There are tons of amazing options for first-time buyers if you’re looking for a new gun, but did you know you can actually build your own?

If you’re interested in getting into the craftier side of gun ownership, you can choose your own parts and build your own unique gun. Aero Precision recommends choosing scope mounts and other parts with a superior lightweight design for the best quality, efficiency, and precision.

As we said before, make sure all builds stay compliant with your state’s gun laws. Here are a couple of guidelines to keep in mind for your build:

  • The total length of your shotgun or rifle has to be 26 inches or longer
  • Your barrel length cannot be fewer than 16 inches

Like building a computer or modding your own car, there’s a world of possibilities when it comes to building your own gun. As long as you stay well-informed of the laws, you can build your own tailored gun and get some enjoyment out of it, too.

Final Thoughts

Having a gun requires extensive education to ensure the safety of you, your family, and others around you. If you’re a first time gun buyer, it’s important to learn and prepare before making a purchase. That way, you’ll be prepared for a lifetime of safe, smart gun ownership.

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