In the United States, there are about 393 million guns in circulation. And that number has grown since the COIVD-19 pandemic began. Between January 2020 and April 2021, 5 million Americans became first-time gun owners.
But before you join that wave of new gun owners, there are some important points that you need to consider. Between the expense, the investment of time to get trained, and staying on the right side of the law, here are some key factors that you need to weigh before buying a gun.
Your Requirements for a New Firearm
The first thing you need to figure out is what type of gun you’re looking to purchase since that will inform the rest of this process. And what gun you should buy depends on what you plan to use it for.
Sure, some enthusiasts will buy a firearm for no other reason than that they took a shine to a particular model. But for the practical gun user, and especially one on a budget, it makes much more sense to purchase a firearm to fulfill a particular role.
Do you want to take up long-range target shooting? A marksman rifle is the right choice for you.
Did you just get your hunting license? Depending on your quarry, you could be looking at anything from a deer rifle or a shotgun to a .22 for small game.
Looking for a gun for personal defense? That could mean either a shotgun with defensive loads for home defense or a subcompact handgun for concealed carry on the go.
Guns are tools like any other, and you want to make sure you always pack the right tool for the job. But unlike most tools, you need to make sure whatever new firearm you buy complies with all applicable laws and statutes.
How Local Laws Apply to You
There is a good deal of misconception about how gun sales work in this country. While it’s true that the Second Amendment provides the legal basis for “the right to keep and bear arms”, that hardly means that anyone has the right to buy any gun they like at any time.
In some states, you can buy a handgun after passing a simple background check, but rifles and shotguns require a special license. In other states, it’s the exact opposite with long guns being permitted but handguns all but banned.
And on the note of background checks, individuals convicted of felonies or violent crimes, or who’ve been involuntarily committed to psychiatric treatment, are almost always barred from owning firearms. There are usually steps that you can take to have that right restored, but the process varies from state to state and it falls to you to make the formal petition.
And that only covers the legality of buying a firearm. The laws concerning carrying a gun on your person are equally diverse.
Some states allow for the open carry of firearms with no license required. Others only allow for concealed carry and may deny licenses without explanation.
And the penalties for firearms offenses, even accidental transgressions, can be severe. So do your homework before buying and carrying a gun.
Your Budget for Buying a Gun
At the end of the day, you could buy a usable handgun for under $200. But, as is so often true in life, this is a case where you get what you pay for. And if you’re staking your life on a gun, it’s important to know that it won’t let you down.
That’s why, before you purchase a gun, you need to research not only what type of firearm you need for your purposes, but the various brands and models on the market.
And you don’t always need to break the bank to buy a gun of fair quality. Brands like Mossberg and Rock Island Armory may not be household names like Remington or Colt. But they nevertheless offer guns of comparable reliability at competitive price points.
Barring that, you can often get lucky looking for deals on name-brand firearms. Especially from independent gun stores that need to move older stock to make room for newer models.
Many of these stores also ship, so even if you live in Florida you could take advantage of the deals a store in Missouri is offering. It’s a great way to get guns from recognized manufacturers at bargain prices. For an example of one such dealer, check out secure.arnzenarms.com.
Once you buy you’re gone, your work isn’t nearly done. To be a responsible gun owner, you need formal training to learn how to carry a gun safely and operate it effectively.
Expect to spend a lot of time and money at the local range. Not only is that where you’ll familiarize yourself with a gun and hone your skills, but nearly all ranges offer training courses for novices and advanced shooters alike. If you’ve never fired a gun before, investing in a basic training course should be essential.
Practicing Safety at Home and in Public
Even when you have no direct contact with your gun, firearm safety needs to be a priority. This means safe storage. Keeping guns locked up can not only prevent a tragic accident but reduce the risk of theft as well.
As for concealed carry, basic measures like using a proper holster, keeping the safety on at all times, and observing standard safety practices can help keep you and those around you safe.
Be Sure of Your Decision Before You Purchase a Firearm
Buying a gun is a major decision. Not only are guns expensive and therefore you want to make the best choice you can, but they can have serious legal and safety ramifications.
But just because it’s a major decision doesn’t mean you should be dissuaded. Most things worth doing need plenty of thought beforehand, after all.
And when it comes to guns, this is only scratching the surface. For all the information you need to be a responsible gun owner, be sure to follow our latest firearm guides and tips.