Various federal laws regulate handgun ownership and usage. These include the following.
Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: As ratified by the states in 1791, the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution 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.”
U.S. Code of Federal Regulations: Federal laws regarding handguns and other firearms are included in several parts of the U.S. Federal Code. For example, Title 27, Chapter II, Subchapter B discusses several topics related to firearms and ammunition, including the registration, identification, and transfer of ownership of firearms, as well as the importation of arms and the transfer of machine guns.
Gun Control Act of 1968, Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, and Violence Against Women Act: These acts are found in Title 18, Part I, Chapter 44 of the U.S. Code and include provisions that:
- Control the out-of-state and mail-order sales of firearms.
- Prohibit those categories of individuals listed in the laws from owning a firearm.
- Require individuals to purchase handguns only in their state of residence.
Firearm Owners’ Protection Act of 1986: This act modified the Gun Control Act of 1968, including revisions that:
- Clarify which categories of individuals are prohibited from owning a firearm.
- Loosen restrictions on the interstate transfer, sale, and shipping of firearms and ammunition.
- Create what we know today as the federal “Safe Passage” provision for persons traveling from one place to another.