The way our laws are written, guns are easy to get in this land of the free.
Buying from a gun store? Background checks and waiting periods might slow you down – but only a little.
Buying from a private seller? In all but a handful of states, there’s really no hoops to jump through at all.
In fact, it’s easier to get a gun than …
A driver’s license
License: Submit proof of your identity. Pass vision and written tests. Drive around a couple of weeks on your learner’s permit. Then pass the driving test. Depending on the state, it takes completing all that to get your first ever driver’s license. Also, some states, like Maryland, put you under a probationary status for a few months when you get your driver’s license.
Gun: You don’t need a knowledge or proficiency test. You usually don’t need a license or permit to buy a gun, unless you live in one of 13 states (and D.C.) that force you to get one. And there’s no probationary period after you get a gun.
Passport: You have to prove you’re a citizen, submit paperwork and a photo and usually wait about six weeks to get your hands on your first U.S. passport.
Gun: A gun store runs your name through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System; you put your money on the counter and the gun is yours. Takes just a few minutes. If you’re buying from a private seller, you don’t even have to go through a background check in most states.
Medicine: There’s a limit on how much of some cold medicine you can buy every month. That’s because the active ingredient in those cold medicines is pseudoephedrine. It’s also a key ingredient in making meth. So, the feds want to make sure the medicine isn’t used for something else.
Gun: There’s no federal law that limits how many you buy.
Divorce: In some states, waiting for your divorce to be final will have you cooling your heels for up to six months.
Gun: Whether you buy online or in person, there are no waiting periods for gun purchases – unless you live in the nine states (and D.C.) that require it. But even then, it’ll keep you from your gun for no more than a handful of days.
Pet: In most cases, you must be 21, show ID and you may be asked to provide personal references. In some cases, the adoption agency may do a home check before handing over the pet.
Gun: No personal references. No home visits.