Getting a gun license

Written by nicole coe
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Getting a gun license
Make sure you follow local laws before obtaining a gun license. (a gun image by timur1970 from

People keep guns for many reasons such as hunting, self defence or target practice. In most cases, the process of obtaining a gun license is pretty straightforward. Gun licenses are issued by local governments, and the laws and requirement for buying, carrying and keeping guns vary depending on where you live. In many states, no gun license will be required to purchase a gun, but a license is required to carry the gun.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 4 passport-sized photographs
  • Clean, non-criminal record
  • License fee

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  1. 1

    Enrol in a firearms safety course. You can find a safety course located near you by conducting a search at the NRA Instructors website. (See Resource section.) Gun safety courses teach gun owners how to handle and use their guns properly to avoid fatal accidents. In most states, successfully completing a safety course will be required before you can obtain a gun license.

  2. 2

    Get a gun license request form from your local police station. You can also download the license request form from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). (See Resources section.)

  3. 3

    Fill out the license request form and include your full name, address, height, date and place of birth, nationality, occupation, the name and address of your employer, your addresses in the last five years and any conviction details. The form is designed to collect all the necessary information authorities need to carry out required background checks.

  4. 4

    Get fingerprinted at the local police department or the Sheriff's office. This can be carried out in law enforcement agencies as well.

  5. 5

    Submit the gun license request application along with the license fee, four passport-sized photographs, a proof of your successful completion of the firearms safety course and your fingerprints to the local police station.

  6. 6

    Wait until your request application gets approved. You will usually get the license within six to eight weeks of your application submission. After approval, your license will be mailed out to you. You can purchase a gun after receiving the license.

Tips and warnings

  • Get help from the local gun shop about the requirements for obtaining a gun license. They can assist you in the paperwork.
  • Renewal of your gun license is required periodically, and the time between renewals varies by state.
  • If you are found to be involved in a crime, your gun license will be revoked.

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