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Almost 40 million guns were legally sold in the US in 2020. Gun sales have been rising steadily for the last 20 years, but we have seen huge spikes in demand for firearms.
The most common reason that people purchase firearms is for self-defense. A smaller, yet sizeable population purchases guns for sport and recreation, including hunting.
With high levels of guns sales across the country, a large portion of them is made by first-time buyers. Unfortunately, however, buying a firearm can be a bit tricky. There are many common mistakes with buying guns, but luckily, these mistakes are easy to avoid.
Keep reading below to see what goes into the process of buying a firearm, and how to do it the right way.
1. Not Knowing Local Gun Laws
First and foremost, you need to understand local gun laws in your state. In general, any adult with a clean criminal record can legally purchase a gun in the US. However, individual states have various restrictions and requirements to be aware of.
For the most part, you need to be at least 18 to buy a long gun, and 21 to buy a handgun. In most states, you cannot carry a handgun on you unless you get your concealed carry license.
When transporting firearms in the car, they almost always need to be concealed in a soft or hard case, and store away from the driver, usually in the trunk, where they are out of reach.
The guns must be unloaded, and ammo stored in a separate case. That is unless you live in Texas, where you can carry your guns nearly anywhere.
2. Not Knowing How to Use and Store a Gun Safely
Once you know the local laws regarding gun ownership, you need to know how to use a gun, and how to store it.
The best way to learn firearm safety and basics is to take a local course. Shooting ranges usually offer introductory firearms courses, where you can learn in a hands-on environment. Learn the basics of your local laws, as well as how to load, unload, and fire your guns.
You also need to know how to safely store guns. You should always keep them in a locked safe or gun cabinet in your home. You should also keep a trigger lock on them, especially if you have children in the home.
In the event you suffer from a break-in, you want to ensure thieves cannot access your firearms.
3. Rushing the Process
Buying a firearm is not an immediate process. Although it’s easy enough for most people to do, there is some paperwork involved with going to the store.
Once you choose a gun and begin the purchasing process, you’ll need to fill out some paperwork. Each gun that is purchased needs to be registered. A background check also needs to be completed on the spot, which can sometimes take 20 minutes or more.
If you’re the only person in the store, buying a gun can take as little as 20 or 30 minutes, or much longer if there are other customers also making a purchase.
4. Only Shopping Locally
Shopping at your local firearm store or sporting goods store is convenient, as you get to hold the gun you are considering purchasing. You get to feel it and look at it, as well as ask questions about it.
But local inventories are limited, especially in bigger cities where more people are buying.
Luckily, you aren’t restricted to your local firearm dealers. You can shop online, with nearly any firearms retailer across the country.
And no, when buying guns online, they won’t ship to your home. Rather, they will ship to a local FFL agent near you. These are licensed entities, usually gun stores or shooting ranges, that have the licenses required to process firearm transactions and perform background checks.
Most will charge a little fee for this service, but it allows you to shop from a national inventory, rather than a local one.
5. Not Getting a Scope
There are many different types of guns out there, and almost all of them will require the right accessories and parts. Accessories for guns are crucial for getting the best performance out of a firearm.
If buying a rifle, whether a long-distance hunting rifle or an AR15, you’ll want a scope so you can actually hit your targets. The best AR 15 scope will also be an investment, but it will be well worth the cost.
AR15s have a number of other accessories that can help, especially since these guns are easily customizable.
6. Not Knowing What Gun You Want
Only you can decide what gun is right for you. You shouldn’t leave this decision up to the store clerk. Although they are knowledgeable about the products they offer, they aren’t the ones that are going to depend on the gun you are buying.
It pays to do your research, to ensure you get the right gun the first time. You won’t be able to return it later on.
Once you narrow down your list of choices, you can talk to those who work at a gun store or shooting range to see what they prefer and why. But ultimately, you should be doing your own research, so you can be confident in the gun you choose.
7. Buying a Brand New Gun
Many new gun owners think they need to buy a brand new gun in order to get reliable performance. But that’s not true.
Guns are designed to last for decades. With simple moving parts, there’s not a lot that can go wrong with the mechanics of a gun.
If your budget is limited, you’ll be stuck purchasing low-quality guns when you are comparing gun prices. But with that same budget, you can purchase a much higher quality gun if you’re willing to buy a used firearm.
Avoiding Common Mistakes With Buying Guns
Buying your first gun can be a fun process. But so many people make these mistakes with buying guns and end up wasting time and money.
These are serious purchases and are often used to procure food or to defend yourself. Make sure to take your time when buying a gun, to ensure you avoid all of these mistakes.
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