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Current gun laws

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

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Monday, April 22, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

I have not seen much in the media regarding the current laws on firearms purchases.

Federal law requires a background check for any gun purchased through a licensed federal firearms dealer. The buyer must be at least age 18 to purchase a rifle or shotgun; 21 for a handgun.

Anyone with a felony conviction cannot even touch a firearm or round of ammunition, let alone buy or possess any firearm without committing a felony.

Purchasing through the web or in another state requires the gun to be shipped to a local licensed federal firearms dealer. Then that dealer runs a background check before the buyer can take possession of the weapon.

Buy and selling firearms as a business without a federal firearms license is a crime. Private transactions from and to personal collections are legal as long as the sales are not a subterfuge for conducting business. In other words, there is no such thing as a legal “unlicensed gun dealer.”

In Pennsylvania, a resident may buy or sell a shotgun or rifle without any background check. Any transfer of a handgun, however, must be through a federal firearms dealer. The seller and buyer go to the dealer and the buyer must pass the background check and the seller must provide proof of identity.

It seems to me that additional laws are not going to change much, but enforcing existing laws would do a great deal to reduce “gun violence.”

Michael A. McGinnis

Allegheny Township

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