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What You Need To Know About Gun Laws to Stay Out Of Prison


When it comes to first-time and novice firearms owners a lot seem to fall into two equal but opposite extremes:

First, there’s the guy who’s just absolutely on another level of paranoia about breaking the law. He’s afraid to do things that he’s legally allowed to do because he’s convinced that the ATF is going to show up on his doorstep. Now while it’s true that in years past the ATF spent a lot of time harassing law-abiding gun owners – and to a certain extent, still does – this is not nearly the problem it was in, for example, the 1970s and early 1980s. 

On the other hand, there’s the YOLO guy who doesn’t pay any attention to the law and thinks that everything he’s going to do with a gun is somehow protected under the Second Amendment. This guy doesn’t bother knowing anything about his state laws and what they specifically define as brandishing or appropriate lethal force with a firearm. 

You really should avoid being both of these guys. The first guy is way too stressed and doesn’t allow himself to just enjoy owning a firearm, shooting with his buddies, and the feeling of security that comes with knowing you can defend yourself and your family. The other guy is basically just asking for the cops to raid his house… which might be a blessing in disguise as there’s a good chance that if he ever gets in a bona fide self-defense situation, he’ll probably do everything completely wrong. 

There’s nothing “scary” about owning a gun. And while we believe that there are lots of people out there who want to deprive you of your Second Amendment rights, staying on the right side of the law is actually not that difficult to do. 

The Second Amendment: The Cornerstone of America

The base of the pyramid of gun law in the United States is the Second Amendment. This is the one that guarantees the rest, by providing for a massive wall against gun grabbers who want to take your right to keep and bear arms away from you.

The Second Amendment is often mischaracterized by both supporters and detractors alike. Like all of the other Amendments in the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment does not “grant” any rights. Rather, it recognizes a pre-existing natural right and provides a bulwark against state encroachment upon that right. 

A Brief History of Federal Gun Laws

The federal government has three main laws regarding gun ownership that you need to know about:

  • The National Firearms Act of 1934: Die-hard Second Amendment proponents think this is where it all went wrong. This is the one that heavily restricted or banned the ownership of machine guns and short-barreled shotguns. More than anything else, it established a heavy federal presence in American gun laws. 
  • The Gun Control Act of 1968: Passed under President Lyndon Johnson, the GCA restricted who could own a firearm, established the FFL system, and mandated serial numbers for all weapons made in or imported to the United States of America. 
  • The Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986: This is the one passed under President Ronald Reagan that, for all intents and purposes, ended mass ownership of fully automatic firearms in the United States. You can still own fully automatic weapons, there are just way more hoops to jump through. 

That’s what the feds have to say, but what about the state where you live?

What You Need To Know About State Gun Laws


America has 50 states and with it, another 50 sets of gun laws. The main areas where you need to be aware of the law in your state are:

  • Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine: These are the laws regarding whether or not there is any duty to retreat when you are being attacked, either any place you are legally allowed to be (stand your ground laws) or in your own home, car or business (castle doctrine). Almost everywhere in America has the castle doctrine, while the states are split fairly evenly on stand-your-ground. 
  • Open Carry: Open carry is when you carry a firearm out in the open. Now you might think that “out in the open” means “in plain view” and boy are you about to learn a lesson about legalese. What “open carry” means can vary widely from one state to the next, even if both states are, at least in theory, “open carry” states.
  • Concealed Carry: Some states are “may issue” meaning they might give you permission to carry a concealed firearm, others are “shall issue” meaning that, barring a compelling reason they have to issue a permit, while 13 states are “permitless carry” or “Constitutional carry” meaning that no permit is required. 
  • Lethal Self-Defense: Different states have different laws about the when and how of using a firearm for self-defense. 

You need to do your research and at least understand the basics of these laws. It’s the best way to protect yourself in the event that you have to protect your family using your weapon. As a new gun owner, awareness of American and state gun laws is an essential part of embracing responsible firearm ownership. 

Are there any gun laws that confuse you? Do you have legal concerns about concealed carry? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Protect Your Second Amendment Rights: Oppose SB 1160 and SB 1253 in California


On Tuesday, April 2nd at 8:30am, the California Senate Public Safety Committee is slated to review two concerning bills that threaten the rights of firearm owners across the Golden State. As staunch advocates for the Second Amendment, it’s imperative for NRA Members and supporters of gun rights to take action. Senate Bill 1160 and Senate Bill 1253 pose significant threats, and it’s crucial to voice opposition to these proposed measures.

Senate Bill 1160: Annual Firearm Registration Requirement


Senate Bill 1160 represents a direct assault on the rights of law-abiding gun owners in California. This bill seeks to mandate an annual re-registration process for all firearms with the Department of Justice. If enacted, firearm owners would be compelled to navigate bureaucratic hurdles each year and pay undisclosed fees to maintain their registration status.

This onerous requirement not only burdens responsible gun owners with unnecessary red tape but also sets a dangerous precedent for government overreach into the fundamental rights protected by the Second Amendment. Under SB 1160, failure to comply with the annual registration mandate could result in severe penalties, including fines of up to $1000 and the potential confiscation of unregistered firearms.

Upholding Second Amendment Freedoms: Take Action Against SB 1160

It’s imperative for Second Amendment supporters to stand united against Senate Bill 1160. This legislation threatens the core principles of individual liberty and firearm ownership rights. We urge all concerned citizens to contact members of the Senate Public Safety Committee and vehemently oppose SB 1160.

Senate Bill 1253: Restricting Firearm Possession without Firearm Safety Card

Another concerning proposal slated for review is Senate Bill 1253, which seeks to further restrict firearm ownership rights in California. Under existing law, individuals are required to obtain a Firearm Safety Card to purchase or receive a firearm. However, SB 1253 aims to extend this requirement to possession, effectively prohibiting law-abiding citizens from possessing firearms without a valid Firearm Safety Card.

This additional hurdle not only imposes unnecessary burdens on responsible gun owners but also fails to address the root causes of crime and violence. Criminals, by definition, do not adhere to firearm laws, rendering such measures ineffective at curbing illicit gun activities. Instead, SB 1253 unfairly penalizes law-abiding citizens and undermines their ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

Defending Second Amendment Liberties: Oppose SB 1253

Senate Bill 1253 represents yet another attempt to erode the Second Amendment freedoms of Californians. By imposing stringent requirements for firearm possession, this bill unfairly targets responsible gun owners while doing little to enhance public safety. It’s essential for proponents of gun rights to take a stand against SB 1253 and advocate for the preservation of constitutional liberties.

Take Action: Protect Second Amendment Rights in California


As the Senate Public Safety Committee prepares to review SB 1160 and SB 1253, it’s paramount for NRA Members and supporters of the Second Amendment to make their voices heard. Use the Take Action button below to contact committee members and urge them to oppose these egregious bills. Together, we can defend our cherished freedoms and safeguard the right to keep and bear arms in California.

Do you live in California? What do you do to oppose greater encroachment on your right to keep and bear arms? Leave your thoughts in the comments

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Mack W. Gwinn Jr.: A Tribute to a Firearms Pioneer


Mack W. Gwinn Jr., a visionary in the firearms industry, passed away on March 11, 2024, leaving behind a legacy of innovation and dedication to his craft. Born in Florida, Gwinn’s journey into the world of firearms began with his service in the U.S. Army Special Forces, where he earned several Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star during seven deployments to Vietnam.

From Military Service to Firearms Innovation

Following his military service, Gwinn transitioned into the firearms industry, where he made significant contributions. One of his notable achievements was acquiring the rights to the Colt IMP-221, a stockless, gas-operated bullpup pistol initially developed for aircrew survival in the U.S. Air Force. Redesigning the concept to accept the 5.56 NATO caliber and standard AR magazines, Gwinn founded Gwinn Arms and introduced the Bushmaster Arm Pistol in the early 1970s.

Pioneering Personal Defense Weapons

The Bushmaster Arm Pistol, an innovative pistol-sized firearm utilizing an intermediate round, predated the concept of personal defense weapons (PDWs) by a generation. Although not a commercial blockbuster, the Arm Pistol laid the foundation for Bushmaster Firearms and left an indelible mark on the industry.

Legacy of Innovation

Beyond the Bushmaster Arm Pistol, Gwinn’s influence extended to various other firearms projects and inventions. He held patents for extended capacity magazines and developed concepts for firearms applications ranging from target pistols to recoil reduction systems. His ingenuity and curiosity led him to explore diverse projects, including vehicle design and accessory development.

Remembering a Trailblazer

Mack W. Gwinn Jr.’s passing marks the end of an era in the firearms community. His contributions to the industry will be remembered for years to come, serving as inspiration for future generations of innovators. In honoring his memory, donations can be made to the Maine Veterans Project, and condolences may be expressed to his family at BrookingsSmith.

Mack W. Gwinn Jr. leaves behind a legacy of excellence, marked by his unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of firearms design and technology. His impact on the industry will continue to resonate, ensuring his place among the pantheon of firearms pioneers.

Do you know Mack W. Gwinn Jr? How about his famous firearms? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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ATF Cherry-Picks Bipartisan Law, Ignoring Pro-Gun Measures

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has come under fire for its selective implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), with critics alleging a bias towards advancing gun control measures while neglecting provisions beneficial to firearm retailers. National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) Senior Vice President and General Counsel Larry Keane voiced frustration, accusing the Biden-Harris administration of cherry-picking aspects of the law to appease gun control advocates.

Discrepancies in Implementation

Keane highlighted the ATF’s swift implementation of sections of the BSCA aligned with its gun control agenda while overlooking measures aimed at enhancing mental health resources, school security, and penalties for illegal straw purchases. Notably, two unimplemented provisions—permitting Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to screen employees through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and conducting screenings of used firearms to prevent trafficking—have raised concerns among pro-gun advocates.

Selective Enforcement and Unintended Consequences

The ATF’s focus on restricting private sales and pushing for universal background checks has raised eyebrows within the firearm community. Keane criticized the ATF’s stance, characterizing it as a veiled attempt to circumvent Second Amendment rights and promote gun control measures such as “red flag” laws and restrictions on firearm advertising. Moreover, the ATF’s interpretation of straw purchases has led to confusion and additional fees for firearm transfers, exacerbating the burden on law-abiding citizens.

Questionable Priorities and Industry Complicity

The NSSF’s partnership with the ATF, particularly its “Don’t Lie for the Other Guy” campaign, has drawn scrutiny, with critics questioning the organization’s commitment to safeguarding gun rights. Keane’s remarks underscore a growing disillusionment with industry associations perceived to prioritize profits over principles. The NRA’s diminished influence has shifted attention to groups like the NSSF, prompting concerns about their alignment with government policies that undermine gun owners’ rights.

The Fundamental Issue: Freedom vs. Regulation

At its core, the debate surrounding the ATF’s enforcement of the BSCA reflects deeper ideological divisions regarding individual liberties and government intervention. Keane’s critique highlights the tension between regulatory measures aimed at curbing gun violence and preserving constitutional rights. While proponents argue for stricter enforcement of existing laws, skeptics caution against sacrificing freedoms for perceived security.

The ATF’s handling of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act has reignited debates over gun control, industry influence, and the balance between public safety and individual rights. As the Biden-Harris administration navigates complex policy terrain, stakeholders must remain vigilant in advocating for policies that uphold constitutional principles while addressing legitimate concerns regarding firearm safety and access. The ongoing discourse underscores the enduring significance of the Second Amendment in shaping America’s social and political landscape.

What do you think of this latest attempt by the ATF to criminalize otherwise law-abiding gun owners? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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