Federal Gun Laws 2024 – All You Need to Know

Barry M. Wax

Each state seems to have its own specifications regarding gun mandates and what’s not allowed. Keep reading to learn federal gun laws that are in effect no matter where you live. If you’re facing a federal offense, be sure to consult with a federal crime attorney before making any legal decisions.

Federal Gun Regulations

Federal law states that any individual who meets one or more of the following criteria is legally prohibited from owning a firearm for personal or business use:

  • Those under the legal age. A person must be 18 years old or older to be in lawful possession of a handgun or handgun ammunition and 21 or older to purchase them. Federal law specifies no minimum age for the possession of a long gun or its ammunition, but a person must be at least 18 years old to purchase them.State laws often clarify a minimum age for long gun ownership and may impose an alternative minimum age for handgun possession. Some states may set the minimum age for handgun possession below 18. However, in these cases, minors can only handle guns under certain circumstances. Someone who is an undocumented immigrant/illegal alien or who has renounced their US citizenship.
  • Convicted felons, anyone who was charged with a felony crime, and fugitives evading arrest or prosecution.
  • Anyone who has an active court protective order or restraining order against them.
  • People convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor.
  • Users of illegal drugs or those who abuse controlled substances.
  • Individuals who are found mentally unfit due to an illness, disorder, or commitment to a mental institution.
  • A person who was involuntarily committed to a treatment facility by court order.
  • Former service members who were dishonorably discharged from the US armed forces.

Any person who satisfies one of these listed conditions is in violation of federal law and can be tried in federal court. As previously mentioned, each state has its additions to federal gun restriction laws.

In Florida, you may be charged with a state gun charge, and not a federal one, if you are under 24 years of age and were convicted of a crime as a juvenile (under 18) that would normally be a felony for adult offenders. Additionally, Florida law raises the minimum age to legally purchase or be sold a long gun to 21 years old, similar to the federal law regarding purchasing a handgun; state law also specifies the minimum age of long gun possession as 18 years old.

The Florida law also extends the federal law prohibiting convicts of domestic violence from gun ownership to include anyone who had adjudication withheld in a domestic violence charge. The state also prohibits the possession of a firearm by any person with charges pending for a crime that would disqualify them for gun ownership according to federal law (e.g., domestic violence, felonies).

Prohibited Weapons Under Law

The federal law outlines that a person who doesn’t submit to an in-depth background check, purchase a tax stamp for the manufacture of the specified weapon/device, and register it with the National Firearms Act (NFA) registry under the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is prohibited by law from buying or owning guns and/or devices restricted under the NFA.

These NFA firearms and devices include rifles and modified rifles with a barrel or barrels that are less than 16 inches in length, shotguns and modified shotguns with a barrel or barrels measuring less than 18 inches in length, and any weapon made from a rifle/shotgun that has an overall length measuring less than 26 inches. Other restricted weapons are machine guns, firearm mufflers or silencers, bombs, mines, and grenades.


Q: Are There Any Federal Gun Control Laws?

A: Yes, federal gun control laws restrict specified firearms and who is allowed to legally purchase and/or possess a firearm. There are also federal statutes specifying that licensed firearms dealers cannot sell or deliver handguns or ammunition to minors under 21 nor long guns or ammunition to minors under 18.

Unlicensed persons cannot sell, deliver, or transfer handguns or ammunition to someone under 18 unless supervising their use; unlicensed persons cannot sell or transfer long guns to a person of any age.

Q: Do Federal Gun Laws Override State Laws?

A: Yes, federal laws, including those regarding gun control, will supersede a state’s laws on the particular matter. The Constitution has a Supremacy Clause that prevents states from interfering with the federal government’s practicing of its constitutional powers.

Depending on if your firearms charge includes a federal gun charge, it may be tried and potentially convicted as a federal crime. In some circumstances of multiple charges resulting from a single crime, you can be charged with both state and federal offenses.

Q: What Is the Federal Prohibition on Firearms?

A: The federal prohibition on firearms is the law that prohibits certain individuals from purchasing or possessing a firearm, including convicted felons, those convicted of domestic violence, individuals with serious mental afflictions, illegal immigrants, former US citizens, former servicemen who were dishonorably discharged, users of illegal drugs/abusers of controlled substances, anyone with a restraining order against them, and minors.

Certain weapons, such as sawed-off shotguns and bombs, are also prohibited from purchase and/or ownership without proper registration.

Q: How Many Guns Can You Legally Own in the United States?

A: No federal laws stipulate how many guns you can own. However, federal law requires that federal firearm licensees report the sale of multiple handguns to the ATF and other relevant law enforcement agencies. The reason for this is to allow law enforcement to monitor and deter the unlawful intrastate commerce of pistols and revolvers to unlicensed buyers.

Need Help Understanding Your Gun Rights or Charges? Speak With a Defense Attorney

At the Law Offices of Barry M. Wax, our team of professionals has extensive knowledge of federal laws and has experience representing clients with complex cases. Reach out to schedule a consultation with a skilled federal crimes defense lawyer today.

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