Road to gun ownership

Staff WriterOctober 16, 2006 

State law puts local sheriffs in charge of issuing permits for handguns and pistols but not shotguns and rifles.

In Orange County, the Sheriff's Office requires three notarized affidavits that the person is of "good moral character," a background check and a questionnaire. A person must be 21 or older to get a permit to buy a handgun, and there is a waiting period.

Denials can be appealed in District Court.

Shotguns and rifles are handled differently.

A person 18 or older can go to a federally licensed firearms dealer, fill out a federal form that attests he or she is a legal U.S. resident, is not a felon, has no outstanding warrants, and has not been indicted on a felony.

The person also must attest on the form that he or she is not the subject of a domestic violence protective order, is not addicted to drugs or alcohol, has not been adjudicated "mentally defective" or been committed to a mental institution, and has not been dishonorably discharged from the military, among other criteria.

Then the dealer calls the FBI-run National Instant Background Check System, which checks several law enforcement databases to verify what's on the form.

A person is either accepted, denied or delayed. The dealer isn't given a reason.

There are legal ways to buy shotguns and rifles that do not require a background check, however. Guns given as gifts or bought from individuals and not federal dealers don't require a call into the federal database.

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