USA – -(Ammoland.com)- Welcome back to The Legal Brief, the show where we CRUSH the various legal myths and misinformation surrounding various areas of the gun world.
I’m your host Adam Kraut and today we are talking about a topic there seems to be some confusion about, that being whether non US citizens can purchase or possess firearms and ammunition.
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Now, I’m going to guess that the majority of you watching are US citizens so this doesn’t pertain to you directly, but there are many people who live in our country who are not citizens. Is it legal for them to purchase or possess firearms and ammunition? And because I know you’re going to ask, this is in relation to those who are here legally since federal law says that it is unlawful for a person who is an alien that is not here legally to possess firearms and ammunition.
There are a few ways an individual who is not a US citizen may find themselves in the United States legally. In order to come to the United States legally, a person typically has to be granted a visa, and I say typically because there is a visa waiver program. And I’m not talking about the credit card here. There are two different types of visas. There are immigrant visas, which are issued to individuals who are traveling to the United States to live here permanently and non-immigrant visas, which are issued to individuals traveling to the United States on a temporary basis for things such as school, tourism, business, etc.
I mention the visa waiver program because ATF states that a nonimmigrant alien admitted to the United States on that program may lawfully acquire or possess firearms and ammunition. You can find that information in the ATF FAQs in the description and ATF Ruling 2010-6 which discusses residency requirements which are necessary to acquire a firearm.
The law states that it is unlawful for an alien who has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa to possess firearms and ammunition, with a few exceptions.
Those exceptions include:
- Being admitted to the United States for lawful hunting or sporting purposes or is in possession of a hunting license or permit lawfully issued in the United States; This is the most common exception that I’ve seen.
- an official representative of a foreign government who is either accredited to the US or the Government’s mission to an international organization having its headquarters in the US or is en route to or from another country to which they are accredited
- an official of a foreign government or a distinguished foreign visitor who has been so designated by the Department of State or
- a foreign law enforcement officer of a friendly foreign government entering the United States on official law enforcement business.
Also, you can get a waiver by petitioning the Attorney General. It is a somewhat complex process, involving the embassy or consulate of that country, but it can be done.
If a nonimmigrant alien does not fit into any of those exceptions, was not admitted to the United States under a visa waiver program, or has not been issued a waiver specific to them, then they are prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition.
As for those who hold “green cards”, or are permanent residents, they are not subject to these prohibitions or constraints. They may even legally purchase and possess NFA firearms.
As you’ve probably learned it is possible for non US citizens to purchase and possess firearms. If you guys learned something new or found it informative, hit that like button. Know someone who would benefit from this video? Make sure you share it with them. And if you aren’t subscribed already, you better make that happen and be sure to ring that bell so you don’t miss an episode. Also, check out my website adamkraut.com.
And as always thanks for watching!
Links for this episode:
- 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) : https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/922
- 27 C.F.R. § 478.32 – Prohibited shipment, transportation, possession, or receipt of firearms and ammunition by certain persons : https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/27/478.32
- ATF Identify Prohibited Persons : https://www.atf.gov/firearms/identify-prohibited-persons
- ATF Nonimmigrant Aliens FAQ : https://www.atf.gov/qa-category/nonimmigrant-aliens
- DOJ Opinion Relating to Nonimmigrant Aliens : https://www.justice.gov/file/18336/download
- ATF Final Rule Relating to Nonimmigrant Aliens : https://www.atf.gov/file/83861/download
- ATF Ruling 2010-6 : https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/ruling/2010-6-state-residence/download
- Petition the Attorney General for Waiver – 18 U.S.C. 922(y)(3) : https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/922
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