Non US Citizens & Firearms


July 7, 2009, 02:13 AM
Can a non US citizen either with a Work Visa or "Green Card" legally own/possess firearms in the USA? Thanks.


If you enjoyed reading about "Non US Citizens & Firearms" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
July 7, 2009, 02:45 AM
with a green card yes!
with a working visa i don't know.

July 7, 2009, 04:19 AM
Hmm, interesting question.

I wonder if you could take such a person (working visa) to the shooting range, and allow them to fire off a few shots.

July 7, 2009, 08:43 AM
Except in some very limited cases around hunting the "in general" answer is

Only permanent residents of the US are legally allowed to purchase or own, this basically means Green Card holders only.

All other visa types are not classified as permanent residents so are SOL.

Up until very recently the only state that applied a ban on firearm ownership for GCers was Washington State and this was an example of the law of unintended consequences.

The law was set up so a GC'er needed an alien ownership permit but the issuing department was prohibited by law from getting the background check info, so no permit could be issued....:banghead:

This has been fixed....:D

There are NO laws or restrictions on taking a tourist or other non resident to a range or other legal place of shooting and allowing them to use your or the ranges firearms.

The relevant requirement is ownership or legal control which is different from use.

The weapon is this scenario is not owned by or in the exclusive control of the alien.

If you gave/sold it to him/her as a gift or transaction it is illegal for them to keep it as they then have exclusive possesion and control of it.

FFL sales require a GC'er to show their GC AND provide proof of 90 days continual residence in the state of purchase, typically utility bill, credit card statement, rental agreement etc. In general you also have to show additional state/governmnet issued ID as well, such as a driving licence.

The state issued ID is not a legal requirement per se however the GC does not have your address on it and the NICS check can be prolonged otherwise.........:barf:

July 7, 2009, 09:10 AM
A non immigrant alien (someone on a visa who is not permanently planning on taking up residence in the U.S.) may buy a gun if they present the proper identification as well as a hunting license or a letter from the U.S. Attorney General granting a waiver.

This is instruction 20.d on the 4473.

Art Eatman
July 7, 2009, 11:15 AM
The BATFE Regs are still stickied at the top of this forum.

July 7, 2009, 11:47 AM
In case anyone's interested, I am one of those Permanent Residents talked about although I recently put in my paperwork to become a US Citizen!
I have owned guns here in GA for several years and have a fireams licence. The licence makes the process of buying a gun much easier; I just turn up, credit card in hand, fill in the paperwork, show my driver's and firearm's licences and immediately walk out with my purchase.
My local range doesn't ask for ID for us ol' timers so I guess there shouldn't be any issue about letting my visitors from Scotland fire on the range...

July 7, 2009, 11:53 AM
There is a difference between owning and possessing, right? Can a firearm be loaned to or temporarily borrowed by a visa holder?

Art... can you tell us how many of your 22,164+ posts are of that very line I see you paste into so many threads. I've seen you capitalize each letter in the word 'still' at times, but every time I see you post it, I've wondered about the number of instances you've done so. Just curious.

BP Hunter
July 7, 2009, 12:06 PM
Possessing a firearm is still illegal for a nonimmigrant alien. If you are a nonimmigrant alien and you a have gun at your house and that does not belong to you, that would fall under the definition of posession. A green card holder on the other had have the full benefits of a US citizen, minus the right to vote or hold public office.

Everallm's response is practiaclly the ATF summary concerning the ownership of firearms of non-US citizens. How do I know? I am a green card holder and I followed the law by the book.

July 7, 2009, 12:58 PM
Possessing a firearm is still illegal for a nonimmigrant alien.

This seems to be very much against what the 4473 says. There is an entire area dedicated to the circumstances by which a nonimmigrant alien can purchase a firearm from an FFL. Surely if they can purchase one, then as they walk out of the store they are in possession of it.

Here is the applicable law, emphasis added:

18 U.S.C. 922 (y)(2)

(y) Provisions Relating to Aliens Admitted Under Nonimmigrant Visas.—
(1) Definitions.— In this subsection—
(A) the term “alien” has the same meaning as in section 101(a)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 (a)(3)); and
(B) the term “nonimmigrant visa” has the same meaning as in section 101(a)(26) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 (a)(26)).
(2) Exceptions.— Subsections (d)(5)(B), (g)(5)(B), and (s)(3)(B)(v)(II) do not apply to any alien who has been lawfully admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa, if that alien is—
(A) 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;
(B) an official representative of a foreign government who is—
(i) accredited to the United States Government or the Government’s mission to an international organization having its headquarters in the United States; or
(ii) en route to or from another country to which that alien is accredited;

July 7, 2009, 02:02 PM

You should include all the info when pasting something in support, you missed out t

Significantly, even if a nonimmigrant alien falls within one of these exceptions, the nonimmigrant alien CANNOT purchase a firearm from a Federal firearms licensee (FFL) unless he or she (1) has an alien number or admission number from the Department of Homeland Security (formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service) AND (2) can provide the FFL with documentation showing that he or she has resided in a State within the United States for 90 consecutive days immediately prior to the firearms transaction.

[18 U.S.C. 922(g)(5)(b) and 922(y), 27 CFR 478.124, ATF Rul. 2004-1]

(R3) How do I obtain a waiver from the Attorney General?

You should contact ATF’s Firearms Programs Division for information on that procedure. However, in order to apply for the waiver you must have resided in the United States continuously for at least 180 days prior to submitting your application.

Due to these requirements it is extremely difficult in practice as

If you are just coming in for the purpose of hunting, your tourist visa can only last for a maximum of 90 days so no waiver possible from the AG as you can never establish 180+ days of continuous residence.

The residency requirements need documentary proof (pay stubs, CC statements, utility bills) as I posted above. Tourist cannot provide these.

If you are a long term, non immigrant resident such as a H1B or an L1A then you can apply for a hunting permit and then, dependent upon the laws of that state you may attempt to purchase a firearm.

If your trying in many off the states of the North East then even then you are out of luck.

For example

NJ, No Firearms ID Card no firearm, no Green Card, no FID.
IL, No FOID no firearm, no GC and alien number, no FOID

etc etc

July 7, 2009, 02:05 PM
A guy I know is from Mexico. He is here on some kind of work visa. He has been here for about 10 years, has kids who are US citizens, and has a business that employs dozens of people. He bought a shotgun at Wal-Mart to shoot jack rabbits (no hunting license necessary). ICE arrested him, I guess as part of the crackdown on gunrunning to Mexico.

Stupid of him not to know the laws, but the laws (and the enforcment) are ridiculous.

I guess the usual procedure would be dismiss his case in exchange for rolling over on someone else who is part of the gunrunning operation, but the guy's problem is that he does not know anything about that. He just wanted to shoot some bunnies. So I imagine he will get convicted, he will get deported, his kids will go on welfare and all his employees will lose their jobs.

I guess it pays to have at least a few friends who are criminals so you can rat them out for a plea deal if necessary.

July 7, 2009, 02:33 PM

You should include all the info when pasting something in support, you missed out

I pasted the exact law referenced on the 4473. I got it from the actual law. I did not skip on pasting anything from an FAQ or whatever because those paragraphs aren't included in the law and I wasn't getting my information from an FAQ.

Under the instructions section from the 4473:

Exception to 11.1: A nonimmigrant alien is not prohibited from purchasing, receiving, or possessing a firearm if the alien (1) is in possession of of a hunting license or permit lawfully issued in the United States; or (2) has received a waiver from the prohibition from the Attorney General of the united States. (See 18 U.S.C. 922 (y)(2) . . .

I have sold a gun to a non-immigrant alien before. I was actually on the phone with the ATF when I did it to make sure I did everything correctly. While it may be difficult, it is certainly legal and possible.

Also, the 90 day requirement is what is necessary to purchase a gun from a dealer. While there may be issues with importing a gun with you, a non-immigrant alien who comes here to hunt and brings his gun with him is allowed to possess that gun as long as he was lawfully admitted for hunting or sporting purposes or has a hunting license.

The initial question asked if it they were allowed to possess guns. The answer is that, in certain situations, they most certainly are. In other situations, they cannot.

July 7, 2009, 02:50 PM
My post was referring to farmers who hire immigrant workers for every year's harvest. Farmer hands out a couple .22s to them, so that they can kill any coyotes, skunks, raccoons, etc.

While it might be illegal to shoot vermin without a hunting license, the immigrants are temporarily in possession of a firearm, and I didn't think that was illegal.

July 7, 2009, 02:53 PM
I'm also a greencard gunowner. Other than arguing with retail staff and pointing out the requirements listed on the form and not letting morons bother me (I've had a few places refuse to sell me a firearm because "We haven't done this before") it is no big deal.

It can be a bit annoying, I had one pawnshop refuse to sell me an ancient single shot JC Higgins .22 lr because they "didn't want to take the risk", despite me pointing out the relevant sections on 4473 and me providing the required additional documents proving residence. That one bugged me because the manager agreed I was in the right but still would not sell the gun.

Currently applying for a C&R license so I can ignore the maroons.

BP Hunter
July 7, 2009, 05:04 PM
I stand corrected on the statement that "Possessing a firearm is still illegal for a nonimmigrant alien". Yes, nongreencard holders may purcahse a firearm. Before I was a greencard holder, I did purchase my first firearm form Walmart - Ruger 10/22.

July 7, 2009, 05:18 PM
I may get modded but Im going to voice an opinion.

If you are not a confirmed US citizen then you are NOT A CITIZEN. Therefore the rights, privileges and responsibilities contained therein are not given to you. Some exceptions can be made for visiting individuals who have passed through proper security checkpoints upon entering the United States and have filled the necessary paperwork depending on the situation (you can bring a gun in, but not buy one here).

July 7, 2009, 05:46 PM

Lets see,.....h'mm to get a GC the individual has been through more background checks, reviews, fingerprinting and risk reviews than you can shake a stick at.

They have to have demonstrated a commitment to the US greater than someone who has just been born here.

They are required to register for select service and can be called and drafted just the same as any citizen.

Whilst we're at it shall we say they don't get any of the other rights of the BoR.

Any other groups of folks you don't feel, "deserve" some rights


July 7, 2009, 09:41 PM
If you are not a confirmed US citizen then you are NOT A CITIZEN. Therefore the rights, privileges and responsibilities contained therein are not given to you.

What other rights do you think that visitors to the country are not entitled to?

It is often stated that the Constitution does not grant rights, it merely protects the Natural rights that all humans enjoy. Do you believe we have Natural rights as humans, or does the Constitution grant rights to American citizens?

I'd also like to point out that there is rarely a confirmation of US Citizenship to buy a gun. You need a government issued photo ID with your address on it (like a driver's license.) You check a box that says you are a citizen, and you sign the form, but this data is not really confirmed.

July 7, 2009, 10:12 PM
I have a friend I used to work with who is a Canadian citizen. He has no felonies and wants to come down for a week of coyote hunting. I can loan him one of my guns if he has a hunting license right? Or would it be easier for him to bring his own? I think there is a permit where you can move a gun across the border. I have zero experience with these things.

July 7, 2009, 10:13 PM
Don't be so tough on Bigalexe, guys.

He just obviously suffers from Xenophobia among other things.


Lou McGopher
July 7, 2009, 10:15 PM
If you are not a confirmed US citizen then you are NOT A CITIZEN. Therefore the rights, privileges and responsibilities contained therein are not given to you.

Rights are given by God, not the government. The right to keep and bear arms, the right to freedom of religion and speech, etc... are all rights that belong to every human everywhere in the world. It's just that some governments have more respect for them than others. The text of the Constitution confirms this. Nowhere are any rights granted in the Bill of Rights. All rights mentioned are presumed to exist, and the Constitution states the govt shall not abridge them.

Text snippets of the unconstitutional laws are posted above, but before doing anything, I recommend contacting an immigration lawyer who should be familiar with the finer points of the subject. Just to be safe.

July 7, 2009, 11:13 PM
For people with a VISA,
Need Hunting license or attorney generals letter
90 days proof of residency in the state
Alien number or the I94 number that is on the card that is attached to your passport.
They go through the background check and then it takes at least 30 minutes to go through immigration clearance. For me they said I might need to wait for 25 days but mine was approved the next day. I bought a mossberg roadblocker. When I went to get my springfield XDm it was instant since I was already in the system.
This is in SC. Most states have the same rules. So, if you don't have a criminal history and lawfully in US then you can get a gun in most states legally.

Art Eatman
July 8, 2009, 12:02 PM
The OP question's been answered. No need in wandering off into the bushes...

If you enjoyed reading about "Non US Citizens & Firearms" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!