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Alot of questions

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Villa, Aug 6, 2007.

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  1. Villa

    Villa Member

    Aug 6, 2007
    Hi, I'm new to guns and wanting to get into some casual target shooting. Any help appreciated. =)

    1. Can non-American citizens legally buy handguns in the US? I'm an Australian citizen and I'm currently in Australia, but plan to move to America to work.
    2. Where can you shoot guns? Only in target ranges or can you set up a target in your backyard? (Just checking)
    3. Is it possible to shoot a handgun in each hand accurately without damage to your wrists? What are the best handguns for this? 9mm? 10mm?
    4. How many handguns can you legally own? It's probably different for different states right?
    5. What are the rules for owning semi-automatic weapons like AK-47s and Mac10s? Can you buy and own them legally?
    6. What is the cheapest calibre to shoot? How much roughly do rounds cost?
    7. What is the difference in difficulty in shooting between 10mm and 9mm? What about the price differences?
    8. Generally what are the rules in the different states? Like in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles, can you carry guns around with you? (If I work in the US, it'll probably in a major city =))

    I've got a couple more questions that'll depend on the answers to the above. Thanks very much. =)
  2. Powderman

    Powderman Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Washington State
    I'll give it a shot:

    1. Yes. The best people to ask for up to date information can be found under www.atf.gov

    Check the FAQ section.

    2. For the most part, target ranges are the only place you can legally shoot for recreation--unless you are fortunate enough to own enough land to set up your own range. Even at that, local ordinances do vary.

    3. Yes--but it takes a lot of ammo and a lot of practice.

    4. How many can you legally own? How big of a safe do you have? In most States, there is no limit on the amount of firearms you can own. Again, check your local and State laws concerning firearms ownership.

    NOTE WELL!!! There are some States that are VERY restrictive on firearms ownership. A good informative site is www.packing.org. The final answer, though, will be from your State Attorney General's office.

    5. Again, it depends on the State.

    Where I live (Washington State) there is NO prohibition on the ownership of semiautomatic firearms of any type. However, in this State, you may NOT own full auto, short barreled rifles or shotguns.

    6. The cheapest by far is the .22 Long Rifle round. You can buy 500 rounds for right around 10 dollars.

    7. 9mm--good all around defensive and target round. 10mm--a VERY powerful handgun cartridge, similar in ballistics to the .41 Magnum. Also very expensive.

    8. Again, check packing.org. Incidentally, the three cities you mention happen to be three of the most restrictive cities regarding ownership of firearms. Carrying? Forget it! If you go to a big city, make sure it's in a State that will issue a CCW.
  3. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

    Jun 5, 2006
    Tacoma, WA
  4. robert garner

    robert garner Member

    Feb 9, 2004
    columbus georgia
    Troll? Naw !
    Just an enthusiastic young man, eager to be part of a Nation that would be willing to treat him with the respect and dignity he's been denied at home!
    I am near 52 and tho I usually use two hands on one pistol, I can still dream of
    pulling a Bruce Willis witha brace of 1911's! Ha! yeah right.
    Come on over mate, we've grills instead of barbi's and I promise you can have more firearms than your wallet will allow! Take it slow, gunnies here will(generally) show much enthusiasm to one willing to listen and learn, I would sugest one each rifle and pistol, till ya get a good understanding, good luck
  5. fletcher

    fletcher Member

    May 19, 2004
    Greensboro, NC
    I don't think so. A foreigner is well within reason to be rather cautious with firearms depending on where he/she is from. The gun rights we have here may be a shock to some.

    That aside, welcome to THR, Villa :)

    Powderman gave answers that are right-on, but I have some things I would like to add to some.

    #6 - As mentioned, the cheapest round to shoot is .22LR (rimfire). I would like to add that the cheapest centerfire pistol rounds to shoot are 9mm or 9x18.

    #8 - Rule of thumb: The bigger the city, the less rights you will have. In all of the huge cities like you mentioned, carry is out of the question. However, there are plenty of large cities around the US which are still pretty gun-friendly (many in the south). I would recommend heading to one of those areas if you plan on shooting much.
  6. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Lafayette, Indiana-the Ned Flanders neighbor to Il
    He's no troll. He's one of us.:D

    Welcome to the States, mate. If you are garrisoned in Chicago and need an escape from Lord Daley and the Land of Mordor, my happy little shire is just down I-65. We can shoot all kinds of guns, but you buy dinner--and we'll be having sushi, btw.:D:evil:
  7. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    1. We went through this on Glocktalk just recently with an Englishman here on a work visa. According to the BATF, you may not buy a gun in the USA if you are here on a "non-immigrant" visa. You need the "Green Card."

    2. Most cities prohibit shooting inside the city limits except at a licensed formal shooting range (and sometimes not then, my town will not issue a business license for a range.) You may shoot on your own rural property in many (but not all) areas.

    3. Not really. It won't injure you, but it is 99% a cinema gimmick. There IS the Gunfighter category in Cowboy Action Shooting, with single action revolvers under close control.

    4. As many as you can afford, most places. Some jurisdictions limit how many you may list on a concealed carry license.

    5. Varies by state. Do not go to California if you like guns.

    6. .22 long rifle, 9mm Parabellum
    Many prices given at www.ammoman.com

    7. 10mm is a big powerful cartridge. I do not recommend it for a beginner, and do not want one for myself.

    8. Laws vary greatly from state to state and from city to city where there is not state preemption of gun laws. www.packing.org is not currently operational. Go to
    and read about the state(s) of interest.
  8. SASS#23149

    SASS#23149 Member

    Jan 1, 2003
    even if you are not allowed to buy guns,this forum is so huge that I"m beting no matter where you land,you'll have one of us luring you over to shoot all the guns you want..

    we LOVE getting new folks into our sport/game/hobby.!
  9. GunTech

    GunTech Member

    Mar 16, 2007
    Helena MT
    Welcome, Villa.

    As a resident alien, you can buy guns in the US.

    An alien legally in the U.S. may acquire firearms if he has a State of residence. An alien has a State of residence only if he is residing in that State and has resided in a State continuously for at least 90 days prior to the purchase. An alien acquiring firearms from a licensee is required to prove both his identity, by presenting a government-issued photo identification, and his residency with substantiating documentation showing that he has resided in the State continuously for the 90-day period prior to the purchase. Examples of qualifying documentation to prove residency include: utility bills, lease agreements, credit card statements, and pay stubs from the purchaser’s place of employment, if such documents include residential addresses.

    See also Item 5, “Sales to Aliens in the United States,” in the General Information section of this publication.

    [18 U.S.C. 921, 922(b)(3), (d) and (g), 27 CFR 478.11 and 478.99(a)]

    You can shoot any place not restricted by law or ordnance, i.e. if it's not expressly forbiddeen, you are ok. You probably can't shoot in your backyard, unless you own a sizeable chunk of property or are in the middle of nowhere. Most cities prohibit discharging firearms in the city limits - for safety reasons. No deaths by 'happy fire'.

    The only person I know who can accurately 'two gun' shoot are trick shooters. It's not easy and take an phenomenal amount of practice. In practical terms, I would sau 'no'

    There is no limit on the number of guns own almost anywhere. There may be limits on the number you can buy in a given time period. In locales that require a permit for each firearm, there may be a practical limit. I know of a couple of individuals that own thousands of guns. I have about 50 or 60 (not sure of the exact number, if that tells you something)

    Some states restrict the ownership of military style weapons. California, Maryland, New York and a few others, plus some cirties, counties o restrictions of any kind in Montana. I own a submachinegun and a short barreled shotgun as well.

    The cheapest caliber to shoot is 22 long rifle. You can buy 550 rounds of Federal 22 rimfire at Walmart for $9.95 (11.63 Australian dollars)

    9mm is cheap and plentiful, and has pretty minor recoil. 10mm has become a relatively unpopular cartridge, being displaces by the .40 S&W, also know and the 10mm 'lite' as it is a shortened 10mm loaded to lower velocity. The full 10mm is much more powerful, and can be loaded to 41 magnum equivalent. 10mm sells for about $1 a round.

    See http://packing.org for gun carry laws in various locations in the US.
  10. meef

    meef Member

    Nov 7, 2004
  11. Xenia

    Xenia Member

    Jun 29, 2007
    Up North in Michigan
    I thought that there was restrictions for people in this country who were not considered "Residents". I thought that most work visa's were "conditional temporary residents" which meant they couldn't purchase a handgun, until the "conditional" was removed. I am not sure but I thought that you had to proove that your job was going to last over two years or maybe you had to work for two years first.

    A lot of rules changed in regard to this and seem to change frequently. I would suggest that what ever attorny you get to help you with your immigration that you ask them about the most recent rules on this matter at the time you come. (The rules may change between now and then.)
  12. MisterPX

    MisterPX Member

    Jun 3, 2006
    Amerika's Doyleland
    If you're here on a work visa, then generally no. If you've intent to live here permanently, you can get a green card, and then yes.
  13. Villa

    Villa Member

    Aug 6, 2007
    Hi thanks for all the help guys. =) Hmm, I guess I probably won't get to buy guns, as I'll only be staying periodically in the US on a work visa.

    Thanks for the help anyway guys. =)

    Oh one last question, can anyone shoot at ranges? Or must you have a license of some sort?
  14. Mantua

    Mantua Member

    Jun 5, 2007
    Central Florida
    I've brought guys from out of the country, here from Bali with work visas, to the range. They checked their state ID's and let 'em shoot. Might be different wherever you end up- Florida is pretty much alright in regards to shooters, many places are much more strict.
  15. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 19, 2006
    No federal laws against you shooting the range's guns since you aren't buying them. I don't know about restrictions in some of the less gun friendly states. As others have said, let us know when you get here. No doubt there will be members close by who'll be happy to take you shooting. You might also look at employment in large cities like Atlanta, Houston, Dallas/Forth Worth, Salt Lake City, and others in similarly gun friendly states. The city of Atlanta isn't that gun friendly, but most of the suburbs are.
  16. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Tracking back GunTech's reference, and looking at the FAQ that I was going by, there seems to be some doubt as to just what you can do. Next time you are in the USA, contact the BATF and ask for their current policy. You might get lucky
  17. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

    Aug 11, 2005
    Elbert County, CO
    Yes, with resident status.

    For most folks, designated ranges. Rural areas usually have certain criteria for recreational shooting on private land, genrally acreage minimums. Where I'm at, one must have 10 acres. Some public lands also allow shooting, but there are usually rules such as 100 yards from roads or trails, etc.

    With two at the same time, accuracy will suffer horribly for most of us, regardless of caliber. Focus issue here.

    How many do you want? Certain places do have restrictions, but most of the U.S. has no such limit.

    Again, cetain states or cities have restrictions/bans, but Federal law does not limit ownership of any semi-automatic firearm under .50 Caliber and under that fires from a closed bolt.

    .22 Long Rifle. ~ $0.02/round

    Lots and lots. 10mm has double the power of 9x19mm and ammo usually costs at least twice as much.

    Big cities are generally the most gun-UNfriendly. Here in CO, we have pretty lax firearm laws, but the city and county of Denver (state capital and largest metropolitan area/population) plays by it's own rules, restricting firearm types and magazine capacities.
  18. Mojo-jo-jo

    Mojo-jo-jo Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    Just a note, packing.org is still down. It looks very likely out for the count, as it has been down for several weeks now. A good alternative site for concealed carry laws is www.handgunlaw.us
  19. Crunker1337

    Crunker1337 Member

    Apr 12, 2007
    Welcome to THR.

    Already mentioned that you need a Green Card, or you need to be an American citizen.

    Generally, you may only shoot at public ranges.
    If you have a lot of private land then you may set up your own range, but you are responsible for each bullet that you fire.
    Check your state laws.

    To be fair, if you're a very talented individual with a lot of patience, time, and money, then it's not impossible.
    In other words, don't try it on your first, second, or third trip to the range. If you're an enthusiastic collector then I suppose it would be more (socially) acceptable to try, but if you just hit the range one day dual-wielding pistols like you're straight out of the Matrix you will be laughed at. And you'll probably deserve it.
    It's 99.9% cinema sfx, but I suppose it could be done. Jerry Miculek is one individual that's extremely proficient with a revolver and I have seen limited footage of him firing two revolvers simultaneously. Doesn't mean that firing two handguns at once will give you good accuracy by any comparison.
    I'm guessing the best caliber for you to fire in two hands would be .22LR due to low recoil and cost effectivity.

    Federally, there are no laws that I know of that restrict the amount of civilian firearms you may own at one time. States may have laws that you should look into.

    The AK47 is an assault rifle. In other words, a machinegun strictly regulated by the BATFE and multiple state and Federal laws. (Same thing for the MAC-10.) At this point in time, I don't think you should even look into owning a machinegun legally in the US.
    There are, however, civilian copies of said weapons (and many, many more machineguns) that are closed-bolt semi-automatic in operation and federally, completely legal to own and fire. Some states have laws that would affect the ownership of civilian copycats of machineguns.
    Check out my Semi-Autos thread for many semi-automatic firearms that are civilian legal (much to the dismay of corrupt politicians).

    Probably .22LR, which cost pennies a round.

    HUGE difference in price and I imagine skill required to shoot.
    There are plenty of threads about the myriad of handgun calibers out there, I suggest you do some lurking to get an idea of what you want.

    Generally, they vary so much that they're incomparable. :)
    Check state laws.
    It's legal to conceal a firearm (not hold in your hands or brandish) on your person IF you have a CCW permit. Open carry of a firearm often differs, but again, read up on your state laws. Take concealed carry classes.
    It's quite a decision to carry a device that when used in defense can easily maim or kill someone. Even if you have every reason to open fire, hurting another human being to such a degree is, I imagine, quite traumatic. I suggest pondering carrying a firearm for quite some time before exercising your CCW license.

    I strongly suggest that you take firearms safety and training courses before visiting the range or buying a firearm.

    A year or so ago, I was just like you bro. I had everything to learn (still do, come to think of it) and no experience. I came from a community (NJ :D) where the mere thought of owning a firearm for defense was punishable social taboo.
    In short, keep your mind and ears open, obey all safety rules, and have fun.
  20. lee n. field

    lee n. field Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    AFAIK, yes.

    Depends where you live. If you're in a town, you probably can't shoot in your back yard.

    As in 2 guns at once, movie style? What's the Russian expression? Nye-cultyornie!

    Whatever you do, don't learn anything at all about firearms, but especially gun handling, from movies.

    Most places, as many as you can pay for. Some places, none at all.

    .22LR. Up from there. 9x19, aka 9mm Luger, 9mm Parabellum or "nine mil", not to be confused with 9mm Kurtz or 9mm Makarov. Confused yet?

    In Noo York, or Chicago, forget it.

    Gun laws in the United State are a crazy patchwork, ranging from pretty liberal ("Vermont" carry) to Stalinesque oppressive.
  21. GigaBuist

    GigaBuist Member

    Sep 27, 2003
    Grand Rapids, MI
    G'day mate! :D

    It seems you have a bit of a stereotypical view of Americans and gun ownership. There's nothing wrong with that, as it's a stereotype based in reality to some degree. For reference that's about 290 million folks in the US, 80 million of them gun owners, and about 280 million guns between us.

    I'd say that the vast majority of gun owners here have 1 or 2, rural folks are frequently found with 5-6 various arms, and then you end up with guys like us that make up this board and live up to the stereotype. :)

    Myself? I've got about 36. Your average gun owning American thinks this is a little nutty. Here, on this board, that's considered perfectly normal.

    That said...
    Where I come from it wasn't outside the norm to do some target shooting in your back yard. This would be about 30 miles west of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The only real concern, outside having a good berm to shoot into, was the noise.
    You won't hurt your wrists shooting one handed, but it's horribly difficult to actually do it with any level of accuracy. Fun? Yes. Productive? No.

    9mm is a ***** cat, 10mm is a pretty beefy gorilla. Cartridge naming conventions mean diddly when it comes to determining their power, save for a few examples like 30-30, 45-70, 45-90, etc. Take everything you know about numbers and throw it out the window when you're thinking about cartridges. In the shooting world .380 is not that same as .38 and sometimes 7.5mm = 7.62mm = .308 inches and sometimes 7.62mm = .311 inches and sometimes 9mm = 9.02mm.

    The only way to really get a grasp on the power of various cartridges is to grab a reloading manual.

    Anyway, since you likely won't be a resident alien you won't be able to buy your own firearms, but if you land somewhere in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area shoot me a private message. You'll have to pay $60 to join the shooting range a half mile from my house, but I'll open up my gun safes and ammo closet (yes, a whole closet) to ya.
  22. Rufus Pisanus

    Rufus Pisanus Member

    Aug 26, 2005
    on 1. A green card (permanent resident status) is the easiest way for a non-US citizen to buy firearms but it takes time. However, there are exceptions allowing a non immigrant alien, that is a non-US citizen who is legally in the US but is not a permanent resident to buy firearms. Apart from far fetched ones (like asking the attorney general for an exception) the easiest was to have a hunting license.


    I believe that in some states the law is more restrictive and non permanent residents cannot buy firearms.

    on 4. (how many handguns can one legally own) I am amazed by how many of my European friends are surprised that there is no limit. Somehow they can imagine having one or two but tens of them? one surely would end up under the influence of all this evil handguns...
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2007
  23. XavierBreath

    XavierBreath Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    The AK-47 and MAC-10 are not semi-auto. They are full auto. As such, they are closely regulated by the BATF, but available if you are willing to pay a $200 tax stamp per gun, and if you qualify. To qualify, you must:
    1. You have to live in a state where Class III weapons are legal.
    2. You have to be a US citizen.
    3. At least 21 years of age.
    4. Never been convicted of a Felony or Domestic Violence.
    5. Never been dishonorably discharged from the military.
    6. Never been adjudicated mentally defective.

    Not being a citizen yet would disqualify you. The AK-47 lookalikes, such as the SAR1 and the WASR, and the Vulcan Arms V10 MAC-10 lookalike are semi-automatic and are not regulated the same. These lookalike weapons, however, are basically banned in some states and municipalities.

    Sorry, I had to correct this potential misunderstanding.
  24. AndyC

    AndyC Member

    Mar 21, 2006
    DFW, TX
    Well, I'm in limbo as to the first question. I'm an immigrant, have been here legally for over 2 years (marriage to a US citizen)

    According to ATF, they see foreigners as two types - nonimmigrant and permanent residents.

    So, non-immigrants can buy firearms if they have a hunting license, yadda, yadda. Cool.

    I'm not a non-immigrant because I *am* immigrating - but I'm not yet a permanent resident either. I'm right in the middle, in limbo, so I've been screwed for the past 2 years.
  25. Geronimo45

    Geronimo45 Member

    Aug 28, 2006
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Yes. If you're wanting to practice it cheaply, go with .22LR. If you want a 'service caliber', go with 9mm. The 9mm's the cheapest thing north of .22LR.
    People were shooting one-handed for many years. It won't shatter your wrist with any normal handgun in a normal caliber. Some of the monster calibers (.454 Casull and friends) could have enough kick to get the front sight embedded in your forehead. Which could hurt. Nothing to worry about with a normal gun... the problem is in hitting anything. Now, if both your guns had, say, Crimson Trace lasergrips... then the double-pistol trick might be a little easier to do.

    The Cowboy Action folks do it... but it takes a lot of practice. More than it takes for firing a single gun, two-handed. It can be done... but not easily.
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