Gun control is an important part of keeping people safe. Each state in
the United States has its own handgun possession laws, which apply to
various situations differently. For instance, your state could restrict
those with mental health conditions from owning a gun, or it may not have
any laws restricting gun purchases at all. Some states don’t allow
minors to have guns until they’re 21, and others allow them at 18.
These differences can make it difficult to know where you can carry your
weapon, and that could lead to accidental criminal charges that you have to fight.
Under federal laws, most states restrict gun access to those over 18, and
those who have received felonies may not be allowed to own one. Certain
mental health conditions may also lead to a person being disallowed from
owning a gun.
Not all states require a permit or gun license, but some do, so if you
have a gun and plan to travel, this is something to consider. Here’s
an example. In California, if you purchase a handgun without a safety
certificate, you’ll face a misdemeanor. You could go to prison for
up to six months and you could be fined up to $1,000.
In Maryland, you must be 21 to own a gun. If you are underage and found
without a license to carry, you could be imprisoned for up to five years
and be fined up to $10,000. The crime is a misdemeanor. This varies significantly
from Maine, where there is no specific penalties for those 18 or older
having a handgun.
Source: OLR Research Report, “Penalties for Illegal Handgun Possession,” James Orlando, accessed July 02, 2015