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Officials clear up state laws on gun ownership

SECOND AMENDMENT
“A WELL-REGULATED MILITIA, BEING NECESSARY TO THE SECURITY OF A FREE STATE, THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS, SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.”

But I'm almost 18.
But my felony is from five years ago.
But I'm taking my prescribed mental health medication.
May I go ahead and buy that gun?

Questions about federal and state gun laws pop up in conversations, drift in and out of minds and appear on social media feeds. Ken Murphree, a licensed firearm dealer at Murf's Guns in Duncan, said there are nearly 30,000 gun laws in the United States.

The Lawton Constitution interviewed Murphree and Jimmy Bunn, chief legal counsel for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, for clarification on current laws regarding gun sales.

Age requirements to purchase a firearm

Oklahoma residents do not need permits or licenses to purchase guns, Bunn said. 

However, they must meet minimum age requirements  18 for a rifle or shotgun (long barrel) and 21 for a pistol or handgun (short barrel).

Under federal law, it is illegal for both licensed and unlicensed firearm dealers to sell or give a gun to anyone under age 18, Bunn said. 

Murphree said the majority of Murf's customers who purchase firearms are between ages 30 and 40. 

The exception to the law is that children, with the permission of their parents or guardians, may have firearms for sporting events, competitions and educational training programs, according to Bunn. 

Prior to purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer, a person must fill out a form that will be checked by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which the FBI governs, Murphree said.

"As a dealer, I have to have your identification, and it has to match (you)," he said. "You can't fill out (the form) on behalf of someone else." 

The form includes questions about felony convictions, controlled substance addictions, mental health incompetency, dishonorable military discharges and misdemeanor convictions for domestic violence, among other topics.

Customers who check "yes" to any of the restrictions will be denied by the FBI to purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer, according to Murphree.

Murphree receives between 5,000 and 6,000 forms a year from people interested in purchasing guns, he said, and only a small portion of those applicants are denied.

"Through the course of an entire year, we will have less than 12 (denials)," he said.

Denied applicants may appeal, Murphree said, and most denials are overturned because the applicants' identities were mistaken in the system.

The Lawton Constitution

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