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Gun Control Act of 1968

The Gun Control Act of 1968, Pub. L. No. 90-618, 82 Stat. 1213 (also known as GCA or GCA68, and codified as Chapter 44 of Title 18, United States Code) is a federal law in the United States that broadly regulates the firearms industry and firearms owners. It primarily focuses on regulating interstate commerce in firearms by generally prohibiting interstate firearms transfers except among licensed manufacturers, dealers and importers.

The GCA is Title I of the U.S. federal firearms laws. The National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) is Title II. Both GCA and NFA are enforced by the ATF.

Prohibited persons

Under the GCA, firearms possession by certain categories of individuals is prohibited.

  • Anyone who has been convicted in a federal court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, excluding crimes of imprisonment that are related to the regulation of business practices.
  • Anyone who has been convicted in a state court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding two years, excluding crimes of imprisonment that are related to the regulation of business practices.
  • Anyone who is a fugitive from justice.
  • Anyone who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance.
  • Anyone who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to a mental institution.
  • Any alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States or an alien admitted to the United States under a non-immigrant visa. Aliens who have a tourist visa or student visa may possess guns if they have a current, valid hunting license.
  • Anyone who has been discharged under dishonorable conditions from the United States armed forces.
  • Anyone who, having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced his or her citizenship.
  • Anyone that is subject to a court order that restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner. (added 1996)
  • Anyone who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence (added in 1996 by the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban, or “Lautenberg Amendment.”)
  • Additionally, 18 USC 922(x) generally prohibits persons under 18 from possessing handguns or handgun ammunition with certain exceptions for employment, target practice, education, and a handgun possessed while defending the home of the juvenile or a home in which they are an invited guest.

A person who is under indictment or information for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year cannot lawfully receive a firearm. Such person may continue to lawfully possess firearms obtained prior to the indictment or information.

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