Can foreign tourists legally purchase and use firearms in the USA?

    A very interesting thread over at rec.guns.

    The best answer to the question is by Mark Crispin

    # Is there a legal way for me to buy guns for self-defense and/or
    # recreational plinking?

    The US government has a long series of FAQs on this question here:

    Short answer: probably no.

    Longer answer:

    Non-immigrant aliens (which includes tourists) in the USA are generally
    prohibited from possessing firearms.
    With the proper US export paperwork and home country import paperwork, you
    may purchase firearms in the USA. However, the firearms must be shipped
    by the seller to your home country; you can not accept delivery of your
    firearms in the USA.

    There are certain exceptions to this prohibition. The easiest way for a
    non-immigrant alien to legally possess firearms in the USA is to obtain a
    hunting license from any state. This license must not be allowed to
    expire, as it effectively serves as your alien firearms possession

    There are also state requirements. For example, Washington State has no
    licensing requirement for citizens to possess firearms, but does require
    aliens to obtain a Washington State alien firearm license. Only two
    states (Alaska and Vermont) permit carrying a concealed pistol without a

    Even after you obtain a state hunting license, you won’t be able to
    purchase and take possession of a firearm in the USA due to the transient
    nature of your vis
    it. The ATF web page above has detail about the
    However, with your hunting license, you can borrow someone’s firearms for
    plinking, hunting, etc. You probably will not be able to get a license
    to carry a concealed handgun.

    I’m sorry that we’re so unfriendly to visits these days. Blame cretins
    who decided to take out their rage against the world by coming to the USA
    and killing Americans.

    One of the most notorious of these incidents happened on the Long Island
    Rail Road in New York State in 1993. A Jamaican lunatic named Colin
    Fergunson killed six people and wounded nineteen others, claiming that it
    was justified by “Black rage” against his White and Asian victims. In the
    aftermath we gained one of the most anti-gun members of Congress.

    Read the whole discussion here.

    Steve Johnson

    I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!