Looking for a gun safety quiz? How much do you know about U.S. gun laws? Would you recognize an illegal gun?
In the United States, certain people are prohibited from purchasing, owning, and using firearms while any adult in America who is not a prohibited person is allowed to buy guns and ammunition. Additionally, under federal law, certain firearms and activities related to firearms are subject to more restrictions.
Keep reading for a gun safety quiz that will check your understanding of three common scenarios.
Why Knowing Gun Laws Is Important
It’s clear why gun owners need to understand gun laws: Breaking gun laws, even accidentally, can result in fines, prison time, and other serious consequences. But even if you have no interest in owning firearms yourself, it’s still important to understand gun laws for several reasons, and taking a gun safety quiz can help you determine if your understanding of U.S. gun laws is correct.
For one thing, gun laws are a subject of ongoing political debate, so you need to understand the current laws to discuss proposed changes knowledgeably. You don’t want to be the guy who suggests a new gun control plan, only to have someone else inform you that the law you’re proposing was passed by Congress in 1968. For another thing, guns are so prolific in the United States that there are many possible situations in which you—or someone you care about—might come in contact with one.
For example, maybe your grandfather recently passed away in Mississippi, and you’re cleaning out his estate. In your grandfather’s attic, you find a trunk of souvenirs that he brought back from the Vietnam War, including a rusty old Vietnamese pistol. A friend who’s helping you clean out the estate sees it and exclaims, “Hey, I have an uncle in Texas who collects this kind of stuff. I bet if we just shipped it to him he’d tell you what it’s worth, and buy it from you if it’s worth anything.” Would you do it? If you did, you could end up doing prison time.
Or what if your coworker mentions that her new boyfriend is ‘a big gun collector’ and asked her to help him ‘add to his collection.’ He gave her a list of specific makes/models of firearms to look for at gun stores and purchase for him if possible, promising to pay her back whatever she spent, plus an additional $100 per gun for her time. Would you know to warn her that purchasing a gun for someone else is a federal crime? Would you recognize that her boyfriend’s request resembles a common ruse used by illicit arms dealers to acquire the guns that they sell on the black market?
Gun Safety Quiz
Let’s consider some scenarios where your understanding of gun laws would be important. As you read through the gun safety quiz scenarios, think about how you would respond in each situation. Then we’ll provide an answer key to explore how gun laws would apply in each case. Note that some states and municipalities have additional laws. Also, note that this article doesn’t constitute legal advice. If you need legal counsel, contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state.
Scenario #1: Trip to Yellowstone
You’re touring Yellowstone National Park with some of your extended family. At one point, your cousin drops a backpack at your feet and says, “Hey could you watch this for a minute? I’ve got my camera and pistol in there, so I don’t want anyone to steal it while I’m taking my kid to the restroom.” Before you have a chance to think about it, he and his child disappear in the direction of the restroom.
Before your cousin returns, your sister shows up. After an exchange of greetings, she points out a nearby visitors center, says she’s going to go look at the displays and suggests that you should come along.
Gun safety quiz questions: What would you do? What gun laws do you need to be aware of in this situation?
Scenario #2: Inheriting a Machine Gun
Your grandfather recently passed away, and you are the executor of his estate. Your grandfather owned a number of firearms, but he sold or gave most of them to friends or family members while he was still alive. As you are cleaning out his empty gun cabinet, you find the following inconspicuous piece of stamped sheet metal:
You show it to a friend who knows more about gun parts, and she says it looks a lot like a “lightning link,” a component that converts an AR-15 into a machine gun.
Gun safety quiz question: What would you do with it?
Scenario #3: Hunting Trip
One Veterans’ Day, the conversation around the water cooler at your workplace turns to the subject of military service. Your office neighbor laments that he joined the army right out of high school but it wasn’t what he expected. On his first tour of duty, he got into a heated argument with his commanding officer, who had him court-martialed for insubordination, and he received a dishonorable discharge.
Almost a year later, a few of your other coworkers are planning their annual deer hunt during their lunch break, and you overhear them invite your office neighbor to join them. He replies that it sounds like fun, but he doesn’t have a hunting rifle, whereupon someone else says he’s got a spare rifle that he’d let him use on the hunt.
Gun safety quiz question: If you want to help your coworkers stay out of trouble, what would you tell them?
Now that you’ve had a chance to think about the above gun safety scenarios, let’s discuss some possible answers to the quiz.
Quiz Answer: Gun Safety Scenario #1
Your main concern in this scenario is that it’s illegal to bring a gun into a federal facility. Yellowstone National Park is not a ‘federal facility,’ but most of the visitors centers in the park are federal facilities. So you need to wait for your cousin to come back and pick up his bag (which has a gun in it) before you follow your sister to the visitors center. Or, if he’s taking too long, you could lock your cousin’s bag in your car, or hand it off to your uncle to watch. You just can’t take it with you to the visitors center.
In scenarios like this, it’s also wise to consider state laws that might impose additional restrictions: By keeping a pistol in his backpack, your cousin is probably “carrying a concealed weapon” (depending on how a state defines concealed carry), which requires a permit in some states. If you’re not permitted to carry a concealed weapon, then, in principle, your cousin could get both of you in trouble just by handing you his backpack. However, that’s not a problem in this particular scenario because Yellowstone is in Wyoming, and Wyoming allows people to carry concealed weapons without a permit.
Quiz Answer: Gun Safety Scenario #2
If you inadvertently end up with an NFA firearm (remember, a component that converts something into a machine gun is, itself, considered a machine gun under the NFA) you should contact ATF immediately. They will send an agent to pick it up, after which they will check the federal firearms registry to determine the lawful owner. If it is in the registry, ATF returns it to the registered owner; if not, they’ll keep it or destroy it.
So, if the lightning link was duly registered as a machine gun under your grandfather’s name, your grandfather’s heir will become the registered owner. If you inherit it and don’t want to keep it, you can probably sell it for about $10,000. There are federally licensed dealers and auction houses that specialize in NFA firearms and can help you with the transfer process.
Quiz Answer: Gun Safety Scenario #3
The issue here is that, if your coworker received a dishonorable discharge from the military, he’s prohibited from having access to firearms. If he borrows a rifle to go hunting with the group, both he and the person who loaned him the rifle could potentially face federal charges.
However, if state hunting regulations allow, he might be able to go hunting with the group and use a bow-and-arrow or a large-caliber air-gun instead of a firearm.