Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default PA/Fed law on legal aliens owning firearms

    For you FFL guys and PA Gun Law experts.

    What are the requirements for a legal alien on a work Visa living in PA to purchase or possess a rifle/ammo (AR15) in PA?

    From what I gather:

    1. An alien legally in the U.S. may acquire firearms if he has a State of residence. An alien has a State of residence only if he is residing in that State and has resided in a State continuously for at least 90 days prior to the purchase.
    An alien acquiring firearms from a licensee is required to prove both his identity, by presenting a government-issued photo identification, and his residency with substantiating documentation showing that he has resided in the State continuously for the 90-day period prior to the purchase.

    Can he purchase a rifle from a private individual, instead?

    2. Has to take a Hunter Safety Course and obtain/maintain a PA hunting License.

    3. It's also my understanding that without the above, he can't even posses or "shoot" any guns or purchase/posses any ammo.
    Last edited by Hawk; April 2nd, 2018 at 01:15 PM.
    Toujours prÍt

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    Default Re: PA/Fed law on legal aliens owning firearms

    I thought of this today when reading about the exchange student in Uppe Darby, how was he able to buy a functioning gun online or was it just parts? Itís good they found out about this kid early.

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    Default Re: PA/Fed law on legal aliens owning firearms

    Residency is only a part of it. It really all depends on the type of visa that was issued to the non immigrant alien. If they have been issued a visa that allows them to get a PA hunting license, then they are allowed to purchase firearms, both long arms and handguns. If the non immigrant alien has not been issued the type of visa which allows them to get a hunting license, then they are prohibited from buying a firearm from anyone, FFL or private party. Even if they don't have a visa that allows a hunting license, they can still shoot guns as long as they are accompanied by the legal gun owner. Taking a non immigrant alien out to the range and allowing them to shoot your guns is not the same as them "possessing" the gun as you still have "control" over the gun. Possession would be if they kept the gun with them when the gun owner was not around. Very similar to allowing a person to shoot your NFA firearm while you are both at the range.

    There are foreign national students at PSU that are here on visas that allow them to get hunting licenses and buy guns. I do a fair number of transfers for them and it just takes a little more time as the PSP PICS operators have to interact with the INS or Homeland Security (depending on the visa type) to do the background check. I have never had one of these visa holders be denied.
    Ron USAF Ret E-8 FFL01/SOT3 NRA Benefactor Member

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    Default Re: PA/Fed law on legal aliens owning firearms

    Quote Originally Posted by Xringshooter View Post
    Residency is only a part of it. It really all depends on the type of visa that was issued to the non immigrant alien. If they have been issued a visa that allows them to get a PA hunting license, then they are allowed to purchase firearms, both long arms and handguns. If the non immigrant alien has not been issued the type of visa which allows them to get a hunting license, then they are prohibited from buying a firearm from anyone, FFL or private party. Even if they don't have a visa that allows a hunting license, they can still shoot guns as long as they are accompanied by the legal gun owner. Taking a non immigrant alien out to the range and allowing them to shoot your guns is not the same as them "possessing" the gun as you still have "control" over the gun. Possession would be if they kept the gun with them when the gun owner was not around. Very similar to allowing a person to shoot your NFA firearm while you are both at the range.

    There are foreign national students at PSU that are here on visas that allow them to get hunting licenses and buy guns. I do a fair number of transfers for them and it just takes a little more time as the PSP PICS operators have to interact with the INS or Homeland Security (depending on the visa type) to do the background check. I have never had one of these visa holders be denied.
    Thanks for the information.
    Toujours prÍt

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    Default Re: PA/Fed law on legal aliens owning firearms

    Quote Originally Posted by Xringshooter View Post
    Residency is only a part of it. It really all depends on the type of visa that was issued to the non immigrant alien. If they have been issued a visa that allows them to get a PA hunting license, then they are allowed to purchase firearms, both long arms and handguns. If the non immigrant alien has not been issued the type of visa which allows them to get a hunting license, then they are prohibited from buying a firearm from anyone, FFL or private party. Even if they don't have a visa that allows a hunting license, they can still shoot guns as long as they are accompanied by the legal gun owner. Taking a non immigrant alien out to the range and allowing them to shoot your guns is not the same as them "possessing" the gun as you still have "control" over the gun. Possession would be if they kept the gun with them when the gun owner was not around. Very similar to allowing a person to shoot your NFA firearm while you are both at the range.

    There are foreign national students at PSU that are here on visas that allow them to get hunting licenses and buy guns. I do a fair number of transfers for them and it just takes a little more time as the PSP PICS operators have to interact with the INS or Homeland Security (depending on the visa type) to do the background check. I have never had one of these visa holders be denied.
    Do you have a reference for the bolded above? I would be leery of assuming that a non-immigrant alien on a visa, w/o a hunting license or a waiver from the Attorney General, is permitted to handle a firearm/ammo - even temporarily at a range - since they are a prohibited person under 18 USC 922(g). If there were an exception for accompanied range use that allowed "prohibited persons" to shoot, then it would logically also extend to felons, fugitives, addicts, etc.

    18 USC 922
    (g) It shall be unlawful for any person-

    (1) who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;

    (2) who is a fugitive from justice;

    (3) who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802));

    (4) who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution;

    (5) who, being an alien-

    (A) is illegally or unlawfully in the United States; or

    (B) except as provided in subsection (y)(2), has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa (as that term is defined in section 101(a)(26) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(26)));

    (6) who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;

    (7) who, having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced his citizenship;

    (8) who is subject to a court order that-

    (A) was issued after a hearing of which such person received actual notice, and at which such person had an opportunity to participate;

    (B) restrains such person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of such person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child; and

    (C)

    (i) includes a finding that such person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of such intimate partner or child; or

    (ii) by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against such intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury; or

    (9) who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence,

    (y) Provisions Relating to Aliens Admitted Under Nonimmigrant Visas.-

    (1) Definitions.-In this subsection-

    (A) the term "alien" has the same meaning as in section 101(a)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(3)); and

    (B) the term "nonimmigrant visa" has the same meaning as in section 101(a)(26) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(26)).

    (2) Exceptions.-Subsections (d)(5)(B), (g)(5)(B), and (s)(3)(B)(v)(II) do not apply to any alien who has been lawfully admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa, if that alien is-

    (A) admitted to the United States for lawful hunting or sporting purposes or is in possession of a hunting license or permit lawfully issued in the United States;

    (B) an official representative of a foreign government who is-

    (i) accredited to the United States Government or the Government's mission to an international organization having its headquarters in the United States; or

    (ii) en route to or from another country to which that alien is accredited;

    (C) an official of a foreign government or a distinguished foreign visitor who has been so designated by the Department of State; or

    (D) a foreign law enforcement officer of a friendly foreign government entering the United States on official law enforcement business.

    (3) Waiver.-

    (A) Conditions for waiver.-Any individual who has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa may receive a waiver from the requirements of subsection (g)(5), if-

    (i) the individual submits to the Attorney General a petition that meets the requirements of subparagraph (C); and

    (ii) the Attorney General approves the petition.

    (B) Petition.-Each petition under subparagraph (B) shall-

    (i) demonstrate that the petitioner has resided in the United States for a continuous period of not less than 180 days before the date on which the petition is submitted under this paragraph; and

    (ii) include a written statement from the embassy or consulate of the petitioner, authorizing the petitioner to acquire a firearm or ammunition and certifying that the alien would not, absent the application of subsection (g)(5)(B), otherwise be prohibited from such acquisition under subsection (g).

    (C) Approval of petition.-The Attorney General shall approve a petition submitted in accordance with this paragraph, if the Attorney General determines that waiving the requirements of subsection (g)(5)(B) with respect to the petitioner-

    (i) would be in the interests of justice; and

    (ii) would not jeopardize the public safety.
    Last edited by tl_3237; April 4th, 2018 at 01:26 PM. Reason: clarified non-immigrant alien ON A VISA
    IANAL

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    Default Re: PA/Fed law on legal aliens owning firearms

    Quote Originally Posted by tl_3237 View Post
    Do you have a reference for the bolded above? I would be leery of assuming that a non-immigrant alien, w/o a hunting license or a waiver from the Attorney General, is permitted to handle a firearm/ammo - even temporarily at a range - since they are a prohibited person under 18 USC 922(g). If there were an exception for accompanied range use that allowed "prohibited persons" to shoot, then it would logically also extend to felons, fugitives, addicts, etc.

    This is my understanding also. It would be nice to have a definite answer on this. I run the CMP program at my club and would like to know before I lend out a club rifle.
    Toujours prÍt

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    Default Re: PA/Fed law on legal aliens owning firearms

    My bad, when this first happened about 10 years ago or so, I wasn't sure when I read the same paragraphs that you quoted. I called the AG's office (DC not PA) and explained who it was that wanted to shoot a gun (PSU foreign national student here on a visa to go to school - and at that time I didn't know what class visa they had) and the AG's office said that if they were here to go to school at a college or university they were permitted to shoot a gun as long as the firearm owner was with them. I took it as the AG's office was the one who granted the waivers so they should know. Well, I guess they might be like the PSP and not always know the laws and I should have gotten something in writing. That and they might have assumed that the visa was one that allowed getting a hunting license, and I probably wasn't clear when talking to them since it was new to me.

    So I hereby rescind that part of my statement until such time as I have complete clarification about non immigrant aliens being able to shoot firearms.
    Ron USAF Ret E-8 FFL01/SOT3 NRA Benefactor Member

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    Default Re: PA/Fed law on legal aliens owning firearms

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawk View Post
    Can he purchase a rifle from a private individual, instead?

    2. Has to take a Hunter Safety Course and obtain/maintain a PA hunting License.

    3. It's also my understanding that without the above, he can't even posses or "shoot" any guns or purchase/posses any ammo.
    I bought a couple of firearms in NJ while on work visa (H-1B). I recommend you get a hunting license (or letter from attorney general) and go through an FFL. Those are the attainable exemptions for non-citizens when buying firearms. Do not buy from private individual just to bypass federal law. Attached is a flowchart that will help you. Also, the 90 day residency requirement is no longer effective. Let me know if you have specific questions.

    I know the federal law somewhat but is not a lawyer.

    Here is link to 90 day residency ruling:
    https://www.federalregister.gov/docu...arms-2011r-23p
    Last edited by Capt_Corndawg; April 4th, 2018 at 06:23 PM.

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    Default Re: PA/Fed law on legal aliens owning firearms

    Quote Originally Posted by Capt_Corndawg View Post
    I bought a couple of firearms in NJ while on work visa (H-1B). I recommend you get a hunting license (or letter from attorney general) and go through an FFL. Those are the attainable exemptions for non-citizens when buying firearms. Do not buy from private individual just to bypass federal law. Attached is a flowchart that will help you. Also, the 90 day residency requirement is no longer effective. Let me know if you have specific questions.

    I know the federal law somewhat but is not a lawyer.

    Here is link to 90 day residency ruling:
    https://www.federalregister.gov/docu...arms-2011r-23p
    Thanks!
    Good stuff. I'll pass it on.

    Edit: I studied your documentation and it's still unclear to me. Do they need a "hunting" Visa, or will a standard work Visa coupled with a valid current state hunting license make them eligible for firearm purchase or possession?
    Last edited by Hawk; April 5th, 2018 at 12:52 PM.
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    Default Re: PA/Fed law on legal aliens owning firearms

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawk View Post
    Do they need a "hunting" Visa, or will a standard work Visa coupled with a valid current state hunting license make them eligible for firearm purchase or possession?
    A standard working visa coupled with a valid current state hunting license will make them eligible. That is what I did a while back.

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