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Search terms to use when researching this topic:

Assault weapons

Background checks

Concealed carry laws

Federal Assault Weapon Ban

Firearm background checks

Firearm legislation


Firearms and crime

Firearms ownership -- United States

Gun control

Gun control policy

Gun rights

Gun violence

Handgun control

Mass shootings

School shootings

School violence

Second amendment rights

Stand Your Ground





Assault weapons: As defined by federal legislation, this term refers to semiautomatic weapons (guns that fire a round of bullets with each pull of the trigger). As defined by gun rights advocates, only fully automatic weapons (guns that continue to shoot until the trigger is released) should be considered assault weapons.

Background checks: Investigations into the background of potential gun buyers, intended to prevent the purchase of firearms by potentially dangerous criminals. Depending on legislation, these can be "instant" or may require a waiting period.

Castle Doctrine - A person attacked in his home can use reasonable force--including deadly force--to protect himself or another. Each state has different legal provisions.  

Concealed Carry - The practice of carrying a weapon, typically a handgun, in public in a concealed manner

Open Carry - The practice of allowing the permitted gun owner to carry a firearm on one's person in public

Right to Carry - Laws which allow individuals to carry concealed handguns if they meet other state-legislated criteria.

Secondary market sales: Sales of guns by individuals who are not licensed firearms dealers; such transactions are sometimes exempt from gun control regulations such as required background checks (this is known as the "gun show loophole").

Special interest groups: Nongovernmental organizations that advocate for or against changes in public policy; also known as lobbying groups.

Stand Your Ground - Also called "no duty to retreat". Such laws remove the duty to retreat before using force in self-defense or to protect others from threats.

Strawman Purchase - A loophole in licensing. A felon, or someone unable to purchase legally, arranges with someone who can to acquire a weapon.

Well-regulated militia: A disputed term used in the Second Amendment: Gun control advocates interpret it to mean a disciplined, organized army under government control, while gun rights advocates interpret it to mean any person trained in the use of firearms.

Gun Rights Advocacy Organizations

Gun Control Advocacy Organizations