Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Since Devin Kelley killed 26 people in Sutherland Springs, Texas, questions have arisen surrounding what circumstances keep someone from purchasing a firearm.

Why it matters: Kelley was convicted of domestic violence against his wife and child, and therefore was not legally allowed to own a firearm. According to the Gun Control Act of 1968, anyone convicted of a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence is barred from owning a firearm. However, the Air Force (which issued Kelly a bad conduct discharge) failed to enter his conviction into the National Crime Information Center database.

These are the reasons someone cannot legally ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms or ammunition under federal law (note: some states have additional regulations).

Felons

Anyone who has been convicted of a felony and/or imprisoned for over a year (including a shorter sentence plus probation time) is barred from receiving a firearm. Also, anyone who is awaiting trial on felony charges is prohibited from receiving firearms.

Fugitives

The DOJ released a memo in February stating that this does not apply "based on the mere existence of an outstanding warrant," and instead applies to someone who "has fled the state to...avoid prosecution for a crime or to avoid giving testimony about a criminal proceeding, and is subject to a current or imminent criminal prosecution."

Domestic abusers

Domestic abuse has been repeatedly linked to mass shooters. James Height, who killed eight people in Plano, Texas, including his wife, was physically abusive to his wife. The Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, was remembered for verbally abusing his girlfriend in public. But, the New York Times notes that this only legally applies if the person is married to whomever they are abusing, providing a "boyfriend loophole."

Drug addicts

Those addicted to, or unlawful users of "marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance" are prohibited from having a firearm. According to the ATF's Firearms Transaction Record, use or possession of marijuana is illegal under federal law, despite any legalization (for medicinal or recreational purposes) in the state of the person seeking a firearm.

Those who renounce U.S. citizenship

Anyone who wishes to renounce their U.S. citizenship must, according to the State Department, appear in person before a U.S. consular or diplomatic officer in a foreign country or at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate and sign an oath declaring their renunciation.

The mentally ill

Anyone who has been committed to a mental institution or "adjudicated as a mental defective" is barred from buying a gun.

Receiving a restraining order for stalking

Anyone "subject to a court order restraining the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of the intimate partner," per the ATF.

Those who were dishonorably discharged

Receiving a dishonorable discharge is not the same as receiving a bad conduct discharge. Benjamin Spencer, a reserve officer in the Judge Advocate General's Corps of the U.S. Army, told CBS that a bad conduct discharge is for something at the misdemeanor level, while dishonorable discharge is for a crime at the level of a felony.

Non-U.S. citizens

This includes illegal aliens and "aliens lawfully admitted under non-immigrant visas," per the DOJ. However, the ATF shows that someone with a non-immigrant visa may be an exception for things like lawful hunting, or if they are a foreign law enforcement officer traveling to the U.S. on official business.

One more thing: Transactions and possession of certain kinds of firearms are prohibited by federal law, per the ATF, including the transfer or possession of a machine gun; the manufacture, importation, sale, or possession of firearms undetectable by airport security devices; and owning a firearm unregistered by the National Firearms Act.

Note: This story has been updated to more accurately reflect the law as it applies to the mentally ill.

Go deeper

N.Y. Times faces culture clashes as business booms

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New York Times columnist David Brooks' resignation from a paid gig at a think tank on Saturday is the latest in a flurry of scandals that America's biggest and most successful newspaper company has endured in the past year.

Driving the news: Brooks resigned from the Aspen Institute following a BuzzFeed News investigation that uncovered conflicts of interest between his reporting and money he accepted from corporate donors for a project called "Weave" that he worked on at the nonprofit.

America rebalances its post-Trump news diet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Nearly halfway through President Biden's first 100 days, data shows that Americans are learning to wean themselves off of news — and especially politics.

Why it matters: The departure of former President Trump's once-ubiquitous presence in the news cycle has reoriented the country's attention.

2021 sees a record number of bills targeting trans youth

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Republicans in at least 25 states have introduced over 60 bills targeting transgender children — a legislative boom since January that has beaten 2020's total number of anti-trans bills.

Why it matters: LGBTQ advocates say the unprecedented push was catalyzed by backlash to Biden's election and the Supreme Court ruling that workers cannot be fired for being gay or transgender.