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In the last two months, we published two blog posts dealing with campus safety issues.  One is regarding three Chinese students’ deaths around University of Southern California’s campus, and the other post was about Reuters’s  ‘Shootings at U.S. colleges deadlier and more frequent.”

In our article dated Oct. 5 of 2016 – ‘School Shootings are Getting Deadlier’ – we learned “the statistics show campus shootings in the past five years have increased rapidly – Shootings on college campuses have doubled. Three times as many people were injured or killed since 2005.”

Not surprisingly, a growing number of international students have raised their concerns about campus safety.   Many have considered buying guns – something that they would have never done if they were in their home countries.   But here comes a question –

“Can an International Student Buy Guns in the U.S.?”


The answer can be “YES” or “NO.”   Just take a look at the reply to a common question on the website of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives:

May aliens legally in the United States purchase firearms?

An alien legally in the U.S. is not prohibited from purchasing firearms unless the alien is admitted into the U.S. under nonimmigrant visa and does not meet one of the exceptions as provided in 18 U.S.C. 922(y)(2), such as possession of a valid hunting license or permit.

[18 U.S.C. 922 (d)(5), (g)(5) and (y)(2); 27 CFR 478.11 and 478.32(a)(5) ]


So “Can an international student buy a gun in the U.S.?” – The ultimate answer is “YES, but it is only for hunting rifles and if you meet the conditions described by law.”  However, carrying a hunting rifle in the United States as a foreigner can be a serious violation of your legal F-1 visa status as an international student.   If you don’t follow the U.S. gun laws strictly, you may face the risk of being deported.

A recent report, from West Lafayette, Indiana, on international students seeking for handgun licenses pointed out another obstacle:

In gun-friendly Indiana, international students find licensing isn’t easy

Please note that West Lafayette, Indiana is the home of Purdue University which hosts about 10,000 international students.  

In the United States, owning a gun or rifle for leisure or self-defense is a right as long as it does not cause any public safety issues. (Public Safety Issues? It is up to the police, not YOU, to decide the answer.)  You can have a hunting rifle but is it worth all the troubles before owning it and the risk of possible deportation?  Finally, think how you are going to handle the gun(s) before you leave the United States after graduation.   Maybe the hessles you will encounter already offset all the fun of hunting.  Why bother?