Can you buy a gun if you have anxiety?

This post answers: Can you buy a gun if you have anxiety? What are the reasons for individuals to own a gun? What are some reasons not to own a gun? What is Anxiety? What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety? What are the causes of anxiety? What are some ways to manage anxiety? What are the therapy options for anxiety?

Can you buy a gun if you have anxiety?

Under the Federal law when any authority or regulatory body holds an individual mentally unsound, they do not have the facilities or are prohibited from purchasing a gun. The other possible elements that do not provide individuals with the right to purchase a gun varies between jurisdictions.

Some grounds on which different states might ban the purchasing of firearms are:

  • In the presence of certain diagnoses or display of threats
  • If they are admitted to a mental institution willingly
  • When there is a guardian who is named to handle their matters
  • If individuals are directed to take up ambulatory care.

What is the state-wise rule in the US for individuals with anxiety buying a gun?

In US both, federal and state law prohibits the ownership of a gun by mentally unsound individuals.


In the state of California, no individual who has been declared as a danger to others due to their mental instability and illness has the right to purchase or borrow a gun or any other deadly weapon until they are given a certificate of discharge from them.


In the state of Florida, individuals require a license to take ownership of guns or other weapons by the Department of Agriculture and consumer services Indicating their mental status.


In the state of Georgia no individual is given the license of owning a gun if they were hospitalized in a mental institution or alcohol and drug treatment center in the past five years preceding the submission request.


In the state of Michigan, individuals are not eligible to gain a license for owning a gun if they are under the order of involuntary commitment due to their mental instability in a clinical setting.


In the state of Minnesota, individuals are not given a license for owning a gun if the person is mentally ill or someone has been found unfit to stand trial due to their mental illness

New York

In the state of New York individuals who have been mentally ill are not provided with a license to hold a gun according to the mental hygiene department office.


In the state of Washington, both children and adults can be held guilty of a first-degree crime for owning a gun after being convicted of any crime because of their mental illness in this state or elsewhere.

Can you buy a gun if you have anxiety?

What are the reasons for individuals to own a gun?

Some reasons for individuals with anxiety to own a gun are:

  • For safety and self-protection
  • For resistance to violence in extreme cases
  • To know the interesting functionality of guns
  • For hunting

What are some reasons not to own a gun?

Some reasons why owning a gun can be dangerous are:

  • The safety of children at home
  • Mental health concerns
  • Complexity of usage
  • Possibility of accidents

What is Anxiety?

Problems and resulting stress are usually accompanied by some common emotions like confusion, feeling at the edge, a sense of helplessness, and recurrent negative thoughts which can collectively be seen as an individual experiencing what’s commonly called  Anxiety. 

Every human has their unique ways of dealing with these difficult situations and the following emotions, some try to adapt to the circumstances and find the best and most comfortable solution while others try to find an escape route for the same, in both cases the main aim is usually to get over the uncomfortable emotions of anxiety. 

What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety? 

Anxiety is characterized by a set of signs and symptoms such as:


  • Sweating
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sense of choking
  • Complaints of chest pain
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Fear of losing control over oneself and their environment
  • Fear of impending doom
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Increased heart rate

These symptoms vary in severity from person to person. However, it is noted that many people experience anxiety attacks that are not significantly displayed.

What are the causes of anxiety?

Anxiety often results from accumulated stress or overwhelming feelings. Some common causes of anxiety include.

  • Increased and challenging situations and demands in day-to-day life.
  • Major changes in family dynamics such as marriage, divorce, death of a loved one.
  • Strain interpersonal relationships
  • Intrapersonal conflicts
  • Ineffective coping mechanisms
  • Comorbid conditions both physical and mental
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Genetic factors
  • Changes in the brain region
  • Overdose of caffeine
  • Prolonged use of medications
  • Significant traumatic experiences in the past or recent times
  • Comorbid mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder or any other phobias.

What are some ways to manage anxiety?

Identify and acknowledge the triggers

The most significant strategy that can be used to control one’s anxiety is by identifying and acknowledging those triggers.

Being able to recognize what makes an individual anxious makes them better equipped to take action.

Relaxation techniques


Even though anxiety can be bought under an individual’s control it cannot be predicted. In such situations, it is necessary that an individual actively carries out relaxation techniques.

These might include meditation, yoga, and deep breathing which helps to reduce the intensity of anxiety within a short period.



A key to reducing the frequency and intensity of anxiety attacks could be spending time with close family and friends.

The kind of emotional and practical support provided by these social and personal groups help the person feel connected and aid in distracting one’s mind from negative and recurring thoughts that lead to anxiety.

Apart from friends and families, individuals can also consider speaking to groups of people that are experiencing similar problems.

Set realistic goals

When an individual is feeling overwhelmed, setting goals and targets keeping in mind priorities can help resolve overwhelming feelings of fear or panic.

Setting goals provides structure and routine to an individual’s life reducing space for uncertainty which can be a major trigger for anxiety in many cases.

Take up new challenges

Apart from doing activities that an individual is usually fond of and has expertise in, trying new and challenging activities that put an individual outside their comfort zone in a healthy manner may help reduce the stress and anger temporarily.

Signing up for new activities also provides a path to meeting people with similar stories and concerns.

Lifestyle changes

An individual’s lifestyle plays a major role in their experience of anxiety. An unhealthy and busy lifestyle usually leads to unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, lack of adequate sleep.

A combination of a well-set diet, exercise, and sleep can help to regulate an individual’s mood and equip them with a favorable coping mechanism.

These coping mechanisms in turn help to get control over once anxiety concerns in a more adaptable manner.

lack of proper diet, sleep, and exercise can make an individual sluggish, dependent, moody and vulnerable to anxiety attacks.

Making journal entries

Last but not least having a journal to write down how a person is feeling and thinking when they are anxious helps them to reflect upon their thoughts and feelings.

Putting down one’s thoughts and feelings onto a paper helps to provide a sense of temporary relief.

In the case of journal entry, a person does not even have to fear being judged by another person regarding their thoughts and feelings.

What are the therapy options for anxiety?

Cognitive-behavioural therapy

Cognitive-behavioural therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular stimulus that they usually fear or are anxious about in a graded order.

As and when the individual gets comfortable with the situation or stimulus introduced or exposed to them with each session, individuals get more comfortable with a real-life situation that might have otherwise been a source for triggering anxiety.

Group therapy


It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same fears they might not feel left alone or isolated. Group therapy usually involves a group of individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.


Anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health care professional.

Though medication alone cannot help in reducing persistent anxiety it can help in restoring a sense of control and bring temporary relief. 

Online therapy  

In cases where reaching out physically to a professional is impossible or discomforting an individual can opt to seek help through the online medium. 

In this, the therapy sessions are carried out one-to-one over a video or audio call. Some individuals also prefer interacting with the therapist through text as well due to various reasons. One of the most common is the fear of being judged by the therapist or some personal hesitation. 

Online therapy can help individuals to regulate some aspects of their anxiety that aids individuals in carrying out a stress-free life over time


Individuals consider owning a gun primarily because of safety concerns. However mental health conditions such as anxiety can be mentally and physically overwhelming and distort their judgment about the usage of the gun.

Due to this reason, many countries in their states prohibit the ownership of guns individuals are diagnosed with a mental health condition such as anxiety or any other significant illness keeping in mind the safety of the individuals as well as the others.

Frequently asked questions: Can you buy a gun if you have anxiety?

What prohibits individuals from buying a gun?

Individuals are prohibited from buying a gun due to the various state and federal law after being convicted of a crime or if they are a part of any court orders relating to domestic violence or any significant mental health disorder

What is considered Mental defective?

Mental defective is considered when a legal authority finds that a person is at risk of harming oneself or others due to subnormal intelligence or mental disorder and other significant illnesses. Another case would be due to the lack of an individual’s mental strength to regulate their environment.

Does owning a gun make you feel safer?

Many individuals feel that owning a gun will give them a sense of safety however this is contradicted by many other findings that indicate ownership of a gun does not significantly enhance safety.

How far back do NICS background checks go?

The NICS Check takes about a couple of minutes and it’s valid for about 30 days. In about 92% of the tests, an instant verdict is provided according to the FBI. if the checks are clear the weapons are sold.


Can you get a gun if you have anxiety? (yes or no)