Firearms and the gun culture are deeply rooted in the American culture, primarily driven by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Gunsmithing, while it is a rare profession, plays a central role to gun control in maintaining the safety of the equipment because firearm malfunctions can lead to potentially dangerous situations that may not only damage the gun, but it may also cause injury or death.1
What is Gunsmithing?
The gunsmithing industry involves the repairs, modification, design and building of guns. A gunsmith’s job ranges from factory level repairs to renovations and modifications for special uses. Traditionally, gunsmithing is a trade trained through apprenticeships under the tutelage of a Master Gunsmith.2
However, the increased ownership in firearms (ranging from the right to bear arms to hunting and shooting sports to gun collecting), gunsmith schools are in place to train a greater number of gunsmith to meet this demand.
Is Gunsmithing the right career choice for you? Are you:
- Someone who is good with your hands and have done well in woodwork and metalwork classes in highschool?
- Interested in firearms or interested in going to the shooting range as a hobby?
- Interested in learning about the production of guns?
- Serious about promoting gun safety?
If you have answered yes to the questions above, then you should consider enrolling in a gunsmithing program following highschool. In order to become a qualified gunsmith, you’ll also need to go through a firearms background check before you can be admitted to a program. There are several ways to acquire education and the necessary training to become a gunsmith, including:
- On-campus and online college courses: There are approximately ten schools in the U.S. which offer gunsmith programs, ranging from six month courses to two year programs.
- Military Training3: If you are planning to enroll in the military, the U.S. Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy which offer gunsmithing as part of its training curriculum.
- Apprenticeship: Some active gunsmiths are willing to take on apprentices to teach the gunsmith trade and pass on their expertise to students. You will need to do some research to find the Master Gunsmiths in your local area.
- Short courses: Professional associations offer some courses that focus on the skills of professional gunsmithing.
Whether you decide to enroll in a college program or decide to learn straight from a Master Gunsmith, you will be required to obtain a federal firearms license before you can practice as a gunsmith. This is largely because gunsmiths often retain clients’ firearms for more than a day in order to complete the repairs.