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In the TNG episode "The Most Toys", the Varon-T disruptor is specifically mentioned as being illegal in the Federation because of its particularly cruel method of killing. Singling out a specific weapon and saying that it is banned seems to imply that other weapons are not banned. Does the Federation have a general right to bear arms for civilians? For example, if a civilian wants to walk across the 24th century Golden Gate Bridge with a Klingon disruptor pistol strapped to his belt for non-aggressive reasons (personal protection, because it looks cool, family heirloom, cultural or religious requirement, whatever), is this allowed? If there are restrictions (e.g. stun weapons only unless a civilian weapons license is held, no disintegrators, max battery capacity, must be 21, etc.), what are they?

In Star Trek V, it is specifically mentioned that Nimbus III, the "Planet of Galactic Peace", which is jointly administered by the Federation, Klingons, and Romulans, bans civilian ownership of weapons, also implying that civilians not on Nimbus III do have access to weapons (otherwise, banning them on Nimbus III would lack significance).

On pre-Federation Earth, we see an apparently civilian farmer with a plasma weapon (ENT: Broken Bow), so there seems to be some precedent for personal weapon ownership beyond the 21st century.

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    I'm feeling like the member planets of the Federation are sovereign states, thus civilian laws would probably change depending where you live. However, since I can't recall any supporting or contrary lore I'm not posting as an answer. – Xantec Jan 30 '18 at 2:23
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    Aren’t weapons not permitted at all on Risa? – Ham Sandwich Jan 30 '18 at 3:15
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    Given that many advanced weapons seem to have an equivalent of a "stun" setting, perhaps the issue is whether lethal weapons are allowed, as presumably stun weapons might be less problematic for the Feds. And that farmer might not have been supposed to have his weapon - why assume it was legal - it does seem a bit OTT for a farmer on a planet which we are told has world peace ! – StephenG Jan 30 '18 at 3:29
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    Or the farmer's weapon might have been legally purchased as a."stunner" and later modified for added power. There's too much we don't know about the laws on Earth and in the United States at that time. – Xantec Jan 30 '18 at 4:24
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    Just because the Varon-T disruptor was singled out doesn't mean other guns aren't also illegal. It might be illegal for everyone, even the government/Starfleet. – Z. Cochrane Jan 30 '18 at 5:11
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We don't often see an armed civilian in Star Trek. The earliest (chronologically) was in the Star Trek: Enterprise pilot Broken Bow, where a farmer armed with a plasma rifle shoots a Klingon (this was in the nascent days of the Federation)

Man holding a futuristic rifle

Man shooting a Klingon coming out of a cornfield

The other incidents I can find with firearms either involve military circumstances (i.e. sidearms or armed conflicts) or some sort of exigent storyline (i.e. North Star, which involved humans kidnapped from the 19th century wild west).

Either way, it appears that the Federation allowed some private ownership of weapons. Given that we often see colonies destroyed or face civil unrest, allowing private weapon ownership seems to be the only logical conclusion for people living on the "final frontier".

The Maquis represent the only time we see the Federation try to disarm a group. They formed their own militia when they opted to live within the demilitarized zone between Federation and Cardassian space. The Federation openly tried to disarm them to avoid stirring a war with the Cardassians.

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    Technically, the Maquis are not within Federation jurisdiction because of the treaty with the Cardassians, although they are Federation citizens. In all likelihood, it's actually Cardassia which forbade them from possessing weapons. Very few real-world countries will attempt to defend the right to bear arms for citizens not within their borders. Add to that the treaty with the Cardassians, which may or may not require the Federation to take such steps, and the diplomatic implications of allowing the Maquis to go unchallenged, and the UFP's behavior seems downright reasonable. – Kevin Jan 30 '18 at 18:45
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    We do see a Nausicaan armed with a knife in TNG Tapestry – Xantec Feb 4 '18 at 21:54
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    And in TNG Brothers there is mention of laser pistols, with "toy" ones used in a game. – Xantec Feb 4 '18 at 22:52

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