Each state has its own laws about gun ownership. Some states are much more rigid than others. Indeed many states do not require a permit at all. Therefore it is impossible to offer a general set of rules that apply everywhere. The only common denominator is that a federal background check is required in all jurisdictions before a gun can be sold.
Do a reality check. If you cannot pass a federal background check, then you are ineligible for gun ownership. This generally means no felony convictions, and no convictions related to domestic violence.
Learn the gun laws in your state. You can find this information very easily by visiting the website of the National Rifle Asociation. A link is provided below. Also check to see if your city or town has any specific restrictions.
Make sure you have at least two valid photo IDs, such as a drivers license and a passport.
Take a gun safety course if you are inexperienced with firearms. Some states actually require this.
It is your responsibility to learn the laws regarding the use of firearms in self defense in your state. These laws do vary significantly in different jurisdictions.
Items you will need
A clean criminal record
Valid photo identification
A knowledge of the gun laws in your state