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Federal Private Firearm Transfer Laws

In general, you can buy a handgun out of state, based on federal law. But, to be legal, you can’t take possession of it there. Instead, the seller must deliver it to a federally licensed gun dealer (FFL) in your home state. If you hold a concealed carry permit that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) accepts as a substitute for a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check, the dealer will turn the handgun over to you without further ado. If not, he will perform a NICS check, which you must pass before the firearm is presented to you.

However, there may be state or local laws and regulations that govern this type of transaction. Check the Handgun Purchase & Possession table on your state page.

 

May I lawfully transfer a firearm to an individual who resides in a different state? What if the individual resides within the same state?

Under federal law, an unlicensed individual is prohibited from transferring a firearm to an individual who does not reside in the same state as the transferee. Generally, for a person to lawfully transfer a firearm to an unlicensed person who resides out of state, the firearm must be shipped to an FFL within the recipient’s state of residence. He or she may then receive the firearm from the FFL upon completion of an ATF Form 4473 and a NICS background check. More information can be obtained on the ATF website. The GCA provides an exception from this prohibition for temporary loans or rentals of firearms for lawful sporting purposes. For example, a friend visiting you may borrow a firearm to go hunting. Another exception is provided for transfers of firearms to nonresidents to carry out a lawful bequest or acquisition by interstate succession. This exception would authorize the transfer of a firearm to a nonresident who inherits a firearm under a will or by state law upon death of the owner.

However, there may be state or local laws or regulations that govern this type of transaction. Check the Handgun Purchase & Possession table on your state page.

[18 U.S.C. §922(a)(5)(A)].

 

What record keeping procedures should be followed when two unlicensed individuals want to engage in a firearms transaction?

When a transaction takes place between unlicensed persons who reside in the same state, the Federal Gun Control Act does not require any record keeping. An unlicensed person may sell a firearm to another unlicensed person in his or her state of residence. It is not necessary under Federal law for an FFL to assist in the sale or transfer when the buyer and seller are “same state” residents.

However, there may be state or local laws or regulations that govern this type of transaction. Check the Handgun Purchase & Possession table on your state page.

 

May an individual between the ages of 18 and 21 years of age acquire a handgun from an unlicensed individual who is also a resident of that same state?

An individual between 18 and 21 years of age may acquire a handgun from an unlicensed individual who resides in the same state, provided the person acquiring the handgun is not otherwise prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under federal law. An FFL may not, however, sell or deliver a firearm other than a shotgun or rifle to a person the licensee knows or has reasonable cause to believe is under 21 years of age.

However, there may be state or local laws or regulations that govern this type of transaction. Check the Handgun Purchase & Possession table on your state page.

[18 U.S.C. 922(b)(1)]

 

May a person who resides in one state and owns property in another state, purchase a firearm in either state?

If a person maintains homes in two states and resides in both states for certain periods of the year, he or she may, during the period of time the person actually resides in a particular state, purchase a firearm in that state. However, simply owning property in another state does not alone qualify the person to purchase a firearm in that state.

Although, there may be state or local laws or regulations that govern this type of transaction. Check the Handgun Purchase & Possession table on your state page.

[27 CFR 478.11]

What if I inherit a firearm?

As a general rule, if you want to transfer a firearm to a resident of a different state, you must involve an FFL. But what if grandpa lived in a different state? A firearm inheritance from a will is one of the exceptions to the interstate transfer laws, so long as the receiver is not a “prohibited person” ineligible to possess firearms. Once there is a signed order naming the executor of the will, it is legal for you to bring grandpa’s guns back to your home state without going through an FFL dealer. 

However, there may be state or local laws or regulations that govern this type of transaction. Check the Handgun Purchase & Possession table on your state page.

[18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(5)(A)],

Giving a Gun as a Gift: Check Your Local Listings!

Giving a Gun as a Gift: Check Your Local Listings!

Kevin Michalowski — December 5, 2019

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The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. Members and the concealed carry community, and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer for a specific case.

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