Federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers (but not private sellers) to initiate a background check on the purchaser prior to sale of a firearm. Federal law provides states with the option of serving as a state “point of contact” and conducting their own background checks using state, as well as federal, records and databases, or having the checks performed by the FBI using only the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database. (Note that state files are not always included in the federal database.)

Mississippi is not a point of contact state for the NICS. Mississippi has no law requiring firearms dealers to conduct background checks prior to transferring a firearm. In Mississippi, firearms dealers must conduct the background check required by federal law directly through the FBI, which enforces the federal purchaser prohibitions referenced above.1

Firearms transfers by private sellers (non-firearms dealers) are not subject to background checks in Mississippi, although federal and state purchaser prohibitions still apply. See the Mississippi Private Sales section.

See our Background Checks policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Instant Criminal Background Check System Participation Map, at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/general-information/participation-map (last visited Oct. 26, 2011 ⤴︎