State Private Sales of Guns

Private Sales in Alabama

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Alabama has no law requiring a background check on the purchaser of a firearm when the seller is not a licensed dealer. Alabama law prohibits anyone from delivering a handgun (but not a long gun) to any person he or she has reasonable cause to believe has been convicted of a crime of violence, or is a drug addict, a habitual drunkard, or of unsound mind.1 The only other Alabama laws governing such sales are those addressing the minimum age of the purchaser.

See our Private Sales policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Ala. Code § 13A-11-76. []

Private Sales in Alaska

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

See our Private Sales policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Alaska does not require a background check on the purchaser of a firearm when the seller is not a licensed dealer.

Alaska prohibits any person from knowingly selling or transferring a concealable firearm to any person convicted of a felony or whose physical or mental condition is substantially impaired by liquor or controlled substances.1

The state also prohibits any person from knowingly selling a firearm to anyone under age 18.2

See the section entitled Retention of Sales / Background Check Records in Alaska for laws requiring pawnbrokers and second-hand dealers to maintain records of sales.

See the section entitled Firearms Trafficking for additional laws that limit private sales of firearms.

  1. Alaska Stat. § 11.61.200(a)(2), (4). []
  2. Alaska Stat. § 11.61.210(a)(6). []

Private Sales in Arizona

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Arizona has no law requiring a background check on the purchaser of a firearm when the seller is not a licensed dealer, although no person may knowingly sell or transfer a deadly weapon to a prohibited possessor.1 All sales are also subject to Arizona’s age restrictions. Arizona has no other laws regulating the manner in which guns are sold.

See our Private Sales Policy Summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3102(A)(5). []

Private Sales in Arkansas

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

See our Private Sales policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Arkansas law has no law requiring a background check on the purchaser of a firearm when the seller is not a licensed dealer.

Arkansas prohibits any person from furnishing a firearm to a minor without the consent of a parent, guardian, or other person responsible for general supervision of the minor’s welfare.1 A violation is a Class B felony if the firearm is a handgun or other specified firearm.2

In addition, the state prohibits any person transferring or furnishing a handgun to another individual who the transferor knows has been found guilty of, or who has pleaded guilty or no contest to, a felony.3

Arkansas prohibits a person from selling, renting, or otherwise transferring a firearm to any person who he or she knows is prohibited by state or federal law from possessing the firearm.4 A violation of this section is a Class A misdemeanor, unless the firearm is a handgun (or other specified firearm, such as a machine gun), in which case the violation rises to a Class B felony.5

See the section entitled Firearms Trafficking for additional laws that limit private sales of firearms.

  1. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-109(a). Arkansas defines minor as any person under 18 years of age. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-101(9). []
  2. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-129. []
  3. Id. []
  4. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-132(a). []
  5. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-132(b). []

Private Sales in California

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

See our Private Sales policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

When neither party to a transaction is a licensed firearms dealer, firearms transfers in California must be completed through a licensed California dealer.1 To complete such transactions, the seller or transferor must provide the firearm to the dealer, who will deliver the firearm to the purchaser or transferee following a background check and expiration of the mandatory state waiting period, unless the transferee is prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms, or the dealer is otherwise notified by the California Department of Justice that the sale or transfer may not proceed.2 If the dealer cannot deliver the firearm to the purchaser or transferee, the dealer must determine whether the private seller or transferor is prohibited from possessing a firearm.3 If the seller or transferor does not fall into a prohibited class, the dealer must immediately return the firearm to that party. In the event the seller or transferor does fall into a prohibited class, the dealer cannot return the firearm to that party, and must deliver the firearm to the sheriff of the county or to the chief of police of any city in the county in which the dealer operates.4

The following sales and transfers are exempt from the requirement that they be processed through a licensed dealer:5

  • Certain government-sponsored transfers, including gun buybacks;6
  • Certain transfers to nonprofit historical societies, museums, or institutional collections;7
  • Transfers to licensed firearms manufacturers and importers;8
  • Infrequent transfers between immediate family members;9
  • Certain loans involving firearms;10
  • Donations made to non-profit auctions;11
  • Transfers by operation of law;12 or
  • Certain transfers of curios or relics to licensed firearms collectors.13

Private sales and transfers of firearms are not subject to the state’s restriction on purchasing more than one handgun per month,14 or the state’s design safety standards for handguns.15

All licensed firearms dealers must process private party transfers of long guns upon request. Licensed dealers who sell, transfer, or stock handguns must also process private party handgun transactions upon request.16

Any person, corporation, or dealer is prohibited from transferring a firearm to a person the seller “knows or has cause to believe” is not the actual purchaser or transferee of a firearm (such a person is known as a “straw purchaser” – someone not in a prohibited category who buys firearms on behalf of a convicted felon, juvenile or other prohibited purchaser), if the person, corporation, or dealer knows that the firearm is to be subsequently transferred in violation of California law.17  California law also prohibits any person from supplying a firearm to any person that state law prohibits from possessing firearms for mental health reasons.18 Private sellers of firearms must also comply with California’s age restrictions for the purchase or sale of a firearm.

  1. Cal. Penal Code § 27545. Cal. Code Regs. tit. 11, § 4032. []
  2. Cal. Penal Code § 28050. []
  3. Cal. Penal Code § 28050. []
  4. Cal. Penal Code § 28050. []
  5. Note, however, that transferees receiving a firearm through one of these exceptions may be required to report to DOJ the receipt of the firearm within 30 days, and obtain a handgun safety certificate if the firearm is a handgun. See the Licensing of Gun Purchasers or Owners in California section. []
  6. Cal. Penal Code § 27850. []
  7. Cal. Penal Code §§ 27855, 27860. []
  8. Cal. Penal Code § 27865. []
  9. Cal. Penal Code § 27875. []
  10. Cal. Penal Code §§ 27880, 27885, 27910. []
  11. Cal. Penal Code §§ 27900, 27905. []
  12. Cal. Penal Code §§ 27920, 27925. []
  13. Cal. Penal Code § 27966. []
  14. Cal. Penal Code § 27535(b)(8). []
  15. See Cal. Penal Code §§ 27545 and 32110(a). []
  16. Cal. Penal Code § 28065. []
  17. Cal. Penal Code § 27515. []
  18. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 8101 (referencing §§ 8100 and 8103). []

Private Sales in Colorado

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Updated July 1, 2013

In Colorado, all firearm transfers between unlicensed persons must be processed by a licensed firearms dealer, subjecting the prospective purchaser to a background check.

Colorado requires private sellers (sellers who are not federally licensed dealers) to initiate a background check when transferring a firearm. Any unlicensed individual who seeks to transfer possession of a firearm to a prospective transferee must:  1) require that a background check is conducted on the prospective transferee by a licensed gun dealer; and 2) obtain approval of the transfer from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) following the background check request.1

If the transferee is an entity (e.g. a business), then a background check must be conducted on each person who is authorized by the entity to possess a firearm.2

When a licensed dealer obtains a background check on a prospective transferee, the dealer must record the transfer and retain the records in the same manner as when conducting a sale, rental or exchange at retail. The dealer must also provide the transferor and transferee with a copy of the results of the background check, including CBI’s approval or disapproval of the transfer.3

A dealer may charge a fee of up to $10 for conducting a background check for a private seller.4

A transferee cannot accept possession of the firearm from a private seller until CBI approves the transfer. The transfer must be completed within 30 days of that approval.5

A transferee is prohibited from knowingly providing false information to a prospective transferor or to a licensed dealer for the purpose of acquiring a firearm.6

A person who transfers a firearm in violation of the above provisions may be jointly and severally liable for any civil damages proximately caused by the transferee’s subsequent use of the firearm.7

The private transfer provisions do not apply to, inter alia:

  • A bona fide gift or loan between immediate family members;
  • A transfer that occurs by operation of law or because of the death of a person for whom the prospective transferor is an executor or administrator of an estate or a trustee of a trust created in a will;
  • A transfer that is temporary and occurs while in the home of the unlicensed transferee if:
    • The unlicensed transferee is not prohibited from possessing firearms; and
    • The unlicensed transferee reasonably believes that possession of the firearm is necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury to the unlicensed transferee;
  • A temporary transfer of possession without power of ownership or a title to ownership, which takes place:
    • At a shooting range located in or on premises owned by a duly incorporated organization organized for conservation purposes or to foster proficiency in firearms;
    • At a target firearm shooting competition under the auspices of, or approved by, a state agency or a nonprofit organization; or
    • While hunting, fishing, target shooting, or trapping if:
      • Legal in all places where the unlicensed transferee possesses the firearm; and
      • The unlicensed transferee holds any license or permit that is required for such activity;
  • A transfer of a firearm that is made to facilitate the repair or maintenance of the firearm, except that all parties who possess the firearm as part of such transaction must be able to legally possess a firearm;
  • Any temporary transfer that occurs while in the continuous presence of the owner of the firearm;
  • A temporary transfer for not more than 72 hours. A person who makes such a temporary transfer may be jointly and severally liable for damages proximately caused by the transferee’s subsequent unlawful use of the firearm; or
  • A member of the armed services who will be deployed outside of the U.S. in the next 30 days, to any immediate family member.8

When a person violates the above private transfer requirements, the violation is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor and the person must be prohibited from possessing a firearm for two years, beginning on the date of his or her conviction.9 When a person is convicted, the State Court Administrator must report the conviction to CBI and to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The report must include information indicating that the person is prohibited from possessing a firearm for two years, beginning on the date of his or her conviction.10

See the Background Checks in Colorado section for further information.

In Colorado, a person is criminally liable if he or she:

  • Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly provides a handgun to any person under age 18;
  • Knows of a juvenile’s unlawful possession of a handgun and fails to make reasonable efforts to prevent the juvenile’s conduct;
  • Is aware of a substantial risk that a juvenile will use a handgun to commit a felony and permits the juvenile to possess a handgun;
  • Is aware of a substantial risk that a juvenile will use a handgun to commit a felony and fails to make reasonable efforts to prevent the commission of the offense;
  • Sells, rents, or transfers ownership of a long gun to a juvenile without the consent of his or her parent or guardian. This prohibition also applies to a person who allows unsupervised possession of a long gun to a juvenile without the consent of the juvenile’s parent or guardian;11 or
  • Violates the private transfer requirements by, for example, failing to have a licensed dealer conduct a background check on the transferee. A person violating the private transfer requirements can be held jointly and severally liable for any civil damages proximately caused by the transferee’s subsequent use of the firearm.12

See our Private Sales policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-112(1)(a). []
  2. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-112(1)(b), (2)(A). []
  3. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-112(2)(b), (c). []
  4. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-112(2)(d). []
  5. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-112(3)(a), (4). []
  6. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-112(3)(b). []
  7. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-112(5). []
  8. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-112(6). []
  9. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-112(9)(a). []
  10. Id. []
  11. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-108.7. []
  12. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-112. []

Private Sales in Connecticut

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

(Last updated July 12, 2013.)

Connecticut prohibits any person, firm or corporation from selling, delivering or otherwise transferring a handgun to any person prohibited by state law from possessing a handgun.1 Handgun transfers may not be made until the person, firm or corporation making the transfer obtains an authorization number – following a background check on the prospective purchaser – from the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP).2 Moreover, the state prohibits any person, firm, or corporation from transferring a handgun unless the transferee has a permit to carry a handgun, a permit to sell handguns at retail, or a handgun eligibility certificate.3 See the Licensing of Gun Owners & Purchasers in Connecticut section.

Connecticut also prohibits the sale or transfer of a long gun by someone who is not a federally-licensed firearm dealer, manufacturer, or importer to someone who is not a similarly-licensed person, unless the following conditions are met:

  1. The prospective transferor and transferee must comply with the documentation and authorization requirements that apply to retail sales of long guns (e.g., (a) the seller must document the transaction with DESPP, maintain copies of the record, and obtain an authorization number from DESPP; (b) the buyer must undergo a national instant criminal background check system (NICS) check; (c) the gun cannot be loaded when transferred; and (d) DESPP must authorize or deny the sale or transfer);4 or
  2. Starting on January 1, 2014, a federally licensed firearm dealer, upon the request of the prospective transferor or transferee, must consent to initiate a NICS check in accordance with the procedures set forth below, and the background check must show that the transferee is eligible to receive the gun.5

To proceed under the second option, the prospective transferor or transferee must provide the consenting dealer with the transferee’s name, gender, race, date of birth, and state of residence. If necessary to verify the person’s identity, he or she may also provide a unique numeric identifier (such as a Social Security number) and additional identifiers (such as height, weight, eye and hair color, and place of birth).6

The prospective transferee must present to the dealer his or her gun credential (gun eligibility certificate, handgun permit, handgun sale permit, or handgun eligibility certificate). The dealer can charge up to $20 for initiating the background check.7

The dealer must initiate the background check by contacting the NICS operations center. The dealer must immediately notify the prospective transferor or transferee of the response from the center. The sale or transfer cannot take place if the response indicates the prospective transferee is ineligible to receive the gun.8

When the transaction is completed, the transferor or transferee must complete a DESPP-prescribed form containing the: 1) transferor’s name, address, and firearm permit or certificate number, if any; 2) transferee’s name, address, date and place of birth, and firearm permit or certificate number; 3) sale or transfer date; 4) caliber, make, model, and manufacturer’s number and a general description of the gun; and 5) background check transaction number.9

Prior to the transfer of any firearm at a gun show, the transferee must undergo a background check.10 See the Gun Shows in Connecticut section for more information.

In Connecticut, any person who sells, delivers or otherwise transfers a firearm to a person knowing that person is prohibited from possessing the firearm “shall be strictly liable for damages for the injury or death of another person resulting from the use of such firearm by any person.”11

Connecticut prohibits any person not authorized by law from conveying or passing any firearm to any inmate of a correctional or humane institution.12

For laws aimed at gun trafficking, see the section entitled Firearms Trafficking in Connecticut.

For laws requiring the sale of a locking device to accompany the sale of a handgun, see the Locking Devices in Connecticut section. Retail handgun sellers must also provide the purchaser with a written warning stating that unlawful storage of a firearm may result in imprisonment or fine.13

For laws requiring firearm sellers to retain records of sales, see the Retention of Firearm Sales & Background Checks Records in Connecticut section.

See our Private Sales policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-33(a). The possessor prohibitions under Connecticut General Statues § 53a-217c are described in the Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Connecticut section. []
  2. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-33(c). []
  3. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-33(b). []
  4. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-37a(b). []
  5. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-37a(e), (f). []
  6. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-37a(f)(1). []
  7. Id. []
  8. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-37a(f)(2). []
  9. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-37a(f)(3). []
  10. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-37g(c). []
  11. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-571f. []
  12. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-174(a). []
  13. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-37b(a). []

Private Sales in Delaware

Posted on Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Private firearms transfers (i.e., transfers by non-firearms dealers) are subject to a criminal background check requirement in Delaware.1 A background check must be conducted on the prospective purchaser when neither the seller nor the buyer is a licensed dealer.2

“Transfer” does not include:

  • The loan of a firearm for lawful purposes for 14 days or less to a person known personally to the owner;
  • A temporary transfer for lawful purposes for less than one day while in the “continuous presence” of the gun’s owner:
  • Transfer for repair, service or modification by a licensed gunsmith or other lawful business engaged in that trade; or
  • A transfer by operation of law or required for certain transfers at death.3

Licensed gun dealers are required to facilitate the transfer of a firearm when any unlicensed seller requests that the dealer conduct a background check on a prospective buyer.4 Both the unlicensed seller and prospective purchaser must appear together at the licensed dealer’s place of business to complete the background check and transaction. The transfer cannot proceed if the prospective buyer is prohibited from possessing, purchasing or owning a firearm under state law.5 Licensed dealers must maintain a record of criminal background checks that are completed at the request of unlicensed sellers.6 The dealer may charge a fee of no more than $30 for each background check.7

Anyone who knowingly engages in a private transfer of a firearm without conducting a background check is criminally liable for a Class A misdemeanor. Anyone who conducts subsequent offenses is  criminally liable for a Class G felony.8 See the Delaware Background Checks and Delaware Prohibited Purchasers Generally sections for further information.

Exceptions

The background check requirement for private transactions does not apply to transfers of firearms between extended family members or legal guardians.9 The requirement also does not apply to firearms manufactured in or before 1898,10 certain replica firearms,11 certain firearms made for hunting or competitive shooting,12 transfers to an active or retired law-enforcement officer,13 transfers to a person who has a valid concealed carry permit,14 transactions involving a curio or relic to a licensed collector15 and transactions involving a transfer to an authorized state or local representative as part of a voluntary gun-buyback program.16

The background check requirement also does not apply to transactions in which the buyer is a valid member of an organized church or religious group the beliefs of which prohibit photographic identification.17 In such a case, the buyer and seller must appear before the State Bureau of Investigation (“Bureau”). The buyer must provide the Bureau with fingerprints so it can obtain the buyer’s criminal history to determine if the buyer is prohibited from purchasing a firearm.18 In addition, the buyer must submit a signed affidavit that photographic identification violates the beliefs of an organized religion or church of which the buyer is a valid member.19

See our Private Sales policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1448B(a). []
  2. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1448B(a). []
  3. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1448(B)(b)(2). []
  4. See Del. Code Ann. tit. 24, § 904A(b). []
  5. Del. Code Ann. tit. 24, § 904A(b)(1)-(3). []
  6. Del. Code Ann. tit. 24, § 904A(b)(4). []
  7. Del. Code Ann. tit. 24, § 904A(b)(5). []
  8. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1448B(e). []
  9. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1448B(c)(1). []
  10. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1448B(c)(2). []
  11. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1448B(c)(3). []
  12. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1448B(c)(4). []
  13. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1448B(c)(5). []
  14. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1448B(c)(6). []
  15. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11 § 1448B(c)(8). []
  16. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11 § 1448B(c)(9). []
  17. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1448B(c)(7). []
  18. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1448B(f)(1), (2). []
  19. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1448B(f)(2). []

Private Sales in Florida

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

See our Private Sales policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Florida has no law generally requiring a background check on the purchaser of a firearm when the seller is not a licensed dealer. However, the Florida Constitution permits counties to adopt laws that would require such background checks for sales occurring in or on “property to which the public has the right of access” within the county. The Florida Constitution states that, “[e]ach county shall have the authority to require a criminal history records check…in connection with the sale of any firearm occurring within such county.”1 The term “sale” under this section “means the transfer of money or other valuable consideration for any firearm when any part of the transaction is conducted on property to which the public has the right of access.”2 Concealed weapons permit holders are not subject to these laws.3

  1. Fla. Const. art. VIII, § 5(b). []
  2. Id. []
  3. Id. []

Private Sales in Georgia

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Georgia law does not require a background check on the purchaser of a firearm when the seller is not a licensed dealer.

See our Private Sales policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

For laws applicable to handgun dealers, see Georgia Dealer Regulations. For laws regarding the sale of firearms to minors, see Georgia Minimum Age to Purchase or Possess Firearms. See the section entitled Firearms Trafficking in Georgia for additional laws that limit private sales of firearms.