Waiting Periods in New York

Although there is no specific waiting period prior to purchase of a firearm in New York, all handgun purchasers must obtain a license to possess or carry a handgun, and such licenses may take up to six months to process (or longer, upon written notice to the applicant).1

See our Waiting Periods policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(4-a).

Waiting Periods in California

See our Waiting Periods policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

California law prohibits any licensed firearms dealer from transferring or delivering a firearm to a person within ten days of the latter of:

  • The application to purchase the firearm;
  • The submission of any correction to the application, after notice from the California Department of Justice (“DOJ”) that an application is inaccurate or incomplete such that DOJ cannot identify the purchaser or the firearm to be transferred; or
  • The submission of any fee required, after notice from DOJ that the required fee has not been transmitted.1

In other words, if a dealer submits to DOJ any application correction or required fee at the request of DOJ, that dealer is prohibited from delivering the firearm to the purchaser until ten days after submission of the correction or fee.2

DOJ also has the authority to temporarily delay a firearm transaction, for up to 30 days from the date of the initial transaction, when DOJ is unable to immediately determine the purchaser’s eligibility to own or possess firearms.3 If this occurs, the dealer must provide the purchaser with information about the manner in which he or she may contact DOJ regarding the delay.4 DOJ must also notify the purchaser by mail regarding the delay and explain the process by which the purchaser may obtain a copy of the criminal or mental health record the department has on file for the purchaser. Upon receipt of that criminal or mental health record, the purchaser must report any inaccuracies or incompleteness to DOJ on an approved form.5 If DOJ makes a determination about the purchaser’s eligibility within 30 days, it must either immediately notify the dealer that the transaction may proceed, or immediately notify both the dealer and local law enforcement that the person is prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm.6 However, if 30 days have passed since the transaction date and DOJ is still unable to determine the purchaser’s eligibility to own or possess firearms, DOJ must immediately notify the dealer, and the dealer may then release the firearm to the purchaser, at the dealer’s discretion.7 Under federal law, in contrast, a dealer is permitted to transfer a firearm if a background check has not been completed within three business days.8

These waiting period provisions do not apply to:

  • Transfers to licensed firearms importers or manufacturers;9
  • Certain transfers between dealers;10 or
  • Transfers involving curios or relics as defined under federal law.11

For more information on firearm sales in California, see our sections on Background Checks in California and Retention of Sales and Background Check Information in California.

Notes
  1. Cal. Penal Code §§ 26815, 27540, 28220(e).
  2. Id.
  3. Cal Penal Code § 28220(f)(1)(A).
  4. Cal Penal Code § 28220(f)(1)(B).
  5. Cal Penal Code § 28220(f)(2).
  6. Cal Penal Code § 28220(f)(3). If the firearm is transferred by the dealer, the dealer must record on the register or record of electronic transfer the date that the firearm is transferred, the dealer must sign the register or record of electronic transfer indicating delivery of the firearm to that purchaser, and the purchaser must sign the register or record of electronic transfer acknowledging the receipt of the firearm on the date that the firearm is delivered to him or her. Id.
  7. Cal Penal Code § 28220(f)(4). If the firearm is transferred by the dealer, the dealer must record on the register or record of electronic transfer the date that the firearm is transferred, the dealer must sign the register or record of electronic transfer indicating delivery of the firearm to that purchaser, and the purchaser must sign the register or record of electronic transfer acknowledging the receipt of the firearm on the date that the firearm is delivered to him or her. Id.
  8. 18 U.S.C. § 922(t)(1)(B)(ii).
  9. Cal. Penal Code § 27700.
  10. Cal. Penal Code §§ 26960, 27660.
  11. Cal. Penal Code §§ 26970, 27670. For all other exceptions see Cal. Penal Code §§ 26950-26970, 27650-27670. See Cal. Penal Code §§ 28160, 28165 for specific information that must be contained in the sales register or record of electronic or telephonic transfer to DOJ.

Waiting Periods in Massachusetts

See our waiting periods policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Massachusetts imposes no waiting period between the time of purchase and the actual physical transfer of a firearm.

However, Massachusetts requires firearms owners to obtain a state license prior to purchase of a firearm. For more information about these licenses, see Licensing of Gun Owners or Purchasers below. For applicants seeking a firearm identification card (“FID”) or license to carry (“license”), the local licensing authority is required to either approve an application and issue a FID or license, or deny the application and notify the applicant of the reason for such denial in writing, within 40 days from the date of application.1 No FID or license will be issued unless the colonel of the state police has certified, in writing, that the applicant’s background information does not indicate that possession of a firearm by the applicant would be in violation of state or federal law.2

Notes
  1. Mass Gen. Laws ch. 140, §§ 129B(3), 131(e).
  2. Id.

Waiting Periods in New Jersey

New Jersey prohibits the delivery of a handgun by any retail firearms dealer to any person unless the person possesses a valid permit to purchase a handgun and at least seven days have elapsed since the date of application for the permit.1 Since each permit to purchase a handgun is valid for only one handgun purchase, this effectively creates a seven-day waiting period for all handgun sales.2 The waiting period to obtain the permit itself can be as long as 30 days (45 days for non-residents) while the permit application is processed.3

New Jersey has no waiting period for the transfer of long guns.

See our Waiting Periods policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2a(5)(a).
  2. Id.
  3. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3f.

Waiting Periods in Wisconsin

In 2015, Wisconsin repealed its 48 hour waiting period requirement.1 Prior to repeal, the law provided that a federally licensed firearms dealer in Wisconsin could not transfer a handgun to any person until 48 hours had elapsed from the time the dealer had been notified by the Wisconsin Department of Justice (“DOJ”), that the transfer did not violate state law. The new law provides that if the DOJ search indicates that is unclear whether the potential purchaser is prohibited from purchasing a firearm, DOJ must notify the dealer of the results no later than 5 working days after the search was requested. ((Id.))

See our Waiting Periods policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Wis. Stat. § 175.35.

Waiting Periods in Illinois

Illinois prohibits any person from delivering a firearm prior to the expiration of statutory waiting periods, which are 24 hours for long guns and 72 hours for handguns.1 For transfers through licensed dealers and at gun shows, the Illinois Department of State Police must approve the transfer or inform the dealer of the applicant’s ineligibility within these time periods.2 The waiting periods begin to run at the time an application to purchase the firearm is made. “Application” is defined to mean “when a buyer and seller reach an agreement to purchase a firearm.” Non-residents of Illinois who purchase long guns at gun shows are not subject to these waiting periods.3

See our Waiting Periods policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/24-3(A)(g).
  2. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/3.1; 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/24-3(A)(g).
  3. 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/24-3(A)(g).