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Which states require background checks and/or permits to purchase handguns?

21 states have adopted this policy

AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Alabama has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Alaska has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Arizona has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Arkansas has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

California has adopted this policy

Does the law cover only handgun purchases, or also rifle and shotgun purchases?
All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns)
When is the background check performed?
Point-of-sale

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Colorado has adopted this policy

Does the law cover only handgun purchases, or also rifle and shotgun purchases?
All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns)
When is the background check performed?
Point-of-sale

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Connecticut has adopted this policy

Does the law cover only handgun purchases, or also rifle and shotgun purchases?
All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns)
When is the background check performed?
Permit to purchase and point-of-sale

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Delaware has adopted this policy

Does the law cover only handgun purchases, or also rifle and shotgun purchases?
All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns)
When is the background check performed?
Point-of-sale

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Florida has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Georgia has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Hawaii has adopted this policy

Does the law cover only handgun purchases, or also rifle and shotgun purchases?
All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns)
When is the background check performed?
Permit to purchase

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Idaho has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Illinois has adopted this policy

Does the law cover only handgun purchases, or also rifle and shotgun purchases?
All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns)
When is the background check performed?
Permit to purchase and point-of-sale

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Indiana has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Iowa has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Kansas has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Kentucky has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Louisiana has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Maine has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Maryland has adopted this policy

Does the law cover only handgun purchases, or also rifle and shotgun purchases?
All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns)
When is the background check performed?
Permit to purchase (for handguns) and point-of-sale (for all guns)

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Massachusetts has adopted this policy

Does the law cover only handgun purchases, or also rifle and shotgun purchases?
All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns)
When is the background check performed?
Permit to purchase

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Michigan has adopted this policy

Does the law cover only handgun purchases, or also rifle and shotgun purchases?
Handguns only
When is the background check performed?
Permit to purchase

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Minnesota has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Mississippi has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Missouri has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Montana has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Nebraska has adopted this policy

Does the law cover only handgun purchases, or also rifle and shotgun purchases?
Handguns only
When is the background check performed?
Permit to purchase

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Nevada has adopted this policy

Does the law cover only handgun purchases, or also rifle and shotgun purchases?
All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns)
When is the background check performed?
Point-of-sale

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

New Hampshire has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

New Jersey has adopted this policy

Does the law cover only handgun purchases, or also rifle and shotgun purchases?
All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns)
When is the background check performed?
Permit to purchase and point-of-sale

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

New Mexico has adopted this policy

Does the law cover only handgun purchases, or also rifle and shotgun purchases?
All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns)
When is the background check performed?
Point-of-sale

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

New York has adopted this policy

Does the law cover only handgun purchases, or also rifle and shotgun purchases?
All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns)
When is the background check performed?
Permit to purchase (for handguns) and point-of-sale (for all guns)

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

North Carolina has adopted this policy

Does the law cover only handgun purchases, or also rifle and shotgun purchases?
Handguns only
When is the background check performed?
Permit to purchase

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

North Dakota has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Ohio has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Oklahoma has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Oregon has adopted this policy

Does the law cover only handgun purchases, or also rifle and shotgun purchases?
All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns)
When is the background check performed?
Point-of-sale

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Pennsylvania has adopted this policy

Does the law cover only handgun purchases, or also rifle and shotgun purchases?
Handguns only
When is the background check performed?
Point-of-sale

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Rhode Island has adopted this policy

Does the law cover only handgun purchases, or also rifle and shotgun purchases?
All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns)
When is the background check performed?
Point-of-sale

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

South Carolina has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

South Dakota has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Tennessee has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Texas has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Utah has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Vermont has adopted this policy

Does the law cover only handgun purchases, or also rifle and shotgun purchases?
All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns)
When is the background check performed?
Point-of-sale

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Virginia has adopted this policy

Does the law cover only handgun purchases, or also rifle and shotgun purchases?
All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns)
When is the background check performed?
Point-of-sale

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Washington has adopted this policy

Does the law cover only handgun purchases, or also rifle and shotgun purchases?
All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns)
When is the background check performed?
Point-of-sale

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

West Virginia has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Wisconsin has not adopted this policy

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Wyoming has not adopted this policy

What It Does

Requiring background checks before a gun purchase ensures that the buyer is not legally prohibited from having guns due to criminal history, mental health disability, or other factors. A purchase permit may come with additional strong issuance standards or more robust record-keeping. States should require background checks not just to buy handguns but also for rifle and shotgun purchases.

The Impact

State laws requiring background checks at the point of sale and/or as part of a permit to purchase are associated with lower rates of firearm homicide, firearm suicide, and firearm trafficking.

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Policy adopted? Does the law cover only handgun purchases, or also rifle and shotgun purchases? When is the background check performed?
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns) Point-of-sale
Colorado All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns) Point-of-sale
Connecticut All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns) Permit to purchase and point-of-sale
Delaware All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns) Point-of-sale
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns) Permit to purchase
Idaho
Illinois All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns) Permit to purchase and point-of-sale
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns) Permit to purchase (for handguns) and point-of-sale (for all guns)
Massachusetts All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns) Permit to purchase
Michigan Handguns only Permit to purchase
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska Handguns only Permit to purchase
Nevada All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns) Point-of-sale
New Hampshire
New Jersey All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns) Permit to purchase and point-of-sale
New Mexico All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns) Point-of-sale
New York All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns) Permit to purchase (for handguns) and point-of-sale (for all guns)
North Carolina Handguns only Permit to purchase
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns) Point-of-sale
Pennsylvania Handguns only Point-of-sale
Rhode Island All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns) Point-of-sale
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns) Point-of-sale
Virginia All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns) Point-of-sale
Washington All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns) Point-of-sale
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Show Citations and Footnotes
Source: Cal. Penal Code §§ 27540, 28220; Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-112; Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 29-33(c), 29-37a(d); Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1448B(a); Haw. Rev. Stat. §§134-1, 134-2(a); 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. §§ 65/2, 65/3; Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety §§ 5-124(a), 5-101(r), 5-204.1; Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, §§ 128A, 129B(2), 131(e); Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 28.422(a), 28.421(i); Neb. Rev. Stat. § 69-2403; Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 202.2544—202.2549; N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3(a), (b); S.B. 8, 54th Leg., First Session (N.M. 2019); N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(4); N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 898(1); N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-402(a); Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 166.412(1)(c), 166.435; 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 6111(c), (f)(2); 11 R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 11-47-35(a)(2), 11-47-35.2(b); Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4019; Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.2:5; Wash. Rev. Code § 9.41.113.

Homicide: Michael Siegel and Claire Boine, What Are the Most Effective Policies in Reducing Gun Homicides? Albany, NY: Rockefeller Institute of Government, March 2019. https://bit.ly/2YPAz7P.

Suicide: Eric W. Fleegler, Lois K. Lee, Michael C. Monuteaux, David Hemenway, and Rebekah Mannix, “Firearm Legislation and Firearm-Related Fatalities in the United States,” JAMA Internal Medicine 173,no. 9 (2013): 732-740.

Trafficking: Daniel W. Webster, Jon S. Vernick, and Maria T. Bulzacchelli, “Effects of State-Level Firearm Seller Accountability Policies on Firearm Trafficking,” Journal of Urban Health 86, no. 4 (July 2009): 525–537.

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