The provisions of firearm transfer laws are outlined for the Federal level, each State, and the District of Columbia as of December 31, 2013.
The Brady Act established the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which began operations in 1998 and contains data on persons who are prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm under Federal or State law. Each State government determines the extent of its involvement in the NICS process. The NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 amended the Brady Act to enhance Federal agency reporting of records to NICS and provide incentives to States to submit complete information on persons prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms. In addition, many States have enacted statutes that authorize State agencies to participate in and contribute records to the NICS. Additional details are provided on the Federal Gun Control Act, the Brady Act, and similar State laws. Topics covered in this review of each State's firearm transfer laws include permits, background checks, waiting periods, prohibited persons, and other types of firearm transfer laws. A series of tables categorizes the laws in effect on December 31, 2013. Firearms transfer laws enacted in 2012 and 2013 are summarized.