Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Alabama

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Alabama law provides that, subject to certain limited exceptions, no person shall possess or own a firearm, or have a firearm under his or her control, if he or she:1
• Has been convicted2 of committing, or attempting to commit, a crime of violence or a violent offense,3 or a misdemeanor offense of domestic violence; 4
• Is subject to a valid protection order for domestic abuse; or5
• Is of unsound mind.6

Additionally, subject to limited exceptions, Alabama law prohibits the ownership, possession, or control of a handgun by any person who is under 18 years of age, a drug addict, or “an habitual drunkard.”7

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Alabama Background Checks section.

Alabama has no laws preventing the purchase or possession of firearms by juvenile offenders.

 

Notes
  1. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(a). ⤴︎
  2. The term “convicted” requires that “the person was represented by counsel in the case, or knowingly and intelligently waived the right to counsel in the case if required by law, and either the case was tried before a judge, tried by a jury, or the person knowingly and intelligently waived the right to have the case tried, by guilty plea or otherwise.” Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(k). Additionally, a person may not be considered to have been convicted for the purposes of this section if the person is not considered to have been convicted in the jurisdiction in which the proceedings were held or if the conviction has been expunged, set aside, or is of an offense for which the person has been pardoned or has had civil rights restored, unless the pardon, expungement, or restoration of civil rights expressly provides that the person may not ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms. Id. ⤴︎
  3. These include murder, manslaughter (except manslaughter arising out of the operation of a vehicle), rape, mayhem, assault with intent to rob, assault with intent to ravish, assault with intent to murder, robbery, burglary, stalking, child abuse, and kidnapping crimes. Ala. Code §§ 13A-11-70, 12-25-32(15). It also includes any Class A felony or any Class B felony that has as an element serious physical injury, the distribution or manufacture of a controlled substance, or is of a sexual nature involving a child under the age of 12. Ala. Code § 13A-11-70. ⤴︎
  4. The term “misdemeanor offense of domestic violence” as used in this section means a misdemeanor offense that has, as its elements, the use or attempted use of physical force or the threatened use of a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon, and the victim is a current or former spouse, parent, child, person with whom the defendant has a child in common, or a present or former household member. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(l). ⤴︎
  5. The term “valid protection order” as used in this section means an order issued after a hearing of which the person received actual notice, and at which the person had an opportunity to participate, that does any of the following: (1) restrains the respondent from harassing, stalking, or threatening a spouse or former spouse of the respondent, an individual who is a parent of a child of the respondent, or an individual who cohabitates or has cohabited with the respondent, or a child of such individuals, or that restrains the respondent from engaging in other conduct that would place such an individual in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the individual or child and that includes a finding that the respondent represents a credible threat to the physical safety of the individual or child. A valid protection order must also (2) by its terms, explicitly prohibit the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the qualified individual or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(m). ⤴︎
  6. The term “unsound mind” as used in this section includes any person who is subject to any of the findings listed below, and who has not had his or her rights to possess a firearm reinstated by operation of law or legal process:

    (1) Found by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority that, as a result of marked subnormal intelligence, mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease, is a danger to himself or herself or others or lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his or her own affairs.

    (2) Found to be insane, not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, found mentally incompetent to stand trial, or found not guilty by a reason of lack of mental responsibility by a court in a criminal case, to include state, federal and military courts.

    (3) Involuntarily committed for a final commitment for inpatient treatment to the Department of Mental Health or a Veterans” Administration hospital by a court after a hearing. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(o). ⤴︎

  7. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(b). See also Ala. Code § 13A-11-76 (defining minor as a person under age 18). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Alaska

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Alaska prohibits a person from possessing a concealable firearm (i.e., handgun) after having been convicted of a felony or adjudicated a delinquent minor for conduct that would constitute a felony if committed by an adult by any court.  However, this prohibition does not apply if the felony was not an offense against a person and a period of 10 years or more has elapsed between the date of the person’s unconditional discharge and the date of the violation.1

In 2010, Alaska repealed a law that prohibited a person intoxicated by liquor or a controlled substance from possessing a handgun.2

Alaska law prohibits a convicted felon from residing in a dwelling knowing that there is a concealed firearm in the dwelling.3

Alaska has no state law prohibiting firearm purchase or possession by:

  • Violent misdemeanants;
  • Persons with mental illness; or
  • Persons subject to domestic violence restraining orders.

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Alaska Background Checks section.

Notes
  1. Alaska Stat. § 11.61.200(a)(1), (b)(1)(C). ⤴︎
  2. 2010 AK. ALS 100  (repealing former Alaska Stat. § 11.61.200(a)(12). ⤴︎
  3. Alaska Stat. § 11.61.200(a)(10). The felon is exempt from this prohibition if he or she has written authorization to live in a dwelling in which there is a concealable weapon from a court of competent jurisdiction or from the head of the law enforcement agency of the community in which the dwelling is located. Id. ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Arizona

See our Prohibited Purchasers Generally Policy Summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Similarly, Arizona prohibits a person from knowingly possessing a firearm if the person:

  • Has been convicted of a felony or who has been adjudicated delinquent for a felony and whose civil right to possess or carry a firearm has not been restored;
  • Is at the time of possession serving a term of imprisonment in any correctional or detention facility;
  • Is at the time of possession serving a term of probation pursuant to a conviction for a domestic violence offense or a felony offense, parole, community supervision, work furlough, home arrest or release on any other basis;
  • Is an undocumented alien or a nonimmigrant alien traveling with or without documentation in this state for business or pleasure or who is studying in this state and who maintains a foreign residence abroad, subject to certain exceptions;
  • Has been found to constitute a danger to himself or herself or others or to be persistently or acutely disabled or gravely disabled pursuant to court order, and whose right to possess a firearm has not been restored;
  • Has been found incompetent, and not subsequently found competent; or
  • Has been found guilty except insane.1

Arizona also prohibits any person who was previously adjudicated delinquent for an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult, from possessing, using or carrying a firearm within ten years from the date of his or her adjudication or release or escape from custody if the person was previously adjudicated for an offense that, if committed as an adult, would constitute:

  • Burglary in the first degree;
  • Burglary in the second degree;
  • Arson;
  • Any felony offense involving the use or threatening exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument; or
  • A “serious offense.”2

If a juvenile is adjudicated delinquent for an offense that if committed by an adult would be a misdemeanor, the court may prohibit the juvenile from carrying or possessing a firearm while the juvenile is under the jurisdiction of the department of juvenile corrections or the juvenile court.3

Restoration of firearm rights: The time when a convicted felon or a person adjudicated delinquent may file for restoration of firearm rights depends on the seriousness of the offense; some felons and persons adjudicated delinquent are able to seek restoration as soon as two years after discharge from probation or imprisonment.4 In addition, in 2009, Arizona established a procedure through which a person who was found to constitute a danger to himself, herself, or others or to be persistently or acutely disabled or gravely disabled may have his or her right to possess a firearm restored.5 This procedure was amended in 2011.6

An emergency or final protective order against domestic violence may prohibit the defendant from possessing or purchasing a firearm for the duration of the order. For more information, see Domestic Violence and Firearms in Arizona .

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see Background Checks in Arizona.

Notes
  1. Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-3102(A)(4) and 13-3101(A)(7). Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-904(A)(5) also states that a conviction for a felony suspends the person’s right to possess a firearm. A person who is adjudicated delinquent under Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 8-341 for a felony also does not have the right to carry or possess a gun or firearm. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-904(H). ⤴︎
  2. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3113. “Serious offense” is defined in Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-706. ⤴︎
  3. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 8-341(R). ⤴︎
  4. Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-105(13), 13-905 – 13-912.01. ⤴︎
  5. 2009 Ariz. ALS 145 § 1 (codified as Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-925). ⤴︎
  6. 2011 Ariz. ALS 304 §§ 2-3. ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Arkansas

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Arkansas has incorporated some of the federal prohibitions as state offenses. Arkansas prohibits any person from owning or possessing any firearm if he or she has been:

  • Convicted of a felony (including cases where the sentence is suspended or the defendant is placed on probation) unless the case was dismissed or expunged or the person was subsequently granted a pardon explicitly restoring the ability to possess a firearm;
  • Adjudicated mentally ill; or
  • Committed involuntarily to any mental institution.1

A person who has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere prior to an adjudication of guilt for a felony is nevertheless considered as having a felony conviction for purposes of any law prohibiting possession of a firearm by certain persons.2

Arkansas law also grants the governor the authority to restore the right of a convicted felon or an adjudicated delinquent to possess a firearm under state law, without granting a pardon, upon recommendation of the chief law enforcement officer in the jurisdiction where the person resides, so long as the underlying felony or delinquency adjudication did not involve the use of a weapon and occurred more than eight years previous. (Note that federal law may still prohibit the person from possessing firearms.)

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Arkansas Background Checks section.

Notes
  1. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-103(a), (b). ⤴︎
  2. Ark. Code Ann. §§ 16-93-303(c)(1). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in California

Federal law prohibits certain people from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of severe mental illness. California law, however, is broader than federal law on this point. California prohibits the purchase or possession of firearms by any person who:

  • Has been convicted of a felony, or is addicted to narcotic drugs;1
  • Has been convicted of specified crimes, both felonies and misdemeanors, involving violence, hate crime offenses, or the unlawful use of firearms. (People convicted of these specified misdemeanor offenses are generally prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms for 10 years after conviction.);2
  • Knows that he or she is subject to an outstanding arrest warrant for a firearm-prohibiting offense;3
  • As an express condition of probation, is prohibited or restricted from owning, possessing, controlling, receiving, or purchasing a firearm;4
  • Is adjudged a ward of the juvenile court because the person committed an offense involving violence, drugs or firearms (including the carrying of a concealed firearm, the carrying of a loaded firearm in public or the possession of a firearm in a vehicle, regardless of whether the firearm was concealed or loaded). The prohibition stays in effect only until the person reaches age 30;5

Any person who is prohibited from owning or possessing firearms pursuant to California law or other law, may transfer any firearm of which he or she is the owner to a licensed firearms dealer for storage during the duration of the prohibition. A dealer may charge the owner a fee for storage and must notify the California Department of Justice of the date that the dealer took possession of any firearms that are acquired in this manner.7

Under California law, a person over the age of 18 who shares a residence with another individual who the person knows or has reason to know is prohibited by state or federal law from possessing, receiving, owning, or purchasing a firearm, commits a misdemeanor by keeping a firearm that he or she owns in the shared residence, unless any of the following apply:

  • The firearm is maintained within a locked container;
  • The firearm is disabled by a firearm safety device;
  • The firearm is maintained within a locked gun safe;
  • The firearm is maintained within a locked trunk;
  • The firearm is locked with a locking device, which has rendered the firearm inoperable; or
  • The firearm is carried on the person or within close enough proximity that the individual can readily retrieve and use it as it it were carried on the person.8

For more information on safe storage laws involving prohibited persons, see the section entitled Child Access Prevention in California.

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the section entitled Background Checks in California.

Notes
  1. Cal. Penal Code § 29800(a). ⤴︎
  2. Cal. Penal Code §§ 23515, 29800(a), 29805, 29900-29905. ⤴︎
  3. Cal. Penal Code §§ 29800(a), 29805, 29581. ⤴︎
  4. Cal. Penal Code § 29815. ⤴︎
  5. Cal. Penal Code § 29820. ⤴︎
  6. Cal. Penal Code § 29825(a), (b) (referencing Cal. Civ. Proc. Code §§ 527.6, 527.8, 527.85, Cal. Fam. Code § 6218, Cal. Penal Code §§ 136.2 or 646.91, Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657.03), and Cal. Penal Code § 18205. ⤴︎
  7. Cal. Penal Code § 29830. ⤴︎
  8. Cal. Penal Code § 25135. ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Colorado

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is required to deny the transfer of a firearm when:

  • The transfer would violate federal law;
  • The transfer would violate Colorado law;
  • The transferee has been arrested for or charged with a crime that would prohibit him or her from purchasing, receiving or possessing a firearm under state or federal law, and there has been no final disposition of the case or the final disposition has not been noted in the databases searched by CBI during a firearm transferee’s background check; or
  • The transferee is the subject of an indictment, information or a felony complaint alleging that the prospective transferee has committed a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year as defined by federal law.1

Colorado prohibits any person from knowingly possessing, using, or carrying upon his or her person a firearm subsequent to:

  • The person’s conviction for a felony, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit a felony, under Colorado or any other state’s law or under federal law; or
  • The person’s adjudication for an act which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a felony, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit a felony, under Colorado or any other state’s law or under federal law.2

For provisions prohibiting domestic abusers from possessing guns, see Domestic Violence and Firearms in Colorado.

Firearm transfers by unlicensed sellers (non-firearms dealers) are subject to background checks in Colorado. See the  Universal Background Checks in Colorado section.

Notes
  1. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-33.5-424(3)(a), (b). ⤴︎
  2. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-108(1), (3). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Connecticut

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness. Connecticut has adopted other classes of prohibited persons, and incorporated some of the federal prohibitions as state offenses. Connecticut law provides that, subject to certain limited exceptions, no person shall possess a firearm or ammunition if he or she:1

  • Has been convicted of a felony (with limited exceptions) or, on or after October 1, 2013, certain violent or intimidating misdemeanors;
  • Has been convicted as a delinquent for the commission of a serious juvenile offense;
  • Has been discharged from custody within the preceding 20 years after having been found not guilty of a crime due to mental disease or defect;
  • Has been confined in a mental hospital for persons with psychiatric disabilities within the preceding year by order of a probate court;
  • Is subject to a restraining or protective order of any state court, or a foreign order of protection, in a case involving the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against another person;
  • Is subject to a firearms seizure order, issued after notice and an opportunity to be heard;
  • Was confined on or after October 1, 2013, in a hospital for people with psychiatric disabilities under a probate court order within the past: a) 60 months; or b) 12 months, if the person has a valid permit or certificate in effect before October 1, 2013;
  • Beginning October 1, 2013, was voluntarily admitted to a hospital for people with psychiatric disabilities within the past six months for care and treatment of a psychiatric disability and not solely for being an alcohol or drug-dependent person;
  • For handguns only, is illegally in the United States; or2
  • Is prohibited from shipping, transporting, possessing or receiving a firearm for mental health reasons pursuant to federal law.

The penalty for violating the above prohibitions is a class C felony with a mandatory minimum two-year prison sentence and $5,000 fine.3

No person, firm, or corporation, including any private (unlicensed) seller, may transfer a handgun to an individual until the person, firm or corporation making such transfer obtains an authorization number from the Connecticut Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection, who must perform a background check to determine whether the applicant is prohibited from possessing a handgun.4 Any person, firm or corporation wishing to sell a long gun at retail must verify through the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection that the transferee is eligible to possess a firearm.5

 

For more detail on private sale background checks, see the Private Sales in Connecticut and Gun Shows in Connecticut sections.

For details on persons prohibited from obtaining an eligibility certificate for a handgun or a long gun, see the Licensing of Gun Owners or Purchasers in Connecticut section.

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-217(a). ⤴︎
  2. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-217c(a). ⤴︎
  3. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-217(b). ⤴︎
  4. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-33(c). ⤴︎
  5. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-37a(d). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Delaware

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Similarly, Delaware prohibits the purchase, ownership, possession or control of a firearm or ammunition by any person:

  • Convicted in any jurisdiction of a felony or a crime of violence involving physical injury to another, unless that felony conviction has been expunged;
  • Committed for a mental disorder to any hospital, mental institution or sanitarium, unless such person can demonstrate that he or she is no longer prohibited from possessing a firearm;
  • Convicted of the unlawful use, possession or sale of a narcotic, dangerous drug or central nervous system depressant or stimulant as those terms were defined prior to the effective date of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act in June 1973, or of a narcotic drug or controlled substance as defined by Delaware’s Uniform Controlled Substances Act;1
  • Who, while a juvenile, was adjudicated as delinquent for conduct which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a felony, unless and until that person has reached his or her 25th birthday;
  • Who is a juvenile, for handguns only (unless the juvenile possesses the handgun for lawful hunting, instruction, sporting or recreational activity while under the direct or indirect supervision of an adult);
  • Subject to a Family Court protective order (other than an ex parte order), but only for so long as that order remains in effect or is not vacated or otherwise terminated;2
  • Convicted in any court of any misdemeanor crime of domestic violence; or
  • Who knows that he or she is the defendant or co-defendant in a criminal case in which he or she is alleged to have committed a felony under federal law or the law of any state, and who becomes a fugitive from justice by failing to appear for any court proceeding pertaining to that felony for which proper notice was provided or attempted.3

Any person prohibited solely as the result of a conviction for an offense which is not a felony is not prohibited from purchasing, owning, possessing or controlling a firearm or ammunition if five years have elapsed from the date of his or her conviction.4

Delaware also prohibits any person from selling deadly weapons (including handguns) “made especially for the defense of one’s person” to an intoxicated person.5

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. See Del. Code Ann. tit. 16, chapter 47. ⤴︎
  2. This provision does not apply to a contested order issued solely upon Del. Code Ann. tit. 10, § 1041(1)(d), (e), or (h), or any combination thereof. ⤴︎
  3. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1448(a). ⤴︎
  4. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1448(d). ⤴︎
  5. Del. Code Ann. tit. 24, §§ 901, 903. ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Florida

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Similarly, Florida law prohibits a person from owning or possessing a firearm if the person:

  • Has been convicted of a felony, or is under 24 years of age and has been convicted of a delinquent act that would be a felony if committed by an adult;1
  • Has been issued a final injunction that is currently in force and effect, restraining that person from committing acts of domestic violence;2 or
  • Is a “violent career criminal,” as Florida law defines that term.3

Please see the Florida Background Checks section for information about additional categories of individuals, such as certain categories of the mentally ill and certain domestic abusers, who are prevented from purchasing firearms by the background check process used in Florida for firearm purchases at licensed firearms dealers.

Notes
  1. Fla. Stat. § 790.23. More specifically, Florida law prohibits a person from owning a firearm or having a firearm in his or her care, custody, possession, or control, if the person: 1) has been convicted of a felony in the courts of Florida; 2) has been found, in a Florida court, to have committed a delinquent act that would be a felony if committed by an adult and such person is under 24 years of age; 3) has been convicted of or found to have committed a crime against the United States which is designated as a felony;  4) has been found to have committed a delinquent act in another state, territory, or country that would be a felony if committed by an adult and which was punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year and such person is under 24 years of age; or 5) has been found guilty of an offense that is a felony in another state, territory, or country and which was punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year. ⤴︎
  2. Fla. Stat. § 790.233(1). ⤴︎
  3. Fla. Stat. § 790.235. ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Georgia

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Georgia prohibits the purchase or receipt of a firearm by any person who is on probation as a “felony first offender,” or who has been convicted of a felony.1 Georgia has no other laws limiting who may possess firearms.

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Georgia Background Checks section.

Notes
  1. Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-131(b), (b.1). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Hawaii

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness. Hawaii has adopted its own classes of prohibited persons, and incorporated some federal prohibitions as state offenses. In Hawaii, no person shall own, possess or control a firearm or ammunition if he or she:

  • Is a fugitive from justice;
  • Is a person prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law;
  • Is under indictment for, or has been convicted of, a felony;
  • Is under indictment for, or has been convicted of, any crime of violence. Crimes of violence are enumerated in Title 37 of the Hawaii Code that involve injury or threat of injury to another, including misdemeanor sexual assault and stalking1;
  • Is under indictment for, or has been convicted of, an illegal sale of any drug;
  • Is or has been under treatment or counseling for addiction to, abuse of, or dependence upon any dangerous drug, intoxicating compound, or intoxicating liquor;
  • Has been acquitted of a crime on the grounds of mental disease, disorder, or defect;
  • Is or has been diagnosed as having a significant behavioral, emotional, or mental disorder, or for treatment for organic brain syndromes, unless the person has been medically documented to be no longer adversely affected by the addiction, abuse, dependence, mental disease, disorder, or defect;
  • Has been restrained pursuant to an order of any court from contacting, threatening, or physically abusing any person, as long as the order or any extension is in effect, unless the order specifically permits the possession of a firearm and ammunition.
  • Is less than 25 years old and has been adjudicated by the family court to have committed a felony, two or more crimes of violence, or an illegal sale of any drug; or
  • Is a minor who: 1) is or has been under treatment for addiction to any dangerous drug, intoxicating compound, or intoxicating liquor; 2) is a fugitive from justice; or 3) has been determined not to have been responsible for a criminal act or has been committed to any institution on account of a mental disease, disorder, or defect.2
Notes
  1. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-1. ⤴︎
  2. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-7. ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Idaho

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Idaho prohibits any person who has been convicted of a felony from purchasing, owning, possessing or having under his or her custody or control any firearm.1 A person under age 18 also generally cannot possess a firearm.2

See our Prohibited Purchasers Generally Policy Summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3316(1). ⤴︎
  2. Idaho Code Ann. §§ 18-3302E(1), 18-3302F(1). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Illinois

See our Prohibited Purchasers Generally policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

In Illinois, no person may acquire or possess any firearm or ammunition without having a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification (“FOID”) card, issued by the Illinois Department of State Police (“DSP”).1 The FOID card process is designed to identify persons who, for various reasons in the public interest, are not qualified to acquire or possess firearms or ammunition.2

The DSP may deny, or revoke and seize, a FOID card only if the DSP finds that the current or prospective card holder is (or was at the time of issuance):

  • A person under 21 years of age who has been convicted of a misdemeanor (other than a traffic offense) or adjudged delinquent, or who does not have the written consent of his or her parent or guardian to acquire and possess firearms and ammunition, or whose parent or guardian has revoked such written consent, or whose parent or guardian does not qualify to have a FOID card;
  • A person who has been convicted of a felony under the laws of Illinois or any other jurisdiction;
  • Addicted to narcotics;
  • A patient of a mental health facility within the past five years, or or a patient in a mental health facility more than 5 years ago (“patient” is defined to include an outpatient if he or she was determined to present a clear and present danger, and any inpatient3 ) who has not received certification after a mental health evaluation by a physician, clinical psychologist, or qualified examiner that he or she is not a clear and present danger to self or others;
  • A person who has been adjudicated as mentally disabled, defined in numerous ways4;
  • A person whose mental condition (meaning a state of mind manifested by violent, suicidal, threatening, or assaultive behavior) is of such a nature that it poses a clear and present danger to self, others, or the community (“Clear and present danger” means a person who: (1) communicates a serious threat of physical violence against a reasonably identifiable victim or poses a clear and imminent risk of serious physical injury to self or others; or (2) demonstrates threatening physical or verbal behavior, such as violent, suicidal, or assaultive threats, actions, or other behavior.5 See our page on Mental Health Reporting in Illinois for details about how this determination is made.);
  • A person who is intellectually disabled (defined by Illinois law as having “significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning which exists concurrently with impairment in adaptive behavior and which originates before the age of 18 years”6);
  • A person who has been found to be developmentally disabled;
  • A person involuntarily admitted into a mental health facility;
  • One who intentionally made a false statement on the FOID card application;
  • An alien unlawfully present in the United States under the laws of the United States;
  • An alien admitted to the United States under a non-immigrant visa (subject to certain exceptions, including aliens admitted to the U.S. under a non-immigrant visa for lawful hunting or sporting purposes, official representatives of foreign governments, and foreign law enforcement officers in the U.S. on official business);
  • A person convicted within the past five years of battery, assault, aggravated assault, violation of an order of protection, or a substantially similar offense in another jurisdiction, in which a firearm was used or possessed;
  • A person convicted of domestic battery, aggravated domestic battery, or a substantially similar offense in another jurisdiction;
  • Prohibited from acquiring or possessing firearms or ammunition by any Illinois state statute or federal law;
  • A minor subject to a juvenile petition alleging that he or she is a delinquent minor for the commission of an offense that if committed by an adult would be a felony; or
  • An adult who had been adjudicated a delinquent minor for the commission of an offense that if committed by an adult would be a felony.7
  • A person who is not a resident of the State of Illinois, with limited exceptions for law enforcement officers, security officers, or military personnel permanently assigned in Illinois.8

In addition, DSP must deny an application for, or revoke and seize, a FOID card, if DSP finds that the applicant or cardholder is or was at the time of issuance subject to an existing order of protection prohibiting possession of firearms.9

As a condition of probation or conditional discharge, Illinois law requires a person convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involving the intentional or knowing infliction or threat of bodily harm to refrain from possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon.10 A court may, at its discretion, impose this same condition on a person convicted of a non-violent misdemeanor.11

Illinois law also restricts sales to young people.

Firearm transfers by private sellers (non-firearms dealers) are not subject to background checks in Illinois, except at gun shows (see the Gun Shows in Illinois section for further information). See the Private Sales in Illinois section.

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Background Checks in Illinois section.

Notes
  1. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/2(a)(1), (2). ⤴︎
  2. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/1. ⤴︎
  3. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/1.1. ⤴︎
  4. See 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/1.1. ⤴︎
  5. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/1.1. ⤴︎
  6. 405 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/1-116. ⤴︎
  7. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/8. ⤴︎
  8. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/8(q). Law enforcement and military officers subject to the limited exception must furnish a driver’s license or state identification card number from their state of residence to DSP. ⤴︎
  9. 430 Ill. Comp. Stat. 65/8.2. ⤴︎
  10. 730 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/5-6-3(a)(3). ⤴︎
  11. 730 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/5-6-3(b)(18). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Indiana

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Under Indiana law, people convicted of domestic battery1 may not possess or carry a firearm unless the person’s right to possess a firearm has been restored.2 Indiana courts may also prohibit certain abusers from possessing firearms in certain domestic violence protective orders.  See Domestic Violence and Firearms in Indiana for more information.

A 2017 law also now generally prohibits aliens who are unlawfully present in the United States from knowingly or intentionally possessing a firearm.3

Indiana prohibits a person from transferring a handgun to an individual whom the transferor knows:

  • Is ineligible for any reason other than the person’s age to receive a handgun from a dealer; or
  • Intends to use the handgun to commit a crime.4

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see Background Checks in Indiana.

For information about the process by which law enforcement can remove firearms from dangerous individuals, see Disarming Prohibited Persons in Indiana.

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Defined at Ind. Code Ann. § 35-42-2-1.3. ⤴︎
  2. Ind. Code Ann. §§ 35-47-2-1(c), 35-47-4-6. ⤴︎
  3. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-4-8. ⤴︎
  4. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-47-2-7(b). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Iowa

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Iowa prohibits any person from knowing possessing or controlling, receiving, or transporting, or causing to be transported, a firearm if he or she has been convicted of a felony in a state or federal court or adjudicated delinquent on the basis of conduct that would constitute a felony if committed by an adult.1

Iowa also incorporates the federal laws prohibiting the possession of firearms or ammunition by anyone subject to a domestic violence protective order or anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.2 See Domestic Violence and Firearms in Iowa.

Any person seeking to acquire ownership of a handgun in Iowa must possess a valid annual permit to acquire handguns.3 A permit may not be issued to a person who

  • Is under age 21;
  • Is subject to the firearm possession, receipt, transportation or control prohibitions of Iowa law; or
  • Is prohibited by federal law from shipping, transporting, possessing or receiving a firearm.4

The five-year permit to acquire handguns requirement does not apply to any person possessing a valid state permit to carry firearms.5 Iowa law governing the process to obtain professional and nonprofessional permits to carry weapons also prohibits specified classes from obtaining these permits.6 See the Iowa Concealed Weapons Permitting section.

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Iowa Background Checks section.

For information about the reporting of mental health information for use in firearm purchaser background checks, see the Iowa Mental Health Reporting section.

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary  for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Iowa Code § 724.26(1). ⤴︎
  2. Iowa Code §§ 236.2(2), (4), 236.5(1)(b), 724.26(2). ⤴︎
  3. Iowa Code § 724.15(1). ⤴︎
  4. Id.  Application requirements for an annual permit to acquire handguns are detailed under Iowa Code §§ 724.17, 724.18, and 724.19.  If the issuing officer determines that the applicant has become disqualified from purchasing or possessing a handgun, the officer may immediately invalidate the permit.  Iowa Code § 724.15(3). ⤴︎
  5. Iowa Code § 724.15(2)(d). ⤴︎
  6. Iowa Code §§ 724.6, 724.7. ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Kansas

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Kansas law prohibits any person from possessing a firearm if he or she:

  • Is both addicted to and an unlawful user of a controlled substance;1
  • Has been convicted of a “person” felony (a felony crime committed against or upon a person, e.g., homicide, rape, battery, kidnapping) or a violation of any provision of the Kansas uniform controlled substance act or a similar violation under the laws of another jurisdiction, or has been adjudicated a juvenile offender because of the commission of an act which if done by an adult would constitute the commission of a “person” felony, or a violation of any provision of the Kansas uniform controlled substances act, and was found to have been in possession of a firearm at the time of the offense;2
  • Within the preceding ten years, has been convicted of a “nonperson” felony under Kansas law or a similar crime under the laws of another jurisdiction, has been released from imprisonment for such felony or was adjudicated as a juvenile offender because of the commission of an act which if done by an adult would constitute the commission of a “nonperson” felony, and was found not to have been in possession of a firearm at the time of the commission of the offense;3
  • Within the preceding five or ten years, depending on the crime, has been convicted of a felony under the laws of Kansas or a crime under a law of another jurisdiction which is substantially the same as such felony, has been released from imprisonment for a felony or was adjudicated as a juvenile offender because of the commission of an act which if done by an adult would constitute the commission of a felony, and was found not to have been in possession of a firearm at the time of the commission of the offense;4 or
  • Is or has been a mentally ill person subject to involuntary commitment for care and treatment, or a person with an alcohol or substance abuse problem subject to involuntary commitment for care and treatment, unless the person has received a “certificate of restoration” pursuant to Kansas law.5 Under Kansas law, a person who was previously ordered to involuntary commitment for care and treatment as a mentally ill person or a person with an alcohol or substance abuse problem and who has been discharged from a facility may file a petition in the court where treatment was ordered for a certificate of restoration of the ability to legally possess a firearm.6 The certificate of restoration applies only to the possession of a firearm for the purposes of the state prohibition on firearm possession by the mentally ill and persons with an alcohol or substance abuse problem.7

See the Private Sales section for the Kansas laws that prohibit knowingly selling a firearm to a similar list of individuals.

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Kansas Background Checks section.

 

Notes
  1. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6301(a)(10). ⤴︎
  2. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6304(a)(1). ⤴︎
  3. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6304(a)(3)(B). ⤴︎
  4. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6304(a)(2), (3)(A). ⤴︎
  5. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6301(a)(13), (j). ⤴︎
  6. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 75-7c26(a). ⤴︎
  7. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 75-7c26(d). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Kentucky

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Similarly, Kentucky law prohibits possession of a firearm by anyone convicted of a felony after July 15, 1994, and possession of a handgun by anyone convicted of a felony after January 1, 1975.1 These prohibitions include any “youthful offender” convicted of a felony offense in the state.

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Kentucky Background Checks section.

Kentucky has no laws specifically preventing the purchase or possession of firearms by:

  • Violent misdemeanants;
  • Persons with mental illness;
  • Persons subject to domestic violence restraining orders; or
  • Drug or alcohol abusers.

However, Kentucky makes it a Class D felony for a person to knowingly solicit, persuade, encourage, or entice a licensed dealer or private seller of firearms to transfer a firearm under circumstances which the person knows would violate the laws of Kentucky or the United States; or to knowingly provide to a licensed dealer or private seller of firearms what the person knows to be materially false information with intent to deceive the dealer or seller about the legality of a transfer of a firearm; or to procure another to engage in such conduct.2

Notes
  1. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 527.040. In addition, Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 237.070 prohibits knowingly transferring a firearm to a convicted felon. ⤴︎
  2. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 527.090(2). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Louisiana

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Similarly, Louisiana law prohibits the persons convicted of the following crimes from purchasing or possessing firearms, subject to certain exceptions:

  • Certain violent felonies, various types of burglary, unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling, felony illegal use of weapons or dangerous instrumentalities, manufacture or possession of a delayed action incendiary device, manufacture or possession of a bomb, possession of a firearm while in possession or during the sale of a controlled substance, felony violations of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law, any crime defined as a sex offense; or
  • Any crime defined as an attempt to commit one of the above-mentioned offenses, or a crime under the laws of any other state or of the United States or of any foreign government or country which, if committed in Louisiana, would be one of the above-enumerated crimes.1

These prohibitions no longer apply if the person has not been convicted of any felony for ten years after the completion of the sentence.2

Louisiana also prohibits certain domestic abusers from possessing guns after a criminal conviction or for the duration of a domestic violence protective order. For more information on these laws, see the Louisiana Domestic Violence & Firearms section.

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Louisiana Background Checks section.

Louisiana has no laws preventing the purchase or possession of firearms by:

  • Persons with severely impairing mental illness; or
  • Juvenile offenders.
Notes
  1. La. Rev. Stat. § 14:95.1(A). ⤴︎
  2. La. Rev. Stat. § 14:95.1(C). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Maine

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Maine law provides that a person may not possess a firearm if he or she has been convicted of committing, or found not criminally responsible by reason of insanity of committing, a crime under:

  • A law of Maine that is punishable by imprisonment for one year or more;
  • A federal law that is punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
  • A law of another state that is punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, excluding crimes classified as misdemeanors in the state carrying a penalty of imprisonment of two years or less;
  • A law of any other state that is “elementally substantially similar” to a crime in Maine that is punishable by a term of imprisonment for one year or more; or
  • A law in a proceeding in which the prosecuting authority was required to prove that the crime was committed with the use of a dangerous weapon.1

In addition, a person may not possess a firearm if that person has been adjudicated to have engaged in conduct as a juvenile that, if committed by an adult, would have been a disqualifying conviction listed above if bodily injury to another person was threatened and resulted, or if the prosecuting authority was required to prove that the crime was committed with the use of a dangerous weapon, regardless of bodily injury.2 A person who has been adjudicated under federal or state law to have engaged in conduct as a juvenile that, if committed by an adult, would have been a disqualifying conviction as listed above, but which didn’t threaten and result in bodily injury, may not own or have in his or her possession or control a firearm for three years following completion of any disposition imposed, or until that person reaches age 18, whichever is later.3

Maine also prohibits possession of a firearm by anyone who has been:

  • Committed involuntarily to a hospital pursuant to an order of the District Court after a hearing because the person was found to present “a likelihood of serious harm,” as defined under Maine law;
  • Found not criminally responsible by reason of insanity with respect to a criminal charge; or
  • Found not competent to stand trial with respect to a criminal charge.4

Maine enacted a law in 2015 that incorporates the federal prohibitions against firearm possession by any person who:

  • Is a fugitive from justice;
  • Is an unlawful user of or is addicted to any controlled substance;
  • Is an alien who is illegally or unlawfully in the United States or who was admitted under a nonimmigrant visa;
  • Has been discharged from the United States Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions; or
  • Has renounced that person’s U.S. citizenship.5

See the Maine Domestic Violence and Firearms section for information about Maine’s firearm prohibitions for domestic abusers.

Restoration of Firearm Rights for Felons and Juvenile Offenders: A person subject to the prohibition against firearm possession because of a criminal conviction or juvenile adjudication may, after the expiration of five years from the date the person is finally discharged from the sentences imposed, apply to the Maine Commissioner of Public Safety for a permit to possess a firearm (known in Maine as a “permit to carry a firearm”). The Commissioner must notify local law enforcement about the application, and local law enforcement is given an opportunity to object.6 The Commissioner may deny an application even if no objection is filed, and must deny an application if a proper objection is filed. A permit to possess a firearm issued to a convicted felon or juvenile offender remains valid for four years.7 For provisions restoring firearms rights to the mentally ill, see the Maine Mental Health Reporting section.

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Maine Background Checks section.

Notes
  1. Me. Stat., 15 § 393(1). ⤴︎
  2. Me. Stat., 15 § 393(1)(C). ⤴︎
  3. Me. Stat., 15 § 393(1-A). ⤴︎
  4. Me. Stat., 15 § 393(1)(E). ⤴︎
  5. Me. Stat., 15 § 393(1)(F-J)(as enacted by 2015 Me. H.B. 413). ⤴︎
  6. The relevant procedures were amended in 2009. See 2009 Me. ALS 503. ⤴︎
  7. Me. Stat., 15 § 393(2). A convicted felon or juvenile offender granted a permit to possess a firearm may not be issued a permit to carry a concealed handgun. Id. ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Maryland

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

In Maryland, the Secretary of the Maryland State Police must deny a transfer of a regulated firearm1 when the prospective purchaser, lessee or transferee:2

  • Has been convicted of a crime of violence;3
  • Has been convicted of any Maryland-classified felony;
  • Has been convicted of conspiracy to commit a felony;
  • Has been convicted of a common law crime for which the person received a term of imprisonment for more than two years;
  • Has been convicted of any Maryland-classified misdemeanor that carries a statutory penalty of more than two years;
  • Is a fugitive from justice;
  • Is a habitual drunkard;
  • Is an addict or habitual user of any controlled dangerous substance;
  • Is suffering from a mental disorder4 and has a history of violent behavior, unless the purchaser, lessee, or transferee possesses a physician’s certificate stating that he or she is capable of possessing a regulated firearm without undue danger to himself, herself or others;
  • Has been confined for more than 30 consecutive days to a facility5 unless the purchaser, lessee, or transferee possesses a physician’s certificate stating that he or she is capable of possessing a regulated firearm without undue danger to himself, herself or others;
  • Is visibly under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
  • Is under 21 years of age;
  • Is a participant in a “straw purchase;”6
  • Is subject to a “non ex parte civil protective order;”7
  • If under the age of 30 years at the time of the transaction, has been adjudicated delinquent by a juvenile court for an act that would be a disqualifying crime if committed by an adult; or
  • Has not completed a certified firearms safety training course, required to obtain a regulated firearm.8

The prohibited categories for possession of a regulated firearm in Maryland are substantially similar to those prohibiting transfers, but do not include prohibitions for being “visibly under the influence of alcohol or drugs” or “a participant in a straw purchase,” and completing a certified firearms safety training course is not required. Moreover, the possession prohibitions include different, more expansive mental health restrictions, including any person who:

  • Suffers from a mental disorder and has a history of violent behavior against himself, herself or another person (this prohibition does not contain the physician certificate exception);9
  • Has been found incompetent to stand trial;10
  • Has been found “not criminally responsible;”11
  • Has been voluntarily admitted for more than 30 consecutive days to a mental health facility;12
  • Has been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility;13 or
  • Is under the protection of a guardian appointed by a court under Maryland law, except for cases in which the appointment of a guardian is solely a result of a physical disability.14

Maryland explicitly prohibits any person from possessing a regulated firearm or a standard rifle or shotgun if that person:15

  • Has been convicted of a crime of violence;16
  • Has been convicted of specified crimes related to controlled substances under Maryland law;17
  • Has been convicted of an offense under the laws of another state or the United States that would constitute a “crime of violence” or one of the controlled substance-related crimes listed above if committed in Maryland;
  • Has been convicted of a disqualifying crime;18
  • Has been convicted of a violation classified as a crime under common law and received a term of imprisonment of more than two years;
  • Is a fugitive from justice;
  • Is a habitual drunkard;
  • Is addicted to or a habitual user of a controlled dangerous substance;
  • Suffers from a mental disorder as defined by state law and has a history of violent behavior against himself, herself or another person;
  • Has been found incompetent to stand trial under state law;
  • Has been found “not criminally responsible” under state law;
  • Has been voluntarily admitted for more than 30 consecutive days to a mental health facility as defined under state law;19
  • Has been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility as defined under state law;
  • Is under the protection of a guardian appointed by a court,20 except for cases in which the appointment of a guardian is solely as a result of a physical disability;
  • Is a respondent against whom: 1) a current non ex parte civil protective order has been entered;21 or 2) an order for protection22 has been issued by a court of another state or a Native American tribe and is in effect; or
  • If under age 30 at the time of possession, has been adjudicated delinquent by a juvenile court for an act that would be a disqualifying crime if committed by an adult.

Generally, a person who is disqualified from owning a rifle or shotgun for mental health reasons may seek relief from the disqualification.23

Transfers of rifles and shotguns by private sellers (non-firearms dealers) are not subject to background checks, although federal purchaser prohibitions still apply. See the Private Sales in Maryland section.

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Under Maryland law, a “regulated firearm” is defined as a handgun or a specific assault weapon as defined under state law, or a copy of such assault weapon. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-101(r); Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-301(d)(3), (e). ⤴︎
  2. Prohibited categories for Maryland are listed under Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety §§ 5-101(g) and 5-134(b). See also Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-122 for information regarding the disapproval of a regulated firearm application. ⤴︎
  3. See Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-101(b-1), (c) for a list of such crimes of violence. ⤴︎
  4. “Mental disorder” is defined under Md. Code Ann., Health-Gen. § 10-101(f)(2) as a “mental illness that so substantially impairs the mental or emotional functioning of an individual as to make care or treatment necessary or advisable for the welfare of the individual or for the safety of the person or property of another.” ⤴︎
  5. “Facility” is defined under Md. Code Ann., Health-Gen. § 10-101(e) as any public or private clinic, hospital, or other institution that provides or purports to provide treatment or other services for individuals who have mental disorders. ⤴︎
  6. A “straw purchase” is defined under Maryland law as a sale of a regulated firearm in which a person uses another individual, known as a straw purchaser, to: 1) complete the application to purchase a regulated firearm; 2) take initial possession of the regulated firearm; and 3) subsequently transfers the regulated firearm to the person. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-101(v). ⤴︎
  7. See Md. Code Ann., Fam. Law § 4-506. ⤴︎
  8. See Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-134(b)(14). ⤴︎
  9. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-133(b)(6). ⤴︎
  10. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-133(b)(7). ⤴︎
  11. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-133(b)(8). See Md. Code Ann., Crim. Proc. § 3-110 for further information. ⤴︎
  12. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-133(b)(9). ⤴︎
  13. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-133(b)(10). ⤴︎
  14. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-133(b)(11). ⤴︎
  15. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety §§ 5-133(b), (c)(1), 5-205(b), 5-206 ⤴︎
  16. See Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-101(c) for the crimes that constitute a “crime of violence.” ⤴︎
  17. See Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 5-602 (distributing, possessing with intent to distribute, or dispensing controlled dangerous substances); Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 5-603 (equipment to produce controlled dangerous substance); Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 5-604 (creating or possessing counterfeit substance); Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 5-605 (keeping common nuisance); Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 5-612 (volume dealer of controlled substances); Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 5-613 (drug kingpin); or Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 5-614 (importer of certain controlled dangerous substances). ⤴︎
  18. See Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-101(b-1). ⤴︎
  19. See Md. Code Ann., Health-Gen. § 10-101. ⤴︎
  20. See Md. Code Ann., Est. & Trusts §§ 13-201(c) and 13-705 ⤴︎
  21. See Md. Code Ann., Fam. Law § 4-506 ⤴︎
  22. See Md. Code Ann., Fam. Law § 4-508.1 ⤴︎
  23. See Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-133.3 for details. ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Massachusetts

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Massachusetts requires any person who wishes to purchase or possess a firearm to obtain a Firearm Identification Card (FID).1 These cards may not be issued to any person who:

  • Has been convicted of (or adjudicated as a youthful offender or delinquent child for the commission of) a:
    • Felony;
    • Misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for more than two years;
    • Misdemeanor crime of domestic violence as defined in 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(33);
    • Violent crime as defined by Massachusetts law to include only crimes punishable by a term exceeding one year, or certain acts of juvenile delinquency;
    • Violation of any law regulating the use, possession, ownership, transfer, purchase, sale, lease, rental, receipt or transportation of weapons or ammunition for which a term of imprisonment may be imposed; or
    • Violation of any law regulating the use, possession or sale of controlled substances;
  • Is or has been committed to a hospital or institution for mental illness, alcohol or substance abuse;
  • Is or has been under the appointment of a guardian or conservator on the grounds that he or she lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his or her affairs;
  • Is an alien who does not maintain lawful permanent residency;
  • Is under 15 years of age, or is between the ages of 15-18 and does have a certificate demonstrating his or her parent or guardian’s consent to obtain a card;
  • Is currently subject to orders for suspension or surrender of firearms because of domestic abuse, or permanent or temporary protection orders;
  • Has been dishonorably discharged from the armed forces of the United States;
  • Is a fugitive from justice;
  • Has renounced his or her United States citizenship; or
  • Is currently the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant in any state or federal jurisdiction.2

For information about the 2014 law that allows law enforcement agencies to seek the denial or suspension of a firearms license to a person who poses a risk to public safety, see the Massachusetts Licensing of Gun Owners or Purchasers section. For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Massachusetts Background Checks section.

Notes
  1. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 129C. ⤴︎
  2. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, §§ 129B, 131, 131F; ch. 123 § 35. ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Michigan

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Michigan prohibits any person convicted of a felony or “specified felony” as defined under state law from possessing, using, transporting, selling, purchasing, carrying, shipping, receiving or distributing a firearm or ammunition, if that person has not yet satisfied statutory requirements to restore his or her ability to own or possess a firearm, including serving any applicable sentence or conditions for parole, and paying any relevant fines.1

Michigan prohibits a handgun seller from knowingly selling a firearm or ammunition to such a person, or to a person under indictment for a felony.2

Michigan also prohibits issuance of a handgun purchase license to any person local law enforcement has probable cause to believe would be a threat to themselves or others, or would commit a crime with the handgun.3 A person may qualify for a license if he or she:4

  • Is not subject to any of several specified court orders or dispositions;5
  • Is a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted alien and a legal resident of Michigan;
  • Does not have a felony or other specified criminal charge pending against him or her;
  • Is not prohibited from possessing, using, transporting, selling, purchasing, carrying, shipping, receiving, or distributing a firearm under state law; and
  • Has not been adjudged “insane” or “legally incapacitated,” or is not under an order of involuntary commitment in an inpatient or outpatient setting due to mental illness.

For additional information on handgun purchase licenses, see the Michigan Licensing of Gun Purchasers/Owners section.

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 750.224f. ⤴︎
  2. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 750.223(3)(a),(b). See Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 750.222 (defining seller to mean the seller of a handgun). ⤴︎
  3. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 28.422(3). ⤴︎
  4. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 28.422(3). License applicants are also required to pass the “basic pistol safety review questionnaire” exam by correctly answering 70% or more of the questions presented. See the Michigan Licensing of Gun Owners / Purchasers section for further information. ⤴︎
  5. See Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 28.422(3)(a). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Minnesota

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Minnesota prohibits firearm possession by a person who:

• Has been convicted, adjudicated delinquent, or convicted as an extended jurisdiction juvenile, of committing a crime of violence in Minnesota or a crime in any other jurisdiction that would be a crime of violence if committed in Minnesota;1

• Is, or has ever been, committed to a treatment facility as a person who is mentally ill, developmentally disabled, or “mentally ill and dangerous to the public,” or who has ever been found incompetent to stand trial or found not guilty by reason of mental illness, unless the person’s eligibility to possess a firearm has been restored;2

• Has been convicted of any misdemeanor (or a specific Minnesota “gross misdemeanor”) drug violation, within the past three years, or who is or has ever been committed for treatment for the habitual use of a controlled substance or marijuana, unless the person’s eligibility to possess a firearm has been restored;3

• Has been committed to a treatment facility as chemically dependent unless the person has completed treatment or the person’s eligibility to possess a firearm has been restored;4

• Is a peace officer and is informally admitted to a treatment facility for chemical dependency unless the officer possesses a certificate from the head of the treatment facility discharging the officer from the facility;5

• Has been charged with committing a crime of violence and has been placed in a pretrial diversion program by the court before disposition, until the person has completed the diversion program and the charge of committing the crime of violence has been dismissed;6

• Has been convicted in another state of committing an assault against a family or household member using a firearm within the past three years;7

• Has been convicted of assaulting a family or household member and was found by a court to have used a firearm in any way during the assault (the court determines the prohibitive period for this violation);8

• Has been convicted of assaulting a family or household member, or of assault in the fifth degree, within the previous three years (whether or not a firearm was used).9

• Is subject to certain domestic violence or child abuse protective orders;10

• Has been convicted by any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;11

• Is a fugitive from justice;12

• Is an unlawful user of a controlled substance;13

• Has been judicially committed to a treatment facility as a person who is mentally ill, developmentally disabled, or mentally ill and dangerous to the public;14

• Is an illegal alien;15

• Was dishonorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces;16

• Has renounced his or her U.S. citizenship;17

• Has been convicted of stalking within the previous three years;18

• Has been convicted of a gross misdemeanor stalking crime, wherein the court determined that the person used a firearm in any way during commission of the crime, (the court will determine the length of the firearm prohibition in such cases between a three year and lifetime prohibition);19

• Has been convicted of the following crimes at the gross misdemeanor level during the past three years:20

o Crimes committed for the benefit of a gang;21

o Assaults motivated by bias;22

o False imprisonment;23

o Neglect or endangerment of a child;24

o Burglary in the fourth degree;25

o Setting a spring gun;26

o Riot27; or

• Is disqualified from possessing a firearm under federal law’s domestic violence prohibition statute, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8), (9), as amended through March 1, 2014.28

A person presently charged with a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year is not entitled to receive any handgun or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon.29 In addition, persons under age 18 may not generally possess a handgun or a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon.30 See Minimum Age to Purchase or Possess Firearms in Minnesota.

A sheriff or police chief in Minnesota may refuse to grant a transferee permit or notify a dealer that the transferee is ineligible for the transfer of a handgun or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon only if an applicant’s background check shows that the prospective transferee is prohibited from possessing a firearm by one of the provisions mentioned above.31

Other provisions of Minnesota law prohibit firearm possession by a person who:

• Has been convicted of a stalking crime and used a firearm in the commission of that crime (prohibiting the person from possessing a firearm from three years to the remainder of the person’s life, if so ordered by the convicting court);32

• Has been convicted of violating an order for protection and used a firearm during that violation (prohibiting the person from possessing a firearm from three years to the remainder of the person’s life, if so ordered by the convicting court);33 or

• Is a nonresident alien, except to take game as a nonresident under the game and fish laws.34

Other provisions of Minnesota law prohibit possession of a handgun by a person who:

• Has been convicted of violating an order for protection within the previous three years;35

The state, by regulation, prohibits offenders on parole or supervised release from purchasing, obtaining or possessing firearms.36

Predatory offenders who are required to register under state law37 are prohibited from carrying a handgun whether or not they possess a permit to carry a handgun.38

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see Background Checks in Minnesota.

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

Notes
  1. Minn. Stat. §§ 624.713, subd. 1(2); 242.31, subd. 2a; 260B.245, subd. 1(b); See Minn. Stat. § 609.165, subd. 1b. ⤴︎
  2. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(3). ⤴︎
  3. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(4). ⤴︎
  4. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(5). ⤴︎
  5. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(6). ⤴︎
  6. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(7). ⤴︎
  7. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(8). ⤴︎
  8. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(9). ⤴︎
  9. Minn. Stat. §§ 624.713, subd. 1(12), 609.2242, subd. 3(d), (e). This provision applies to handguns if the person was convicted between August 1, 1992 and 2014.  For convictions after the effective date of 2013 Minn. H.B. 3238’s enactment, this prohibition applies to all firearms. Minn. Stat. § 609.2242, subd. 3(e). ⤴︎
  10. Minn. Stat. §§ 624.713, subd. 1(13), 260C.201, subd. 3(d), 518B.01, subd. 6(g). ⤴︎
  11. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(10)(i). ⤴︎
  12. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(10)(ii). ⤴︎
  13. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(10)(iii). ⤴︎
  14. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(10)(iv). ⤴︎
  15. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(10)(v). ⤴︎
  16. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(10)(vi). ⤴︎
  17. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(10)(vii). ⤴︎
  18. Minn. Stat. § 609.749, subd. 8(b), (c). This provision applies to handguns if the person was convicted of a stalking crime between August 1, 1996 and 2014.  For convictions after the effective date of 2013 Minn. H.B. 3238’s enactment, this prohibition applies to all firearms. Minn. Stat. § 609.749, subd. 8(c), (c). ⤴︎
  19. Minn. Stat. § 609.749, subd. 8(a), (c). This provision applies to handguns if the person was convicted of a stalking crime between August 1, 1996 and 2014.  For convictions after the effective date of 2013 Minn. H.B. 3238’s enactment, this prohibition applies to all firearms. Minn. Stat. § 609.749 ⤴︎
  20. See Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(11). ⤴︎
  21. See Minn. Stat. § 609.229. ⤴︎
  22. See Minn. Stat. § 609.2231, subd. 4. ⤴︎
  23. See Minn. Stat. § 609.255. ⤴︎
  24. See Minn. Stat. § 609.378. ⤴︎
  25. See Minn. Stat. § 609.582, subd. 4. ⤴︎
  26. See Minn. Stat. § 609.665. ⤴︎
  27. See Minn. Stat. § 609.71. ⤴︎
  28. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(10)(viii). ⤴︎
  29. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1a. ⤴︎
  30. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(1). ⤴︎
  31. Minn. Stat. §§ 624.7131, subd. 4; 624.7132, subd. 5. ⤴︎
  32. Minn. Stat. § 609.749, subd. 8. ⤴︎
  33. Minn. Stat. § 518B.01, subd.14(j). ⤴︎
  34. Minn. Stat. § 624.719. ⤴︎
  35. Minn. Stat. § 518B.01, subd. 14(k), (l). ⤴︎
  36. Minn. R. 2940.2000, subd. 7. ⤴︎
  37. See Minn. Stat. § 243.166 for further information. ⤴︎
  38. Minn. Stat. § 624.714, subd. 24. ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Mississippi

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

In addition, Mississippi incorporates some of the federal prohibitions as state offenses. Mississippi prohibits the possession of a firearm by any person convicted of a felony under federal law or the laws of any state.1 Mississippi also prohibits transferring to any person who is known to be intoxicated any of the following:

  • A deadly weapon;
  • A weapon the carrying of which concealed is prohibited; or
  • A pistol cartridge.2

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Mississippi Background Checks section.

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-5(1). ⤴︎
  2. Miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-13. ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Missouri

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Missouri law prohibits the knowing possession of a firearm by:

  • Any person convicted of a felony under Missouri law or a crime under any other state’s laws or federal law which, if committed in Missouri, would be classified as a felony;
  • A fugitive from justice;
  • A person habitually in an intoxicated or drugged condition; or
  • A person currently adjudged mentally incompetent.1

Missouri law generally allows a person who is intoxicated to possess a firearm as long as he or she does not handle or use it in a negligent or unlawful manner or discharge the weapon (except when acting in self-defense). Intoxicated persons may also possess a firearm that is: 1) not readily accessible; 2) transported in a nonfunctioning state; or 3) unloaded when ammunition is not readily accessible.2

However, Missouri law prohibits a federal firearms dealer who engages in the sale of firearms from failing or refusing to complete the sale of a firearm to a customer when the sale is authorized by federal law.3 This provision does not apply to any individual federal firearms license holder or his or her agents or employees to the extent they chose in their individual judgment to not complete the sale or transfer of a firearm for articulable reasons specific to that transaction, so long as those reasons are not based on the race, gender, religion, or creed of the buyer.4

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 571.070. This does not apply to the possession of an “antique firearm.” ⤴︎
  2. Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 571.030.1(5), 571.030.3, 571.030.5. ⤴︎
  3. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 571.014.3. Note that this provision appears to nullify all of the state prohibited purchaser categories. ⤴︎
  4. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 571.014.4. ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Montana

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Montana provides that, subject to certain limited exceptions, no person shall possess a firearm if he or she has been convicted of:

  • A felony for which he or she received an additional sentence under Montana Code Ann. § 46-18-221 (which imposes an additional sentence for offenses committed with a dangerous weapon); or
  • An offense of another state or federal law which is equivalent to a Montana offense which would subject the person to an additional sentence under section 46-18-221.1

Prohibited felons may nonetheless be entitled to purchase and possess firearms by applying for and receiving a permit, which will be granted upon a showing of good cause for the possession of each firearm sought to be purchased and possessed.2

Possession of a deadly weapon by a prisoner or person in a youth detention facility is also a crime in Montana.3 A state administrative regulation prohibits probationers and parolees from owning, possessing or being in control of any firearm.4

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-313. ⤴︎
  2. Mont Code Ann. §§ 45-8-313(3), 45-8-314. ⤴︎
  3. Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-318. ⤴︎
  4. Mont. Admin. R. 20.7.1101. ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Nebraska

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Similarly, Nebraska prohibits the following persons from possessing firearms:

  • A convicted felon;
  • A fugitive from justice;
  • Any person subject to a current domestic violence protection order, harassment protection order, or sexual assault protection order, and in knowing violation of that order; or
  • Any person convicted within the past seven years of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.1

Nebraska has no laws preventing the purchase or possession of firearms by:

  • Violent misdemeanants (other than those convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor);
  • Persons with mental illness;
  • Drug or alcohol abusers; or
  • Juvenile offenders.

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Nebraska Background Checks section.

Notes
  1. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-1206(1). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Nevada

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Similarly, Nevada prohibits any person from owning or possessing a firearm if he or she:

  • Has been convicted of a felony in Nevada, any other state, or under federal law;
  • Has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, as defined by federal law, in Nevada or any other state;
  • Has been convicted of stalking under Nevada law, or convicted of a similar law of any other state that prohibits substantially similar conduct;1
  • Is currently subject to an extended order for protection against domestic violence under Nevada law or an equivalent order in any other state;
  • Is a fugitive from justice;
  • Is an unlawful user of, or addicted to, any controlled substance;
  • Is otherwise prohibited by federal law from having a firearm in his or her possession or under his or her custody or control;
  • Has been adjudicated mentally ill or has been committed to any mental health facility by a court of this State, any other state or the United States;
  • Has entered a plea of guilty but mentally ill in a court of this State, any other state or the United States;
  • Has been found guilty but mentally ill in a court of this State, any other state or the United States;
  • Has been acquitted by reason of insanity in a court of this State, any other state or the United States; or
  • Is illegally or unlawfully in the United States.2

In November 2016, Nevada voters approved a ballot initiative to require background checks on private sales of firearms. However, after the FBI announced that it would not conduct background checks in the manner the initiative required it to, the Nevada Attorney General issued an opinion stating that individuals would not be prosecuted for failing to conduct background checks on private sales. Nevada currently lacks an enforceable process to conduct background checks on private sales of firearms.

Nevada does, however, provide that a private person who wishes to transfer a firearm may request that the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History perform a background check on the transferee. See the Nevada Private Sales section for further information.

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Under Nevada law, stalking is committed when a person “willfully or maliciously engages in a course of conduct that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, harassed or fearful for the immediate safety of a family or household member, and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, harassed or fearful for the immediate safety of a family or household member.” Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 200.575. ⤴︎
  2. Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 202.360(1), (2). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in New Hampshire

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Similarly, New Hampshire has incorporated the federal prohibition against selling firearms to felons as a state offense.1 New Hampshire also prohibits any person who has been convicted of a felony against the person or property of another, or a felony under New Hampshire’s Controlled Drug Act, or a similar law in another jurisdiction, from owning, possessing or controlling a firearm.2 New Hampshire state law also prohibits any person from purchasing, receiving, or possessing a firearm while subject to a protective order.3

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the New Hampshire Background Checks section.

New Hampshire has no laws preventing firearm purchase or possession by, among others:

  • Violent misdemeanants;
  • Persons with mental illness;
  • Persons convicted of drug or alcohol misdemeanors; or
  • Juvenile offenders.
Notes
  1. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159:7. ⤴︎
  2. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159:3. There are greater penalties for possession of a firearm by a person convicted of three or more of certain felonies outlined by state law. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159:3-a. New Hampshire also prohibits a licensed dealer from delivering a firearm to a person convicted of a felony. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159:8(III). ⤴︎
  3. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 173-B:5(II). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in New Jersey

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

New Jersey prohibits the following individuals from possessing firearms:

  • Any person convicted of a “crime” of aggravated assault, arson, burglary, escape, extortion, homicide, kidnapping, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, bias intimidation, endangering the welfare of a child, stalking, domestic violence, or certain weapons-related offenses;1
  • Any person who has ever been committed for a mental disorder to any hospital, mental institution or sanitarium unless he or she possesses a certificate of a medical doctor or psychiatrist licensed to practice in New Jersey or other satisfactory proof that he is no longer suffering from a mental disorder which interferes with or handicaps him in the handling of a firearm; ((N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-7(a).))
  • Any person convicted of the unlawful use, possession or sale of a controlled dangerous substance unless the offense was classified as a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense;
  • Any person convicted of a disorderly persons offense of domestic violence;2
  • Any person who is subject to a domestic violence restraining order, or an ex parte order that specifically prohibits the possession of firearms;3 or
  • Any person convicted in another U.S. or foreign jurisdiction of a crime comparable to a crime listed above.4

In New Jersey, all prospective firearm purchasers must obtain either a permit to purchase a handgun (one handgun purchase per permit),5 or a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC) (one card allows unlimited rifle and shotgun purchases),6 from local law enforcement or the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) prior to buying a firearm.7 New Jersey has adopted many classes of prohibited persons that cannot obtain permits or FPICs, incorporating some of the federal prohibitions as state offenses.

No permit to purchase a handgun or FPIC shall be issued to any person who:8

  • Has been “convicted of any crime” (under New Jersey law, a crime is an offense “for which a sentence of imprisonment in excess of 6 months is authorized);”9
  • Has been convicted of a “disorderly persons offense” involving an act of domestic violence,10 whether or not the person was armed with or possessing a weapon at the time of the offense;
  • Is “drug dependent;”11
  • Is a “habitual drunkard;”
  • Is confined for a mental disorder to a hospital, mental institution or sanitarium;
  • Has ever been confined for a mental disorder, is an alcoholic, or suffers from a physical defect or disease which would make it unsafe for him or her to handle firearms, unless the person can provide “satisfactory proof” that he or she is no longer suffering from that particular disability in a manner that would interfere with his or her handling of firearms;12
  • Refuses to waive statutory or other rights of confidentiality relating to institutional confinement;13
  • Knowingly falsifies any information on the application form for a handgun purchase permit or FPIC;
  • Is under 18 years of age for a FPIC;
  • Is under 21 years of age for a permit to purchase a handgun;
  • Is subject to a restraining order prohibiting the person from possessing a firearm;14
  • Has had his or her firearm seized by law enforcement for a domestic violence offense and whose firearm has not been returned;
  • As a juvenile was adjudicated delinquent for an offense which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a crime and the offense involved the unlawful use or possession of a weapon, explosive or destructive device or is listed in New Jersey Statutes Annotated § 2C:43-7.2d; or
  • Is named on the consolidated Terrorist Watchlist maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Finally, no permit to purchase or FPIC shall be issued where the issuance would not be in the interest of the public health, safety or welfare.15 In addition, an applicant must be of “good character and good repute in the community” in which he or she lives.16

For more detail on the permit to purchase a handgun and FPIC requirements, see the New Jersey Licensing of Gun Owners or Purchasers section.

See our Prohibited Purchasers Generally policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

Notes
  1. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-7. An offense under New Jersey law only constitutes a “crime” if a sentence of imprisonment in excess of 6 months is authorized. N.J. Stat. § 2C:1-4. ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-29(b); 2C:58-3c(6). ⤴︎
  4. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-7. ⤴︎
  5. N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-1.9(a). ⤴︎
  6. N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-1.9(b). ⤴︎
  7. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3a, 3b. ⤴︎
  8. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3c, N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-1.5. ⤴︎
  9. See N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:1-4. ⤴︎
  10. See the Domestic Violence & Firearms in New Jersey section for further information. ⤴︎
  11. See N.J. Stat. Ann. § 24:21-2 for the definition of “drug dependent.” ⤴︎
  12. See N.J. Admin. Code § 13:54-1.6. ⤴︎
  13. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3e. ⤴︎
  14. See N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-29b. ⤴︎
  15. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3c(5). ⤴︎
  16. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3c. A FPIC is valid so long as the holder is permitted to possess a firearm. See N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3f. A permit to purchase a handgun is valid for 90 days, and may be renewed for good cause for an additional 90 day period. Id. ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in New Mexico

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

New Mexico prohibits convicted felons from receiving, possessing or transporting a firearm within ten years of completing a sentence or probation.1  New Mexico also prohibits any person under age 19 from knowingly possessing or transporting a handgun.2

See Regulating Guns in America:  Prohibited Purchasers for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-7-16(A), (C)(2). ⤴︎
  2. N. M. Stat. Ann. § 30-7-2.2. ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in New York

See our Prohibited Purchasers Generally policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

New York law prohibits any person who is not a citizen of the United States from possessing any firearm.1 The state also prohibits an individual from possessing a long gun if he or she:

• Has been certified not suitable to possess a long gun by the director or physician in charge of a hospital or institution for mental illness; or

• Has been convicted of a felony or “serious offense,” defined to include:

o Illegally using, carrying or possessing a handgun or other dangerous weapon;
o Making or possessing burglar’s instruments;
o Buying or receiving stolen property;
o Unlawful entry into a building;
o Aiding escape from prison;
o Certain kinds of disorderly conduct;
o Certain drug offenses or crimes involving sodomy or rape;
o Child endangerment;
o Certain crimes permitting or promoting prostitution; or
o Certain kinds of stalking.2

New York law also provides that, subject to certain limited exceptions, no person shall be issued a license to carry, possess or dispose of a firearm (defined to include any handgun, short-barreled rifle, shotgun, antique firearm, black power rifled, black power shotgun, any muzzle-loading firearm, or assault weapon) unless he or she:

• Is twenty one-years of age or older (except if he or she has been honorably discharged from the U.S. military or New York national guard, in which case the age limit does not apply);

• Is of good moral character;

• Has not been convicted anywhere of a felony or a serious offense (see above list of crimes deemed “serious offenses”);

• Is not a fugitive from justice;

• Is not an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance as defined by federal law at 21 U.S.C. § 802;

• Being an alien: 1) is not illegally in the United States; or 2) has not be admitted into the United States under a non-immigrant visa;

• Has not been discharged from the military under dishonorable conditions;

• Having been a citizen of the United States, has not renounced his or her citizenship;

• Has stated whether he or she has suffered from any mental illness;

• Who has not been involuntarily committed to a facility under the jurisdiction of the Department of Mental Hygiene pursuant to New York law, or has not been civilly confined in a secure treatment facility pursuant to New York law;

• Has not had a handgun license revoked and is not under a suspension or ineligibility order due to a domestic violence restraining order;

• Has successfully completed a firearms safety course and test (applicable in Westchester County only);

• Has not had a guardian appointed for him or her pursuant to New York law, based on a determination that as a result of marked subnormal intelligence, mental illness, incapacity, condition or disease, he or she lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his or her own affairs; and

• Presents no good cause for the denial of the license.3

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Background Checks in New York section.

Notes
  1. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.01(5). ⤴︎
  2. N.Y. Penal Law §§ 265.00(17), 265.01. ⤴︎
  3. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(1). See N.Y. Penal Law § 265.00(3) (defining “firearm”). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in North Carolina

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

North Carolina law provides that, subject to certain limited exceptions, no person may possess a firearm if he or she has been convicted, acquitted by reason of insanity, or determined to lack capacity in a proceeding for:

  • Any felony in North Carolina, except those pertaining to antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, or restraints of trade, unless the person has been pardoned or has had his or her firearms rights restored pursuant to the law of the jurisdiction in which the conviction occurred, provided that such restoration of rights could also be granted under North Carolina law;
  • Any violation, punishable by more than one year imprisonment, committed in another state or federal court; or
  • Misdemeanor assault by pointing a gun, as defined by state law.1

No person may own, possess, purchase, receive, or attempt to possess, purchase or receive, a firearm, machine gun, ammunition, or permits to purchase a handgun or carry a concealed handgun if prohibited from doing so by a court as part of a domestic violence protective order in effect against that person.2

North Carolina law provides that in any case where a juvenile is placed on probation, the court may prohibit the juvenile from possessing a firearm.3 North Carolina law provides that a court imposing regular conditions of probation must prohibit the defendant from possessing a firearm without the written permission of the court.4 North Carolina law makes it a “controlling condition” for the release of a person from prison before the termination of his or her maximum prison term that the person not possess a firearm unless granted written permission by the Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission (“Commission”) or a post-release supervision officer.5 Similarly, a North Carolina statute states that the Commission may require that a parolee refrain from possessing a firearm unless granted written permission by the Commission or the parole officer.6

No person may purchase a handgun without a permit to purchase a handgun or a concealed handgun permit.7 Pursuant to state law, no person may obtain a permit to purchase a handgun if he or she:

  • Is under an indictment or information for, or has been convicted of, a felony (except for felonies for antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, or restraints of trade), unless the person has been pardoned or had their rights restored under state law;
  • Is a fugitive from justice;
  • Is an unlawful user of or addicted to marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, or narcotic drug;
  • Has been adjudicated mentally incompetent or been committed to a mental institution, unless his or her rights have been restored under state law;8
  • Is unlawfully in the United States;
  • Has been discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States under dishonorable conditions;
  • Has renounced his or her United States citizenship; or
  • Is subject to a court order that:

(1) Was issued after a hearing of which the person received actual notice, and at which the person had an opportunity to participate;
(2) Restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of the person or child of the intimate partner of the person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child; and
(3) Includes a finding that the person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of the intimate partner or child; or by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury.9

An applicant for a handgun purchaser permit must also present evidence that he or she is of good moral character, however, a 2015 law prohibits sheriffs from examining an applicant’s conduct or criminal history from more than five years before the date of application.10

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see North Carolina Background Checks and Licensing of Gun Owners or Purchasers in North Carolina.

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-415.11 (for prohibitions related to convictions) and N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-415.13 (for prohibitions related to adjudications of insanity or incapacity); see also N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-34. ⤴︎
  2. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269.8. ⤴︎
  3. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-2510. ⤴︎
  4. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1343(b)(5). ⤴︎
  5. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1368.4. ⤴︎
  6. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-1374. ⤴︎
  7. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-402. ⤴︎
  8. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 122C-54.1. ⤴︎
  9. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-404. ⤴︎
  10. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-404(a)(2). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in North Dakota

Federal law prohibits certain people from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

In addition, North Dakota has adopted other classes of prohibited persons and incorporated some of the federal prohibitions as state offenses. North Dakota provides that, subject to certain limited exceptions, no person shall possess a firearm if he or she:

  • Has been convicted of a felony involving violence or intimidation in any state or under federal law, or released from incarceration, parole or probation after being so convicted, during the past ten years;
  • Has been convicted of a felony other than a felony involving violence or intimidation in any state or under federal law, committed while using or possessing a firearm, other dangerous weapon, destructive device or explosive, or released from incarceration, parole or probation after being so convicted, during the past five years;
  • Has been convicted of a class A misdemeanor involving violence or intimidation in any state or under federal law, committed while using or possessing a firearm, other dangerous weapon, destructive device or explosive, or released from incarceration, parole or probation after being so convicted, during the past five years; or
  • Is or has ever been confined or committed to an institution as a person requiring treatment or as a mentally deficient person, unless the person has not suffered from the disability for the previous three years, or has had the petition for diagnosis, confinement, or commitment dismissed.1

For purposes of these provisions, a person is considered to have been “convicted,” upon a verdict of guilty, a plea of guilty or a plea of nolo contendere.2 A person may be considered “convicted” even if:

  • The court suspended execution or deferred imposition of the sentence, or placed the person on probation;
  • The person’s conviction has been reduced in accordance with state law;3
  • Sentence dispositions, sentence reductions, or offense determinations equivalent to this section were imposed or granted by a court, board, agency, or law of another state or the federal government; or
  • The person committed the offense when that person was subject to juvenile adjudication or proceedings.4

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the North Dakota Background Checkssection.

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-02-01. ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. See N.D. Cent. Code §§ 12.1-32-02(9), 12.1-32-07.1. ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Ohio

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Similarly, Ohio prohibits the following persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, unless they have obtained a “relief from disability”:1

• Fugitives from justice;

• Persons under indictment for or convicted of any violent felony offense, or who have been adjudicated a delinquent child for the commission of an offense that, if committed by an adult, would have been a violent felony offense;

• Persons under indictment for, or convicted of, a felony drug offense (or adjudicated a delinquent child for the commission of an offense that, if committed by an adult, would have been a felony drug offense);

• Persons who are “drug dependent, in danger of drug dependence” or chronic alcoholics; or

• Persons under adjudication for mental incompetence, adjudicated as a mental defective, committed to a mental institution, found to be mentally ill subject to hospitalization by court order, or involuntary mentally ill patients.2

Ohio also prohibits the “use” of a firearm by a career criminal.3

Ohio law also restricts sales to young people.

Ohio has no law preventing firearm purchase or possession by violent misdemeanants or persons subject to domestic violence restraining orders.

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see Background Checks in Ohio.

Notes
  1. See Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.14 regarding the procedure for obtaining relief from the prohibition against firearm possession. This provision was amended in 2011 by Ohio H.B. 54. ⤴︎
  2. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.13(A). ⤴︎
  3. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.132(B). Career criminal is defined as a person who, within the preceding eight years, has been convicted of or plead guilty to two or more violent felony offenses that are separated by intervening sentences and are not so closely related to each other and connected in time and place that they constitute a course of criminal conduct. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.132(A)(1)(a). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Oklahoma

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Oklahoma prohibits knowingly transferring a firearm to:

  • A convicted felon;1
  • An adjudicated delinquent;2
  • A person under the influence of alcohol or drugs;3 or
  • Any person who is “mentally deficient,” of “unsound mind,” under adjudication of mental incompetency or otherwise mentally or emotionally unbalanced or disturbed.4

A convicted felon may not have a handgun “imitation or homemade pistol, altered air or toy pistol, machine gun, sawed-off shotgun or rifle, or any other dangerous or deadly firearm.”5

Furthermore, a person serving a term of probation for any felony may not possess or control a handgun, “shotgun or rifle, including any imitation or homemade pistol, altered air or toy pistol [or] shotgun or rifle.”6

Finally, any person previously adjudicated as a delinquent child or youthful offender for the commission of an offense which would have constituted a felony if committed by an adult may not have a handgun, “imitation or homemade pistol, altered air or toy pistol, machine gun, sawed-off shotgun or rifle, or any other dangerous or deadly firearm within ten…years after such adjudication.”7

See our Prohibited Purchasers Generally policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1289.12. ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, §§ 1289.10, 1289.12. ⤴︎
  5. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1283(A). ⤴︎
  6. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1283(C). ⤴︎
  7. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1283(D). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Oregon

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Oregon prohibits the possession of a firearm by any person who:

  • Is under age 18;
  • While a minor, was found to be within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court for having committed an act which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a felony or a “misdemeanor involving violence” (including any assault in the fourth degree, strangulation, menacing, recklessly endangering another person, or intentionally subjecting another to offensive physical contact because of a perception of the other’s race, color, religion, national origin or sexual orientation), and was discharged from the jurisdiction of the juvenile court within the previous four years;
  • Has been convicted of a felony;
  • Was found “guilty, except for insanity” of a felony;
  • Was committed to the Oregon Health Authority due to mental illness;
  • Was found to be mentally ill and subject to an order that the person be prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm as a result of that mental illness;
  • Is subject to a domestic violence protective order;
  • Has been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor;1 or
  • Is subject to an Extreme Risk Protection Order.

Oregon also prohibits the possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a felony under the laws of any state or the United States, unless:

  • The offense was for possession of marijuana and the conviction was prior to January 1, 1972;
  • The person was convicted of only one felony which did not involve criminal homicide or the possession or use of a firearm or a weapon having a blade that projects or swings into position by force of a spring or by centrifugal force, and who has been discharged from imprisonment, parole or probation for said offense for a period of 15 years prior to the date of the alleged violation; or
  • The person was granted relief from the disability under federal or state law or has had his or her record expunged.2

Other provisions in Oregon law prohibit the possession of a firearm by a person:

  • Sentenced to probation during the term of probation;3 or
  • Committed to a correctional institution while under the jurisdiction of the institution or while being conveyed to or from an institution.4

Another provision penalizes a person who “carries or bears” a firearm if the person has committed, with any type of firearm, murder in any degree or manslaughter, either voluntary or involuntary, or who in a careless or reckless manner killed or injured another with a firearm.5

Oregon prohibits any person from intentionally selling, delivering, or otherwise transferring a firearm when the transferor knows or reasonably should know that the recipient:

  • Has been convicted of a felony or found “guilty except for insanity” of a felony;
  • Has any outstanding felony warrants for arrest;
  • Is free on any form of pretrial release for a felony;
  • Was committed to the Oregon Health Authority;
  • After January 1, 1990, was found to be mentally ill and subject to an order that the person be prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm as a result of that mental illness; or
  • Has been convicted of a “misdemeanor involving violence” or found “guilty except for insanity” of a misdemeanor involving violence6 within the previous four years. A “misdemeanor involving violence” means assault in the fourth degree, strangulation, menacing, recklessly endangering another person, or intentionally subjecting another to offensive physical contact because of a perception of the other’s race, color, religion, national origin or sexual orientation.7

This provision does not apply if the recipient was granted relief from the disability under federal or state law or has had his or her record expunged.8

In Oregon, if a court finds that there is a reasonable likelihood that a mentally ill person would constitute a danger to himself or herself or others or to the community at large as a result of the person’s mental or psychological state, the court must order that the person be prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms.9

In 2015, Oregon closed the private sale loophole by enacting a law requiring private or unlicensed firearm sellers to conduct background checks on private or unlicensed purchasers (see Private Sales in Oregon for more information).  For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Oregon Background Checks section.

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

Notes
  1. Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 166.250(1)(c); 166.255(1). Individuals subject to domestic violence protective orders or convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors are also prohibited from possessing ammunition in addition to firearms. ⤴︎
  2. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.270. ⤴︎
  3. Or. Rev. Stat. § 137.540(1)(l). ⤴︎
  4. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.275. ⤴︎
  5. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.300. ⤴︎
  6. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.470(1)(g). ⤴︎
  7. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.470(1). ⤴︎
  8. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.470(1). ⤴︎
  9. Or. Rev. Stat. § 426.130(1)(b)(D). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Pennsylvania

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Pennsylvania law provides that, subject to certain limited exceptions, no person shall possess a firearm if he or she has been convicted of:

  • Possessing, using, making, repairing, selling, or otherwise dealing in any “offensive weapon,” including machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, firearms with a silencer, and stun guns1;
  • An offense relating to organized crime;
  • Possessing a weapon on school property;
  • Murder;
  • Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter involving reckless use of a firearm;
  • Aggravated assault;
  • Assault by a prisoner;
  • Stalking;
  • Kidnapping or unlawful restraint;
  • Rape, involuntary intercourse, or aggravated indecent assault;
  • Luring a child into a motor vehicle;
  • Arson;
  • Causing or risking catastrophe;
  • Burglary;
  • Criminal trespass (at the level of second degree felony or higher);
  • Robbery or robbery of a motor vehicle;
  • Felony theft or felony extortion accompanied by threats of violence (if it is the second conviction for said felony);
  • Felony receiving stolen property;
  • Impersonating a law enforcement officer;
  • Intimidation of, or retaliation against, a witness or a victim;
  • Escape from “official detention”;2
  • Possession of weapons or implements for escape from a detention facility, correctional institution or mental hospital;
  • Riot;
  • Paramilitary training;
  • Possession of a firearm by a minor or corruption of minors;
  • An offense involving “facsimile weapons of mass destruction”; or
  • Unlawful sale or lease of weapons or explosives.3

Pennsylvania law also prohibits the following individuals from possessing a firearm:

  • A fugitive from justice;
  • A person who has been convicted of an offense under The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act;4
  • A person who has been adjudicated as incompetent or involuntarily committed to a mental institution;
  • An illegal alien;
  • A person adjudicated delinquent under federal or state law as a result of conduct which, if committed by an adult, would constitute specified offenses under Pennsylvania law for a period of 15 years or until the person is age 30;5
  • A person who is the subject of an active protection from abuse order that provides for the relinquishment of firearms; or
  • A person who is prohibited by federal law from possessing or acquiring a firearm because of a conviction for a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.6

A person who has been convicted of driving under the influence on three or more separate occasions within a five-year period is prohibited from purchasing but not possessing a firearm.7

Pennsylvania law allows persons who are prohibited by Pennsylvania law from possessing firearms by virtue of a criminal conviction to apply to the court of common pleas of the county where the principal residence of the applicant is situated for relief from the firearm prohibition.8 The court must grant the relief if ten years have passed since the applicant’s most recent conviction.9 A person prohibited from possessing firearms because he or she was adjudicated incompetent or involuntarily committed to a mental institution may similarly petition a court for relief from disability, in which case the hearing must be closed.10 The court may grant such relief as it deems appropriate if it determines that the applicant may possess a firearm without risk to himself or herself or any other person.11

Note that federal law still considers a person to be prohibited from purchasing and possessing firearms even if state law purports to have restored his or her firearms eligibility, unless the person has had all of his or her civil rights restored (not just his or her firearms eligibility).12

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Pennsylvania Background Checks section.

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. See 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 908, which defines “offensive weapon” to mean “any bomb, grenade, machine gun, sawed-off shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches, firearm specially made or specially adapted for concealment or silent discharge, any blackjack, sandbag, metal knuckles, dagger, knife, razor or cutting instrument, the blade of which is exposed in an automatic way by switch, push-button, spring mechanism, or otherwise, any stun gun, stun baton, taser or other electronic or electric weapon or other implement for the infliction of serious bodily injury which serves no common lawful purpose.” ⤴︎
  2. See 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5121 (defining “official detention” as arrest, detention in any facility for the custody of persons under charge or conviction of a crime or alleged or found to be delinquent, detention for extradition or deportation, or any other detention for law enforcement purposes). ⤴︎
  3. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6105(b). ⤴︎
  4. See 35 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 780-101 et seq. ⤴︎
  5. See 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6105(c)(7), (8). ⤴︎
  6. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6105(c). ⤴︎
  7. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6105(c)(3). ⤴︎
  8. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6105(d). A hearing must be held in open court, and the commissioner and the district attorney of the county where the application is filed and any victim or survivor of a victim of the offense upon which the disability was based may be parties to the proceeding. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6105(e). ⤴︎
  9. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6105(e)(2). See also 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6105.1 (purporting to restore firearms eligibility to persons convicted under certain laws previously on the books in Pennsylvania.). ⤴︎
  10. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6105(f)(1), (3). ⤴︎
  11. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6105(f)(1). ⤴︎
  12. See 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20)(B), (33)(B)(ii); United States v. Essig, 10 F.3d 968 (3d Cir. 1993); United States v. Leuschen, 395 F.3d 155 (3d Cir. 2005); Pa. State Police v. Paulshock, 836 A.2d 110 (Pa. 2003). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Rhode Island

See our Prohibited Purchasers Generally policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Rhode Island has adopted its own classes of prohibited persons, and incorporated some federal prohibitions as state offenses. Subject to limited exceptions, no person shall purchase, own, carry, transport, or possess a firearm if he or she:

  • Has been convicted of, or entered a no contest plea to, “a crime of violence”;
  • Is a fugitive from justice;
  • Has been convicted of a domestic violence offense that is punishable as a felony or of specified domestic violence misdemeanors, including simple assault and violation of a protective order;1
  • Is under guardianship, treatment or confinement “by virtue of being a mental incompetent”; ((R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-6. Unless the person has been pronounced criminally insane by competent medical authority, after the duration of five years, the person may apply to purchase a firearm upon presentation of an affidavit issued by competent medical authority stating that the person is mentally stable and a “proper person” to possess a gun.2
  • Has been adjudicated or is under treatment or confinement as a drug addict; or
  • Is an illegal alien.3

Rhode Island also generally prohibits any person under age 18 from possessing or using any firearm or ammunition.4 See the Minimum Age to Purchase / Possess Firearms in Rhode Island section.

A 2017 Rhode Island law5 also now prohibits people subject to domestic violence protective orders from possessing or acquiring firearms if the order was issued following notice to the respondent and a hearing.6 Previously, courts were authorized but not required to prohibit people subject to protective orders from acquiring or possessing firearms. See the Rhode Island Domestic Violence and Firearms section for more information.

 

Notes
  1. See R.I. Gen. Laws § 12-29-5. Also, visit the Rhode Island Domestic Violence and Firearms section for more detailed information. ⤴︎
  2. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-6. ⤴︎
  3. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 11-47-5 – 11-47-7. ⤴︎
  4. R.I. Gen Laws § 11-47-32. ⤴︎
  5. See 2017 RI HB 5510 and its identical Senate counterpart, 2017 RI SB 405. ⤴︎
  6. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 11-47-5(b), 8-8.1-3(a)(4), (c). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in South Carolina

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

A law South Carolina adopted in 2010 makes it unlawful for a person who has been convicted of a “violent crime,” as defined by South Carolina law, to possess a firearm or ammunition if the violent crime is also classified as a felony offense.  A judge who hears a case involving a violent felony offense must make a specific finding on the record that the offense is a violent offense.1

South Carolina prohibits any person from possessing or acquiring a handgun if he or she:

  • Has been convicted of a “crime of violence” in any court (“crime of violence” includes murder; manslaughter (except negligent manslaughter arising out of traffic accidents); rape; mayhem; kidnapping; burglary; robbery; housebreaking; assault with intent to kill, commit rape, or rob; assault with a dangerous weapon; or assault with intent to commit any offense punishable by imprisonment for more than one year);
  • Is a fugitive from justice;
  • Is a habitual drunkard;
  • Is a drug addict;
  • Has been adjudicated mentally incompetent;
  • Is a member of a subversive organization;
  • Is under age 18 (except for a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, active or reserve, National Guard, state militia or R.O.T.C., when on duty or training; and except for the temporary loan of a handgun for instruction under the immediate supervision of a parent or adult instructor); or
  • Is a person who, by order of a circuit judge or county court judge of South Carolina, has been adjudged unfit to carry or possess a firearm (such adjudication may be made upon application by any police officer or prosecuting officer of South Carolina, or by the court on its own initiative).2

The state also prohibits the purchase, sale, lease, rental, barter, exchange, transportation into the state or possession of a firearm by an alien unlawfully present in the U.S.3

In 2015, South Carolina enacted a law prohibiting gun possession by certain domestic abusers. For details, see Domestic Violence and Firearms in South Carolina.

In 2013, South Carolina enacted a law making it unlawful for a person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or who has been “committed to a mental institution” to ship, transport, possess, or receive a firearm.4 The definitions of “adjudicated as a mental defective” and “committed to a mental institution” mirror federal law.5 The law also established a procedure for these people to regain their gun eligibility.6

In addition, South Carolina prohibits providing patients and prisoners under the jurisdiction of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health (“SCDMH”) with access to firearms.7 Furthermore, patients receiving inpatient services in a program under the jurisdiction of the Division of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services of the SCDMH in a treatment facility operated by SCDMH cannot possess firearms.8 A juvenile committed to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice is also prohibited from possessing a firearm.9

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the South Carolina Background Checks section.

Notes
  1. S.C. Code § 16-23-500. ⤴︎
  2. S.C. Code Ann. § 16-23-30(B). ⤴︎
  3. S.C. Code Ann. § 16-23-530(A). ⤴︎
  4. S.C. Code Ann. § 23-31-1040. ⤴︎
  5. S.C. Code Ann. § 23-31-1010. ⤴︎
  6. S.C. Code Ann. § 23-31-1030. ⤴︎
  7. S.C. Code Ann. § 44-23-1080. ⤴︎
  8. S.C. Code Ann. § 44-52-165(A). ⤴︎
  9. S.C. Code Ann. § 63-19-1670(A), (B)(1). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in South Dakota

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

South Dakota law provides that, subject to certain limited exceptions, no person shall possess a firearm if he or she:

  • Has been convicted of a “crime of violence” or one of a list of drug-related felonies in the past 15 years;1
  • Has been convicted of felony possession of a controlled substance or marijuana in South Dakota or of similar felony violations under the laws of another state in the past five years;2
  • Has been convicted of any misdemeanor crime involving an act of domestic violence within the past year;3 or
  • Is under the age of 18.4

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the South Dakota Background Checks section.

Notes
  1. S.D. Codified Laws § 22-14-15. “Crime of violence” is defined in S.D. Codified Laws § 22-1-2(9). ⤴︎
  2. S.D. Codified Laws § 22-14-15.1. ⤴︎
  3. S.D. Codified Laws § 22-14-15.2. ⤴︎
  4. S.D. Codified Laws §§ 23-7-44 and 23-7-45. For exceptions to this prohibition, see the South Dakota Minimum Age to Purchase or Possess section. ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Tennessee

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary  for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Tennessee law prohibits the possession of a firearm by any person:

  • Convicted of a felony involving the use or attempted use of force, violence or a deadly weapon;1
  • Convicted of a felony drug offense;2
  • Convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence while remaining subject to the disabilities of such a conviction;3
  • Possessing a firearm while subject to an order of protection;4
  • Under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance (handguns only);5 or
  • Prohibited from possessing a firearm under any other provision of federal or state law6

Tennessee prohibits anyone convicted of a felony from possessing a handgun.7

Tennessee prohibits juveniles (persons under age 18) from knowingly possessing a handgun.8

In addition, Tennessee prohibits any person from selling a firearm to any person: 1) convicted of stalking;9 2) addicted to alcohol; 3) ineligible to receive a firearm under federal law; 4) judicially committed to a mental institution; or 5) adjudicated as a mental defective.10

For information on the background check process used to enforce these prohibitions, see the Tennessee Background Checks section.

Notes
  1. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1307(b)(1)(A). ⤴︎
  2. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1307(b)(1)(B). ⤴︎
  3. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1307(f)(1)(A). The crime of domestic violence, as applies to this section, is defined under federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(33). ⤴︎
  4. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1307(f)(1)(B). The order of protection must fully comply with federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8). ⤴︎
  5. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1321(a). ⤴︎
  6. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1307(f)(1)(C). ⤴︎
  7. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1307(c). ⤴︎
  8. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1319(b), (a)(2). ⤴︎
  9. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-315. ⤴︎
  10. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1316(a)(1). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Texas

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Texas law provides that a person who has previously been convicted of a felony commits a felony of the third degree if he or she possesses a firearm:

  • After conviction and before the fifth anniversary of his or her release from confinement following the conviction of the felony or from supervision under community supervision, parole, or mandatory supervision, whichever date is later; or
  • Anytime following the fifth anniversary of his or her release from confinement or supervision, if at any location other than the premises at which the person lives.1

Texas law also provides that a person who has been convicted of certain domestic assault-related misdemeanors involving a member of the person’s family or household commits a misdemeanor if he or she possesses a firearm before the fifth anniversary of the later of:

  • The date of his or her release from confinement following conviction of the misdemeanor; or
  • The date of his or her release from community supervision following conviction of the misdemeanor.2

For prohibitions against subjects of protective orders, see the Texas Domestic Violence and Firearms section.

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Texas Background Checks section.

Notes
  1. Tex. Penal Code § 46.04(a). ⤴︎
  2. Tex. Penal Code § 46.04(b). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in the District of Columbia

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Generally, no person or organization may possess or control any firearm in the District of Columbia unless the person or organization holds a valid registration certificate.1 Since 1976, the District generally has deemed handguns that were not registered to the current owner prior to September 24, 1976 as unregisterable firearms.2 Handguns may now be registered for the limited purpose of self-defense within the registrant’s home.3

To obtain a registration certificate, an applicant must pass a background check conducted by the Chief of Police (Chief). This background check is in addition to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check required by the Brady Act when purchasing a gun from a federally licensed dealer. The Chief must confirm that the applicant:

  • Meets the District’s age requirements (see the District Minimum Age to Purchase or Possess Firearms section for further information);
  • Has not been convicted of a weapons offense (excluding infractions and some misdemeanors), or a felony (including a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year);
  • Is not under indictment for a crime of violence4 or a weapons offense;
  • Has not been convicted within five years prior to the application of any:
    • Violation in any jurisdiction of any law restricting the use, possession or sale of any narcotic or dangerous drug;
    • A violation of D.C. Code Ann. § 22-407 (threats to do bodily harm) or D.C. Code Ann. § 22-404 (assaults and threats) or any similar law of any other jurisdiction;
    • Two or more violations of D.C. Code Ann. § 50-2201.05(b) (driving under the influence of liquor or drugs), or in any other jurisdiction any law restricting driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
    • Intrafamily offense punishable as a misdemeanor, including any similar provision in the law of another jurisdiction (“Intrafamily offense” means interpersonal, intimate partner, or intrafamily violence.5 );
    • A misdemeanor involving the failure to safely store a firearm or a violation of the state’s child access prevention law (see Child Access Prevention in the District of Columbia for information about this law); or
    • A stalking offense.
  • Within the five years immediately preceding the application:
    • Has not been acquitted of any criminal charge by reason of insanity or has not been adjudicated a chronic alcoholic by any court;
    • Has not been voluntarily or involuntarily committed to any mental hospital or institution; or
    • Has not had a history of violent behavior.
  • Does not appear to suffer from a physical defect which tends to indicate that the applicant would not be able to possess and use a firearm safely and responsibly;
  • Has not been adjudicated negligent in a firearm mishap causing death or serious injury to another human being;
  • Is not otherwise ineligible to possess a handgun under D.C. Code Ann. § 22-4503.6 People prohibited from possessing firearms under this section:
    • Have been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
    • Are not licensed to sell weapons and has been convicted of unlawfully selling weapons;
    • Are fugitives from justice;
    • Are addicted to a controlled substance;
    • Are subject to court orders restraining the individuals from assaulting, harassing, stalking, or threatening another person if the order requires the restrained individuals to relinquish possession of any firearms; or
    • Have been convicted within the past 5 years of an intrafamily offense, as defined in D.C. Official Code § 16-1001(8), punishable as a misdemeanor, or any similar provision in the law of another jurisdiction.
  • Demonstrates satisfactory knowledge of the laws of the District pertaining to firearms and the safe and responsible use, handling, and storage of firearms in accordance with tests and standards prescribed by the Chief;
  • Is not blind, as defined in D.C. Official Code § 7-1009(1);
  • Has not been the respondent of a domestic violence protection order in the District or another state unless the applicant has submitted to the Chief a certified court record establishing that the order has expired or has been rescinded for a period of 5 years or more;
  • Has completed a firearms training or safety course or class offered free of charge by the Chief; has received firearms training by the U.S. Military; presents evidence of a license issued by another state that requires firearms safety training that is equal to or greater than the training provided by the Chief; or has completed a firearms training or safety course conducted by a firearms instructor that, as determined by the Chief, is equal to or greater than the training offered by the Chief; and
  • Has not been prohibited from possessing or registering a firearm pursuant to certain duties imposed upon registrants such as the duty to report the loss, theft, or destruction of the registration certificate or of a registered firearm.7

In addition, a registration applicant may be disqualified for adjudication of negligence if he or she has had an entry of judgment or a consent order or decree of negligence against him or her in any civil suit concerning the discharge of a firearm resulting in death or serious injury to a human being without regard to the filing of criminal charges, or the finding by a coroner of negligent homicide.8

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Background Checks in the District of Columbia section.

Notes
  1. D.C. Code Ann. §§ 7-2502.01, 7-2502.06(a). If the gun is being brought into the District, an application for registration must be filed immediately after the gun is brought into the District, or within 48 hours if such person personally communicates with the Metropolitan Police Department and provides any information demanded by the Department. Id. ⤴︎
  2. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.02(a)(4). ⤴︎
  3. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.02(a)(4)(C). ⤴︎
  4. Crimes of violence are defined by D.C. Code § 23-1331 to include aggravated assault; act of terrorism; arson; assault on a police officer (felony); assault with a dangerous weapon; assault with intent to kill, commit first or second degree sexual abuse, commit child sexual abuse; assault with significant bodily injury; assault with intent to commit any other offense; burglary; carjacking; armed carjacking; child sexual abuse; cruelty to children in the first degree; extortion or blackmail accompanied by threats of violence; gang recruitment, participation, or retention by the use or threatened use of force, coercion, or intimidation; kidnapping; malicious disfigurement; manslaughter; manufacture or possession of a weapon of mass destruction; mayhem; murder; robbery; sexual abuse in the first, second, or third degrees; use, dissemination, or detonation of a weapon of mass destruction; or an attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing offenses. ⤴︎
  5. D.C. Code Ann. § 16-1001(8). ⤴︎
  6. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.03. ⤴︎
  7. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.08. ⤴︎
  8. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2309.1. ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Utah

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Utah law provides that, subject to certain limited exceptions, no person shall possess a firearm if he or she:

  • Is a Category I restricted person, meaning a person who:
  • Has been convicted of any violent felony;1
  • Is on probation or parole for any felony;
  • Is on parole from a “secure facility”;2 or
  • Within the last 10 years has been adjudicated delinquent for an offense which if committed by an adult would have been a violent felony; or
  • Is an alien who is illegally or unlawfully in the U.S.;
  • Is a Category II restricted person, meaning a person who:
  • Has been convicted of a felony or, within the last seven years has been adjudicated delinquent for an offense which if committed by an adult would have been a felony;3
  • Is an unlawful user of a controlled substance;4
  • Is in possession of a dangerous weapon and is knowingly and intentionally in unlawful possession of a Schedule I or II controlled substance;
  • Has been found not guilty by reason of insanity of, or has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial for, a felony offense;
  • Has been adjudicated mentally defective as provided in the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, codified at 18 U.S.C. § 921 et seq. or has been committed to a mental institution;
  • Has been dishonorably discharged from the armed forces;
  • Has renounced one’s citizenship after having been a citizen of the U.S.;
  • Is subject to a final domestic violence protective order if the order includes a finding that:
    • The respondent or defendant represents a credible threat to the physical safety of an intimate partner as defined by federal law; or
    • Explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily harm against an intimate partner or the child of an intimate partner; or
  • Has been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor. 5

Additionally, a person who has been convicted of a crime for which the penalty was enhanced due to the offense being “gang-related” may not possess a firearm or ammunition within a minimum of five years after the conviction.6

In 2012, Utah repealed its prohibition against firearm possession by a person currently under indictment for a felony.

A Category I restricted person who intentionally or knowingly agrees, consents, offers, or arranges to purchase, transfer, possess, use, or have under one’s custody or control, or who intentionally or knowingly purchases, transfers, possesses, uses, or has under one’s custody or control any firearm is criminally liable for a second degree felony.7 A Category II restricted person who purchases, transfers, possesses, uses, or has under one’s custody or control any firearm is criminally liable for a third degree felony.8 A person may be subject to the restrictions of both categories at the same time.9

If a finding is made that the subject of a child protective order or an ex parte child protective order may pose a serious threat of harm to the minor, the order may prohibit the subject from purchasing, using or possessing a firearm.10

For information about the background check process used to enforce these prohibitions, see the Utah Background Checks section.

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. “Violent felony” is defined in Utah Code Ann. §76-3-203.5. ⤴︎
  2. “Secure facility” is defined in Utah Code Ann. § 62A-7-101. ⤴︎
  3. However, this prohibition does not apply to (i) a conviction or adjudication of delinquency for an offense pertaining to antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, restraint of trade, or other similar offenses relating to the regulation of business practices not involving theft or fraud; or (ii) a conviction or adjudication of delinquency which, according to the law of the jurisdiction in which it occurred, has been expunged, set aside, reduced to a misdemeanor by court order, pardoned or regarding which the person’s civil rights have been restored unless the pardon, reduction, expungement, or restoration of civil rights expressly provides that the person may not ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-503(1)(c). ⤴︎
  4. “Controlled substance” is defined in Utah Code Ann. § 58-37-2. ⤴︎
  5. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-503(1). ⤴︎
  6. Utah Code Ann. § 76-9-804. ⤴︎
  7. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-503(2). ⤴︎
  8. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-503(3). ⤴︎
  9. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-503(4). ⤴︎
  10. Utah Code Ann. § 78B-7-204(1)(d). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Vermont

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Before 2015, Vermont had not adopted any classes of prohibited persons broader than those set forth under federal law (and had not made sales to those purchasers a state crime).

However, in 2015, Vermont passed a law prohibiting a person who has been convicted of a violent crime from possessing a firearm.1 For the purposes of this prohibition, “firearm” is defined to include (i) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; (ii) the frame or receiver of any such weapon; or (iii) any firearm muffler or firearm silencer, except if the firearm is an antique firearm.2 The statute defines “violent crime” to include certain enumerated crimes listed in Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 5301(7), including domestic assault and stalking offenses.3

A Vermont court may, as a condition of probation, require that an offender or juvenile offender refrain from purchasing or possessing a firearm or ammunition without written permission from the court, probation officer, or juvenile probation officer.4

Vermont has no laws prohibiting the purchase or possession of firearms by:

  • Persons with mental illness;
  • Persons subject to domestic violence restraining orders;
  • Drug or alcohol abusers; or
  • Juvenile offenders.

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Vermont Background Checks section.

 

Notes
  1. See 2015 VT S.B. 141, enacting Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4017.  This prohibition applies unless the person has successfully petitioned the U.S. Attorney General for relief from the disabilities imposed by Federal laws with respect to the acquisition, receipt, transfer, shipment, transportation, or possession of firearms. ⤴︎
  2. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4017(d)(1), (2). ⤴︎
  3. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4017(d)(3). ⤴︎
  4. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 28, § 252(b)(8), tit. 33, § 5262(b)(4). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Virginia

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

In addition, Virginia prohibits the:

  • Knowing and intentional possession, purchase, or transportation of a firearm by a person acquitted by reason of insanity and “committed to the custody of the Commissioner of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services” on a charge of: 1) treason; 2) any felony; or 3) certain misdemeanors, unless his or her eligibility to purchase, possess or transport a firearm has been restored in accordance with Virginia law;1
  • Purchase, possession or transportation of a firearm by any person adjudicated “legally incompetent,” “mentally incapacitated,” or “incapacitated,” whose competency or capacity has not been restored (Virginia enacted a law in 2011 establishing a procedure by which these individuals could petition for their eligibility to be restored);2
  • Purchase, possession or transportation of a firearm by a person who has been involuntarily admitted to a facility designated by the Commissioner of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services or ordered to mandatory outpatient treatment pursuant to a finding of incompetence or as the result of a commitment hearing, or, who was the subject of a temporary detention order and subsequently agreed to voluntary admission to such a facility, unless his or her eligibility to purchase, possess or transport a firearm has been restored in accordance with Virginia law;3
  • Purchase or transportation of a firearm by any person subject to a protective order, or certain other court orders, while the order is in effect, and possession of a firearm by a person subject to a protective order issued after a hearing;4
  • Purchase or transportation of a handgun, for at least five years, by any person who, within a 36-month period, has been convicted of two or more misdemeanor drug offenses under Virginia law;5
  • Knowing and intentional possession or transportation of a firearm by any person: 1) convicted of a felony; 2) adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile 14 years of age or older at the time of the offense of murder, kidnapping, robbery by the threat or presentation of firearms, or rape; or 3) who is under the age of 29 and was found guilty as a juvenile (14 years of age or older) of a delinquent act which would be a felony if committed by an adult, unless a court has, in its discretion and for good cause shown issued the person a permit to possess a firearm;6 or
  • Knowing and intentional possession or transportation of a firearm by any person who is not a citizen of the U.S. or who is not lawfully present in the United States.7

These firearm prohibitions do not apply, however, to (i) any person who possesses a firearm while carrying out duties as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces or of the National Guard of Virginia or any other state, (ii) any law-enforcement officer in the performance of his duties, (iii) any person who has been pardoned or whose political disabilities have been removed under Virginia law, provided the Governor, in the document granting the pardon or removing the person’s political disabilities, may expressly place conditions upon the reinstatement of the person’s right to ship, transport, possess or receive firearms, (iv) any person whose right to possess firearms or ammunition has been restored under the law of another state subject to conditions placed upon the reinstatement of the person’s right to ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms by such state, or (v) any person adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile who has completed a term of service of no less than two years in the Armed Forces and, if such person has been discharged, received an honorable discharge.8

A person prohibited from possessing, transporting, or carrying a firearm or ammunition may petition the circuit court of the jurisdiction in which he or she resides or, if the person is not a resident of the Commonwealth, the circuit court of any county or city where such person was last convicted of a felony or adjudicated delinquent of a disqualifying offense, for a permit to possess or carry a firearm or ammunition.9 However, a person who has been convicted of a felony is not qualified to petition for such a permit unless his or her civil rights have been restored by the Governor or other appropriate authority.10 

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Virginia Background Checks section.

 

Notes
  1. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.1:1. ⤴︎
  2. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.1:2. ⤴︎
  3. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.1:3. ⤴︎
  4. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.1:4. ⤴︎
  5. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.1:5 (referencing Va. Code Ann. §§ 18.2-250 or 18.2-250.1). ⤴︎
  6. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.2(A), (C). Note that a convicted felon may not be issued a permit unless his or her civil rights have been restored. Id. ⤴︎
  7. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.2:01. ⤴︎
  8. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.2(B). ⤴︎
  9. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.2(C). ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Washington

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Washington provides that no person may own, possess, or have in his or her control any firearm, if that person:1

  • Has been convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity of a “serious offense” which includes any crime of violence, certain felony drug crimes, certain sex crimes, and vehicular assault or homicide2 (violators of this prohibition are criminally liable for unlawful possession of a firearm in the first degree while those violators listed below are guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree) and has not had his or her right to possess a firearm restored;3
  • Has been convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity of any felony other than a “serious offense” or certain crimes committed against a member of his or her family or household (see the Washington Domestic Violence & Firearms section);
  • Has been involuntarily committed for mental health treatment under Washington Rev. Code Ann. §§ 71.05.240 (involuntary or alternative treatment for 14 days), 71.05.320 (treatment for an adult for 90 or 180 days), 71.34.740 (involuntary commitment hearing for a minor), 71.34.750 (treatment a minor for 180 days) or chapter 10.77 (treatment when found not guilty by reason of insanity or incompetent to stand trial), and has not had his or her right to possess a firearm restored;4
  • Is free on bond or personal recognizance pending trial, appeal, or sentencing for a “serious offense.”

In 2016, Washington voters overwhelmingly approved of a law that enables individuals who are most likely to notice the warning signs of violence– family members– to petition a court to remove guns from a loved one in crisis. The law, called an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO), allows family members, as well as law enforcement officers, to file a petition demonstrating to a judge that an individual poses a significant risk of harm to himself, herself, or others. If the court determines that the petitioner has met the standard of proof, it will issue an order that lasts up to one year. An individual subject to an ERPO is prohibited from possessing firearms, and must relinquish his or her guns to law enforcement5. Read more about these types of laws on our policy page, Gun Violence Protective Orders.

Washington also prohibits any person who is not a U.S. citizen from possessing a firearm without first obtaining an “alien firearm license”6 or meeting other state-defined requirements.7

Moreover, the state prohibits any person serving a sentence in a state correctional institution and any person confined in a county or local correctional institution from knowingly possessing or controlling a firearm while in the institution or being conveyed to or from the institution or while under the custody or supervision of institution officials, officers, or employees, or while on any premises subject to the control of the institution.8

Registration of Gun Offenders

Washington state requires courts to determine whether an individual convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity of certain gun crimes must register as a felony firearm offender.9 The court may consider all relevant factors including the person’s criminal history, convictions in other states, and evidence of the person’s propensity for violence that would likely endanger others.10 If so ordered, the person must register with their local county sheriff within 48 hours of their release from custody or the date the court imposes the felony firearm sentence, if the sentence does not include confinement.11 Within five working days, the county sheriff must forward registration information to the Washington state patrol which maintains a felony firearm offense conviction database to be used by law enforcement. Information in the database is not subject to public disclosure.12

For further information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Washington Background Checks section.

Notes
  1. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.040. Washington enables a person previously ineligible to possess a firearm by virtue of a conviction or a finding of not guilty of a non-felony offense after three years in the community to petition a court of record to have his or her right to possess a firearm restored, if the person has not been convicted of any further crimes. See Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.040(4). ⤴︎
  2. For a complete definition of “serious offense,” see Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.010(12). ⤴︎
  3. See Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.047. ⤴︎
  4. See Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.047; Wash Admin. Code 388-865-0585, 388-875-0080. ⤴︎
  5. Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 7.94.090 ⤴︎
  6. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.171. See Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.173 for alien firearm license requirements. ⤴︎
  7. See Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.175. ⤴︎
  8. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.94.040(1), (2). ⤴︎
  9. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.330. ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎
  11. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.333. ⤴︎
  12. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 43.43.822. ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in West Virginia

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

West Virginia provides that, subject to certain limited exceptions, no person shall possess a firearm if he or she:

  • Has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
  • Is habitually addicted to alcohol;
  • Is an unlawful user of or habitually addicted to any controlled substance;
  • Has been adjudicated to be mentally incompetent;1
  • Has been involuntarily committed to a mental institution;2
  • Is an illegal alien or otherwise unlawfully in the United States;
  • Has been discharged from the armed forces under dishonorable conditions; or

Any person who knowingly sells, rents, gives, or lends or, where the person is other than a natural person, knowingly permits an employee thereof to knowingly sell, rent, give or lend any deadly weapon to a prohibited purchaser/possessor is criminally liable for a felony.4

West Virginia allows any of the prohibited purchasers listed above to petition the circuit court of the county in which he or she resides to regain the eligibility to possess a firearm.5 However, in 2008, West Virginia enacted a law specifically allowing persons prohibited from possessing a firearm for mental health reasons to regain their firearm eligibility.6 A law that West Virginia enacted in 2012 provides additional requirements for persons prohibited from firearm possession due to mental health history when petitioning for relief from disability.

See our Prohibited Purchasers Generally policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

Notes
  1. A “mental defective,” as defined by state law, is someone who has been determined by a duly authorized court, tribunal, board or other entity to be mentally ill to the point where he or she had been found to be incompetent to stand trial due to mental illness or insanity, has been found not guilty in a criminal proceeding by reason of mental illness or insanity or has been determined to be unable to handle his or her own affairs due to mental illness or insanity. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-2(1). ⤴︎
  2. See W. Va. Code § 61-7A-2(2), (3). ⤴︎
  3. W. Va. Code § 61-7-7(a). ⤴︎
  4. W. Va. Code § 61-7-10(d), (e). ⤴︎
  5. W. Va. Code § 61-7-7(c). ⤴︎
  6. W. Va. Code § 61-7A-5. ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Wisconsin

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Similarly, Wisconsin law prohibits the purchase or possession of a firearm by any person who has been:

  • Convicted of a felony in Wisconsin, or convicted of a crime elsewhere that would be a felony in Wisconsin;
  • Adjudicated delinquent for an act committed on or after April 21, 1994, that if committed by an adult in Wisconsin would be a felony;
  • Found not guilty of a felony in Wisconsin by reason of mental disease or defect;
  • Found not guilty or not responsible for a crime elsewhere that would be a felony in Wisconsin by reason of insanity or mental disease, defect or illness;
  • Ordered not to possess a firearm because a court has determined that federal law prohibits him or her from possessing firearms because he or she has been:

Committed to a treatment facility as mentally ill or drug dependent;1

Appointed a guardian;2 or

Ordered to protective services or protective placement;3

  • Committed to an alcohol treatment center and there is a substantial probability that the individual may cause harm to themselves or endanger public safety;4
  • Enjoined under a domestic abuse or child abuse restraining order or injunction, or certain tribal injunctions;5
  • Enjoined under a harassment restraining order or injunction6 with an order prohibiting the possession of a firearm;7 or
  • Enjoined under a restraining order or injunction protecting an elder adult or adult-at-risk with an order prohibiting the possession of a firearm.8

For more information about Wisconsin’s laws implementing the federal prohibitions against mentally ill and drug dependent individuals possessing firearms, and allowing them to regain their eligibility to possess firearms, see the Disarming Prohibited Persons and Mental Health Reporting sections.

The Wisconsin prohibition against firearm possession by an individual found guilty by reason of insanity, mental disease or defect does not apply if a court subsequently determines that the person is no longer insane or no longer has a mental disease, defect or illness, and the person is not likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety.9 Similarly, the prohibition against firearm possession by an individual adjudicated delinquent does not apply if a court subsequently determines that the person is not likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety.10

Wisconsin has no laws preventing the purchase or possession of firearms by violent misdemeanants.

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Wisconsin Background Checks section.

Notes
  1. See Wis. Stat. §§ 55.12(10)(a). ⤴︎
  2. See Wis. Stat. §§ 54.10(3)(f)(1). ⤴︎
  3. See Wis. Stat. §§ 55.12(10)(a). ⤴︎
  4. See Wis. State § 51.20 (13) (cv) (1). ⤴︎
  5. See Wis. Stat. §§ 813.12 and 813.122. ⤴︎
  6. See Wis. Stat. § 813.125. ⤴︎
  7. Wis. Stat. § 941.29(1). ⤴︎
  8. Wis. Stat. § 813.123(5m). ⤴︎
  9. Wis. Stat. § 941.29(7). ⤴︎
  10. Wis. Stat. § 941.29(8). ⤴︎

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Wyoming

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Wyoming prohibits the use or knowing possession of a firearm by any person who has previously pled guilty to or been convicted of committing or attempting to commit a violent felony or any felony causing bodily injury to a peace officer.1

In 2010, Wyoming enacted a Firearms Freedom Act, purporting to exempt from federal regulation any firearm manufactured commercially or privately in Wyoming and that remains exclusively within the borders of Wyoming.2

That law also prohibits possession of such a firearm by a person who:

  • Has been convicted of any felony in any state, territory or other jurisdiction of the United States;
  • Is currently adjudicated to be legally incompetent; or
  • Has been committed to a mental institution.3

The law also states that, to purchase such a firearm, a person must not fall within any of these categories and must comply with certain age restrictions.4

Notes
  1. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-8-102. ⤴︎
  2. 2010 Wy. ALS 108. Note, however, that the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to uphold a similar law enacted by the State of Montana. Mont. Shooting Sports Ass’n v. Holder, 727 F.3d 975, 982-83 (9th Cir. 2013), petition for cert. denied by Mont. Shooting Sports Ass’n v. Holder, 187 L. Ed. 2d 786, (2014) and by Mont. v. Holder, 2014 U.S. LEXIS 1525 (2014). ⤴︎
  3. Wyo. Stat. § 6-8-404. ⤴︎
  4. Wyo. Stat. § 6-8-404. ⤴︎