Registration of Firearms in Arizona

Arizona has no law requiring firearms to be registered. In fact, Arizona law states that no political subdivision of the state may “require the licensing or registration of firearms or ammunition or any firearm or ammunition components or related accessories. . . .”1 Similarly, another provision, which prohibits the transfer of firearms to minors, states that nothing within the statute shall be construed to require firearm sales reporting, nor shall registration of firearms or firearm sales be required.2

Finally, an Arizona law enacted in 2010 and subsequently amended in 2013, prohibits a political subdivision from requiring or maintaining a record in any form, whether permanent or temporary, including a list, log or database, of any identifying information of a person who owns, possesses, purchases, sells or transfers a firearm, except in the course of a law enforcement investigation.3

See our Registration of Firearms Policy Summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Ariz. Rev. Stat § 13-3108(B). ⤴︎
  2. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3109. ⤴︎
  3. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3108(C)(2).  Section 13-3108(C)(1) also prohibits a political subdivision from requiring or maintaining a record in any form, whether permanent or temporary, including a list, log or database, of either of the following:
    • Any identifying information of a person who leaves a weapon in temporary storage at any public establishment or public event, except that the operator of the establishment or the sponsor of the event may require that a person provide a government issued identification or a reasonable copy thereof for the purpose of establishing ownership of the weapon; or
    • The description, including the serial number, of a weapon that is left in temporary storage at any public establishment or public event. ⤴︎

Registration of Firearms in California

See our Registration of Firearm policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

There is no comprehensive system of firearms registration in California. The California Department of Justice (“DOJ”) retains certain information about firearm sales and transfers. As of January 1, 2014, DOJ retains this information for long gun transactions in addition to handgun transactions. For more information, see the section entitled Retention of Sales / Background Check Records in California.

Any handgun owner who moves into California from out-of-state on or after January 1, 1998 or any firearm owner who moves into California on or after January 1, 2014 is deemed a “personal firearm importer.”1 Within 60 days, the person must sell or transfer the firearm through a licensed dealer or to a sheriff or police department, or provide a report to DOJ regarding the firearm. The form requires the firearm owner to expressly authorize DOJ to perform a background check to determine the owner’s firearm eligibility using all relevant state and federal databases, including the federal NICS database. The form also requires the firearm owner to certify that he or she understands that if the results of this check reveal that he or she is ineligible either to lawfully possess or purchase firearms, he or she must relinquish any and all firearms in his or her possession. Although the form does not specify the time period during which the person must then relinquish his or her firearms, presumably he or she must do so immediately, since his or her possession of those firearms is at all times unlawful.2

A person who moves into the state and is in possession of an assault weapon or a .50 BMG rifle may either obtain a permit from DOJ before entering the state with the firearm, or cause the firearm to be delivered to a licensed dealer who will possess it until the person obtains a permit.3

A notice must be posted conspicuously at every inspection station along the California border, in block letters not less than four inches in height, stating:

“NOTICE: IF YOU ARE A CALIFORNIA RESIDENT, THE FEDERAL GUN CONTROL ACT MAY PROHIBIT YOU FROM BRINGING WITH YOU INTO THIS STATE FIREARMS THAT YOU ACQUIRED OUTSIDE OF THIS STATE.

IN ADDITION, IF YOU ARE A NEW CALIFORNIA RESIDENT, STATE LAW REGULATES YOUR BRINGING INTO CALIFORNIA HANDGUNS AND OTHER DESIGNATED FIREARMS AND MANDATES THAT SPECIFIC PROCEDURES BE FOLLOWED.

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PROCEDURES TO BE FOLLOWED IN BRINGING FIREARMS INTO CALIFORNIA OR TRANSFERRING FIREARMS WITHIN CALIFORNIA, YOU SHOULD CONTACT THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE OR A LOCAL CALIFORNIA LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY.”4

In addition, any person who lawfully possessed an assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle prior to the date possession of the specific assault weapon or .50 BMG rifle became illegal, and who sought to keep the firearm, must have registered the firearm with DOJ within a specific time period designated by statute. Note that this timeframe has now ended, and DOJ is generally not accepting any new registrations of assault weapons. For more information, see DOJ’s website regarding Frequently Asked Questions About Assault Weapons and .50 BMG Rifles and see our sections entitled Assault Weapons in California and .50 Caliber Rifles in California.

Notes
  1. Cal. Penal Code § 17000. ⤴︎
  2. Cal. Penal Code § 27560. ⤴︎
  3. Cal. Penal Code §§ 30925, 30940. ⤴︎
  4. Cal. Food & Agric. Code § 5343.5. ⤴︎

Registration of Firearms in Colorado

Colorado does not require firearms to be registered. Colorado prohibits a local government, including a law enforcement agency, from maintaining a list or other form of record or database of:

(a) Persons who purchase or exchange firearms or who leave firearms for repair or sale on consignment;

(b) Persons who transfer firearms, unless the persons are federally licensed firearms dealers;

(c) The descriptions, including serial numbers, of firearms purchased, transferred, exchanged, or left for repair or sale on consignment.1

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

For information about the Colorado laws requiring gun dealers to maintain records of gun sales, see the page on the Retention of Sales Records in Colorado.

 

Notes
  1. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 29-11.7-102(1). ⤴︎

Registration of Firearms in Connecticut

Assault Weapons Registration

In Connecticut, a person who lawfully possessed an assault weapon prior to October 1, 1993 was able to apply for a certificate of possession for the assault weapon by October 1, 1994.1 Moreover, any person who lawfully possessed an assault weapon under the most recent list of banned weapons as of April 4, 2013, must apply by January 1, 2014, to the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) for a certificate of possession to continue to possess the assault weapon.2

Certificates must contain a unique, detailed description of the firearm, including all identification marks, the name, address, date of birth and thumbprint of the owner, and any other information DESPP may deem appropriate.3 Such weapons may only be transferred to licensed firearms dealers or pass by bequest or intestate succession.4 In the latter case, the person obtaining title to the weapon must, within 90 days: 1) apply to DESPP for a certificate of possession; 2) render the weapon permanently inoperable; 3) sell the weapon to a licensed gun dealer; or 4) remove the weapon from the state.5

Deadly Weapon Offender Registry

By January 1, 2014, the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection (Commissioner) must establish and maintain a registry of all persons required to register under Connecticut law as offenders convicted of an offense committed with a deadly weapon.6 Upon receipt of registration information, DESPP must enter the information into the registry and notify the local law enforcement. The Commissioner must ensure that the name and residence address of each registrant is available through the Connecticut on-line law enforcement communication teleprocessing system maintained by DESPP.7 The registry must include the most recent photographic image of each registrant taken by a relevant law enforcement agency.8

The information in the registry is not considered a public record or file.9

Any person convicted of an offense committed with a deadly weapon who is released into the community on or after January 1, 2014, must, within 14 days following such release, register his or her name, identifying factors, criminal history record, residence address and electronic mail address with the Commissioner, on forms prescribed by the Commissioner, and must maintain this registration for five years.10

Before accepting a plea of guilty or nolo contendere from a person with respect to an offense committed with a deadly weapon, the court must:

  • Inform the person that the entry of a finding of guilty after acceptance of the plea will subject the person to the registration requirements; and
  • Determine that the person fully understands the consequences of the plea.11

If any person subject to these registration requirements changes his or her name, that person must notify the Commissioner in writing of the new name.  The same requirement holds if the person changes his or her address.12

Any offender convicted of committing a crime with a deadly weapon who is required to register must, not later than 20 days after each anniversary date of his or her initial registration, appear personally at the local police department or state police troop to verify and update the contents of the registration.  Not later than 30 days prior to the registration anniversary date, DESPP must mail written notice of the personal appearance requirement to the registrant and the local police department or state police troop having jurisdiction where the registrant resides.  Not later than 30 days after the registration anniversary date of each registrant, the local police department or state police troop where the registrant resides must notify the Commissioner of the following:

  •  Whether the registrant complied with the personal appearance requirement or whether such personal appearance requirement was deferred to a later date for good cause shown; and
  • If the personal appearance requirement was deferred, the local police department or state police troop must indicate the later date established for such personal appearance and describe the good cause shown.13

Deadly Weapon Offender Registration Information Requirements

Effective January 1, 2014, the registration information for each registrant must include:

  • The offender’s name, including any other name by which the offender has been legally known, and any aliases used by the offender;
  • Identifying information, including a physical description of the offender;
  • The current residence address of the offender;
  • The date of conviction of the offense;
  • A description of the offense; and
  • If the offender was sentenced to a term of incarceration for such offense, a portion of which was not suspended, the date the offender was released from such incarceration.14

The offender must sign and date the registration.15 At the time the offender appears for the purpose of registering, DESPP must photograph the offender and arrange for the fingerprinting of the offender, and must include the photograph and complete set of fingerprints in the registry.16 DESPP may require the offender to provide documentation to verify the contents of his or her registration.17

Whenever a superior court or probate court in Connecticut orders a name change of a person, that court must notify the Commissioner of the issuance of such order if the court finds that such person is listed in the above registry.18

Connecticut has no other laws requiring the registration of firearms. See the section entitled Retention of Sales / Background Check Records in Connecticut for information about the reporting of firearm sales.

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(a)(1). ⤴︎
  2. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(a)(2). ⤴︎
  3. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(a)(4). ⤴︎
  4. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(b). ⤴︎
  5. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202d(c). ⤴︎
  6. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-310(b). ⤴︎
  7. Id. ⤴︎
  8. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-310(d). ⤴︎
  9. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-310(g). ⤴︎
  10. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-311(a)(1). ⤴︎
  11. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-311(a)(2). ⤴︎
  12. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-311(a)(3). ⤴︎
  13. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-311(b). ⤴︎
  14. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-312(a). ⤴︎
  15. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-312(b). ⤴︎
  16. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-312(c). ⤴︎
  17. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-312(d). ⤴︎
  18. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 45a-99(c) and 52-11(c). ⤴︎

Registration of Firearms in Delaware

Delaware does not require the registration of firearms.  Any system of firearm registration is expressly prohibited, except with respect to a person prohibited from receiving a firearm.1

Delaware requires every law enforcement officer of the state and of any political subdivision to transmit to Delaware’s State Bureau of Identification (SBI) the fingerprints, photographs and other data prescribed by the SBI’s Director of all individuals applying for a permit to buy or possess “illegal weapons or firearms,” as well as copies of any reports required to be made by pawnshops, second-hand dealers and dealers in weapons to the Director of SBI.2

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Del. Code Ann tit. 24, § 904A(c). ⤴︎
  2. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 8507(a)(3), (5). ⤴︎

Registration of Firearms in Georgia

Georgia has no law requiring firearm owners to register their firearms. In fact, Georgia law explicitly states that application forms for a weapons carry license may not “require data which is nonpertinent or irrelevant such as serial numbers or other identification capable of being used as a de facto registration of firearms owned by the applicant.”1

See the section entitled Retention of Sales / Background Check Records in Georgia for information about sales reporting requirements.

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-129(a). ⤴︎

Registration of Firearms in Hawaii

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

With very few exceptions, all firearms in Hawaii must be registered. To acquire a firearm, either through purchase, gift, inheritance, or any other manner, all persons must first obtain a permit (see the Hawaii Licensing of Gun Owners or Purchasers section) and then must register the firearm with the county police chief within five days of acquiring it.1 The registration must include the name of the manufacturer and importer, model, type of action, caliber or gauge, serial number, and source from which the firearm was obtained, including the name and address of the prior registrant. If the firearm has no serial number, the permit number shall be entered in the space provided for the serial number, and the permit number shall be engraved upon the receiver portion of the firearm prior to registration.2

All registration data that would identify the individual registering the firearm by name or address are confidential and shall not be disclosed to anyone, except if required by a law enforcement agency for the lawful performance of its duties or as may be required by order of a court.3

State or federally licensed dealers shall register their firearms, but are not required to have the firearms physically inspected by the chief of police at the time of registration.4

Under state law, every person arriving in Hawaii who brings or causes to be brought into Hawaii a firearm must register the firearm within five days of the person’s or the firearm’s arrival, whichever arrives later.5 When registering their firearm, such persons must be fingerprinted and photographed by the police department of the county of registration, although this requirement shall be waived where fingerprints and photographs are already on file with the police department.6 The police department must perform an inquiry on the person by using the National Instant Criminal Background Check System before any determination to register a firearm is made.7

In 2016, Hawaii enacted a law authorizing county police departments to enroll firearms permit applicants and individuals who are registering their firearms into the federal Rap Back service. The FBI defines the Rap Back service as a service that “allows authorized agencies to receive notification of activity on individuals who hold positions of trust (e.g. school teachers, daycare workers) or who are under criminal justice supervision or investigation, thus eliminating the need for repeated background checks on a person from the same applicant agency.”8

State law also provides that a nonresident alien may bring into the state up to ten firearms not otherwise prohibited by law for a continuous period not to exceed 90 days for firing range or target shooting activities.9

State law exempts the following firearms from the registration requirement:

(1) Any device that is designed to fire loose black powder or that is a firearm manufactured before 1899;

(2) Any device not designed to fire or made incapable of being readily restored to fire; or

(3) All unserviceable firearms and destructive devices registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives of the U.S. Department of Justice pursuant to Title 27, Code of Federal Regulations.10

Notes
  1. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-3(b). ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-3(c). ⤴︎
  5. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-3(a). ⤴︎
  6. Id. ⤴︎
  7. Id. ⤴︎
  8. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 134-2, 3;  846-2.7(b)(42. ⤴︎
  9. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-3(a). ⤴︎
  10. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-3(d). ⤴︎

Registration of Firearms in Louisiana

Louisiana has no law requiring most firearms to be registered. Short barreled shotguns and rifles, shotguns or rifles modified to have an overall length of less than 26 inches, concealable firearms with obliterated serial numbers, machine guns, and mufflers or silencers for any firearm must be registered with the Department of Public Safety and Corrections.1

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. La. Rev. Stat. §§ 40:1781(3), 40:1783. Those wishing to transfer or acquire such devices must make a written application to the Department of Public Safety and Corrections. La. Rev. Stat. § 40:1784. While the transfer, purchase and possession of machine guns are sharply limited, the other listed firearms are simply subject to the standard purchaser prohibitions. ⤴︎

Registration of Firearms in Maryland

The Secretary of the Maryland State Police maintains a permanent record of all completed transfers of “regulated firearms” (handguns and assault weapons). See the section entitled Retention of Sales & Background Checks Records in Maryland for further information

A person who moves into Maryland with the intent of becoming a resident must register all regulated firearms with the Secretary within 90 days after establishing residency.1 The application for registration must contain:

  • The make, model, manufacturer’s serial number, caliber, type, barrel length, and country of origin of each regulated firearm; and
  • The applicant’s name, address, social security number, place and date of birth, height, weight, race, eye and hair color, signature, driver’s or photographic identification soundex number, and occupation.2

The application fee is $15.3

Registration data provided under the above provisions is not open to public inspection.4

See the Maryland Assault Weapons section for information on the registration of assault weapons.

Maryland has no other firearm registration requirements.

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-143(a)(1). ⤴︎
  2. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-143(b). ⤴︎
  3. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-143(c). ⤴︎
  4. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-143(d). ⤴︎

Registration of Firearms in Massachusetts

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Massachusetts requires all sellers of firearms to report firearms sales and transfers to the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services, which maintains comprehensive records of sales and transfers. See the Retention of Sales / Background Checks Records section for further information. Massachusetts does not, however, require firearm owners to periodically confirm their continuing ownership of firearms or their eligibility to possess firearms.

Registration of Firearms in Minnesota

Minnesota law stipulates that no provision of law “requires or authorizes the registration, documentation, collection, or providing of serial numbers or other data on firearms or on firearms’ owners.”1

The Minnesota Commissioner of Health is prohibited from collecting data on individuals regarding lawful firearm ownership.2

Minnesota allows a person who has received a handgun or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon from a federally licensed dealer to submit a request to the police chief or sheriff who processed the transfer that no record be maintained of the transfer.3 If the police chief or sheriff receives such a request, he or she must return the report of the transfer to that person as soon as possible. Thereafter, no state government employee or agency may maintain a record of the transfer that identifies the transferee.4

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Minn. Stat. § 624.714, subd. 20(d). ⤴︎
  2. Minn. Stat. § 144.05, subd. 5. ⤴︎
  3. Minn. Stat. § 624.7132, subd. 10. ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎

Registration of Firearms in Nebraska

Nebraska has no law requiring the registration of firearms.

In 2010, Nebraska passed a law depriving cities and villages of the power to require registration of a concealed handgun owned, possessed, or transported by a concealed handgun permit holder.1 Any existing city or village ordinance, permit, or regulation requiring the registration of a concealed handgun owned, possessed, or transported by a permit holder was declared to be null and void as against any permit holder.2 The Nebraska Attorney General has issued an opinion confirming that this law renders null and void Omaha’s registration requirement as it applied to concealed handgun permit holders.3

See the section entitled Retention of Sales / Background Checks Records in Nebraska for information about the laws prohibiting the retention of such records.

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 2010 Neb. ALS 817, § 2 (amending Neb. Rev. Stat. § 18-1703). ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. 2010 Neb. AG LEXIS 6. ⤴︎

Registration of Firearms in New Jersey

New Jersey does not require firearm owners to register their weapons. However, all firearms dealers must keep a register of every handgun transferred, recording detailed transaction information in the register.1 The register shall be retained by the dealer and made available at all reasonable hours for inspection by any law enforcement officer.2 Copies of the register shall be delivered within five days of the sale to local law enforcement (or the county clerk) and the New Jersey State Police (NJSP).3 See the section entitled Retention of Sales & Background Check Records In New Jersey for further information.

In addition, prior to the time a handgun permittee receives the handgun, he or she shall deliver the permit to the seller, and the seller shall enter all the information required on the permit form.4 The seller shall keep a copy as a permanent record, and deliver the completed permit (or copies) to local law enforcement and NJSP within five days of the date of sale.5

New Jersey law does not provide for any registry of long-gun purchasers or owners.

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2a(6), 2b, 2d. ⤴︎
  2. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2b. ⤴︎
  3. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-2e. ⤴︎
  4. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-3h. ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎

Registration of Firearms in New York

Assault Weapons

New York law requires the registration of weapons that constitute “assault weapons” as defined by statute that were lawfully possessed prior to January 15, 2013.  For the definition of “Assault Weapon” under New York Law, see our section on Assault Weapons in New York.

An individual must make an application to register the assault weapon with the Division of State Police or apply to amend a firearm license on or before January 15, 2014.  Registration means providing personal information, including race and social security information, and a description of the weapon.  If a person unknowingly fails to register his or her weapon by January 15, 2014, law enforcement must give that person a warning, after which time the person will have an additional 30 days to register.  Failure to register within 30 days results in forfeiture.

All registrants must recertify to the Division of State Police every five years after the initial registration.  Failure to recertify will result in revocation of the registration.1

Assault weapons manufactured more than 50 years ago that constitute “curios or relics” can be lawfully possessed, but must be registered with the state.  A registration of a “curio or relic” that qualifies as an assault weapon is transferable, provided that the seller notifies the state police within 72 hours of the transfer and the buyer of the curio or relic provides the police with information sufficient to constitute a registration.  Such curio or relic that is transferred into New York must be registered within 30 days.2

Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines

New York only requires the registration of a large capacity ammunition magazine that qualifies as a “curio or relic” under state law (manufactured at least 50 years before January 15, 2013).  Such large capacity magazine must be registered with the Division of State Police, and if such magazines are transferred into the state, the owner must register them within 30 days.3

Handguns

All handgun owners in New York must obtain a license identifying each handgun they own.  See Licensing of Gun Owners in New York regarding the license requirement.

See also Retention of Sales & Background Check Records in New York for information about sales reporting requirements, and Assault Weapons in New York for further details on assault weapon registration.

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(16-a)(a), (c). ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. N.Y. Penal Law § 265.00(23). ⤴︎

Registration of Firearms in North Carolina

North Carolina has no law that requires the comprehensive registration of firearms throughout the state. However, the sheriff of each county must keep a record of all permits to purchase a handgun, including the name, date, place of residence, and age of each person to whom a permit is issued.1

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-405. ⤴︎

Registration of Firearms in Oklahoma

Oklahoma does not require the registration of firearms.  In fact, state law explicitly provides that “[n]othing in…the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act1 shall be construed to require or authorize the registration, documentation or providing of serial numbers with regard to any firearm.”2

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, §§ 1290.1—1290.26 (containing provisions for licenses to carry concealed handguns). ⤴︎
  2. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21 § 1290.12(B). ⤴︎

Registration of Firearms in Oregon

The Oregon Department of State Police (“DSP”) may retain a record of the information obtained from performing a criminal records check prior to transfer of a firearm for no more than five years.1 The record of information obtained during a request for a criminal records check by a gun dealer is exempt from disclosure under public records law.2 A gun dealer may destroy the firearms transaction thumbprint form five years after completion of the form.3

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 166.412(7)(a); 166.436(5)(a); Or. Admin. R. 257-010-0055(2). ⤴︎
  2. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.412(7)(b); Or. Admin. R. 257-010-0055(3). ⤴︎
  3. Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.412(2)(f). ⤴︎

Registration of Firearms in Pennsylvania

Under Pennsylvania law, firearm dealers must provide a record of the sale of handguns and certain other firearms to the Firearms Division of the Pennsylvania State Police (“PSP”), which maintains a permanent database of handgun sales.1 However, this database does not constitute a registry of gun ownership, and PSP maintains no record of long gun sales.2 Pennsylvania law specifically prevents any provision of its law from allowing any government or law enforcement agency to create a registry of firearm ownership.3 State law also requires PSP to destroy any application or record of sale of a long gun within 72 hours of the background check.4

In Allegheny County Sportsmen’s League v. Rendell, 860 A.2d 10 (Pa. 2004), the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania interpreted these provisions to permit PSP to maintain a database of the purchasers of handguns, but not of long guns.5

In addition, Pennsylvania’s law regarding domestic violence contains a similar provision, stating that it does not allow any person or entity to create a registry of firearm ownership, although information may be retained to ensure compliance with these statutes and to document the return of firearms to persons no longer subject to protective orders.6 Such information is not subject to public disclosure.

See the section entitled Retention of Sales / Background Check Records in Pennsylvania for further information about sales reporting requirements.

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111(b). ⤴︎
  2. Allegheny County Sportsmen’s League v. Rendell, 860 A.2d 10, 16 (Pa. 2004). ⤴︎
  3. Pursuant to 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111.4, “nothing in this chapter shall be construed to allow any government or law enforcement agency or any agent thereof to create, maintain or operate any registry of firearm ownership” within Pennsylvania. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111(b)(1.1)(v), relating to background checks for firearm transfers, provides that “no information on the application/record of sale provided pursuant to this subsection shall be retained as precluded by section 6111.4…by the Pennsylvania State Police either through retention of the application/record of sale or by entering the information onto a computer.” ⤴︎
  4. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111(b)(1.1)(v). ⤴︎
  5. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111(b)(1.1)(v)’s requirement that applications and records of sale of long guns be destroyed within 72 hours does not apply to applications and records of sale of handguns. Rendell, 860 A.2d at 18. The database maintained by the PSP did not constitute a registry of firearm ownership because it only contained applications and records of sale. Id. at 22. ⤴︎
  6. 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6108.4 states that nothing in 23 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 6101-6122 (regarding domestic violence) shall be construed to allow any person or entity to create, maintain or operate a database or registry of firearm ownership. ⤴︎

Registration of Firearms in Rhode Island

Rhode Island prohibits any government authority from keeping a list or register of privately owned firearms or their owners unless the firearm has been used in committing a crime of violence, or an individual has been convicted of a crime of violence.1

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-41. ⤴︎

Registration of Firearms in South Dakota

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

South Dakota law prohibits any state agency, political subdivision, official, agent or employee of any state agency or political subdivision from knowingly keeping any list, record, or registry of privately owned firearms, owners of firearms, or holders of permits to carry a concealed handgun.1

This prohibition does not apply to:

  • Records of firearms that have been used in committing any crime;
  • Permits to carry a concealed handgun records relating to any person who has been convicted of a felony;
  • Records of the serial numbers of firearms that have been reported stolen that are retained for a period not in excess of ten days after such firearms are recovered and returned to the lawful owner. However, official documentation recording the theft of a recovered weapon may be maintained no longer than the balance of the year entered and two additional years;
  • Firearm records that must be retained by firearm dealers under federal law, including copies of such records transmitted to law enforcement agencies;
  • Any on-duty law enforcement officer while conducting routine verification of the validity of a permit to carry a concealed handgun;
  • The secretary of state for the issuance of concealed handgun permits and any access reasonably necessary to verify information with regard to specific permits individually; and
  • The preservation of the triplicate copy of the application for a permit to carry a concealed pistol by the authority issuing the permit.2

South Dakota law also specifically prohibits any law enforcement officer from retaining any notes, data, or pieces of information, either collectively or individually, regarding privately-owned firearms, owners of privately-owned firearms, or concealed handgun permit holders unless the retention of such information is pertinent to a specific ongoing investigation or prosecution.3

Notes
  1. S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-8.6. ⤴︎
  2. S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-8.7. S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-8.8 provides that the prohibitions under S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-8.6 do not restrict any law enforcement officer in the performance of any official duty if the officer is in the immediate physical presence of a concealed handgun permit holder who has either presented a permit to the officer or declared to the officer that he or she is a permit holder. ⤴︎
  3. S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-8.9. ⤴︎

Registration of Firearms in the District of Columbia

Generally, no person or organization in the District of Columbia may possess or control a firearm unless the person or organization holds a valid registration certificate for the firearm.1 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.2

Who May Register

Registration certificates may be issued to:

  • District residents possessing a handgun for self-defense within the resident’s home or place of business (see the “Registration Requirements for Handguns for Purpose of Self-Defense with in Registrant’s Home” subsection below for detailed regulatory requirements);
  • As part of the application process for a license to carry a concealed pistol pursuant to § 7-2509.02;3
  • An organization that employs at least one commissioned special police officer or employee licensed to carry a firearm whom the organization arms during the employee’s duty hours;
  • A retired Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) police officer (in the discretion of the Chief of Police); or
  • The Fire Marshal and any member of the District Fire and Arson Investigation Unit designated in writing by the Fire Chief, for the purpose of enforcing the District’s arson and fire safety laws, and in the discretion of the Chief of Police; or
  • A firearms instructor, or to an organization that employs a firearms instructor, for the purpose of conducting firearms training.4

The following classes of persons are exempt from the District’s registration requirement:

  • Any law enforcement officer, agent of the government, or any member of the military authorized to possess a firearm “while on duty in the performance of official authorized functions;”
  • Any person holding a dealer’s license; provided that the firearm is acquired in the normal conduct of business, kept at the location described in the dealer’s license, and not kept for private use or protection, or for the protection of his or her business;
  • Any nonresident participating in a lawful firearm-related recreational activity in the District, or heading to or from such activity in another jurisdiction (provided that he or she can show proof of his or her participation if so demanded by law enforcement, possession or control of the firearm is lawful in the jurisdiction in which he or she resides, and the weapon is unloaded and not readily accessible);
  • Any person who temporarily possesses a firearm registered to another person while in the home of the registrant, provided that the person is not otherwise prohibited from possessing firearms and the person reasonably believes that possession of the firearm is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself; or
  • Any person who temporarily possesses a firearm while participating in a firearms training and safety class conducted by a firearms instructor.5

Registration Requirements

For a detailed list of the prohibited categories that relate to registration certificates, see the District of Columbia Prohibited Possessors Generally section.

Any person applying for a registration certificate must provide to the Chief of Police:

  • His or her full name or any other name by which the applicant is known;
  • His or her address and each home address where the applicant has resided during the five-year period immediately preceding the application;
  • His or her business or occupation and the addresses of such businesses or places of employment;
  • His or her date and place of birth;
  • His or her sex;
  • Whether (and if so, the reasons) the District, the United States or the government of any state or subdivision of any state has denied or revoked the applicant’s license, registration certificate, or permit pertaining to any firearm;
  • A description of the applicant’s role in any mishap involving a firearm, including the date, place, time, circumstances, and the names of the persons injured or killed;
  • The caliber, make, model, manufacturer’s identification number, serial number, and any other identifying marks on the firearm;
  • The name and address of the person or organization from whom the firearm was obtained, and in the case of a dealer, his or her dealer’s license number;
  • Where the firearm will generally be kept;
  • Whether the applicant has applied for other registration certificates; and
  • Such other information as the Chief determines is necessary to carry out the provisions of the District’s gun registration requirements.6

Registration applicants must also be photographed and fingerprinted in order to conduct an efficient and adequate investigation into the applicant’s background.7 A person submitting a registration application must attest under oath that the information submitted is truthful and sign the application under penalty of perjury.8

Registration Process

A person must obtain a registration certificate prior to taking possession of a firearm from a licensed dealer or from any person or organization holding a registration certificate for the firearm.9 For persons moving into the District, an application for registration shall be filed immediately after a firearm is brought into the District.10

While District regulations require that the applicant not have the firearm to be registered in his or her possession when submitting the application, the applicant may be required to return with the firearm if it appears: 1) the person is unqualified or incapable of safe and responsible possession or use of the firearm; 2) the firearm may be unregisterable, defective, or in a dangerous condition or state of disrepair; or 3) the information relating to the weapon on the application is incorrect, misleading or incomplete.11

Once a properly executed application for a registration certificate is received, “the Chief, upon determining through inquiry, investigation, or otherwise, that the applicant is entitled and qualified,” shall approve or deny the application within 60 days, “unless good cause is shown, including non-receipt of information from sources outside the District government….”12

Firearms Safety Training

Registration applicants must complete a written examination that tests their knowledge of the District’s firearms laws, as well as knowledge of the safe and responsible use of firearms.13 Applicants also must complete a firearms training or safety course.14

Duration & Renewal

Registration certificates are valid for three years after the date of issuance.15

Certificates may be renewed if the registrant continues to meet all of the initial registration requirements16 and any procedures required by the Chief.17 Registrants must submit a statement to the MPD for the renewal attesting to:

  • Possession of the registered firearm;
  • The registrant’s address; and
  • The registrant’s continued compliance with all registration requirements.18
  • Registrants seeking renewal must have the renewal application submitted to the MPD at least 60 days prior to the expiration of their current registration certificate.19

Revocation

MPD will revoke a registration certificate if: 1) any of the criteria in D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.03 (prohibited categories and other requirements for a registration certificate) are not met; 2) the registered firearm has become an unregisterable firearm or a destructive device; or 3) the information furnished to the Chief on the application for a registration certificate proves to be intentionally false.20

Duties of Registrants

In addition to other registration requirements imposed by District law, each person or organization holding a registration certificate must:

  • Notify the Chief in writing of the “loss, theft, or destruction of the registration certificate or of a registered firearm (including the circumstances, if known) immediately upon discovery of such loss, theft, or destruction;”
  • Notify the Chief in writing within 30 days of a change in the registrant’s name or address as it appears on the registration certificate;
  • Notify the Chief in writing of the “sale, transfer, or other disposition of the firearm within 2 business days of such sale, transfer, or other disposition,” including: 1) identification of the registrant, the firearm and the serial number of the registration certificate; 2) the name, address, and date of birth of the person to whom the firearm has been sold or transferred; and 3) whether the firearm was sold or how it was otherwise transferred or disposed of;
  • Return to the Chief the registration certificate for any firearm which is lost, stolen, destroyed, sold or otherwise transferred, at the time he or she notifies the Chief; and
  • Have in his or her possession, whenever in possession of a firearm, the registration certificate for the firearm, and exhibit the certificate on demand of a member of the MPD or other law enforcement officer.21

Unregisterable Firearms

Assault weapons, .50 BMG rifles, sawed-off shotguns, machine guns, short-barreled rifles, and unsafe firearms22. While handguns not registered to the current owner prior to September 24, 1976, are technically unregisterable, a person who seeks to possess a handgun in his or her home or place of business for self-defense, or seeks a permit to carry a concealed handgun, may register a handgun not registered prior to September 24, 1976.23 Handguns may also be registered to an organization that employs at least one commissioned special police officer or other employee licensed to carry a firearm and that arms the employee with a firearm during the employee’s duty hours, or to a retired MPD officer.24

Registration Requirements for Handguns for Purpose of Self-Defense with in Registrant’s Home

In addition to satisfying all other registration requirements, an applicant registering a handgun for self-defense within that person’s home must comply with specific District registration regulations.25 Such applicants are required to:

  • Obtain a registration application from any licensed firearms dealer or the MPD and present the application to a licensed dealer for completion;
  • Appear in person at MPD headquarters and:
    • Report to the Firearms Registration Section with a completed application, acquire two fingerprint cards, and provide:
      • A valid driver’s license or letter from a physician attesting that the applicant has vision as least as good as that required for a driver’s license; and
      • Residency verification, such as a District driver’s license or identification card, a current rental agreement, or a deed to property that includes a home;
    • Complete a written test;
    • If successful on the test, pay all “applicable and reasonable fees” required by the Chief;
    • Submit to fingerprinting; and
  • Present the approved application to the licensed dealer.26

Disclosure or Use of Information

Any record regarding a person who has applied for, received, or had revoked any registration may not be made available as a public record.27

For additional details on registering a firearm in the District, see the pamphlet issued by the MPD, Registering a Firearm in the District of Columbia.

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. D.C. Code Ann. §§ 7-2502.01, 7-2502.06(a). ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.02; D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2320.1. ⤴︎
  4. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.01(a). ⤴︎
  5. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.01(b). ⤴︎
  6. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.03(b). ⤴︎
  7. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.04(a), (b). See also D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2312.1. ⤴︎
  8. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.05. ⤴︎
  9. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.06(a). ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎
  11. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, §§ 2313.7, 2313.8. ⤴︎
  12. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.07(a), (b). ⤴︎
  13. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2311.1. ⤴︎
  14. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2311.9. ⤴︎
  15. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.07a(a). ⤴︎
  16. Registration requirements are set forth in D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.03 (prohibited categories and other requirements for a registration certificate). ⤴︎
  17. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.07a(b). ⤴︎
  18. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.07a(c). ⤴︎
  19. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.07a(e)(2). ⤴︎
  20. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.09(a). For revocation procedures, see D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.10. If a registrant having his or her registration revoked, or an applicant appealing a revocation decision, receives an unfavorable decision, within seven days of the decision he or she must: 1) peaceably surrender to the Chief the firearm for which the registration certificate was revoked in the manner provided under D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2507.05; 2) lawfully remove the firearm from the District for so long as the individual has an interest in such firearm; or 3) otherwise lawfully dispose of his or her interest in such firearm. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.10(c). ⤴︎
  21. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.08. ⤴︎
  22. see D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2505.04 ⤴︎
  23. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.02(a). ⤴︎
  24. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.02(a)(4). ⤴︎
  25. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2320.1. ⤴︎
  26. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2320.3. ⤴︎
  27. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2502.11a. ⤴︎

Registration of Firearms in Utah

Utah does not require firearm owners to register their firearms.

Utah prohibits the Criminal Investigations and Technical Services Division of the Department of Public Safety, which performs criminal history background checks before all firearm transfers, from maintaining any records of a background check for longer than 20 days from the date of the dealer’s request for the background check, if the Division determines that the individual receiving the firearm is not prohibited from purchasing, possessing, or transferring the firearm under state or federal law.1

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-526(8)(a). ⤴︎

Registration of Firearms in Vermont

Vermont has no law requiring the registration of firearms. In addition, Vermont law provides that “no inventory or record of privately owned firearms shall be made” by the Governor as part of civil defense planning.1

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 20, § 8(b)(3)(B). ⤴︎

Registration of Firearms in Washington

Washington has no law requiring firearm owners to register their firearms.

Firearms dealers in Washington are required to keep a record of every handgun sold, in a book kept for that purpose, which must be personally signed by the purchaser and the seller, each in the presence of the other.1 The record must contain the date of the sale, the caliber, make, model and manufacturer’s number of the weapon, the name, address, occupation, and place of birth of the purchaser and a statement signed by the purchaser that he or she is not ineligible to possess a firearm.2 One copy of the record must be sent within six hours by certified mail to the chief of police of the municipality or the sheriff of the county in which the purchaser resides.3 A second copy must be sent within seven days to the state director of licensing, while a third copy must be retained by the dealer for six years.4

In addition, Washington requires every pawnbroker and second-hand dealer in the state to maintain a detailed record of all firearm-related transactions. See the Washington Private Sales section.

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.110(9)(a). ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.110(9)(b). ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎

Registration of Firearms in Wisconsin

Wisconsin does not require firearm owners to register their firearms.

With limited exceptions, Wisconsin preempts local jurisdictions from adopting ordinances requiring the registration of “any firearm or part of a firearm, including ammunition and reloader components.”1

See the section entitled Retention of Sales / Background Checks Records in Wisconsin for information about the laws prohibiting the retention of such records.

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Wis. Stat. § 66.0409(2). ⤴︎