Waiting Periods in Alabama

Alabama has no law imposing a waiting period prior to purchase of a firearm.

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

Waiting Periods in California

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

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

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

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

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

These waiting period provisions do not apply to:

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

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

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

Waiting Periods in Colorado

Colorado does not impose a specific waiting period between the completion of a firearm purchase and the actual transfer of the firearm to the purchaser. See the Colorado Background Checks section for information about the process when a background check cannot be completed.

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

Waiting Periods in Florida

The Florida Constitution imposes a mandatory three-day waiting period, excluding weekends and legal holidays, between the retail purchase and delivery of any handgun.1 This waiting period does not apply to concealed weapons permit holders or to the “trade-in of another handgun.”2

The Florida Constitution also authorizes counties to enact three to five-day waiting periods, excluding weekends and legal holidays, in connection with the sale of any firearm occurring in or on “property to which the public has the right of access” within the county.3 This provision is directed at gun shows and other events open to the public outside of retail firearms establishments. Concealed weapons permit holders are not subject to such waiting periods when purchasing a firearm.4

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

Notes
  1. Fla. Const. art. I, § 8(b); Fla. Stat. § 790.0655(1). ⤴︎
  2. Fla. Const. art. I, § 8(b); Fla. Stat. § 790.0655(2). ⤴︎
  3. Fla. Const. art. VIII, § 5(b). “Sale” under this provision means the transfer of money or other valuable consideration for any firearm when any part of the transaction is conducted on property to which the public has the right of access. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎

Waiting Periods in Georgia

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

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

Waiting Periods in Hawaii

No permit to acquire a firearm shall be issued earlier than 14 calendar days after the date of the application, except for sales to state or federally licensed dealers, law enforcement officers, persons with a license to carry a handgun, or where a firearm is registered pursuant to state law.1 See also the Hawaii Registration of Guns section. All permits must be issued or the application denied before the 20th day from the date of application.2

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

Notes
  1. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 134-3(a), 134-2(e). ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎

Waiting Periods in Illinois

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

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

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

Waiting Periods in Iowa

In Iowa, no handgun may be transferred until the transferee obtains a five-year permit to acquire a handgun, which becomes valid three days after the date of application.1 After the permit is issued, the holder may purchase additional handguns without a waiting period for five years (the duration of the permit).

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

Notes
  1. Iowa Code § 724.20. ⤴︎

Waiting Periods in Maryland

In Maryland, any person, whether a licensed dealer or private seller, who sells, rents or otherwise transfers a “regulated firearm” (handgun or assault weapon) may not transfer the firearm until seven days have elapsed following the time a prospective purchaser completes an application to purchase a regulated firearm, and the application is forwarded to the Secretary of the Maryland State Police.1

There is no waiting period for the transfer of a rifle or shotgun (except for an assault weapon) in Maryland.

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

Notes
  1. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety §§ 5-123(a), 5-124(a)(1). ⤴︎

Waiting Periods in Massachusetts

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

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

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

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

Waiting Periods in Michigan

Michigan has no law imposing a waiting period prior to the sale of a firearm.

See Regulating Guns in America: Waiting Periods for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Waiting Periods in Minnesota

With certain limited exceptions, if a person wishes to acquire a handgun or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon from a federally licensed firearms dealer in Minnesota, but does not have a transferee permit or a permit to carry a handgun, then the dealer must file a report with the chief of police or sheriff.1 A seven-day waiting period applies to such transfers.2 By the terms of Minnesota law, the dealer may not transfer the firearm for an approved transfer until five business days have elapsed since the transfer report was delivered to law enforcement, unless the chief of police or sheriff waives all or a portion of the seven day waiting period.3 The police chief or sheriff may waive part of the waiting period in writing if he or she finds that the transferee requires access to a handgun or assault weapon because of a threat to the life of the transferee or a member of the transferee’s household.4

The waiting period requirement does not apply to transfers by private sellers (non-firearms dealers).5

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

Notes
  1. Minn. Stat. § 624.7132, subd. 1. ⤴︎
  2. Minn. Stat. § 624.7132, subd. 4. This statute is somewhat unclear with respect to the length of the waiting period, referring both to a “five business day waiting period” and a “seven day waiting period.” ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. Minn. Stat. § 624.7132, subd. 12(1). ⤴︎

Waiting Periods in New Jersey

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

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

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

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

Waiting Periods in New Mexico

New Mexico has no law imposing a waiting period prior to purchase of a firearm.

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

Waiting Periods in New York

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

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

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

Waiting Periods in Rhode Island

Rhode Island imposes a seven-day waiting period for all purchases of firearms unless the purchaser is a law enforcement officer.1 The seller must deliver the firearm to the purchaser if within seven days he or she does not receive background check information that would disqualify the potential buyer from purchasing the firearm, however.2

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

Notes
  1. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 11-47-35(a)(1), 11-47.35.1 and 11-47-35.2(a). ⤴︎
  2. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-35(a)(2) and 11-47-35.2(b). ⤴︎

Waiting Periods in South Dakota

South Dakota imposes no waiting period between the time of purchase and the actual physical transfer of a firearm. In 2009, South Dakota repealed the state’s 48-hour waiting period for handgun purchases.

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

Waiting Periods in Virginia

Virginia imposes no waiting period between the time of purchase and the actual physical transfer of a firearm. See the Background Checks section for information regarding the time it takes the Department of State Police to process a background check.

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

Waiting Periods in Washington

Washington imposes no mandatory waiting period between the time of purchase and the actual physical transfer of a firearm for every firearm transfer.1

If, however, an applicant has an outstanding warrant for his or her arrest, the dealer must hold the delivery of the handgun until the warrant is served and satisfied by appropriate court appearance.2 Where local law enforcement discovers open criminal charges, pending criminal or commitment proceedings, or an arrest or outstanding warrant for an offense making a person ineligible to possess a handgun, if the records of disposition have not yet been reported or entered sufficiently to determine eligibility to purchase a handgun, the local jurisdiction may hold the sale and delivery of a handgun up to 30 days in order to confirm existing records in Washington or elsewhere.3 After 30 days, the sale or delivery may proceed unless an extension is approved by a local district court or municipal court after a showing of good cause.4

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

Notes
  1. While not a mandatory waiting period, Washington allows five days to complete a background check on a prospective handgun purchaser prior to delivery of the handgun. See Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.090(1)(c). ⤴︎
  2. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.090(3). ⤴︎
  3. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.090(4). ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎

Waiting Periods in Wisconsin

In 2015, Wisconsin repealed its 48 hour waiting period requirement.1 Prior to repeal, the law provided that a federally licensed firearms dealer in Wisconsin could not transfer a handgun to any person until 48 hours had elapsed from the time the dealer had been notified by the Wisconsin Department of Justice (“DOJ”), that the transfer did not violate state law. The new law provides that if the DOJ search indicates that is unclear whether the potential purchaser is prohibited from purchasing a firearm, DOJ must notify the dealer of the results no later than 5 working days after the search was requested.2

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

Notes
  1. Wis. Stat. § 175.35. ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎