See our Gun Dealers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
Federal law requires firearms dealers to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), although resource limitations prevent the ATF from properly overseeing all its licensees.
Missouri does not require firearms dealers to obtain a state license.
Missouri makes it a violation of state law for a licensed dealer to violate certain federal requirements. More specifically, a federally licensed dealer commits a state crime if it violates the federal law:
- Governing the age of firearm purchasers;
- Prohibiting sales to purchasers prohibited by state law from possessing a firearm; and
- Limiting the state of residence of certain purchasers.1
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.2 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.3
- Applicable to both licensed and private firearm sellers, please see the Missouri Private Sales section;
- Requiring firearms dealers to conduct a background check on purchasers, see the Missouri Background Checks section;
- Requiring firearms dealers to ensure that purchasers possess a locking device, see the Missouri Locking Devices section; and
- Requiring firearms dealers to retain records of sales, see the section entitled Retention of Sales / Background Checks Records in Missouri.