Until 2015, Alabama law required all handgun dealers to create a record in triplicate for every handgun sold, recording the date of sale, serial number or other identification marks, manufacturer’s name, caliber and type of firearm, the name, address, “color”, occupation, and place of birth of the purchaser, the signature of both the seller and the purchaser, and a statement signed by the purchaser that he or she had never been convicted of a crime of violence.
However, Alabama eliminated this record-keeping requirement in 2015. In fact, the state passed a law in 2015 requiring that all records of handgun or maxim silencer sales that are maintained or in the custody of dealers, the chief of police, the sheriff, or the Secretary of State, pursuant to the repealed record keeping provisions, be permanently removed and destroyed within 180 days of June 4, 2015. This provision does not apply to any record necessary for an active investigation or ongoing prosecution.1
See our Maintaining Records of Gun Sales policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
- See 2015 AL H.B. 47, amending Ala. Code § 13A-11-79. ⤴︎
In Alaska, any person engaged in the business of buying and selling secondhand articles must maintain a book, in permanent form, in which the person must enter in legible English at the time of each purchase or sale:
(1) the date of the transaction;
(2) the name of the person conducting the transaction;
(3) the name, age, and address of the customer;
(4) a description of the property bought, which includes, for any firearm bought, the name of the maker, the serial, model, or other number, and all letters and marks inscribed;
(5) the price paid;
(6) the signature of the customer.1
Alaska has no other law requiring the retention of sales or background check records, or requiring the reporting of sales of firearms to a state or local agency.
See our Maintaining Records of Gun Sales policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
- Alaska Stat. § 08.76.010. ⤴︎
Arizona has no laws requiring the retention of sales or background check records by firearm sellers. Pawnbrokers are required to maintain at their place of business records of all reportable transactions and pawn tickets for at least two years.1 On proper request by a local law enforcement agent, the pawnbroker must allow the agent to inspect the receipts, pawn tickets or required firearms logs or review any article received by pledge, purchase or trade.2
As amended in 2013, Arizona law 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
No political subdivision of Arizona may “require the licensing or registration of firearms or ammunition or any firearm or ammunition components or related accessories. . . .”4 Similarly, another provision states that the prohibition against transferring firearms to minors shall not be construed to require firearm sales reporting, nor shall registration of firearms or firearm sales be required.5
See our Maintaining Records of Gun Sales policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
- Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 44-1624(G). ⤴︎
- Id. Furthermore, pawnbrokers must produce their register, exhibit all articles received in pledge or purchase, or produce the account of sales to a local law enforcement agency on the agency’s request, or on service of a search warrant or order issued by a judge or magistrate. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 44-1624(H). ⤴︎
- Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3108(C)(2). ⤴︎
- Ariz. Rev. Stat § 13-3108(B). ⤴︎
- Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3109. ⤴︎
Arkansas has no laws requiring the retention of sales or background check records by firearm sellers generally, or requiring the reporting of sales of firearms to a state or local agency.
Record-keeping and reporting by dealers: California law requires most firearm transfers to be processed through a licensed firearms dealer. See the Private Sales in California section for further information about this requirement. Firearms dealers are required to report all Dealer Record of Sale (“DROS”) transactions to the California Department of Justice (“DOJ”) electronically.1 Subject to limited exceptions, licensed dealers are required to keep a record of electronic transfer of information to DOJ for each sale of a firearm, containing detailed information on the purchaser and the firearm being sold.2 Firearms dealers must include in the record of electronic transfer the date a firearm is delivered to the transferee.3 The dealer must require the purchaser to sign his or her name on the record.4 Dealers are also required to obtain the right thumbprint of a purchaser or transferee before completing any transaction.5
Dealers are also required to maintain a firearms transaction record and this record must be made available to law enforcement during business hours.6
Certain firearm transfers are exempt from the requirement that they be processed by a licensed firearms dealer. As a result, transferees receiving a firearm through some of these exceptions are required to report the receipt of the firearm to DOJ directly.7
Database of firearm transactions: California law requires the Attorney General to permanently maintain and keep a database of all information pertaining to the sale or transfer of firearms reported to DOJ.8 This database must include certain information, including identifying information about the person receiving the firearm, identifying information about the person transferring the firearm, and identifying information about the firearm itself.9 DOJ may furnish information contained in this database, generated by the DROS forms to prosecutors, district attorneys, city attorneys prosecuting civil actions, and law enforcement for use in the arrest and prosecution of criminals, the recovery of lost, stolen, or found property, or for other purposes expressly authorized by law.10
Under a law passed in 2014, all California law enforcement agencies must develop and implement written policies and standard protocols pertaining to the best manner in which to conduct a “welfare check,” which is an investigation into the welfare or well-being of a person motivated by a concern that such person may be a danger to himself, herself, or to others. These policies must encourage officers, whenever possible and reasonable, to first conduct a search of the DOJ registry to determine whether the person being investigated is the owner of a firearm.11
For more information on data retained pursuant to a firearms purchase or transfer, see our section on Dealer Regulation in California.
- Cal. Penal Code § 28205(c). ⤴︎
- Cal. Penal Code §§ 28100; 28160. ⤴︎
- Cal. Penal Code § 28160(c). ⤴︎
- Cal. Penal Code § 28160(d). ⤴︎
- Cal. Penal Code § 28160(b). All other information required to be maintained is listed at Cal. Penal Code § 28160(a). This includes the date and time of the sale, the make of the firearm, manufacturer’s name (if stamped on the firearm), model name or number (if marked on the firearm), the purchaser’s handgun safety certificate number, the caliber, type, and color of the firearm, the name of the purchaser and other identifying information about the purchaser, and certain information about the dealer, including address and telephone number. Id. ⤴︎
- Cal. Penal Code § 26900. ⤴︎
- Cal. Penal Code §§ 27850-27966. ⤴︎
- Cal. Penal Code § 11106(a)(1); (b)(1). ⤴︎
- Cal. Penal Code § 11106(b)(2). All other information required to be in the database is listed in this subsection. ⤴︎
- Cal. Penal Code §§ 11106(a)(2), 11106(b)(3) (both subsections reference Cal. Penal Code § 11105). Law enforcement officers receiving information from the database may only disseminate it to specifically authorized persons and, even then, only under conditions related to an instance of domestic violence expressly identified by Cal. Penal Code § 11106(c). ⤴︎
- Cal. Penal Code §11106.4. ⤴︎
Colorado requires private transfers of firearms to be preceded by a background check processed by a licensed dealer. The dealer is required to comply with all state and federal laws as if he or she were transferring the firearm from his or her inventory to the prospective transferee. Consequently, the federal law requiring dealers to maintain records of sales applies.1 Colorado law adds that the dealer must provide a copy of the results of the background check to both the unlicensed seller making the firearm transfer, and the party receiving the firearm.2
Colorado law also requires any person or entity engaged in the retail sale of firearms to record each handgun transfer, including the purchaser’s or transferee’s name, age, occupation and address; the make, caliber, finish, and serial number of the handgun; and the date and the name of the transferring employee. These records must be available for inspection by law enforcement “at all times.”3 The time period for retention of these records is unspecified.
An administrative regulation of the Colorado Bureau of Identification (CBI) provides that any information pertaining to an approved individual that is collected or created pursuant to a background check for a firearm transfer must be destroyed within 24 hours of the issuance of the approval. CBI must maintain the transaction number, the date and time of its issuance, and the firearms dealer to whom it was relayed.4
Connecticut requires vendors of pistols and revolvers to maintain records of sales for these guns.1 Required information for such records includes the date of the sale or other disposition of a firearm, the date of receipt of the firearm (if different from the date of transfer), the name and address of the transferor, the name of the manufacturer and importer (if any), the model, serial number, type, and the caliber or gauge of the firearm, and the name and address of a person purchasing or receiving the firearm.2.
A separate recordkeeping provision requires any person, firm or corporation selling a pistol or revolver to give a receipt to the purchaser of the handgun containing the name and address of the purchaser, the date of sale, the caliber, make, model and manufacturer’s number of the handgun, a general description of the handgun, the identification number of the purchaser’s permit to carry a handgun, permit to sell a handgun at retail, or eligibility certificate for a handgun, the authorization number for the transfer issued by the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), and the purchaser’s signature.3 The seller must provide a copy of the receipt, within 48 hours of the sale, to the Commissioner of DESPP and local law enforcement. The seller must retain a copy of this receipt for a minimum period of five years.4
For transfers of long guns (rifles and shotguns) at retail, the purchaser must sign in triplicate a receipt for the gun containing his or her name and address, date of birth, place of birth, the date of sale, the caliber, make, model and manufacturer’s number of the long gun, and a general description of the gun.5 The vendor must transfer one copy of the receipt to the Commissioner of DESPP and another receipt to the local law enforcement authority within 24 hours of delivery of the gun to the purchaser. The vendor must retain the final receipt with the original purchase application for at least five years.6
Finally, any person, firm or corporation who seeks to sell a long gun at retail or a handgun (whether a licensed dealer or private seller) must have the transferee complete a written application and retain the application for at least 20 years or until he or she goes out of business, and must make the application available for inspection during normal business hours by law enforcement.7
Licensed dealers in Delaware are required to keep and maintain a record of all deadly weapons sales, including the date of the sale, the name and address of the purchaser, the number and kind of deadly weapons purchased, the age of the purchaser, and the picture identification used.1 The record must be kept at the dealer’s place of business and be open for inspection by any judge, justice of the peace, police officer, constable or other peace officer of the state “at all times.”2
Delaware’s State Bureau of Identification (SBI) is required to prepare an annual report, which must include but is not limited to the number of background check inquiries made during the current year and prior calendar year, as well as the number of inquiries resulting in a determination that the potential purchaser or transferee was prohibited from possessing firearms during the current year and prior calendar year.3
Florida law does not require firearms sellers to retain records of sales or report those sales to law enforcement, although a provision of Florida law requires records of handgun sales to be available for inspection by any law enforcement agency during normal business hours.1
Florida law requires the destruction of the records created by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) in the process of conducting a criminal history record check which contain information pertaining to any buyer or transferee who is not found to be prohibited from receipt or transfer of a firearm by reason of Florida or federal law. FDLE must destroy any such records “forthwith” after it communicates the approval number to the dealer and, in any event, no later than 48 hours afterwards.2 Such records are confidential and exempt from disclosure.3 Notwithstanding these rules, Florida law explicitly allows FDLE to maintain records required by the federal government and authorizes FDLE to maintain a log of dates of requests for criminal history records checks, unique approval and nonapproval numbers, license numbers, and transaction numbers corresponding to such dates for up to two years or as otherwise required by law.4
Florida law requires “secondhand dealers”5 and pawnbrokers to create a record of the acquisition of any firearm that includes the brand name, model name, serial number, type of action, caliber or gauge, number of barrels, barrel length, and finish of the firearm, and a description of the person from whom the firearm was acquired, including his or her name and right thumbprint.6 These records must be transmitted to law enforcement. However, Florida law requires secondhand dealers and pawnbrokers to destroy these records within 30 days of the acquisition of the firearm or expiration of the loan, and requires law enforcement to destroy their copies of these records within 60 days of receipt.7
Florida law prohibits the knowing or willful keeping of any list, record or registry of privately owned firearms or their owners.8 Exceptions include:
- Records of firearms that have been used in committing any crime;
- Records relating to any person who has been convicted of a crime;
- Records of stolen firearms that are retained for no more than 10 days after such firearms are recovered. Official documentation recording the theft of a recovered weapon may be maintained for no more than three years;
- Firearm records that must be retained under federal law;
- Firearm records kept by “secondhand dealers” and pawnbrokers, as described above;
- Records of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services regarding persons who have had licenses to carry concealed firearms within the prior 2 years;
- Records of firearms (and documents relating to firearms) involved in criminal or civil proceedings, or that are voluntary surrendered; and
- Non-criminal records relating to the receipt, storage or return of firearms.9
- Fla. Stat. § 790.0655(1)(b). ⤴︎
- Fla. Stat. § 790.065(4)(a). ⤴︎
- Id. ⤴︎
- Fla. Stat. § 790.065(4)(b). Florida law states that nothing in its law regarding weapons and firearms may be construed to allow the State to maintain records containing the names of purchasers or transferees who receive unique approval numbers or to maintain records of firearm transactions. Fla. Stat. § 790.065(4)(c). Any officer or employee of FDLE or a law enforcement agency who “intentionally and maliciously” violates these provisions is criminally liable for a felony. Fla. Stat. § 790.065(4)(d). ⤴︎
- “Secondhand dealers” are persons, corporations, or other business organizations or entities which are not secondary metals recyclers and which are engaged in the business of purchasing, consigning, or trading secondhand goods. Fla. Stat. § 538.03(1)(a). ⤴︎
- Fla. Stat. §§ 538.04, 539.001(8), (9). ⤴︎
- Fla. Stat. § 790.335(3)(f). ⤴︎
- Fla. Stat. § 790.335(2). ⤴︎
- Fla. Stat. § 790.335(3). That law also exempts “records kept pursuant to the recordkeeping provisions of” Fla. Stat. § 790.065. However, Fla. Stat. § 790.065 does not require firearms dealers to maintain records. ⤴︎
Georgia requires licensed firearms dealers to keep a record of the acquisition and disposition of all firearms, which records must be identical in form and context to the firearms acquisition and disposition record required by federal law.1
The records must be maintained on the licensed premises and open to the inspection of any duly authorized law enforcement officer during the ordinary hours of business or at any reasonable time.2 The record of each acquisition or disposition of a firearm must be maintained for not less than five years.3
Failure to keep and maintain the required records is grounds for revocation of the dealer’s license.4
Georgia has no laws requiring the reporting of sales of firearms to a state or local agency.
Hawaii requires all firearm purchasers to obtain a permit and register their firearms. Associated record-keeping and reporting requirements are detailed under Licensing of Gun Owners & Purchasers in Hawaii and Registration of Firearms in Hawaii.
Idaho has no law requiring the retention of sales records or background check records.
Illinois law requires all sellers of firearms to retain firearm sales records for a minimum of 10 years.1
Sellers of handguns, other than manufacturers selling to bona fide wholesalers or retailers, or wholesalers selling to a bona fide retailer, are also required to keep a register of all firearms sold or given away.2 The register must contain the date of the sale or gift, the name, address, age and occupation of the person to whom the gun was sold or given, the price of the gun, the kind, description and number of the weapon, and the purpose for which it was obtained.3 Such sellers are required to produce the register for inspection, upon the demand of a peace officer, and allow the officer to inspect the register and all stock on hand.4
Indiana does not have any laws requiring the retention of sales records or background check records or the reporting of sales to a state or local agency.
Iowa has no laws regulating retention of gun sales or background check records.
Kansas has no laws requiring the retention of sales or background check records by firearm sellers generally, or requiring the reporting of sales of firearms to a state or local agency.
Kentucky has no laws requiring the retention of records of firearms sales or background checks, or requiring the reporting of sales of firearms to a state or local agency.
Louisiana has no laws generally requiring the retention of sales or background check records by firearm sellers or requiring the reporting of sales of firearms to a state or local agency. In 2018, Louisiana passed a law requiring licensed gun dealers to report background check denials to local sheriffs in instances where a gun purchase was attempted by somebody reported ineligible to purchase firearms by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System.1
Dealers in 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 firearm mufflers or silencers, must keep records of transactions in these firearms as required by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections.2
In 2017, Maine repealed a law that previously required firearms dealers to make and keep a copy of the firearm sale record form that dealers are required to keep under federal law, and make that state copy available to law enforcement officers and prosecutors.1 Currently, Maine law only requires gun dealers to make the federal gun sale form available for inspection by law enforcement if the dealer has received a “formal written request for inspection stating that the form relates to an active criminal investigation.”2
Maryland requires that licensed dealers forward information of a completed transaction involving the transfer of a “regulated firearm” (handguns and assault weapons)1 to the Secretary of the Maryland State Police (“Secretary”) within seven days following the delivery of a regulated firearm.2 The Secretary must maintain a permanent record of all such notifications.3
Private sellers of regulated firearms (those sellers that are not licensed) must also forward completed transaction information to the Secretary within seven days after a regulated firearm transfer.4 The Secretary shall maintain permanent records of these notifications as well.5 See the Maryland Private Sales summary for additional information on Private Sales.
Maryland requires that dealers transacting in regulated firearms keep for at least three years copies of applications to purchase or transfer such firearms.6
For every gun transfer, firearms dealers must make an entry in a sales record book specifying: 1) the complete description of the firearm, including the make, serial number (if any), type, and designation as a large capacity weapon, if applicable; 2) whether it was sold, rented or leased; 3) the date of transfer; and 4) the gender, residence and occupation of the transferee.1 Before delivering the firearm, the dealer must ensure that the transferee writes his or her full name in the sales record book, which must be open at all times to the inspection of the police. In the case of a handgun, the dealer must also document the license to carry number or the permit to purchase, rent or lease number, along with the firearm identification card (“FID”) number. In the case of a rifle or shotgun, the dealer must include either the FID or license to carry number.2 This information must also be submitted to the commissioner of the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) (formerly the Criminal History Systems Board) via an electronic communication link into the Massachusetts Instant Record Check System (MIRCS).3
Massachusetts law allows private sellers of firearms (those not licensed as firearms dealers) to sell up to four firearms per year. However, the seller must report the sale to CJIS within seven days, on forms furnished by CJIS. The seller must specify the names and addresses of the seller and the purchaser, together with a complete description of the firearm, including its designation as a large capacity weapon, if applicable, the caliber, make and serial number and the purchaser’s license number(s).4 Purchasers of firearms from private sellers are also required to submit this same information to CJIS (although they do not have to provide their license, permit or card numbers), independent of the seller.5
Michigan requires private handgun sellers to report transaction information to local law enforcement.1 In Michigan, once a handgun purchase license is issued, three copies are delivered to the applicant by the licensing authority (i.e., local law enforcement).2 When the handgun sale is made, the seller must fill out the license forms describing the handgun, listing the date of sale and indicating that the handgun was sold to the licensee.3 Both the seller and the licensee must sign the license forms.4 The seller may retain a copy of the license as a record of the sale, and the license holder (purchaser) must return the other two copies to local law enforcement within 10 days (one copy is retained by local law enforcement as the official record for a minimum period of six years, and the other is forwarded to the State Police within 48 hours of its receipt).5 In addition, local law enforcement must electronically enter information about the handgun into the State Police database if it has the ability to electronically enter that information, or otherwise provide that information as the State Police requires.6
In Minnesota, if a person wishes to acquire a handgun or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon from a federally licensed dealer but does not have a transferee permit or a permit to carry a handgun, Minnesota law generally requires the dealer to file a report with the local police chief or sheriff, who then performs a background check.1 Minnesota does not require firearm sellers to retain information about firearm sales or report such sales to a centralized state agency. All data pertaining to the purchase or transfer of firearms which are collected by state agencies, political subdivisions or statewide systems pursuant to Minnesota law (governing firearm transfers, possession and carrying) are classified as “private.”2 Thus, this data is not available to the public, but is accessible to the subject of the data.3
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.4 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.5
Every dealer, merchant or pawnbroker that sells pistols is required to keep a record of all pistol sales.1 The record must describe the pistols sold, and list the name of the purchaser and the date of sale.2 For additional information, see the Mississippi Dealer Regulations section.
Missouri makes it a violation of state law for a licensed dealer to violate the federal provision prohibiting dealers from transferring a firearm or armor-piercing ammunition to any person unless the dealer notes in the required records the name, age, and place of residence of the purchaser if the purchaser is an individual, or the identity and principal and local places of business of the purchaser if the purchaser is a corporation or other business entity.1
Missouri has no other retention or reporting requirements for firearm sales or background check records.
- See Mo. Rev. Stat. § 571.080, which refers to 18 U.S.C. § 922(b). ⤴︎
Montana does not have a law requiring the retention of firearms sales records or background check records, or requiring the reporting of firearm sales.
Nebraska has no laws requiring the retention of sales or background check records by firearm sellers, or the reporting of sales of firearms to a state or local agency. In fact, Nebraska law provides that any records which are created by the Nebraska State Patrol (“NSP”) to conduct the criminal history record check pertaining to a potential buyer or transferee who is not legally prohibited from receipt or transfer of a handgun are confidential and may not be disclosed to any person.1 NSP is required by law to destroy any relevant records as soon as possible after approving the transfer, and must destroy such records within 48 hours after the dealer’s request.2 NSP may only maintain a log of dates of requests for criminal history record checks and unique approval numbers corresponding to such dates for one year.3
These provisions do not allow the state to maintain records containing the names of licensees who receive unique approval numbers or to maintain records of handgun transactions or the names of persons not prohibited by law from the receipt or possession of handguns.4
Nevada has no laws requiring the retention of firearm sales or background check records by firearm sellers, or requiring the reporting of sales of firearms to state or local law enforcement.
New Hampshire law requires the Department of Safety (“DOS”) to destroy any records containing information about a firearm transferee who is not prohibited from possessing a firearm within one day of the request for a background check. New Hampshire law prohibits DOS from disclosing those records to any person or agency. If a potential transferee is prohibited from receiving a firearm, DOS must retain any records pertaining to the potential transferee for three years.1
New Hampshire does not require firearms dealers to retain sales records, although federal law applies.
- N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 159-D:2. Although DOS may maintain for an indefinite period a log of dates of requests for criminal background checks and unique approval numbers corresponding to such dates, DOS is not allowed to maintain records containing the names of the firearms dealers who receive unique approval numbers, or records of firearm transactions including the names or other identification of firearms dealers or transferees not prohibited from receiving firearms. Id. ⤴︎
New Jersey requires that any person engaged in the retail sale of handguns keep a register of handgun sales information.1 The register must include the time and date of the sale or transfer, the name, age, date of birth, complexion, occupation, residence and a physical description of the purchaser or transferee, the name and permanent home address of the transferor, the place of the transaction, the make, model, manufacturer’s number, caliber and other identifying marks on the handgun, and such other information as the Superintendent of the State Police deems necessary for proper enforcement.2
The register shall be retained by the dealer and shall be made available at all reasonable hours for inspection by any law enforcement officer.3 Copies of the register shall be delivered within five days of a sale or transfer to local law enforcement (or the local county clerk) and the New Jersey State Police.4
A separate regulation requires all retail firearms dealers to maintain permanent records in bound form of all firearm acquisitions and dispositions, including frames and receivers.5 Such information must be recorded no later than at the close of the next business day following the date of acquisition or disposition.6
Prior to the time a handgun permittee receives the handgun, he or she shall deliver the permit to the seller, and the seller is required to enter all the information on the permit form.7 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.8
New Mexico has no laws requiring the retention of sales or background check records by firearm sellers generally, or requiring the reporting of sales of firearms to a state or local agency.
New York requires any person licensed as a firearms dealer in the state (which does not include dealers selling only long guns1) to keep a record of every transaction involving handguns, short-barreled shotguns or rifles, and assault weapons, including the date, name, age, occupation and residence of any person who receives or delivers such guns, and the caliber, make, model, manufacturer’s name and serial number of the firearm.2 Before delivering such weapons to any person, the dealer must require the prospective transferee to produce either a valid license to carry or possess a handgun, or proof of exempt status. The dealer must then remove and retain the coupon attached to the license and enter in the record book the date of such license, the license number, and name of the licensing officer.3
The original transaction record must be forwarded to the Division of State Police within ten days of delivering a handgun, short-barreled shotgun or rifle, or assault weapon to any person, and the dealer must keep a duplicate. Effective January 15, 2014, the Superintendent of State Police may designate that such record must be completed and transmitted in electronic form. A dealer may be granted a waiver from transmitting such records in electronic form if the Superintendent determines that the dealer is incapable of such transmission due to technological limitations beyond the control of the dealer or other exceptional circumstances demonstrated by the dealer. The record book must be maintained on the premises described in the dealer’s license and must be open at all reasonable hours for inspection by law enforcement.4
New York law also requires anyone who intends to dispose of a lawfully-possessed handgun, short-barreled rifle or shotgun, or assault weapon to first notify in writing the State Police or, if appropriate, the licensing officer in New York City or Nassau or Suffolk Counties.5 (Wholesale dealers, gunsmiths and licensed firearms dealers are exempt from this provision.)
These requirements do not apply to standard length shotguns and rifles.
New York law requires that a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check be completed by a licensed firearms dealer before the sale, exchange, or disposal of any firearm, unless the transaction is between members of an immediate family. Upon completion of the background check by the licensed dealer, the dealer must finalize a document that identifies and confirms that a NICS check was performed. All dealers must maintain transaction records on their dealership premises and the records must be open at all reasonable hours for inspection by law enforcement. A dealer may charge a fee of up to $10 per transaction. Such records will not be considered a public record under New York Public Officers Law. A violation of these laws is punishable as a misdemeanor.6
Ammunition sellers and firearms dealers must, at the time of an ammunition sale or transfer, record the transaction details (date, name, age, occupation, and residence of anyone transferring or receiving ammunition and also the amount, caliber, manufacturer’s name and serial number or other distinguishing information) in a record book to be maintained on the seller’s premises and made available at all reasonable hours for inspection by any law enforcement officer. This information is not considered a public record.7
An ammunition seller or firearms dealer may not transfer any ammunition to anyone other than a licensed dealer unless the seller conducts a check against records maintained in the state’s electronic database and receives a number identifying the transaction and signifying that the transferee is not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing the ammunition.8
After the transfer, the transferee must indicate to the database that the transaction was completed at which time a record of the transaction, to be maintained for no longer than one year, will be made available to law enforcement but will not be made a part of the new firearms database for licenses and records or the new firearms registry. A record of the transaction may be shared with local law enforcement but will not be a public record. This requirement will not apply if the background check system is not operational or if a dealer or seller was issued a waiver from conducting a background check by the state police.9
The New York State Police Pistol Permit Bureau maintains a master database of all transaction records and pistol permits issued in the state. See the New York State Police Pistol Permit Bureau web site for an overview.
In North Carolina, every handgun dealer must keep an accurate record of all sales, including the buyer’s name, residence, and the date of sale.1 This record must be open to the inspection of any police officer in the state.2
North Carolina does not have any laws requiring the reporting of firearm sales to a state or local agency.
North Dakota does not have any laws requiring the retention of sales records or background check records.
Ohio has no law requiring the retention of sales or background check records, or requiring the reporting of sales of firearms to a state or local agency.
Oklahoma has no laws providing for the retention of firearm sales or background check records.
Oregon only requires reporting of certain firearm sales to law enforcement.1 Whenever a federal firearms licensee buys or accepts in trade a used firearm, that person must enter in a register the time, date and place of purchase or trade, the name of person selling or trading the firearm, the number of the identification documentation presented by the person and the make, model and manufacturer’s number of the firearm.2 A duplicate of the register must be hand delivered or mailed to the local law enforcement authority on the day of purchase or trade.3
Firearms dealers are required to retain a firearms transaction thumbprint form for five years after completion of the form.4 A law enforcement agency may inspect the records of a gun dealer relating to firearm transfers only with the consent of the gun dealer in the course of a reasonable inquiry during a criminal investigation or under the authority of a properly authorized subpoena or search warrant.5
Records of information obtained during a criminal records check request are exempt from disclosure under Oregon public records law.6 The Oregon Department of Public Safety may retain a record of information obtained during a criminal records check request for no more than five years.7
- Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.427(2). ⤴︎
- Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.427(1). ⤴︎
- Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.427(2). ⤴︎
- Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.412(2)(f). ⤴︎
- Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.412(8). See Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.434 (making the requirements of section 166.412 applicable to all firearms). ⤴︎
- Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.412(7)(b), Or. Admin. R. 257-010-0010(4), Or. Admin. R. 257-010-0055(3). ⤴︎
- Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.412(7)(a), Or. Admin. R. 257-010-0055(2). ⤴︎
Pennsylvania law states that a firearms dealer’s state license will be revoked if the licensee fails to keep a record in triplicate of every firearm sold and retain the records for 20 years.1
Pennsylvania law also requires firearm dealers to provide a record of the sale of any handgun or certain other firearms2 to the Firearms Division of the Pennsylvania State Police (“PSP”), which maintains a permanent database of these sales.3 Generally, no record of sale is completed for the purchase of a long gun;4 however, PSP must destroy any record of sale of a long gun within 72 hours of the background check.5 See the Pennsylvania Registration of Firearms section for more information.
Regarding long guns, the dealer must submit a statement to PSP within 14 days of the sale, containing the number of long guns sold, the amount of surcharge and other fees remitted and a list of the unique approval numbers given, together with a statement that the background checks have been performed on the firearms contained in the statement. PSP has a form available for purposes of submitting this statement.6
- 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6113(a)(5). ⤴︎
- This includes “any pistol or revolver with a barrel length less than 15 inches, any shotgun with a barrel length less than 18 inches or any rifle with a barrel length less than 16 inches, or any pistol, revolver, rifle or shotgun with an overall length of less than 26 inches. The barrel length of a firearm shall be determined by measuring from the muzzle of the barrel to the face of the closed action, bolt or cylinder, whichever is applicable.” 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6102. ⤴︎
- 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111(b). See also Allegheny County Sportsmen’s League v. Rendell, 860 A.2d 10, 11-12 (Pa. 2004) (describing PSP-maintained database pursuant to the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act of 1995. A person violating these provisions who has already been convicted under them previously (in other words, a repeat offender), receives an enhanced punishment under Pennsylvania law. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111(h). ⤴︎
- 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111(b)(1.4). ⤴︎
- 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111(b)(1.1)(v). ⤴︎
- 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 6111(b)(1.4). ⤴︎
Rhode Island requires all sellers of handguns, including private sellers, to obtain in triplicate a completed application from the prospective purchaser and submit the original and one copy of the application by registered mail or delivery in person to the Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police or the chief of police in the city or town in which the person has his or her place of business.1 One of these authorities then conducts a background check on the prospective purchaser. The triplicate copy must be sent by the seller via registered mail within seven days to the Rhode Island Attorney General.2
If the police authority finds no disqualifying information on the applicant, or in any case no later than 30 days after the application date, the duplicate and triplicate copies must be destroyed.
The original application will be stamped as received by the background check authority and returned to the handgun seller. The seller is required to retain the original copy of the application with the other records of sale for six years.3
Any person, firm or corporation selling firearms (except wholesale dealers selling to licensed retail dealers) must maintain a register of the sales of all firearms.4 The section requires that at the time of sale, the seller record the following in the register:
- The date of sale;
- The name, age and residence of the purchaser; and
- The caliber, make, model, and manufacturer’s number on the firearm.5
This register must be open “at all reasonable hours for the mandatory monthly inspection” by state and local police officials.6
- R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-35(a)(2). ⤴︎
- Id. See R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-36 regarding sales to Rhode Island citizens from out-of-state. Note, however, that Federal law requires all out-of-state sales to Rhode Island residents to be made through a licensed firearms dealer in Rhode Island. 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(3), (5), (b)(3). ⤴︎
- R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-35(a)(2). ⤴︎
- R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-40. ⤴︎
- R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-40(a). ⤴︎
- R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-40(a). ⤴︎
South Carolina has no laws requiring the retention of sales or background check records by firearm sellers.
South Dakota has no laws requiring the retention of sales or background check records by firearm sellers generally, or requiring the reporting of sales of firearms to a state or local agency. 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 However, an exception is made for firearm records that must be retained by firearm dealers under federal law, including copies of such records transmitted to law enforcement agencies.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
Tennessee law provides that, before a firearm is delivered to a purchaser, a gun dealer must complete a firearms transaction record in accordance with federal law.1 Tennessee law does not specify how long these records must be retained. A law enforcement agency may inspect the records of a gun dealer relating to transfers of firearms in the course of a reasonable inquiry during a criminal investigation or under the authority of a properly authorized subpoena or search warrant.2
The gun dealer must transmit information regarding each firearm sale to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) in the course of running a background check on the purchaser.3 However, Tennessee law requires that for all approved background checks, TBI must destroy all records associating a particular individual with a particular purchase of firearms.4
Texas has no laws requiring the retention of sales or background check records by firearm sellers generally, or requiring sales of firearms to be reported to a state or local agency.
All private sales of firearms in the District must be conducted through a licensed firearms dealer.1 For a description of the inventory records and other information required to be kept by licensed firearms dealers, see the “Duties of Licensed Dealers” subsection of the District of Columbia Dealer Regulations section.
- D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2505.02. ⤴︎
Utah prohibits the Bureau of Criminal Identification (“BCI”) within the Department of Public Safety, which performs criminal history background checks before 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 BCI determines that the individual receiving the firearm is not prohibited from purchasing, possessing, or transferring the firearm under state or federal law.1 However, BCI is required to maintain a log of requests containing the dealer’s federal firearms number, the transaction number, and the transaction date for a period of 12 months.2
Utah does not have any laws requiring dealers to retain firearm sales records.
Vermont law requires all pawnbrokers and retail firearms dealers to keep a record book in which they record the sale of all handguns and the purchase of all second-hand handguns.1 The record must include the date of the transaction, the marks of identification on the firearm (including the manufacturer’s name, the caliber, model and manufacturer’s number of the firearm), and the name, address, birthplace, occupation, age, height, weight and the color of eyes and hair of the purchaser or seller.2 The purchaser or seller must sign his or her name to the record, and the pawnbroker or firearms dealer must preserve the record book for six years after the date of last entry and make it available for inspection by law enforcement.3
Vermont has no law requiring the reporting of sales of firearms to a state or local agency.
In Virginia, firearms dealers must keep the original background check consent form (required as part of every Virginia firearms sale) for at least two years, and permit certain law enforcement officers to examine and copy a form related to a particular firearm in the course of a bona fide criminal investigation.1
Every firearm manufacturer or dealer must also keep a register of all machine guns, “sawed-off” rifles and “sawed-off” shotguns manufactured, sold, loaned, given or delivered, and must on demand allow any police officer to inspect his or her entire stock of such weapons and produce the register for inspection.2
Virginia law prohibits the Department of State Police (“DSP”) from maintaining dealer background check records longer than 30 days for any request “pertaining to a buyer or transferee who is not found to be prohibited from possessing and transporting a firearm under state or federal law.”3 However, records of multiple handgun transactions must be maintained for twelve months, and the log on all background check requests (which consists of the name of the purchaser, the dealer identification number, the unique approval number and the transaction date) may be maintained for twelve months.4
In 2010, Virginia repealed a law that had allowed counties to require sellers of handguns to furnish the clerk of the circuit court “with the name and address of the purchaser, the date of the purchase, and the number, make and caliber of the weapon sold” within 10 days of any handgun sale. The new law also required the courts to destroy every record of the reports previously received.5
In Washington, licensed firearm dealers must keep a record of every handgun (and ‘semiautomatic assault rifle’, effective July 1, 2019) sold, in a book kept for that purpose.1 A form containing the date of sale, the caliber, make, model and manufacturer’s number of the firearm, the name, address, occupation, and place of birth of the purchaser, and a statement of the purchaser stating that he or she is not ineligible under state law to possess a firearm must be signed by both the purchaser and the person effecting the sale, each in the presence of the other.2 One copy of the form must be sent within six hours by certified mail to the chief of police or sheriff of the jurisdiction in which the purchaser resides.3 An additional copy must be sent within seven days to the state director of licensing, while another copy must be retained by the dealer for six years.4
The Washington Department of Licensing is authorized by law to keep copies or records of applications for concealed pistol licenses, copies or records of applications for alien firearm licenses, copies or records of applications to purchase handguns, and copies or records of handgun transfers.5
Washington requires that every pawnbroker and second-hand dealer doing business in the state maintain a record of the following, at the time of each transaction:
- The signature of the person with whom the transaction is made;
- The date of the transaction;
- The name of the person or employee or the identification number of the person or employee conducting the transaction, as required by the applicable chief of police or the county’s chief law enforcement officer;
- The name, date of birth, gender, height, weight, race, address and telephone number of the person with whom the transaction is made;
- In the case of firearms, a complete description including the brand name, serial number, model number or name, the caliber, barrel length, type of action, and whether it is a handgun, rifle, or shotgun;
- The price paid or the amount loaned;
- The type and identifying number of identification used by the person with whom the transaction was made, which must be either a valid driver’s license or identification card issued by any state or two pieces of identification issued by a governmental agency, one of which must be descriptive of the person identified; and
- The nature of the transaction, a number identifying the transaction, the store identification as designated by the applicable law enforcement agency, or the name and address of the business, the name of the person conducting the transaction, and the location of the property.6
This record must be open to the inspection of any commissioned law enforcement officer of the state or any of its political subdivisions at all times during ordinary hours of business, or at reasonable times if ordinary business hours are not kept.7 The record must be maintained wherever that business is conducted for three years following the date of the transaction.8
A second-hand dealer under Washington law is any person engaged “in the business of purchasing, selling, trading, consignment selling, or otherwise transferring for value, second-hand property including metal junk, melted metals, precious metals, whether or not the person maintains a fixed place of business within the state.”9 A second-hand dealer includes a person or entity that conducts business at flea markets or swap meets more than three times per year.10
- Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.110(9)(a), Washington Proposition 1639. ⤴︎
- Id. ⤴︎
- Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.110(9)(b). ⤴︎
- Id. ⤴︎
- Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.41.129. These records shall not be disclosed except as provided in Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 42.56.240(4) (prohibiting public disclosure except for concealed pistol license applications and related information only to law enforcement). ⤴︎
- Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 19.60.020(1). ⤴︎
- Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 19.60.020(2). ⤴︎
- Id. ⤴︎
- Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 19.60.010(7). ⤴︎
- Id. ⤴︎
West Virginia does not have any laws requiring the retention of sales records or background check records.
Handgun dealers in Wisconsin are required to retain the original copy of each notification form completed by a transferee, records showing each confirmation number that the state Department of Justice (DOJ) issued to the dealer, and the approval or non-approval number that corresponds with each confirmation number.1 Dealers must keep these records available for inspection by a DOJ employee or designee during the dealer’s normal business hours and as otherwise reasonably requested.2
Wisconsin requires the DOJ to destroy records of any handgun transfer if the sale was approved and nothing in the record indicates that the transfer may be prohibited, within 30 days of receipt of such record.3 Notwithstanding this provision, DOJ may maintain a log of dates of requests for record searches of firearm restrictions together with confirmation numbers, unique approval and non-approval numbers, and firearms dealer identification numbers corresponding to those dates.4 Within three years after DOJ issues a unique approval number, the department must destroy all corresponding information contained in the log.5
DOJ must provide access to any records related to handgun transfer transactions to a Wisconsin law enforcement agency request, in writing, involving an investigation where the handgun was used, attempted to be used, or unlawfully possessed, and the agency has a reasonable suspicion that the subject of the information request has obtained or is attempting to obtain a handgun.6 The agency making the request to DOJ must eventually communicate that fact to the subject of the request, either after this person is found no longer material to the investigation, the investigation has concluded, or one year has transpired since the agency made its initial request.7
Pursuant to Wyoming Law, any information required by federal law to be maintained on firearms must be kept by every federally licensed dealer in his or her place of business and shall be subject to inspection by any peace officer at all reasonable times.1
Wyoming has no other laws requiring the retention of sales or background check records, or requiring the reporting of firearm sales.
- Wyo. Stat. § 6-8-203. ⤴︎