Indiana has no law requiring a background check on the purchaser of a firearm when the seller is not a licensed dealer.
Although a background check is not required, Indiana law expressly provides that the state’s handgun sales restrictions (i.e., the prohibited purchaser provisions) apply equally to an occasional sale, trade, or transfer between individual persons and to retail transactions between dealers and individual persons.1
In addition, a person may not sell, give, or in any other manner transfer the ownership or possession of a handgun or assault weapon to any person under age 18, except an individual acting within a parent-minor child or guardian-minor protected person relationship, or any other individual who is also acting in compliance with provisions relating to children and firearms.2
Indiana prohibits any person from selling, giving, or in any manner transferring the ownership or possession of a handgun to another individual the transferor has reasonable cause to believe:
- Has been convicted of a felony or adjudicated a delinquent child for an act that would be a felony if committed by an adult, if the person seeking to obtain ownership or possession of the handgun is less than 23 years of age;
- Is a drug abuser;
- Is an alcohol abuser; or
- Is mentally incompetent.3
A person is criminally liable for a Class D felony if he or she purchases a handgun with the intent to:
- Resell or otherwise transfer the handgun to another person who the transferor knows or has reason to believe is ineligible for any reason to purchase or otherwise receive a handgun; or
- Transport the handgun out of the state to be resold or otherwise provided to another person who the transferor knows is ineligible to purchase or otherwise receive a firearm.4
Any person who sells, barters, gives, or delivers any deadly weapon to any person in a state of intoxication, knowing him or her to be in a state of intoxication, or to any person who is in the habit of becoming intoxicated, and knowing him or her to be a person who is in the habit of becoming intoxicated, commits a Class B misdemeanor.5
Although Indiana law specifically excludes Indiana residents licensed to carry handguns from Indiana’s handgun sales requirements,6 the Indiana State Police have stated that this statute became inoperative on October 1, 2003, when Indiana licenses to carry a handgun ceased being an alternative to background checks under the federal Brady Act. See the Indiana Concealed Weapons Permitting section.
The Indiana Code does not address the private sale of rifles or shotguns.
See our Private Sales policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.