What Are the Requirements to Buy a Gun Legally? 

 April 7, 2022


As of December 2021, approximately 7.5 million Americans became gun owners in a 28-month timeframe. With gun ownership higher than ever, many people are wondering about the requirements to buy a gun.

In this article, we tell you everything you need to know about how to legally buy a gun, where to buy a gun, and more. Read on to make the process as simple as possible. 

Age Requirements

The first thing on the list of requirements to buy a gun is age. The specific age requirements depend on the type of gun you purchase such as a shotgun or rifle vs a handgun. 

You must be 18 years of age to purchase a shotgun or rifle and 21 years of age to purchase a handgun. Make sure you have a valid form of identification to confirm your date of birth such as a driver’s license or passport. 

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Background Check

The next step in learning how to buy a gun legally is understanding the federal background check requirement. Sellers of firearms are known as Federal Firearms Licensees (FFL). 

Before they can sell a firearm, they need to contact the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). This system verifies criminal records and determines eligibility to purchase a firearm.

State Requirements

While age restrictions and background checks are commonplace in all states, each state has different requirements to buy a gun. These can include needing a permit to carry, a permit to purchase, or firearm registration.

Some states have a combination of these three requirements or none of them. If you want to know how to buy a gun legally in your state, be sure to check local laws. 

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How Long Does It Take to Buy a Gun?

Once you have all of the requirements to buy a gun taken care of, you’ll likely wonder, ‘how long does it take to buy a gun?’ The answer to this question also depends on the state you live in.

Some states have a mandatory waiting period to collect a purchased firearm ranging from 3 to 10 days. Since some states also require you to obtain a permit before purchasing, you may have to wait longer.

Where to Buy a Gun

If you’re wondering where to buy a gun, you can start by searching for a gun shop, sporting goods store, or a gun show near you. If you’re not sure which type of gun to buy, read this review on the Windham Weaponry SRC.

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How to Buy a Gun Online

Learning how to buy a gun online can save you the time and effort of shopping in stores. Follow the steps listed below to purchase online.

  1. Find an FFL and arrange the firearm transfer
  2. Purchase the firearm from your retailer
  3. Coordinate the transfer
  4. Pickup at your local gun store

Some online retailers make shipping your firearm as simple as any other online purchase, but you’ll still need to pick it up in person. The key is to find the right retailer. 

Requirements to Buy a Gun: Now You Know

Learning each of the requirements to buy a gun can seem overwhelming, but this guide can make it easier. Check your state requirements and start shopping. 

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