Purchasing a gun in Texas is relatively easy and straightforward, but you do have to jump through a few hoops that the Federal government requires to make the purchase. This article will explain the process of buying a gun in Texas and provide information on eligibility requirements, background checks, waiting periods, and more.
The long and short of it is that Texas is one of the easiest states to purchase a gun in. Generally speaking, Texas does not add any requirements, prohibitions, or steps to the purchasing process to what is required at the federal level. Let’s dive in.
How to Buy a Gun in Texas
When buying a gun in Texas, there are several steps you need to take to ensure that your purchase is legal. First, you’ll need to choose a store or dealer from which to make your purchase. There are many gun stores throughout the state of Texas that offer various types of firearms for sale.
I always advise people to avoid buying online for their first firearm. Buying a gun online is a little bit more complicated, and it’s beneficial to be able to handle (and even try out) the guns you’re deciding between before pulling the proverbial trigger on one of them. As an example, it can come as a surprise how uncomfortable some handguns fit in your hands compared to others.
Choosing a Store
When selecting a store from which to buy your firearm in Texas, see if anyone you know has a shop they recommend. If not, I’d recommend considering shops that have an attached indoor range so you can test out different options with live ammo before committing to it.
You don’t need to contact any government authorities prior to going to the gun store or anything like that. All of the legalities are handled at the point of sale of the weapon. The gun store should have access to NICS and be able to run the background check on-the-spot with little to no delay. If you’re worried about whether a store has that capability, just call ahead and ask.
Selecting & Purchasing Your Firearm
Choosing a firearm starts with why you’re buying it in the first place. Despite what many might believe or feel, all guns aren’t creative equally, and are specifically designed to serve varied purposes.
Once you’ve selected the firearm of your choice, take care to ensure that all of its paperwork is updated and correct, including the warranty card, and other forms of documentation.
The Background Check
Once you’ve completed your ATF Form 4473, you will then need to undergo a background check if you are purchasing from a business.
The background check is used to ensure that you are legally eligible to purchase a firearm in Texas. The background check typically takes between 5-10 minutes to complete and requires two forms of identification such as a driver’s license or passport. If the background check is approved then you may proceed with purchasing your firearm.
It is important to note that Texas does not require a background check for a private sale or transfer of a firearm, though it is still illegal for a prohibited person to purchase a firearm from a private party. In a case like this, the seller can get into legal trouble if it can be shown that they knew the buyer was ineligible when they sold the gun to them, or that they intended to use it for an unlawful purpose.
Here is the state-wise list of Gun owners in USA.
There is no waiting period in Texas. As soon as your background check clears and all the paperwork is completed, you can walk out with your firearm immediately after purchasing it. There is also no “cooldown” period that has to pass between firearm purchases either. You can buy multiple firearms at one time in Texas.
How a Concealed Carry Permit Makes it Easier
Since there is no waiting period in Texas, you might wonder if CCP holders have any advantage when purchasing more firearms.
Having a concealed carry permit in Texas makes it easier for individuals who wish to buy firearms legally within the state. With a concealed carry permit, holders are not required to undergo background checks when purchasing firearms. The idea behind this is that they have already been more thoroughly background checked in order to obtain the permit.
How to Determine Your Eligibility to Buy a Gun in Texas
In order to determine if you are eligible to buy a gun in Texas there are certain criteria that must be met according to both federal and state laws. The Federal Government outlines ten things that make an individual ineligible for owning or buying firearms while some states have additional criteria specific to their laws. Luckily, though, Texas is not one of them!
It is important that individuals familiarize themselves with federal requirements prior to attempting to purchase a firearm within the state of Texas.
The Ten Things that Makes a Person Ineligible According to the Federal Government
- Conviction of a felony or crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year;
- Fugitive from justice;
- Unlawful user or addicted to any controlled substance;
- Has been adjudicated mentally defective or committed to any mental institution;
- An illegal alien;
- Dishonorably discharged from the military;
- Has renounced his/her US citizenship;
- Subject of a restraining order prohibiting them from harassing, stalking or threatening an intimate partner;
- Convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence;
- Under indictment for any felony criminal offense.
If you don’t fall into one of those categories, for the most part you’ll be able to purchase a gun in Texas. Also, see the state-wise crime rate in USA
Texas does have a few of its own laws that are a bit different from the federal governments, but generally speaking federal law is more strict than Texas state law.
You don’t have to be a resident of the state of Texas to purchase a gun from a gun store within the state’s borders. However, you will need to present a valid state-issued ID from your state of residency, and a lot of FFLs won’t sell you a gun if you’re not a Texas resident.
This is because FFLs are required to abide by the laws of the state the buyer resides in when they sell that person a firearm. Most FFLs find it simpler just to turn away out-of-state buyers than to try and familiarize themselves with the nuances of each state’s firearm laws. So while you don’t have to be a Texas resident to buy a gun in Texas, you might have some trouble if you’re not.
Getting a Concealed Carry Permit
To get a state-issued concealed carry permit, you have to have been a Texas resident for at least 6 months with only a few exceptions. Other than that, you need to be at least 21 (unless in the military), not be federally prohibited from owning a firearm, and not be behind on child support payments, if it applies to you.
Having a concealed carry permit can speed up the process a bit each time you want to buy a new firearm, but only by a few minutes, so it’s not necessarily worth getting if all you want to do is make it easier to buy firearms.
No, owning a gun in Texas is fairly easy, provided that you meet all eligibility requirements outlined by both federal and state law, including passing background checks and providing proof of residency where applicable. You can even buy more than one gun at a time.
Yes, you can, and they can be loaded and do not need to be in a locked container. You are responsible for whatever is done with that gun, so don’t use the law as an excuse to be lax with your safety or security, but you will not get in trouble for having a loaded handgun in your glove compartment, for example.
The only guns you can’t buy in Texas are the ones that are illegal throughout the United States. Firearms that are regulated by the NFA can be purchased in Texas as long as no federal laws are broken during the process. Overall, Texas is a very free state when it comes to firearms.
Buying a gun in Texas involves several steps: choosing an appropriate store/dealer from which to make the purchase, selecting/purchasing an appropriate firearm based on how you are intending to use it, then filling out the forms, getting the background check done, and walking out with your brand new firearm.
Compared to many other states, it’s easy to purchase a firearm in the state of Texas as long as you don’t fall into one of the federally prohibited categories that prevent you from being able to purchase one. If you do, that will show up on your background check and the FFL won’t sell you the gun.
Full disclosure, I don’t live in Texas, so feel free to let me know about anything that I may have gotten wrong!