Does a licensee who conducts a NICS check have to comply with State waiting periods before transferring a firearm?

Yes. Compliance with Federal background check provisions does not excuse a licensee from compliance with State law. A licensee must follow State law waiting periods.

Example: State X is acting as a point of contact for NICS checks. State law requires the licensee to wait 10 days, rather than 3 days, for a response to the background check prior to transferring a firearm. Because State law provides a 10 day period before a licensee may transfer a firearm, the licensee may not transfer the firearm until 10 days have elapsed since conducting the background check.

Example: State X is acting as a point of contact for NICS checks. State law allows a licensee to transfer a firearm 24 hours after conducting a NICS check and receiving a “delayed” response. Although State law would permit a licensee to transfer a firearm 24 hours after receiving a “delayed” response, the licensee must comply with Federal law which requires the licensee wait 3 business days prior to transferring a firearm where the licensee has not received notice the transfer would be prohibited.

Example: The law of State X provides for a 5 day waiting period before a handgun may be transferred by a licensee. An individual completes an ATF Form 4473 for the purchase of a handgun, a NICS check is conducted, and a “proceed” response is given by NICS. Although the licensee received a “proceed” response, the licensee must comply with the State waiting period, and the licensee may not transfer the firearm until the State 5 day waiting period has elapsed.

[18 U.S.C. 922(b)(2)]

Last Reviewed September 14, 2015