Do You Have to Be Fingerprinted to Buy a Gun?

Do You Have to Be Fingerprinted to Buy a Gun?: The Truth About State Laws, Federal Laws, and You

You might be in the market for a firearm. At the same time, you may be wondering something: Do you have to be fingerprinted to buy a gun? Well, the answer often depends on the state where you live.

Federal Law

Under federal law, to purchase a gun from a licensed dealer, you must fill out a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) form. This document will ask for your personal information, your contact info, and your history of arrests. The dealer will submit this form to the NICS. Then the agency’s computers will approve or deny the application based on your criminal history.

As the name suggests, this process is usually completed right away. And, at this time, it does not involve fingerprinting.

In a few cases, state laws overrule the NICS requirement. For example, a resident of South Carolina with a concealed weapons permit can bypass this background check.

State Laws

Most gun sales involve licensed dealers. However, in some cases, people privately sell guns to others. For those sales, a federal background check is not required. Instead, state governments regulate private gun sales. And some states insist on fingerprinting customers before those transactions take place.

For instance, in Maryland, a person who wants to buy a handgun privately must apply for a license beforehand. To get such a license, he or she has to undergo a background check that involves getting fingerprinted.

Similarly, in Connecticut, a government agency called the Special Licensing and Firearms Unit reviews applications for gun sales. Each permit lasts for five years and involves a background check with fingerprinting.

At the other end of the spectrum is a state such as Alabama. Alabama requires no fingerprinting, no waiting periods, and no registrations for private gun sales.

Stay Up to Date

The day may come when everyone in the U.S. must submit fingerprints before buying a gun. Indeed, Democrats in the Senate and the House of Representatives introduced the Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act of 2015. This bill would have required people to get a license from the government to own a gun. Under that proposal, fingerprinting would have been mandatory for all gun sales.

Also, keep in mind that state laws change from time to time. In Illinois, for example, the General Assembly put forward three different gun bills in 2019. All of these proposed laws called for the fingerprinting of people who buy handguns.

Thus, it makes sense to verify the fingerprinting rules before you buy a handgun. You could call your state house, check with a local gun dealer, or search online. By doing so, you’ll have a timely answer to the important question: Do you have to be fingerprinted to buy a gun?

What is ATF 41f?

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Final Rule 41F makes sure that trusts and legal entities meet the same identification and background check requirements as individuals who make or transfer firearms under the National Firearms Act (NFA). The amendments to the regulations benefit public security.

What is an ATF 41f?

The regulation spells out the requirements for background checks and identification practices that apply to anyone who participates in the making or transferring of firearms. The guidelines ensure consistent treatment of every applicant who must comply with the regulations under the NFA. Anyone who wants to know what is ATF 41f may find the details at the ATF website.

What made the changes necessary?

Before the amendment took effect, an individual who represented a trust or legal entity had to meet certain requirements that turned out to need clarification. They included passing a background check and completing ATF Form 4473. Individuals had to do these steps to receive NFA firearms from someone who holds a Federal firearms license (FFL).

The rules at that time, however, did not require everyone who represents a trust or legal entity to comply. Only the person with direct involvement in the receipt of NFA firearms had to meet the standards. The amendment to ATF 41f makes everyone who represents a trust or legal entity comply as well.

Was that the only change?

No. The changes to the amendment require representatives of trust or legal entities that apply to “make” an NFA firearm to undergo background checks.

When did the Final Rule go into effect?

The Attorney General signed the ATF 41F Jan. 4, 2016. The document carries the title of ATF Final Rule 41F, Machineguns, Destructive Devices and Certain Other Firearms; Background Checks for Responsible Persons of a Trust or Legal Entity With Respect To Making or Transferring a Firearm. It amends the regulations that govern the making or transferring of firearms under the provisions of the National Firearms Act (NFA). The Final Rule became effective July 13, 2016.

How do applicants notify CLEO?

When an applicant applies for an ATF Tax Stamp, the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) needs to know about it. Either the ATF Form 4 [5320.], ATF Form 1 [5320.1] or the ATF Form 5 [5320.5] can accomplish the notification. It must go to the CLEO of the locality where the applicant or responsible person has a location.

What is a “responsible person”?

ATF considers a responsible person as anyone who can direct the management as well as the policies of the firearms division of an overall business. Designation as a responsible person who can represent a trust or other legal entity includes owners, members of the board of directors, officers and members as well as trustees and partners. Settlors or grantors may serve as well.

What about fingerprint cards and photographs?

All responsible persons who have an association with a trust or legal entity must attach fingerprint cards along with Form 5320.23 and a photograph with each application.

Do FFLs need to address issues that occurred before July 13, 2016,?

Yes. If no background check occurred as part of the application process for an individual who received a firearm, applicants must receive one to comply with ATF 41f guidelines.

Is a Class 3 Firearms License Mandatory?

You need to have a Class 3 firearms license if you sell NFA Title II firearms weapons authorized under the National Firearms Act. Title II firearms include machine guns, shotguns, silencers and destructive devices. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), a destructive device is typically a missile with the ability to explode.

Special Occupational Tax (SOT)

A Class III federal firearms license (FFL) is connected with a Special Occupational Tax (SOT). If you are a dealer, you must pay the SOT tax to get a Class 3 license. If you want to obtain a Class 3 firearms license as a seller, you need to fill out and submit an ATF Form 5630.7.

Select the Class 3 option (Dealer in Firearms) located on the ATF form. You are required to pay a $500 fee each year. After completing the form, write out a check for $500 and include it in the same envelope. The occupational tax is due each year on the first day of July.

Class 3 License for Private Owners

Whether or not you need a Class 3 license as a private gun owner is not without its share of confusion and controversy. The bottom line is that the ATF does not technically require you to have a Class 3 Firearms license as a private owner. But you do need to have a Class III license if your state requires you to pay the SOT tax.

There is a different procedure for private firearm owners. If you are not a dealer, you must allow the federal government to check your background. The background check is somewhat complicated and includes taking your fingerprints. However, if you pass the check, then you will pay a $200 SOT tax. Note that passing the federal government’s background check is not enough to qualify you for owning a Class 3 firearm. You must also reside in a state that officially approves the ownership of your firearm.

If the state in which you reside has specific requirements, you should know that the process will not happen right away. You may have to wait for a long period before you are approved. In fact, it is not uncommon to wait for more than a year before you are approved. Once you pass the state’s requirements, you will receive a tax stamp. The stamp proves that you have the legal right to own your firearm.

The ATF has specific requirements for applicants. The ATF will not approve anyone who is less than 21 years of age. The applicant must not have any type of prohibition associated with his or her identity. The applicant must provide honest answers to all of the questions on the application. Plus, the person applying for a license must have a physical location in which the firearms are sold.

Here are some other rules for prospective dealers:

  • A dealership must meet with the city’s approval.
  • A dealership must meet with the state’s approval.
  • A dealership must comply with zoning laws.

If you want to buy a firearm as a private individual, you must provide the dealer with a driver’s license or a similar government photo identification card. Plus, you are required to fill out and submit an official ATF 4473 form. There is no guarantee that the dealer will approve your application.

Is a Suppressor the Same as a Silencer?

A silencer and a suppressor are synonyms. In other words, silencers are identical to suppressors. The reason that people think silencers and suppressors are different is due to technical and controversial nuances. The word “silencer” is legally defined as a device used to suppress sounds emanating from firearms. Similarly, the word “suppressor” is used as a technical description of a device used to suppress sounds emanating from firearms.

Many firearm owners are confused about the difference between silencers and suppressors.

History shows that the words are simply different ways of explaining the same device. Hiram Percy Maxim, the inventor who came up with the concept of a suppressor, called his device the “Maxim Silencer.” These were the official words Maxim used on his 1909 patent.

People were eager to buy Maxim Silencers because these devices offered the following benefits:

  • Shooters could shoot in a more precise manner.
  • The device made shooting a safer activity.
  • Sound levels were lower.
  • The device made muzzle blasts a thing of the past.

People living during the early 1900s preferred to call these devices “silencers.” Plus, consumers found it easy to order the devices via the United States Postal Service. But New York City’s Sullivan Act of 1911 made it difficult for people to buy firearms.

The Official ATF form calls the Devices Silencers Rather than Suppressors.

However, it is worthy to note that the device is not completely devoid of any sound. Accordingly, some gun owners prefer to call them suppressors because the devices do not make all sounds disappear. Instead, these devices suppress sounds. Whether calling them silencers or suppressors, the terminology has its share of controversy.

You may want to blame Hollywood for the confusion.

In movies, firearms were often depicted as devices without noise. Moviegoers may have wanted to own pistols or shotguns resembling the silent firearms viewed in their favorite films. Marketers are always on the lookout for ways to convince consumers about the products they sell. So, entrepreneurs began to call the devices “silencers” rather than “suppressors” as a way to sell more firearms.

Silencers can only do so Much to Muffle loud Sounds.

Manufacturers cannot manufacture noiseless firearms. A firearm is always going to make a sound when it is in the cycling process. Plus, bullets emit loud sounds because they break the sound barrier. Breaking the sound barrier is a noisy event.

Silencers are Never Truly Silent.

In fact, those enlisted in the military need to protect their ears so that the thunderous sounds do not cause them to go deaf. Now, if a manufacturer were to design a device with bullets that did not break the sound barrier, then gun owners might own firearms featuring true silencers. But this type of invention is not likely to happen today or in any future generation.

The upshot is that the specific definitions must comply with federal and state regulations. If you want to approach the topic in a legal way, call the devices silencers. If you want to get technical, call them suppressors. At Waymore Silencers, you can find silencers that include pistols and shotguns. Plus, you can buy silencers via our website or by visiting our physical store in Houston, Texas. Our staff will provide you with answers to your questions.

What to Do After a Road Rage Incident: Simple Tips to Protect Yourself

Road rage is an increasingly common problem on American roads. As more people express their frustrations through violence, drivers face more dangers than ever before. This is why you need to know what to do after a road rage incident. By learning a few critical tips, you can work on protecting yourself from road rage in the future.

Understanding Road Rage

The key factor of road rage is that these incidents happen in vehicles and on roadways. This can manifest in different ways. In some cases, road rage may be a passing or fleeting interaction. One driver may yell at another or make obscene gestures but never get out of the car while driving on. However, road rage can become far more dangerous when the drivers stop. A driver can roll down the window or even get out of the car at a stoplight. In extreme situations, one driver may actually cut the other off, forcing both parties to stop. Incidents where someone gets out of the car have the worst risk for violence.

Minimizing Conflict

When a road rage incident occurs, it can be overwhelming. Some people may have a tendency to fight back. In order to stay safe during the incident, it is better not to engage in conflict. If someone is experiencing road rage, he or she is not going to be reasonable. It is not likely that you will be able to logically discuss the incident. Any conversation you attempt is probably going to be construed as further aggression, which can exacerbate the situation. Because road rage can escalate to a life or death situation, minimizing the conflict as early as possible is your best way to stay safe.

Documenting the Scene

Surviving an episode of road rage is only part of the battle. These incidents can be traumatic, and they can lead to damage to your person or property. This is why you should also think about your legal rights. Road rage incidents may be classified as assault, and you may also be able to build a civil case for damages. However, in order to receive these protections, you must work on backing up your side of the story. Documentation is critical. Many people have the ability to film the incident, which can help verify the facts. Taking photos of the scene, documenting damage to the car, getting the names of witnesses and visiting a doctor to treat physical wounds are all great ways to substantiate a legal case.

Calling Legal Support

Many people want to call the police during a road rage incident. This is not a bad idea, but your first call should always be to a lawyer. While the police secure the scene, a lawyer will secure your rights. Talking to a lawyer before giving a statement to the police can ensure that you have the best chance of getting the compensation you deserve. Obviously, working with the police is important, but smart legal advice can better protect you over time. When considering what to do after a road rage incident, your goal should always be to protect yourself. This starts with your physical safety and extends to your legal rights. These steps cannot prevent a road rage incident, but they can help you deal with these situations better in the aftermath.

Silencer Laws in Different States

Knowing the silencer laws in different states can save you from breaking the law. Silencer enthusiasts can even find workarounds if there states don’t allow silencer ownership. Firearm silencers are legal in most states and under federal law. There is a growing movement to legalize silencers because they reduce noise and recoil. Containing the explosion at the muzzle reduces recoil energy, torquing and muzzle flip while suppressing sound. 39 states now allow citizens to own and use silencers, but there are a hodgepodge of silencer laws in different states. [1]

It’s legal to own silencers in all states except California, Hawaii, Illinois, Missouri, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. Silencers were illegal in Iowa prior to 3/31/16. Individual gun owners can’t own a silencer in Hawaii and New York, but police officers can own and use them under certain circumstances. [2]

It’s also illegal to transport a silencer into a state where suppressors are illegal. One interesting aspect of the law allows Gun Trust members who live in silencer-approved states to buy silencers for the Trust. Members who live in states where silencers are illegal can use them as Co-Trustees in the states where silencers are legal. The silencers can be kept in the legal states for use by visiting Co-Trustees. [2]

Special Silencer Laws in Missouri

In Missouri, owning a silencer is legal, but the owner must hold a federal C&R, or curio and relic, license. This license allows its holders to collect antique firearms. [3] Laws are changeable, so it’s important for gun owners to check with the local office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the state attorney general to get the latest information for specific states.

Compliance with Federal and State Laws

Silencers are regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or BATFE, under the guidelines of the National Firearm Act. State laws also supercede or expand the federal laws. The federal regulations for owning silencers include the following: [1]

  • Silencer buyers must be 21 years of age to buy a silencer from a dealer.
  • People can buy a silencer from another individual if they’re at least 18 years old and file a Form 4 transfer document.
  • 18-year-old citizens can also possess a silencer left to them as a beneficiary of a trust or as a member of a corporation.
  • Buyers must be U.S. citizens and legally eligible to buy a firearm.
  • Silencer buyers must pass a BATFE background check.
  • There is a one-time $200 transfer tax.
  • Buyers must live in states where silencer ownership is legal.

Silencer Laws Are Relatively Simple

Silencer laws are simple in most states where ownership of silencers is allowed. Your specific state might have further registration requirements. The best practice is to check with an attorney in your state. Silencers reduce noise, and according to OSHA, the safe threshold for noise is 140 dB or less. Silencers can work as hearing safety devices for hunters and gallery shooters.

In Texas, HB 1819 removes silencers from the regulations of the National Firearms Act. A simple NCIS check is all that’s needed under HB 1819 to buy a silencer in Texas. [4] Texas gun owners already own twice as many suppressors than the citizens of any other state.

For questions let us know.

[1] Silencer Facts: 39 States Now Allow Sound Suppressor Ownership

[2] What States are Silencers Legal in?

[3] States Where Owning a Silencer Is Legal

[4] Texas Passes Legislation on Suppressors and License to Carry