Federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers (but not private sellers) to initiate a background check on the purchaser prior to sale of a firearm. Federal law provides states with the option of serving as a state “point of contact” and conducting their own background checks using state, as well as federal, records and databases, or having the checks performed by the FBI using only the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database. (Note that state files are not always included in the federal database.)
Louisiana is not a point of contact state for the NICS. Louisiana has no law requiring firearms dealers to initiate background checks prior to transferring a firearm. As a result, in Louisiana, firearms dealers must initiate the background check required by federal law by contacting the FBI directly.1
Louisiana law states that concealed handgun permit holders in Louisiana are exempt from federal background checks when purchasing a firearm provided that the appropriate waiver has been granted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.2 The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives has determined that Louisiana concealed handgun permits issued on or after March 9, 2015 qualify for this waiver.3 As a result, federal law still requires licensed dealers in Louisiana to conduct background checks prior to sale of a firearm if the purchaser has a concealed handgun permit issued before March 9, 2015.
Louisiana does not require private sellers (sellers who are not licensed dealers) to initiate a background check when transferring a firearm.
In 2018, Louisiana passed a law requiring licensed gun dealers to report NICS background check denials to local sheriffs in instances where a gun purchase was attempted by somebody reported ineligible to purchase firearms by the FBI.4
See our Universal Background Checks policy summary for further information.
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- Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Instant Criminal Background Check System Participation Map, at https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/nics-participation-map.pdf/view.
- La. Rev. Stat. § 40:1379.3(T). Federal law exempts persons who have been issued state permits to purchase or possess firearms from background checks if those permits were issued: 1) within the previous five years in the state in which the transfer is to take place; and 2) after an authorized government official has conducted a background investigation, including a search of the NICS database, to verify that possession of a firearm would not be unlawful. 18 U.S.C. § 922(t)(3), 27 C.F.R. § 478.102(d).
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Brady Law: Permanent Brady Permit Chart (Jun. 10, 2014), at https://www.atf.gov/rules-and-regulations/permanent-brady-permit-chart.
- 2018 La. SB 231 (signed by the Governor May 20, 2018), enacting La. Rev. Stat. §95.1.3(E).