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.)
Nebraska is a point of contact state for firearm purchaser background checks for handgun transfers only. In Nebraska, firearms dealers transferring handguns to non-federally licensed transferees must either:
- Inspect photo identification and a valid handgun certificate or concealed handgun permit (which confirms the buyer is at least age 21 and has undergone a background check through the Nebraska State Patrol (“NSP”); or
- Inspect photo identification from the potential buyer, obtain a consent form, and process a background check through the NSP’s instant check system.1
A firearms dealer transferring a long gun must contact the FBI, who performs a NICS check on the purchaser.2
Federal law does not require dealers to conduct a background check if a firearm purchaser presents a state permit to purchase or possess firearms that meets certain conditions.3 As a result, handgun purchase certificate holders and concealed weapons permit holders in Nebraska are exempt from the federal background check requirement when purchasing a handgun.4 (Note, however, that people who have become prohibited from possessing firearms may continue to hold state permits to purchase or permit firearms if the state fails to remove these permits in a timely fashion.)
Nebraska law requires persons wishing to obtain handguns through private sellers (non-firearms dealers) to first obtain a handgun certificate or a concealed handgun permit, which requires a background check.5 Nebraska does not require private sellers (sellers who are not licensed dealers) to initiate a background check when transferring a long gun. See our Universal Background Check policy summary.
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- Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 69-2403, 69-2409, 69-2410, 69-2411, 69-2431.
- Neb. Rev. Stat. § 69-2431. See also, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Participation Map, at https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/nics-participation-map.pdf/view.
- 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. Department. of Justice, “Brady Law: Permanent Brady Permit Chart,” https://www.atf.gov/rules-and-regulations/permanent-brady-permit-chart.
- Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 69-2403, 69-2404, 69-2431.