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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.)

Ohio is not a point of contact state for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Ohio has no law requiring firearms dealers to initiate background checks prior to transferring a firearm. As a result, in Ohio, firearms dealers must initiate the background check required by federal law by contacting the FBI directly.1

Ohio does not require private sellers (sellers who are not licensed dealers) to initiate a background check when transferring a firearm. See our Universal Background Checks policy summary.


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  1. Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Permanent Brady State List,” accessed October 6, 2020,[]