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.)
Wyoming is not a point of contact state for NICS and Wyoming has no law requiring firearms dealers to initiate background checks prior to transferring a firearm. In Wyoming, all firearms transfers by licensed dealers are processed directly through the FBI, which enforces the federal purchaser prohibitions referenced above.1
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. As a result, Wyoming concealed weapons permit holders are exempt from the federal background check requirement when purchasing a firearm.2 (Note, however, that people who have become prohibited from possessing firearms may continue to hold state firearms licenses if the state fails to remove these licenses in a timely fashion).
Firearms transfers by private sellers (individuals other than licensed dealers) are not subject to background checks in Wyoming. See our Universal Background Checks policy summary for more information about background check laws generally.
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- Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Instant Criminal Background Check System Participation Map, at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/general-information/participation-map.
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, U.S. Department of Justice, Brady Law: Permanent Brady Permit Chart (Aug. 26, 2011), at: http://www.atf.gov/firearms/brady-law/permit-chart.html.