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Frequently Asked Legal Questions

Find answers to common questions in our searchable FAQ.

47396 views   |   93   |   Last updated on Oct 18, 2023    Guns


Unlike some states, Texas does not have a state firearm registry. This means that there is no registration to transfer for most sales made between two Texas residents.

The federal government does not maintain a general registry of handgun or rifle ownership. They only require registration of firearms covered by the National Firearms Act (like short-barreled shotguns, machine guns, silencers, etc.). This law is in Title 26, Chapter 53, Section 5861 of the U.S. Code.

Records of transfers

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has published a brochure with information about the best practices to follow when transferring firearms between private sellers.

The ATF suggests using ATF form P 3312.8, Personal Firearms Record, to record purchases and sales of firearms.

Out-of-state transfers

Under federal law, private sales are prohibited across state lines. These laws are in Title 18, Chapter 44, Section 922(a)(3) and (a)(5) of the U.S. Code.

This means that Texans can only sell firearms through a private sale to other eligible Texas residents. See our Legal FAQ, How can I sell my gun to another person?

If you want to sell a firearm to someone who does not live in Texas, you must conduct the sale through a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL). Licensed dealers can facilitate a private gun sale and handle any registration issues if the buyer is in a state with a firearm registry.

A dealer is not required by law to help with private sales. You may need to call around to find someone who is willing to help you. 

Licensed dealers must follow all the laws they normally follow when selling firearms. This includes running a background check and keeping records of the sale. Dealers can also charge a fee for their services. 

The ATF has more details in the handbook Facilitating Private Sales: A Federal Firearms Licensee Guide

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