Citation(s) from the GunPolicy.org literature library
Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 2023 ‘Background Check Procedures in Texas.’ Background Checks. San Francisco, CA: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 28 May
Background Checks in Texas
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.)
Texas is not a point of contact state for the NICS. Texas has no law requiring firearms dealers to initiate background checks prior to transferring a firearm. As a result, in Texas, firearms dealers must initiate the background check required by federal law by contacting the FBI directly.
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, concealed handgun license holders in Texas are exempt from the federal background check requirement when purchasing a handgun. (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.)
Texas does not require private sellers (sellers who are not licensed dealers) to initiate a background check when transferring a firearm…
[Editor's note: The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence regularly updates its webpages with new data as US gun regulation evolves state by state. For the most up-to-date information on US gun laws, please refer to the Giffords URL below]