How to Buy a Gun in Texas (2023 Complete Guide)

How To Buy A Gun In Texas
Alfred Mendoza

I am grateful to live in a state that lets its citizens exercise personal freedom. Like most states, Texas follows Federal Law but also implements specific gun laws and restrictions for buying a gun. 

If you are ready to purchase a gun in Texas, this is your ultimate guide.

Buying a gun online? Check out our guide here.

1. Meet The Age Requirement

Texas gun law does have a minimum age to purchase a firearm. The age requirement for general firearm purchases in Texas is 21 years old and above. There is an exception. Active military over the age of 18 are allowed to purchase long guns.

2. Get Your License to Carry Permit (Optional)

A license to carry (LTC) permit is not required to buy a gun in Texas, but it does provide several benefits for a gun owner. Having the license simplifies gun buying because it can be used as an alternative to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check.

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) licenses individuals to carry handguns within Texas. To get your license, submit an online application along with supporting documentation [1]. You must demonstrate handgun proficiency (shooting) with a Texas Qualified LTC Instructor in a traditional in-person class or an online class. If you opt for an online class, you must still attend 1-2 hours of range instruction class with a Texas Qualified LTC Instructor. DPS also conducts a fingerprint-based state and FBI Criminal History background check. DPS should issue your license within 60 days after you submit your application and other documentation.

3. Show Valid Identification

When buying a gun, you must present a valid identification card that includes a photograph, residential address, and date of birth.

If you are not a U.S. Citizen, you will need to have ICE-issued documentation containing an alien number. A nonimmigrant alien can use either a Visa or Employment Authorization Card.

If you are buying a handgun, you must provide Texas state-issued ID. If you are buying a long gun, you can provide identification issued by another state.

The identification card will be validated and verified against the forms you fill out in the next step.

For Your Purchase

4. Complete The Required Forms

If you plan to buy a handgun in the Lone Star State, you are required by the ATF to complete the Federal Firearms Transaction Record, also known as Form 4473.

The six-page form will be provided by the retailer you are purchasing the gun from (or in the case of online sales, the dealer that is completing the transfer). 

ATF Form 4473

Form 4473 contains the handgun buyer’s personal information, citizenship information, and an affidavit of eligibility to purchase the handgun. If you are a resident alien or LPR, you will be asked to provide a valid alien number (currently question 20 on the ATF form). 

5. Pass The Background Check

If you have a Texas license to carry, a background check is not required. Otherwise, the last step to confirm your eligibility is passing the background check. Once you provide your ID and completed form 4473 to the retailer, they will submit a request through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

It usually takes less than 10 minutes to complete. If your background check is approved, you’ll be able to complete your purchase. If your background check is denied, you will not be able to move forward with the purchase. There are instances where it can come back as “delayed” which means NICS must conduct further research before approving or denying. The person helping you should be able to explain your options and expected timing. Sometimes the delay is just a few minutes so you still may be able to make your purchase that day.

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6. Complete the transfer

Unlike some states, there is no waiting period in Texas. Once your ID is validated, the paperwork is complete, your background check is passed, and you’ve paid for your firearm and any transfer fees, you are free to enjoy your new firearm.

Ready to take your new firearm for some range time? Check out our favorite shooting ranges in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

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Who Is Prohibited From Buying A Gun

Under Texas Law, according to the ATF, if a person meets any of the criteria below, they are prohibited from purchasing a firearm [2]:
  • Under 21 years old; or 18 years old for military service personnel purchasing a long gun
  • Convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year
  • Convicted of a felony and released from confinement and/or parole within the last five years.
  • Under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year
  • Convicted of a Class A misdemeanor (including assault, deadly conduct, terroristic threat, discharging a firearm in public, or displaying a deadly weapon in public intending to cause alarm) and released from confinement and/or community supervision within the last 5 years. [3] From Texas Penal Code sections 22.01(a)(1), 22.05, 22.07, or 42.01(a)(7) or (8)
  • Full-time paid state agency or political subdivision employee, subject to protective orders or emergency protection (peace officers are exempt)  
  • Dishonorable discharge from the Armed Forces
  • Adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution
  • Intoxicated or unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance
  • Are not a US citizen and do not have an alien registration card or visa, or have renounced US citizenship
  • Fugitive from justice
  • Member of a criminal street gang


No, you don’t have to take a firearm safety course to buy a gun in Texas. Based on legal advice, you are required meet eligibility and age requirements, complete required form, and undergo a background check.

No, you don’t need to secure a permit to buy a handgun in Texas. However, there are restrictions you must follow when purchasing a firearm. You must meet the age requirement and complete a background check.

Purchasing a Gun in Texas

Buying a gun in Texas is a straightforward process. Although must meet certain eligibility requirements, present valid ID, fill out a form, and pass the background check, the process can take less than 15 minutes.

Whether you are buying a gun for self-defense, hunting, competition, or anything else, our team encourages you to practice firearm safety and train often.

8 thoughts on “How to Buy a Gun in Texas (2023 Complete Guide)”

  1. i live in texas. if i purchase a gun online and i get it shipped to an FFL dealer. can my wife go pick it up?

  2. Good morning Alfred,

    I hope you are well! I found your post very informative. I have recently relocated to TX however my appointment for the TX driver’s license is not until Oct 2022 :(. Is there a state issued ID i can acquire prior to getting my driver’s license so I can purchase firearms? Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you. Take Care



  3. if they say the Uvalde shooter obtained the gun legally when the state rules say that the age is 21 and he was only 18 who is wrong and who is wright. If it is 21 then the seller is in violation of gun laws.

  4. If I’m from AZ with an AZ license, can I purchase a gun here in TX? I’m here for a temporary amount of time before going back to AZ, but would like to purchase a gun while I am here. Thank you

  5. Very informative article. Thank you. Question: Can an out-of-state resident buy a firearm in Texas either online or through snail-mail?

  6. I can’t seem to find anywhere else where it says you can use out of State ID to purchase a long gun? Does this apply to FFL transfers and Pawn Shops as well?

    1. It is allowed under U.S. Code, Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 44, Section 922(b)(3) as long as the transaction complies with Texas state law and in the state where the purchaser resides.

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