Texas has some of the least restrictive gun laws in the nation, so if you just moved there, you may be wondering about your options for purchasing a firearm. The quick answer is yes, in most cases you can buy a gun after establishing residency in Texas. However, there are some requirements you’ll need to meet first.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain the process for legally buying a gun as a new Texas resident. We’ll cover residency requirements, types of guns you can buy, required documentation, background checks, and key steps for completing a legal purchase.

Establishing Texas Residency to Buy a Gun

If you have recently moved to Texas and are wondering if you can buy a gun, the answer is yes! However, there are certain steps you need to take to establish residency in Texas before you can purchase a firearm. Here are some important things to keep in mind:

Valid ID and proof of residency

When purchasing a gun in Texas, you will need to provide a valid government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or a passport. This ID will serve as proof of your identity.

In addition to a valid ID, you will also need to provide proof of residency in Texas. This can be done by providing documents such as a lease agreement, utility bills, or a Texas voter registration card. These documents should have your name and Texas address on them to establish your residency.

Pro tip: Make sure to bring multiple forms of identification and proof of residency, as some gun stores may have specific requirements.

Timeframes for establishing residency

The time it takes to establish residency in Texas can vary depending on your specific situation. Generally, you will need to show that you have lived in Texas for at least 30 days before you can purchase a gun.

Did you know? Texas is known for having some of the most lenient gun laws in the United States. The state has a strong emphasis on individual gun ownership rights, making it a popular choice for gun enthusiasts.

It’s important to note that while Texas allows residents to purchase guns without a permit, there are still federal laws in place that regulate certain aspects of gun ownership. It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with these laws and regulations to ensure you are in compliance.

Pro tip: If you’re unsure about any of the requirements or have questions about the process, it’s best to reach out to your local gun store or consult with an attorney who specializes in firearms laws.

Types of Guns You Can Legally Buy in Texas

If you have recently moved to Texas and are considering purchasing a firearm, it’s important to understand the types of guns you can legally buy in the state. Texas has a rich gun culture and offers a wide range of options for gun enthusiasts.

Here are the three main categories of guns you can legally purchase in Texas:

Long guns

Long guns refer to firearms with longer barrels, such as rifles and shotguns. These are popular choices for hunting and sport shooting. In Texas, you can legally purchase long guns without a permit or license as long as you meet the federal requirements for firearm ownership.

It’s important to note that certain restrictions may apply to individuals with a criminal background or those who are deemed prohibited by law.


Handguns are smaller firearms that are designed to be held and operated with one hand. Texas allows the purchase of handguns, but there are certain requirements that need to be met. To buy a handgun in Texas, you must be at least 21 years old, have a valid government-issued ID, and pass a background check.

Additionally, you may need to obtain a License to Carry (LTC) if you plan to carry the handgun in public. The LTC allows for open carry or concealed carry of a handgun, but it is not required for handgun ownership or possession in your home or vehicle.

NFA firearms with tax stamp

The National Firearms Act (NFA) regulates the sale and possession of certain types of firearms, including machine guns, short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, and silencers. While these firearms are heavily regulated, it is still possible to legally purchase and own them in Texas.

To acquire an NFA firearm, you must go through an extensive process that includes a background check, fingerprinting, and the payment of a tax stamp. The tax stamp is a one-time fee that is required for each NFA firearm you own.

It’s important to follow all federal and state laws when purchasing a firearm in Texas. If you have any questions or concerns, it’s always a good idea to consult with a knowledgeable firearms dealer or legal professional.

Documentation Needed to Purchase a Firearm

When moving to Texas and considering purchasing a firearm, there are certain documents you will need to have in order to complete the transaction. These documents help ensure that the purchase is legal and that you are eligible to own a firearm. Here are the key documents you will need:

1. Valid government-issued photo ID

One of the primary requirements for purchasing a firearm in Texas is a valid government-issued photo ID. This can be a driver’s license or a state identification card. It is important to have a current and valid ID that clearly shows your identity and photograph.

This is necessary to establish your identity and age to comply with the legal requirements for purchasing a firearm.

2. Proof of residency

Along with a valid photo ID, you will also need to provide proof of residency in Texas. This can be in the form of a utility bill, lease agreement, or any other document that shows your current address in the state.

The purpose of this requirement is to establish that you are a resident of Texas, as firearm purchases are subject to state laws and regulations.

3. Social Security Number

Another important document you will need to provide when purchasing a firearm is your Social Security Number. This is required for a background check as part of the application process. The Social Security Number helps verify your identity and allows the relevant authorities to conduct a thorough background check to ensure your eligibility to own a firearm.

4. Hunter education certificate (if applicable)

If you are purchasing a firearm for hunting purposes, you may need to provide a hunter education certificate. This certificate demonstrates that you have completed a hunting safety course, which is required by law in some states.

While not mandatory in all cases, having a hunter education certificate can expedite the purchase process and showcase your commitment to responsible firearm ownership.

It is important to note that these are general requirements and may vary depending on the specific circumstances and regulations in your area. To get the most accurate information, it is recommended to visit the official website of the Texas Department of Public Safety at www.dps.texas.gov for detailed and up-to-date guidelines on purchasing firearms in Texas.

Completing the Background Check as a New Resident

When moving to Texas and considering purchasing a gun, it is important to understand the process of completing a background check as a new resident. This ensures that you comply with both federal and state regulations and can legally own a firearm.

The Federal NICS System

As an aspiring gun owner, you will be required to undergo a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). This system is maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and is used by licensed gun dealers to determine if a prospective buyer is eligible to possess a firearm.

The NICS background check searches various criminal databases to identify any disqualifying factors such as felony convictions, restraining orders, or certain mental health issues. The process is quick and usually results in an immediate determination.

Additional State Checks

In addition to the federal NICS check, Texas requires its own background check known as the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) check. This check is conducted by the licensed gun dealer and involves verifying your eligibility to possess a firearm within the state.

The DPS check includes a review of your criminal history, mental health records, and any other relevant information. It is important to note that Texas law prohibits certain individuals, such as convicted felons and those with certain domestic violence convictions, from owning firearms.

Required Paperwork

When purchasing a firearm as a new resident, you will need to provide certain paperwork to complete the background check process. This typically includes a valid government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license or passport, as well as proof of residency in Texas, such as a utility bill or lease agreement.

Additionally, you may be required to fill out a Form 4473, which collects information about your personal history and certifies that you are not prohibited from owning a firearm. This form is provided by the licensed gun dealer and must be completed accurately and truthfully.

Potential Delays and Denials

While most background checks are completed quickly and result in an approval, there are instances where delays or denials may occur. Delays can happen if there is missing or incomplete information in your background check, or if there is a surge in background checks due to increased demand.

If a delay occurs, the licensed gun dealer must wait for further information or clarification before proceeding with the sale. In some cases, a denial may occur if the background check reveals disqualifying factors that prohibit you from owning a firearm.

It is important to remember that the background check process is in place to ensure the safety of individuals and communities. By completing the necessary checks and providing accurate information, you can navigate the process smoothly and legally purchase a firearm as a new resident of Texas.

Steps to Legally Purchase and Take Possession

If you have recently moved to Texas and are wondering about the process of buying a gun, it’s important to understand the legal requirements and steps involved. Texas has fairly lenient gun laws compared to some other states, but there are still regulations in place to ensure safety and prevent illegal firearms from falling into the wrong hands.

Finding a licensed gun dealer

The first step in purchasing a gun in Texas is to find a licensed gun dealer. These dealers are authorized to sell firearms and can guide you through the purchasing process. You can find a list of licensed dealers in your area on the ATF website.

Selecting your firearm

Once you have found a licensed dealer, you can start exploring different types of firearms and selecting the one that best suits your needs. Whether you are looking for a handgun for self-defense or a rifle for hunting, there are plenty of options available.

It’s important to do your research and consider factors such as size, caliber, and intended use before making a decision.

Completing ATF Form 4473

Before purchasing a firearm, you will need to complete ATF Form 4473. This form collects important information about the purchaser, including personal details and questions about eligibility. It’s crucial to answer all questions honestly and accurately to avoid any legal complications.

Passing the background check

Once you have completed the ATF Form 4473, the licensed dealer will conduct a background check. This involves verifying your identity and running a criminal history check to ensure you are eligible to purchase a firearm.

If you have a clean record and meet all the necessary requirements, you should pass the background check with no issues.

State waiting periods

While Texas does not have a mandatory waiting period for firearm purchases, it’s important to note that some other states do. If you plan to purchase a firearm in Texas and then transport it to another state, make sure to familiarize yourself with the waiting period regulations in that specific state.

Paying for and taking possession

Once you have passed the background check and completed all the necessary paperwork, you can pay for your firearm and take possession of it. The licensed dealer will provide you with the necessary documentation, including a receipt and any additional information you may need.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the gun laws in your state and ensure you are complying with all regulations. If you have any doubts or questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to local law enforcement or consult legal resources.


As a new resident of Texas, you can legally purchase a firearm once you meet residency and documentation requirements. With valid ID, proof of residency, completed paperwork, and a passing background check, you can buy most types of guns from a licensed dealer. Ensure you follow all federal, state, and local laws for a smooth purchase.

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