Legal Considerations When Buying a Revolver

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Written By DanielHaldeman

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When considering the purchase of a revolver, a potential buyer must navigate a myriad of legal considerations to ensure compliance with both federal and state laws. Here we provide an overview of these legal considerations, though it’s important to note that laws vary significantly by jurisdiction and are subject to change. Therefore, this guide should be seen as a starting point, and prospective buyers should consult local laws and possibly legal counsel to ensure full compliance.

Federal Regulations

At the federal level, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) regulates the sale and ownership of firearms, including revolvers like the Taurus 85, under the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act.

  1. Background Checks: Federal law requires that individuals purchasing a revolver from a licensed dealer undergo a background check to ensure they are not prohibited from owning a firearm. Prohibited categories include convicted felons, fugitives from justice, unlawful drug users, those adjudicated as mentally defective or committed to mental institutions, illegal aliens, dishonorably discharged military personnel, and others.
  2. Age Requirements: To purchase a revolver from a licensed firearms dealer, an individual must be at least 21 years old. However, the age requirement may be lower for private sales, depending on state law.
  3. Record Keeping: Licensed dealers must keep detailed records of gun sales, which can be inspected by the ATF to trace firearms involved in crimes. However, private sellers are not required to keep such records, though they are prohibited from knowingly selling a firearm to someone prohibited from owning one.

State and Local Regulations

State and local laws regarding revolver ownership can vary widely and may impose additional restrictions or requirements beyond federal law. Some common areas of regulation include:

  1. Permit Requirements: Some states require individuals to obtain a permit or license to purchase a revolver. This process may involve additional background checks, fingerprinting, and sometimes completion of a firearm safety or training course.
  2. Waiting Periods: A number of states have instituted waiting periods between the purchase and delivery of a firearm. These waiting periods can range from a few days to several weeks and are intended to provide a “cooling-off” period to help prevent impulsive violence or suicides.
  3. Concealed Carry Permits: While purchasing a revolver is one aspect, carrying it concealed is another area heavily regulated by state law. Most states require a separate permit for concealed carry, which may involve additional background checks, training, and proficiency testing.
  4. Restrictions on Sale: Some states have restrictions on the sale of certain types of firearms, including revolvers with certain features or capabilities. It’s important to verify that the specific model you intend to purchase is legal in your state.
  5. Private Sales and Gun Shows: Regulations on private sales and purchases at gun shows vary by state. Some require background checks for all sales, including private transactions, while others do not.

Practical Considerations

  1. Safe Storage: Many states have laws requiring safe storage of firearms to prevent access by unauthorized users, particularly children. Buyers should be familiar with these requirements and prepared to comply with safe storage practices.
  2. Insurance: Some revolver owners choose to purchase insurance to cover liability or loss. While not legally required, it’s a consideration that can provide peace of mind.
  3. Transportation: Laws on transporting firearms vary by state, with some requiring firearms to be unloaded and locked in a container while being transported, especially when crossing state lines.

Navigating Legal Changes

Laws governing firearm purchases, including revolvers, are subject to change. Recent years have seen significant legal shifts in some jurisdictions, driven by public policy debates over gun control. Prospective buyers should stay informed about legal developments in their area to ensure ongoing compliance.


Purchasing a revolver involves navigating a complex legal landscape that includes federal, state, and local regulations. Compliance with these laws is essential for responsible ownership and can help prevent legal difficulties down the line. Prospective buyers should take the time to research and understand these legal requirements, consult with legal professionals if necessary, and always prioritize safety and responsibility in their ownership and use of firearms.


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