Firearm Transaction Decisions

I was told my transaction is pending a decision. What does that mean and when can I expect a final decision?
Florida statute requires a completed background check before a Federal Firearm Licensee (FFL) may transfer a firearm to a non-licensed person.  98% of all transactions are resolved within minutes of being received.  96% of all transactions are approved, just under 2% are non-approved.  Additional information is needed before a final decision can be made for the remaining 2%. 

The pending transaction is immediately forwarded to the Firearm Eligibility Bureau, Eligibility Research Unit (ERU) and is assigned to a team of analysts who will conduct research until sufficient information has been received to make a final decision.   Please be aware that research for federal, military, out of state, and pre-1990 records may take longer.
You can check on your pending firearm transaction using the Firearm Transfer Status Check.

How can I find out what is causing the delay?  Is there something I can do to help resolve the issue?
The most common reason a transaction may be in pending status is a criminal history record (arrest) is missing court disposition information.  It could be the charge was dismissed but the dismissal was not reported or correctly associated with your record.  Another possible reason is the charge level (felony or misdemeanor) is either missing from the record or for states that do not report levels, there is insufficient information to determine whether the charge is equivalent to a felony. 

If you have court documentation, providing it to the Eligibility Research Unit could help to expedite the research.  All documentation provided by citizens must be validated before a final decision can be made.  You may fax your documentation (with queue number on the document or on a fax cover sheet) to 850-410-8138 or scan and email a copy to

I was told my transaction was non-approved?  What does that mean?
Your personally identifying information matched a record containing a prohibition.  There are ten categories of persons who are not eligible to purchase or possess a firearm under federal law (Title 18, United States Code 922(g)(1)-(9), (n)).  They are:
  1. Convicted of a felony (or equivalent)
  2. Fugitive from justice
  3. Unlawful user or addicted to a controlled substance
  4. Adjudicated mentally defective or involuntarily committed to treatment
  5. Illegal alien
  6. Dishonorable discharge from the US Armed Forces
  7. Renounced United States citizenship
  8. Active protection order (restraining order, injunction for protection, etc.)
  9. Convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence
  10. Under indictment or information for a felony
In addition to federal law, Florida law prohibits persons who:
  • Are adjudicated delinquent of a crime that would have been a felony if committed by an adult until the age of 24 or until record is expunged.
  • Receive “Adjudication Withheld” on any felony or on a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence and three years has not yet lapsed since the completion of sentencing provisions.
  • Were recently arrested for a potentially disqualifying crime which has not been dismissed or disposed of in court.
Do events that occurred while serving in the armed forces or event that occurred outside of the US have any bearing on my ability to purchase a firearm?
Yes.  Arrests, events, and convictions that occurred while serving in the armed forces are evaluated during a background check.  Arrests, events, and convictions from other countries are treated the same as if they occurred in the United States. 
My arrest happened a long time ago.  How long am I going to be prohibited from purchasing a firearm?
The age of the offense is not relevant.  Convictions are prohibiting until a subsequent qualifying court action, pardon, or restoration of rights process occurs causing the conviction to meet an exception to state or federal law.
I had my Florida arrest sealed.  How can it be used during a firearm background check?
For the purpose of a firearm background check, arrests in a Florida criminal history record that have been sealed are relevant and may impact your eligibility to purchase a firearm.

I was arrested and charged as a juvenile.  How does that affect my background check?

Juvenile arrests that resulted in an adjudication of delinquency are disqualifying for the purchase of a firearm until the individual has reached 24 years of age or until the record is expunged. Juvenile arrests for potentially disqualifying charges that are missing a disposition may be delayed for research to determine the disposition or if you were tried as an adult. If tried as an adult, a disposition of ‘guilty’ for a felony is a lifetime prohibition unless pardoned or rights are otherwise restored.


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