Buying Guns and Ammo in Idaho

DISCLAIMER: It is your full responsibility to make sure the firearm, ammunition, or accessories you are purchasing is legal for you to own in your state or jurisdiction. The information contained throughout this web site, including the firearm and ammunition state guide provided below, is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.

This piece discusses the firearms and ammunition laws in the state of Idaho. The state has some of the most permissive ammo and gun laws in the country, but there are still some laws that govern the purchasing, carrying, and ownership of firearms and ammunition in Idaho.

We start this piece by covering the ammo laws of the state, with the aim of explaining the processes to have ammunition shipped to residential addresses in Idaho. Following that, we cover the firearms buying processes in ID and summarize the laws surrounding the carrying of firearms in the state, before leaving off with some resources that folks will find useful if they plan to buy, use, or carry firearms in Idaho.

Nothing in this piece is meant as legal advice. Instead, we hope that it is a useful foundation of information for people who are interested in the firearms laws and community in Idaho.

Like many other states, Idaho has a preemption statute: this means that the state has declared that no smaller locality, such as a county or city, can make or enforce firearms laws that are stricter than those at the state level. This is helpful for folks who want to buy and use firearms in the state because it means that once you understand one set of firearms laws, those laws apply throughout Idaho as a whole.

Ammo Laws/Buying Ammo in Idaho 

First, we will cover the ammo laws of Idaho.

Idaho’s ammunition laws are among the most permissive in the nation: the state itself does not impose bans on any specific type of ammunition. Because of this, the ammo purchasing process follows federal guidelines.

To satisfy federal requirements to purchase ammunition, buyers have to think about two things. The first is age: people have to be eighteen to buy ammunition for rifles and shotguns, and twenty-one or older to purchase handgun ammunition. The buyer of the ammunition cannot be a prohibited person either. The ATF defines prohibited persons, generally, as felons or people who have been convicted of domestic violence, people who have been ruled mentally defective in court, and those who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility.

Once those two requirements have been met, it is legal to have ammunition shipped to a residential address in the state. Keep in mind that carriers can and do impose their own rules. For example, a carrier might ask for an adult with a valid ID to be present to sign for the delivery of ammunition.

Buying ammo in Idaho is not restrictive, and the state does not have any kind of magazine ban as of the time of this writing. But, there are some small caveats to this permissiveness. First, Idaho law generally prohibits people from giving ammunition to anyone under sixteen years of age. In addition to that, anyone who runs a daycare or foster home is required to keep their firearms and ammunition locked and inaccessible to any children in the home. While these do make the ammunition laws in the state slightly less permissive, the vast majority of people in the state of Idaho can have ammunition shipped to them at home. 

Gun Laws/Buying Guns in Idaho 

Next, we will do the same exercise for Idaho’s gun laws.

The firearms laws in Idaho are similarly permissive like the ammunition laws. There are no specific bans in the state concerning assault weapons or NFA items like suppressors and machine guns, nor is there a state-level requirement to register firearms.  Because of this, buying a firearm from an FFL in Idaho follows the federal process.

To purchase a firearm from a gun store in Idaho, the buyer should bring a valid ID and a form of payment to the store. The FFL will have the buyer fill out ATF’s Form 4473 for a background check: as soon as the background check and payment clear, the buyer can leave with the firearm on that same day: the state of Idaho does not impose any further waiting periods.

For sales between two private parties, Idaho does not require a background check, though the seller should do their due diligence to make reasonably sure that the seller is not a prohibited person.

Carrying a firearm in Idaho is similarly simple. In terms of open carry, the state allows it by statute and does not require a permit to do so. The same can be said of concealed carry: folks in Idaho can carry a pistol concealed on their person without a permit as long as they follow the general guidelines that the state has set forth.

The state does continue to issue concealed carry permits. This process, which is not terribly necessary for those who only want to carry a firearm inside of the state, allows them to carry in many other states with some restrictions. The practice of having both permitless carry and issuing permits so that residents can carry out of state, is common in states with permissive firearms laws.

Many states, Idaho included, have a list of places where people cannot carry a firearm, with or without a permit. In Idaho, such places include:

  • Hospitals

  • Sports arenas 

  • Casinos

  • Polling places

  • Bars

  • State-run childcare facilities

  • State-run veterans’ homes

These restrictions are not unusual even among permissive states. What is a little unusual is that in Idaho, hotel staff can ask people to leave if they are carrying firearms with them. This is a break from most states which consider a hotel as a domicile, meaning that people have broad rights in terms of privacy and conduct.

Overall, Idaho is a fairly permissive state in terms of purchasing firearms, as it simply follows federal guidelines. Aside from the slight quirk about hotel staff, Idaho is also one of the most permissive states in terms of carrying firearms.

The state itself is so gun friendly, in fact, that Idaho’s Department of Commerce held an event where they contracted with multiple firearms and accessory companies to produce an AR-15 that was entirely made in the state of Idaho.  Between the ammo laws and those concerning firearms, it is clear that Idaho is one of the more gun-friendly states in the USA. While there are a few somewhat unusual exceptions, these do not affect much in terms of the overall legal landscape within Idaho.

Sales Tax on Guns/Ammo in Idaho

The general sales tax in Idaho is 6%. As with most states, localities sometimes impose their own taxes, so the effective sales tax in some parts of the state is as high as 8.5%. The state does not impose additional taxes on the sale of firearms and ammunition.  This puts Idaho in the middle of the pack in terms of overall taxes on firearms and ammo. 

More Resources:

  • The ATF maintains a list of all FFLs in the country, including in Idaho. This list is kept up to date, with most gun stores being either a Type One or Type Two FFL. 

  • The Idaho Department of Fish and Game maintains a number of shooting ranges that are open to the public. 

  • There are a good number of well-rated gun stores in the more populated areas of the state. 

While it isn’t Idaho-specific, Northwest Firearms is a very active form that has discussions germane to events and laws in Idaho.

Idaho Gun Law FAQ:

Idaho state law is fine with people having ammunition shipped to their homes. The buyer has to be eighteen for rifle or shotgun ammo and twenty-one for pistol ammo. There is a special note to keep in mind for foster parents: the state mandates that all firearms and ammo in foster homes be locked and inaccessible to children.

Nope. The state has no laws banning semi automatic firearms, nor does it have magazine restrictions. If one is willing to go through the NFA paperwork and the expense of acquiring one, machine guns are also legal in the state.

The state itself does not require a permit to concealed or openly carry a firearm in public. The state does continue to offer concealed carry permits, which have fairly wide reciprocity with other states. 

No: while an FFL has to run a background check through Form 4473, private persons selling the occasional firearm are not required by the state to conduct a background check on buyers, though it is wise to try to find out if the person might be a prohibited person as defined by the ATF.

Generally, the state does not govern how people store firearms and ammunition in the state. There are two exceptions, though: it is against state law to give ammunition to children under sixteen years of age, and the state mandates that foster parents keep firearms and ammunition locked.