Buying a gun online is actually quite a simple process. While many prefer to purchase weapons in person, buying online can potentially get you some major discounts that you won’t find in-person shopping. While it may seem risky or questionable, purchasing weapons online is completely legal and quite common. In fact, because of the Gun Control Act of 1968, the online marketplace for guns is very highly regulated. The latest statistics suggest there are many new gun purchasers out there. To help you navigate the process of buying online safely, and without any headaches, we have compiled some how-to information for purchasing on popular websites and from private owners. After reading this article you should understand everything it takes to buy a gun online without worry.
When purchasing a weapon online through a site like Brownells or Cabelas, the first thing you must do is find a gun dealer near you who has a Federal Firearms License (FLL). Some pawn shops may even have an FLL, so you just have to ask around to find the best fit for you. The gun that you choose will be shipped directly to this FLL dealer for you to pick up.
Once you choose your FLL dealer, they will, of course, perform a complete background check on you. This must be done in order for them to legally transfer the weapon to you.
This dealer will charge a fee to do so, as well as sales tax, depending on where you are located. Keep these additional fees in mind when you are considering the price of your weapon.
When these steps have been completed, you will have to provide the information of the FLL dealer to the website so that they know they are shipping to a reputable dealer. Once everything is confirmed, your gun will be shipped. When it arrives at your chosen FLL dealer, they will contact you.
Your only option for purchasing a handgun from Cabelas is to have the firearm shipped to a store. You can then travel to the store yourself for pickup.
Purchasing From A Site That Sells Used Guns
While the aforementioned sites sell new guns, there are also websites that sell preowned or used guns. While the process to purchase a gun on these sites is relatively similar, there are a few additional things you should keep in mind.
To purchase a weapon from an auction or pre-owned site, you must also find a local FLL dealer to do business through. A gun will never be shipped directly to your house. The website Guns.com brags that that they do the legwork for you by finding the closest FLL dealer to you. They also make sure that their license is legitimate and up to date to do business with.
Once the purchase is complete and your preferred FLL is chosen, the steps you follow are pretty much the same as previously described. Your weapon will be shipped to your chosen FLL dealer for pick-up.
If the site you are working with is an auction site, like Gunbroker.com, then the purchasing process is slightly different.
If you are interested in a gun that is being auctioned, you will not be able to just purchase it outright. You will have to place a bid on the gun you want.
This means that you must keep an eye on the auction until the time runs out so that someone else does not outbid you. However, once you win a bid, the owner of the weapon will have to ship to an FLL and the rest of the process will likely be the same.
Purchasing A Gun From A Private Owner
The last way to purchase a gun online is through a private owner. When purchasing from a private owner, the first thing you need to know is if it is legal in your state. Not all states allow private sales or have certain restrictions on private sales. For example, in Connecticut, you are required to get an authorization number from the state before the sale can be completed. For this reason, it is your duty to do your research about your state’s restrictions before purchasing. This website details state restrictions if you need to do some research.
In all states, it is illegal to sell a firearm to a resident of another state without going through an FLL dealer. It is also illegal to ship directly to non-FLL buyers in another state.
If you abide by your state’s individual laws and the national laws detailed above, then purchasing a gun from a private owner can be quite simple.
In general, if you are purchasing a pre-owned firearm from someone who does not sell guns for a living, then they are not required to have an FLL.
While this is the case, it may be in you, the buyer’s, best interest to take your transaction through an FLL dealer. This makes sure that everything is above board and that you don’t miss any regulations. When purchasing a firearm from a private owner, both you and the seller will work with the FLL dealer of your choosing.
Becoming A FFL License Holder
Another option, of course, is to become a FFL licensee holder yourself so that you can have firearms ships directly to you. You may be surprised to hear that securing your FFL is actually easier than you may think.
You’ll need $200 and a few hours of your time to get it done. Holding an FFL license also enables you to make and import firearms, including fully automatic firearms and silencers. You can also buy guns from distributors and have them sent directly to your address. Which can save you hundreds of dollars on each firearms.
Requirements to be A FFL License Holder
First, you need to meet FFL requirements. You must be 21 years of age or older, and meet the minimum requirements from the ATF and of your state. You can view the requirements yourself, but in general, anyone who is a felon, has been convicted of any crime punishable of more than a year in prison, is under indictment, has been dishonorably discharged by the military, has been committed to a mental institution, or has been the subject of a restraining order cannot become an FFL holder.
Some states have their own unique rules in regards to zoning laws. Location matters if you are going to become an FFL holder. While getting a home-based FFL license is possible, if you live in an apartment, you’re not going to get it.
Next, you will need to choose your type of FFL. Type 1 is by far the most popular and allows you to become a firearms dealer. However, a Type 7 allows you to manufacture your own firearms as well.
You will then need to take an online FFL course before applying for your FFL license. You will need to fill out multiple forms and pay any fees. The ATF will inspect and conduct background checks on you; this process can take several months.
No matter the method of purchase, there is one thing that you should do when purchasing a weapon online. Once the gun is shipped, and received by the FLL dealer, they will call you to come in for pickup. Before leaving the dealer, it is essential that you check all parts of the weapon for damage and quality.
If you do this before leaving the dealer, and you find a fault with your firearm, most FLL dealers will initiate the return and replacement of what you have purchased. If you do not do this before leaving, then you will have signed off that the weapon was in acceptable condition and it will be very difficult to receive a replacement. That should be everything you need to know about how to buy a gun online without worry.