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Whether you’re buying your very first gun or adding to your collection, buying online is often the best choice.
There’s a much wider selection available since you’re not limiting yourself to whatever’s in stock at your local gun stores, and you can shop around for the best deals, which means you may save some money.
Buying a gun online is also very convenient. Now, don’t be fooled by what politicians have said in the past – you can’t just buy a gun as easily as you’d buy a book or a vacuum cleaner.
There are specific laws in place, including federal laws that apply to all purchases and state-specific laws. Here’s what you need to know about purchasing a gun online.
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Table of Contents
Online Gun Buying Options
When you buy a gun online, you can do so through either a dealer or a private party. Dealers usually have their own online stores where you can browse all the guns they have available.
There are also sites that facilitate purchases through private parties. A private party may simply offer a gun at a certain price, or they could set up an auction where the gun goes to the highest bidder.
It’s important to keep your state’s laws in mind with any gun-related online purchase. If your state has banned a gun or a gun-related accessory, you’re not legally able to purchase that item online.
The Gun Shipping Process
After you complete the transaction and buy your gun online, the seller must ship it to a dealer in your area with a federal firearms license (FFL).
It’s illegal to ship a gun to anyone but a licensed dealer, except in rare cases with antique guns. Forget anything you’ve heard about how in the United States you can get guns delivered to your door, as that couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you purchase the gun from an online dealer that has a store in your area, you can pick up the gun at that store. Otherwise, you’ll need to find a licensed dealer where the seller can ship the gun.
Many sellers already have licensed dealers they work with, but you can also visit an FFL database to find a licensed dealer in your area.
Contact the dealer to confirm that they can help you, and then provide the dealer’s information to your seller.
Picking Up Your Gun
There’s always a background check when you purchase a gun online. The dealer where you pick up the gun typically processes this background check.
After you pass your background check, you can take possession of the gun, although the pickup process varies depending on your state’s laws.
For example, in California, you need to fill out the necessary paperwork at the dealer when your gun arrives, and then wait 10 days before you can take possession.
Online Classified Ads
There is another option if you’re shopping for a gun online. Instead of having the seller ship you the gun, you can meet up with the seller and purchase the gun as a private sale.
There are gun classified sites where sellers post listings specifically for this purpose. If you had a specific gun you were interested in, you could also make a post in the wanted section and wait for sellers in your area to respond.
Laws aren’t as strict for private sales as they are for standard gun sales. The federal government requires background checks for gun sales, but not private gun sales.
Again though, this depends on your state as well as the type of gun you’re purchasing. Some states require background checks even for private sales, and others require them for private handgun sales.
Paying for Your Purchase
It’s no secret that a gun hobby can get expensive. While there are plenty of guns available for under $500, there are also those that cost well over $1,000.
You don’t want to go broke buying a gun when you also need to get ammunition and possibly extra magazines. Fortunately, there are other payment options available. If you need help purchasing your gun, consider firearms financing.
The first is a gun financing program. You fill out a form with some basic information, including your current job and income. If you’re approved, you can order your gun and then make a series of payments to cover the cost. There are extra fees for this, but it’s a convenient way to get the gun you want without waiting.
The second is a 90-day gun layaway program. You choose the gun you want, pay a portion of its total cost upfront and an account setup fee.
After that, you have 90 days to pay the total cost of the gun, and you can either make one lump sum payment or spread it out over multiple payments.
When you’ve paid off the full amount, you’ll get your gun. This option is less expensive than a gun financing program.
Even though you don’t get the gun until the cost is paid in full, gun layaway works well if you want to make sure a gun doesn’t go out of stock before you’re able to buy it.
Starting the Gun Purchasing Process Online
When you’re interested in getting a gun online, the first thing to do is verify that it’s legal to own that gun in your state.
Every state has this information readily available and you can find it with an online search.
Three things could happen if you tried to purchase a gun or accessory online that’s illegal in your state. The most likely outcome is the seller simply declines the transaction.
The dealer could refuse to let you pick up the gun and send it back to the seller.
In the very unlikely event that the dealer allowed you to take possession of the gun, you’ll have committed a felony.
Provided you follow your state’s laws, the online purchase process will be quick and easy.
Just choose the gun you want, figure out how you’re going to pay for it and you’ll have your new gun before you know it.