Getting a gun to keep you and your family safe is a wise decision, but some people may not feel comfortable going to a gun shop and browsing through several guns to choose the one they want. Online shopping has made things easier for them. It allows them to spend hours researching the features and brands to find a good match. However, buying a gun online is a little more complicated than ordering your groceries from an online shop. It’s not like you choose a gun, pay online, and the firearm is delivered at your doorsteps. Online gun selling is highly regulated, and you need to follow a few steps to complete your purchase. In this article, we will guide you through how to buy a gun online legally.
Step 1: Find a Federal-Firearm Licensee in your state
Yes, even before you choose or buy a gun, you need to choose a Federal Firearm Licensee (FFL), which is a licensed gun store located in your area. Guns, while purchased online, do not get delivered to the customer via courier service. The online store sends it to an FFL in your state, and you need to collect it from there. FFL is responsible for doing the background check and fulfilling the other legal requirements particular to your state.
You need to fill out an ATF form (Form 4473) answering a series of questions to ensure that you are legally eligible to buy a gun. The FFL will run a background check on you to make sure that you are not a prohibited person. Some states may have some additional steps and paper works.
FFLs charge a handling fee for transferring guns from the online dealer to you. Before making your purchase, find an FFL that is willing to facilitate the transfer process. If you find the charges too high, you may want to look for another store.
Once you decide upon an FFL, get a copy of their FFL. You need it when making a purchase. Sometimes, the stores directly send a copy of their FFL to the online seller, and you do not need to bother about it. There are also chances that the online store already has a copy of their FFL if the store has a history of dealing with that online shop.
Step 2: Buy a gun online
The process is similar to any online shopping. You just need to be a little extra careful about a scam. Usually, the top results on Google search are reliable online sellers. Still, do your research and buy online from reputed dealers. Read third party reviews to make sure the business is legit, and it will not lead you to any trouble. If you smell something fishy, avoid it right away, no matter how cheap they offer their guns.
After choosing the online store, find the gun you want and proceed to check out.
Step 3: Arrange the transfer from the store to FFL
Either during the checkout process or shortly after via email communication, you will need to confirm the details of the store where the gun will be shipped. At this stage, the online dealer will ask you to coordinate for the FFL copy.
Once the order is confirmed, contact the local store, and let them know the order details.
Step 4: Pick up the gun from the local store
Once the gun arrives at your local store, they will inform you via a call or email. You then need to visit the store in person to pick up the gun. Remember to carry a government-issued photo id card with your current address. Upon producing the ID and order details, the store will hand over the gun, and the gun is all yours. Before leaving the store, make sure you have received the right model that you ordered.
In our opinion, buying a gun online is less intimidating than purchasing it in person. It is especially convenient for first-time buyers.
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