Buying A Gun Over The Internet

| April 8, 2012

The internet has been a blessing for gun shoppers. Places like GunBroker, GunsAmerica, and AuctionArms have made it easy to comparatively shop for the best price on a firearm. Better still, the process to acquire the firearm isn’t difficult at all for citizens that can legally own a gun, but it’s not as simple as picking something out and having it mailed to you.

Let’s say you’ve found the perfect handgun on Gunbroker.com, and you’ve won the bid or pressed the instant-gratification “Buy it now” button. Your next step is to find a local Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder in your area that will do a “transfer”, hopefully for a reasonable price. Most reasonable dealers charge about $30. The Old Cannon Armory charges $30 for single firearm transfers as well, but if you’re active duty military/fire/police, or you have a current Texas Concealed Handgun License, the fee is discounted by $10 (That’s our way of saying “Thank you!”). No matter who you use, it’s generally considered good manners to let your FFL know you’re looking to buy a gun. This not only helps them prepare to be contacted by a seller, but also gives the FFL a chance to talk to you about your purchase plans. Remember, most FFLs are extremely well-versed in firearms and have a network of wholesalers they can work with. By discussing your plans with your FFL, you might save possibly hundreds on your purchase by buying through them. Many people that purchase on the internet hope that they can save a lot of money, but after shipping and transfer fees are added, they discover they paid more than it would have through their local FFL.

Once your purchase is complete with the seller, they will notify your local FFL, who will send the seller their license information. The Old Cannon Armory does this all electronically (we’re very “21st Century” here), so the process is as fast as a simple email. The next step is to wait for the gun to be shipped to your local FFL. Depending on the seller and the arrangements you have made, this can take from one to seven working days. Be sure to get a tracking number, and take the time to share it with your FFL. The seller’s relationship is focused on you, so they sometimes forget to give your local FFL any tracking information. Once your local FFL has received the firearm, it must be processed and recorded. This can also take one or two working days, so if its urgent, you should discuss it with them.

The final step is the “transfer.” Federal firearms laws require a very specific process that ensures a custodial record of the firearm is kept, and that the acquiring owner is legally allowed to own a gun, so this is where the paperwork part happens. This process only takes a few minutes though, and isn’t very difficult. You will fill out a 4473 form and answer a series of questions, along with showing proper identification. Once that is complete, the FFL will run a quick background check on you through the FBI database (if you have a current Texas Concealed Handgun license, the background check isn’t necessary). Once the background check is complete and approved, you officially become the owner of your new firearm. Congratulations!

Category: General

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