How to order guns online.

Posted: September 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

Many Defense Firearms customers have asked the simple question, “how do I order guns online”. For the most part these are first time buyers who would like to take advantage cheaper internet prices but are cautious about doing it correctly. I found the best way is to spell it out for the common buyer in a step by step format. I will write this from the perspective that the buyer is required by the BATF to use a licensed dealer to ship a firearm. There are exceptions which I will highlight later.

  • Purchase your firearm online and make payment per you and seller’s agreement. You can locate a dealer prior to purchasing a firearm or you can locate one afterwards. It is better to have one lined up and use them again for any reoccurring purchases. It’s just nice to have a good relationship with your local dealer who is handling your reoccurring transfers, no other reason.
  • You must locate a gun dealer who possesses a Federal Firearms License (FFL). These are should be your local gun store/range, pawn shop, sporting goods store, etc. Tell them you want to ship a firearm from another dealer. Most FFLs are familiar with this process and will know what they need to do. Give them the contact information of the FFL who is shipping the firearm (Phone/Fax # and email). It is common for the receiving dealer to send a copy of their license to the shipping dealer first. Either way, they need to exchange licenses for their records.
  • Verify the dealer you purchased the firearm from has full payment and a copy of your local dealer’s license. Once they have these two items they can ship your firearm. (Tip: Tell the shipping dealer to put your contact information with the package)
  • Ask for a tracking number from the shipper, they will typically get one anyway as it’s the smart thing to do.
  • Once your firearm is delivered, your local dealer should notify you. (Tip: once your firearm was verified shipped and you have the tracking number, try not to call them and ask where your package is…USE YOUR TRACKING NUMBER they don’t know anymore than you do when it’s in transit).
  • When you go to your local dealer to pick up your firearm, you will be required to fill out the proper paperwork (ATF form 4473) and complete the transfer.
  • There will more than likely be a transfer fee from your local dealer (typically $25-$60).

This may seem a little complicated at first, but when you boil it down the only difference between purchasing a firearm or anything else online is the dealer to dealer (FFL to FFL) requirement.

Here are some other laws for shipping firearms between nonlicensees via the mail or common carrier.
Per the BATF (Click here for more information):

May a nonlicensee ship a firearm through the U.S. Postal Service?
A nonlicensee may not transfer a firearm to a non-licensed resident of another State. A nonlicensee may mail a shotgun or rifle to a resident of his or her own State or to a licensee in any State. The Postal Service recommends that long guns be sent by registered mail and that no marking of any kind which would indicate the nature of the contents be placed on the outside of any parcel containing firearms. Handguns are not mailable. A common or contract carrier must be used to ship a handgun.

[18 U.S.C. 1715, 922(a)(3), 922(a)(5) and 922 (a)(2)(A)]

Q: May a nonlicensee ship a firearm by common or contract carrier?
A nonlicensee may ship a firearm by a common or contract carrier to a resident of his or her own State or to a licensee in any State. A common or contract carrier must be used to ship a handgun. In addition, Federal law requires that the carrier be notified that the shipment contains a firearm and prohibits common or contract carriers from requiring or causing any label to be placed on any package indicating that it contains a firearm.

[18 U.S.C. 922(a)(2)(A), 922(a) (3), 922(a)(5) and 922(e), 27 CFR 478.31 and 478.30]

Q: May a nonlicensee ship firearms interstate for his or her use in hunting or other lawful activity?
Yes. A person may ship a firearm to himself or herself in care of another person in the State where he or she intends to hunt or engage in any other lawful activity. The package should be addressed to the owner. Persons other than the owner should not open the package and take possession of the firearm.

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