How to Buy a Gun Online

How to Buy a Gun Online

So, you’ve finally determined that you’re going to order that new firearm from that online website or make a bid on a gun auction on Gunspot. Before adding a new firearm to your online shopping cart, the most important thing you need to do is research. There is a near-limitless number of options available to you so before investing your money on something that isn’t physically in your hands, you will want to do a decent amount of research before you settle on one firearm over another. If there is a local gun range near you that offers their customers the option to rent a firearm, it would be a good idea to try it out first to see if it is a good fit for you. An hour of hands-on research will give you a better idea of how you will like the firearm more than hours of time on the internet can ever do. But once you have settled on a particular firearm, it is now time to make the purchase.

Where the Firearm can be Shipped

To dispel the misinformation found in certain media reports, no you cannot purchase a firearm online and have it shipped directly to your house. All firearms purchased from licensed firearm dealers must be subjected to a federal background check. Any firearm bought online must be shipped from the seller or manufacturer directly to a federal firearm licensed dealer, or FFL. The FFL will log that firearm into their books as soon as it arrives, and from there the dealer will then transfer that firearm to you after a background check is completed. Part of this process will require you to complete the ATF Form 4473, Firearms Transaction Record. This form is what is used to complete the required federal background check. You will have to truthfully answer several questions on that form to determine that you are legally allowed to purchase a firearm and that you are not deemed a prohibited person.

Prohibited Persons

A prohibited person is defined as:
A felon,
A person who has been convicted of any crime punishable by more than a year in prison,
An individual under indictment for any crime punishable by more than a year in prison,
A fugitive,
An unlawful user of a controlled substance,
An individual who has been adjudicated as mentally defective or committed to a mental institution,
An illegal alien,
A person who is dishonorably discharged from the military,
An individual who has renounced their U.S. citizenship,
A person who is the subject of a restraining order restraining the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or the child of an intimate partner, or
A person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

Online Firearm Purchase Process

Step 1: Select Your Firearm

To ensure that you are satisfied with your investment, choosing the right firearm for your needs is a key step in this process. You will have to determine what role you want your firearm to fill, whether that’s a concealed carry weapon, one for home defense, or simply target shooting. If you are wanting to get more involved in precision long-range shooting, a high-end rifle is best. For home defense, a full-size pistol or shotgun will fill that role. And there are plenty of available options for concealed carry pistols as well. Figuring this out ahead of time will ensure that you stay within your budget and find the right firearm for your needs. You will also need to ensure that you use a reputable site to buy your new firearm. If you are familiar with how online gun auctions work, Gunspot is a great place to find the latest firearms available, along with some truly unique and hard-to-find firearms as well.

Step 2: Find a local FFL and confirm they will accept your transfer

Now you'll need to find a trusted local FFL Dealer to have your gun shipped to. A simple search online will give you all the information you need to find an FFL local to you. A Federal Firearms License (FFL) is granted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Only individuals or companies are allowed to be dealers. The ATF website has a searchable database to find an FFL in your area and you can find the closest one and reach out to them to find out if they will accept the transfer and how much they charge to do so. Depending on your location, fees can vary from $20 to over $100.

Step 3: Arrange the Transfer

You need to let your online dealer site know exactly where they are supposed to send your new firearm. Once you have your local FFL that has agreed to accept the transfer, you will have to provide the online site with the exact dealer info provided to you by the FFL. Once all information is passed on, just leave your contact info with the FFL and they will contact you once your new firearm is ready for pickup.

Step 4: Place Your Order

This step is just like any other online purchase you have made before. Simply add it to your shopping cart and proceed with the checkout process. Once they have received your payment, your online dealer will start the shipping process to get your gun to your local FFL.

Step 5: Pick Up Your Firearm

Once your chosen FFL has received the firearm from the online site, they will get in contact with you to let you know it is ready for pickup. Be sure to bring your government-issued photo ID and ensure that it is still valid with the correct home address. Under no circumstances will an FFL release the firearm to you with an incorrect or expired photo ID, even if it expired yesterday. Upon arrival, you will then have to fill out the ATF Form 4473 and complete the federal background check. It is important to note that your state may have laws in place regarding wait times, and this can be different from state to state. You may conduct the background check and then be told to come back in 3-5 days, depending on the laws. But if this does not apply to you in your state, once the background check is completed you will be able to walk out the door that day with your brand-new firearm.

Enjoy Your New Firearm

Now that you have your new firearm, it is important to emphasize the importance of regular training to maintain proficiency and practice good gun safety. You have a legal responsibility to know and understand all firearm laws in your state and local municipality, as laws regarding firearms can change from one city to the next and from state to state. Be safe, train often, and enjoy your new purchase.


Firearms Transaction Record
Rocket FFL: Prohibited Persons
Federal Firearms Listings

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