You can legally buy a gun online. Owing to the nature of guns and the legal controls in place, you will need to follow certain requirements to the letter for your gun to be legal. You also need to consider your safety as you purchase the gun.
The Federal Government has its rules but regulations differ from state to state. One of the general requirements for online gun purchase is that the seller doesn’t deliver the gun directly to you. They have to ship the gun to a Federal Firearm Licensee (FFL) in your locality.
To facilitate the conduct of background checks, the FFL will require you to fill Form 4473, which is an ATF document. In this form, you will provide information about your identity, and answer other questions to confirm that you are not prohibited from possessing a gun.
The FFL conducts the background check as per the law via the NICS (National Instant Criminal Check System) before delivering the firearm to you. If you have a criminal record that disqualifies you from owning a gun, the FFL will not deliver the gun to you.
Some states require additional background checks while others demand a valid conceal and carry permit before they can allow the FFL to release the gun to you. You can conduct research personally to see what you must do or inquire from a local FFL.
The following are some of the steps you should take.
Choose an FFL
Choosing your preferred FFL gives you control of how you receive the gun as you will know exactly where the gun will land. You will also have the advantage of having enquired whether the FFL, which is likely to be a gun seller, is okay with completing a sale for an online competitor. Get to know their charges since they will charge you to handle their business.
Inform the FFL and Make Arrangements
Let the FFL know that you intend to have your new gun shipped through them and that you agree to their terms. They will require you to give them your contact information and other details relevant to the transaction. It is through these contact details that they will reach you when the gun arrives.
The FFL will then avail their FFL license either to you for onward transmission to the online dealer or they can send it directly to the online dealer. If your online dealer already has a relationship with your preferred FFL, they could already have the license on file. There would then be no need for the FFL to issue a copy of their license.
Purchase the Gun
Choose the gun you want and pay for it online for onward shipping to the FFL. Ensure that you buy from a reputable dealer for both quality of product and of service. You may need to communicate with the seller to follow up on the shipping of the gun to your FFL of choice.
Pick Up the Gun
Your chosen FFL will contact you once the gun arrives at the store. They will require you to bring your driver’s license or some other acceptable government-issued photo ID. Once they confirm your identity and that everything is in order, they will give the gun to you.