No, you can't buy a gun online and ship it to your house. But you can buy a gun online. Here's how.
The process to buy a gun online is simpler than most people realize, but it does require information and paperwork exchange to set up the transfer. In this blog, we’ll go over what to look for when shopping online, how to send the seller the required paperwork to ship the gun, and what information to provide your Federal Firearms License (FFL).
Two popular websites to shop for guns online are GunBroker.com and Guns.com, both of which sell new and used firearms. The difference is Guns.com is the seller for all of the firearms whereas GunBroker allows businesses with FFLs, dealers, and individuals to sell guns. These are just two examples of places to buy a gun online, but there are niche online forums for long-range shooting, 2011 pistols, and antique collector firearms, for example, where you will find threads with guns for sale. There are also a plethora of location-based, online gun forums where you can find guns for sale near you.
The risk of buying a gun online is knowing who you are purchasing from and making sure they’re legitimate. Websites like Guns.com and GunBroker.com are among the more reputable places to buy a gun online. Don’t be afraid to look up an FFL if you’re buying from a business or calling up the owner of the firearm. The safest way to purchase a gun from an individual is to have them take the gun to their FFL and do a transfer from their FFL to your FFL. Stay vigilant and bring a friend or family member with you if you plan to meet up with someone on the internet to purchase a gun in person.
Some websites offer guns for sale at a set rate, while other websites have a bidding option. For the most part, if you bid on a firearm, that is a binding contract to pay that rate if it’s the highest bid before the sale closes. Typically, bids will have an expiration date so if you are really interested in a particular firearm, watch the bidding war closely and keep monitoring it for changes, especially towards the end of the sale period.
Online transactions can be more secure if the platform is facilitating the sale, rather than an offline transfer of funds. Be careful when sending money orders, Zelle transfers, or other quick cash funds. There are also a lot of payment platforms such as Paypal that are not gun-friendly. You could lose your account or have further consequences with platforms that do not allow the facilitation of these sales.
The last step to complete the purchase is to send the seller your FFL paperwork or request your FFL to send it directly to the seller. This document has the name of the business and the address to ship the gun. FFLs can also look up and verify other FFLs in their system before shipping a firearm to confirm the paperwork is correct and the business is legitimate.
It never hurts to ask for a tracking number from the seller when you buy a gun online, so you and your FFL can know when the firearm will arrive. Once the gun is received by your FFL, they need time to process their possession of the firearm. Once it’s time to pick the gun up, bring your ID and/or concealed carry permit just as you would for any other firearm purchase. You’ll pay a transfer fee to your FFL and everything will be complete after that.
Congratulations on learning how to buy a gun online! There are a few final thoughts to keep in mind after buying a new gun.
Buying a gun is only the very beginning of what you need to own or carry a firearm. Always purchase a few extra magazines for the firearm to have as backups, training magazines, and in case of failures. Some firearms may include a holster with a purchase or have a “one size fits all” holster, but you always should invest in a holster custom molded to your gun with proper retention. If you plan to add a red dot optic, flashlight, or laser, be sure to outfit the gun first and order a holster to accommodate the upgrades. Lastly, take a firearms class to learn how to shoot and operate your new gun. You should continuously take classes for as long as you’re a gun owner.
Kenzie Fitzpatrick is a professional competitive shooter and an active blogger for many firearm websites. As an NRA-certified instructor and National Range Officer Institute Chief Range Officer, Kenzie trains new shooters on basic firearm safety, brings new shooters to competitive shooting, and works major matches across the country. She has a passion for teaching people how to concealed carry and is a positive ambassador for the Second Amendment.
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