USA SPECIFIC LAWS
Unfortunately for online shoppers living in the USA, you have additional hoops to jump through before your online gun purchase can be completed. First, our state has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. There are limits on the type of firearms that can be owned in USA. Most online vendors know these laws and won’t allow you to complete the transaction if the gun violates USA laws. But not ALL vendors have that built-in safeguard, so it’s the shopper’s responsibility to know USA laws before purchasing a gun.
FEDERAL FIREARMS LICENSE
I recommend contacting an FFL in your area prior to completing the online purchase. Local gun stores, private gun collectors, and even pawn shops can be FFL holders. The most important thing you need to ask them is about the transfer fee. Fee ranges can vary greatly depending on where you are. I’ve seen them as low as $10-$15, or as expensive as $75-$100 per gun transferred. Many gun stores and pawn shops specialize in gun transfers, so shop around for the best transfer fee. Also, if you order from a gun website like Brownells, they have an FFL lookup feature that can look up FFL holders who do transfers closest to your location.
Do I need a license to buy ammo online?
PICKING UP YOUR AMMO BEFORE YOUR GUN
Once you have selected your FFL and completed the online transaction, your gun will ship to the FFL you designated. After a short time, the FFL will receive the gun by normal delivery, i.e. FedEx, UPS, USPS. Once they receive it, they should contact you to come to pick it up. You may also receive notification from the seller that it was delivered to your FFL.
It’s the responsibility of the FFL to conduct the ATF background check on any customer buying (or taking possession of a transfer of) a firearm. You should already know if you’re legally able to buy a gun BEFORE you make the online purchase, but if you’re not, the FFL is not legally allowed to transfer the gun to you. Here’s a short list of things that will prevent you from completing your transfer:
Convicted of a crime punishable by over one year in prison You are a fugitive from the law You are an unlawful user of a controlled substance You are in the United States illegally You were dishonorably discharged from the US military You have renounced your US citizenship You have a restraining order against you You are under indictment for a crime which is punishable by over a year in prison As long you can answer NO to those questions, you should be good to receive your transferred firearm. One final thought about the day you go to pick up your firearm. Make sure that you inspect your firearm carefully for any damage that may have happened during shipping. If there is anything wrong with the gun, refuse the transfer. The FFL will be forced to return the gun to the sender, and you will need to sort out the issue with them. However, that minor inconvenience is better than accepting (and paying for) a defective and possibly unsafe firearm.