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Can You Buy a Firearm Online?

12/06/2021

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HOW TO LEGALLY BUY A GUN ONLINE

 

Buying a gun online is an easy, private, and legal way to buy your next gun. And no, online firearm sales are not some sort of “loophole” for criminals. Instead, purchasing a gun online is completely legal under federal law (some state/local laws have extra regulations) and it is a completely safe process.

American Trailhead is one of hundreds of reputable online firearm retailers (FFL Dealers). The process is essentially the same no matter if you're purchasing from us or another online seller.

American Trailhead is a licensed FFL Dealer located in Cumming, GA and offers FFL transfer services for online gun sales, online gun purchases, GunBroker buyers, firearm shipping, local FFL dealer transfers and background checks.

Follow the 5 easy steps below to learn how to legally buy a firearm online today.

STEP #1:

VERIFY THAT YOU ARE LEGALLY ALLOWED TO PURCHASE A FIREARM

You should familiarize yourself with the basic Federal laws regarding the purchase of firearm. Your State/City/Locality may have additional rules and regulations. You should also confirm that the item you are purchasing can be legally possessed in your area of residence.

Refer to the ATF's list of Prohibited Persons to confirm you are eligible to purchase and/or possess a firearm. For your local state firearm laws and regulations refer to your Secretary of States website for your state.

STEP #2:

SHOP ONLINE FOR YOUR FIREARM

American Trailhead is one of many firearm retailers (FFL Dealers) that offer online gun purchases. Most small gun stores/FFL Dealers have ecommerce websites that allow you to start your purchase process quickly and easily (and legally!) - all from the convenience and privacy of your own home.

Please consider supporting small and/or local businesses like American Trailhead rather than big-box stores or massive online firearm vendors. Before you decide to buy a firearm elsewhere, please call or email us to see if we can save you money. Many times we can get you a better price or find you those hard to get items.

American Trailhead has a vast selection of the industry’s top gun manufacturers, firearm parts and accessories, tactical gear and much more.

Shop at American Trailhead Now

STEP #3:

CHOOSE AN FFL DEALER IN YOUR STATE AND COMPLETE YOUR PURCHASE

Firearms can't be shipped directly to your home. Federal law requires that all firearms must be shipped to a local Federal Firearm Licensee (FFL) Dealer in your State. Then you’ll need to have the firearm “transferred” to you via an FFL Transfer.

The seller will ship your order to the FFL Dealer of your choice and then you'll visit their location to complete your pickup. While there, they will help you to fill out the necessary federal, local and state paperwork. They will also complete a required background and criminal history check on you.

With most online firearms sellers, you'll select your preferred local FFL Dealer during the checkout process. Most have search tools that allow you to enter your city/zip code and search for nearby FFL Dealers. You can also download the most recent list of approved FFL Dealers on the ATF's website.

You need to confirm that your local FFL Dealer is willing to accept transfers shipped to them (on your behalf) from other online Dealers. Nearly all FFLs will charge a "FFL Transfer" fee for their time and service - usually $25-$50. Contact your chosen local FFL Dealer directly for more information.

After selecting your preferred local FFL Dealer with your seller, complete the online checkout process on their website.

IMPORTANT: Online Sellers/FFL Dealers will not ship your order until they have confirmed that your local Dealer is a valid FFL holder. It's possible they have this information on file already. If not, your Seller will need to be provided a signed copy of your local Dealers FFL license document. You or your local FFL Dealer will need to email or fax this info to your Seller.

STEP #4:

CONTACT YOUR LOCAL FFL DEALER DIRECTLY

Once you’ve completed your online order with your Seller, you should arrange the transfer. This is done by simply contacting the local FFL Dealer that you selected to let them know that you have purchased (or plan to purchase) a gun online and it is shipping to them on your behalf.

We recommend letting them know as much information about your order as possible, so that they can keep an eye out for your delivery. Be sure to give them your contact information so that they know how to contact you once the gun arrives at their location.

This is when you'll also want to give them the contact information of your Seller (or vice versa) so that the Seller can be provided the required copy of your local FFL Dealer's license prior to shipment.

STEP #5:

PICK UP YOUR ORDER FROM YOUR LOCAL FFL DEALER

After you've placed your order, make sure you're prepared in advance for when it's time to pick up your gun from your local FFL Dealer. Tracking information should be provided to you from the Seller, so you'll know when your gun has arrived at your FFL Dealer's location. Once it has arrived, contact them to schedule a time to visit their location to "transfer" your firearm to you. Be aware that most local FFL Dealers will ask you to wait until they contact you to setup an appointment time to complete the transfer.

Please make sure to pick up your gun within two weeks of arrival at the FFL dealer's location (or during the timeframe they request). Bring a government-issued photo ID with your picture and current address. Additional documents may be required by your State/City/Locality - contact your local FFL Dealer directly to learn more about what documentation you will need.

The firearm will be “transferred” to you via an Inbound FFL Transfer.

A transfer occurs by you filling out an ATF Form 4473 and satisfying the background check requirements. The Form 4473 requires information about the identity of the purchaser and answers to a series of questions to ensure that you are not a prohibited person. Upon completing the Form 4473, the FFL Dealer will conduct a federal background and criminal history check on you through the ATF's National Instant Criminal Check System (NICS). Anyone buying a gun online or locally must pass a NICS check before the FFL Dealer can transfer possession of the firearm to them.

Due to Federal regulations, guns are not returnable. Please inspect your gun thoroughly before completing the transfer. If the gun received at your FFL Dealer is incorrect or damaged in shipment, do not take possession of it. Contact your Seller immediately. After transfer, any warranty or repair work must be coordinated directly with the gun manufacturer.

Once you finalize the paperwork and successfully pass the background check, you will be able to take your new gun home. Happy shooting!