How to Buy a Gun Online
If you are thinking about buying a gun online, you may be wondering how to navigate the purchase of something that is so mercilessly regulated. You anticipate the battle that lay ahead, cutting through mountains of tangled red tape, causing delays in acquiring a firearm you’ve spent hours searching for at an online gun store. Rest assured, once you acclimate yourself to the legalities surrounding online gun purchases, you will find buying a gun online easier than expected, and more convenient than purchasing at a brick-and-mortar gun shop.
Are you legally able to purchase a gun?
One of the first questions you need to ask yourself is, can I legally own a gun? Fortunately, this question is an easy one to answer. If you have been convicted of a felony, no matter how long ago, you cannot legally possess a firearm. There are two exceptions to this rule, one being if said firearm is considered an antique according to the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.) Their definition of an “antique” is any weapon manufactured on or before 1898, and no longer has readily available ammunition. The other pertains to muzzleloaders. Per ATF rules, a muzzleloader is defined as, “ any muzzle loading rifle, shotgun, or pistol which is designed to use black powder or black powder substitute, and which cannot use fixed ammunition, is an “antique firearm” unless it (1) incorporates a firearm frame or receiver; (2) is a firearm which is converted into a muzzle loading weapon; or (3) is a muzzle – 3 – loading weapon which can be readily converted to fire fixed ammunition by replacing the barrel, bolt, breechblock, or any combination thereof.”
There are also age parameters for purchasing a firearm, online or otherwise. No one younger than 18 years of age may buy a gun of any kind and no one younger than 21 years of age may purchase a handgun.
You’ve confirmed you are indeed legal but what about the firearm itself?
Before hitting “buy now” on the dealer’s webpage, you need to do some research on if this gun you are about to possess is legal according to state and local laws. Although there is no Federal registration requirement for most conventional sporting firearms, weapons that are subject to registration according to the ATF are machine guns, short-barrel firearms, silencers, and destructive devices. Additionally, each state has its own set of rules regarding certain weapons such as AR-15 style rifles and accessories like extended magazines. It’s best to consult your state’s Attorney General’s Office to obtain the most up to date information. There’s also some extra registration red-tape to deal with when purchasing certain accessories, like a suppressor.
What about custom builds and markings?
According to the ATF, “Firearms may be lawfully made by persons who do not hold a manufacturer’s license under the GCA provided they are not for sale or distribution, and the maker is not prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms. However, a person is prohibited from assembling a nonsporting semiautomatic rifle or shotgun from 10 or more imported parts, as outlined in regulations in 27 CFR 478.39.” In layman’s terms, it is legal to build a custom firearm, with specific limitations. The custom build can only be for personal use and not sold or distributed in any way. As far as markings go, you are not required by law to mark your handcrafted weapon with a serial number, but the ATF recommends engraving some sort of identification on the gun.
You’ve finally clicked on the “buy now” button, now what?
When you finally make that long-anticipated firearm purchase online, the next steps to full possession will be as easy as a walk in the park. First, when you make your purchase, you must specify the FFL (Federal Firearm Licensee) in your state that is willing to have the gun shipped to them and perform a transfer. This location could be a gun shop, gun range or pawn shop in your area. Once they receive the shipment, you will need to go to that location and fill out the necessary paperwork (ATF Form 4473 and a NICS background check) to take possession. There is usually a fee involved with firearm transfers, and that varies slightly between FFL locations. If you are having trouble locating the FFL near you, Omaha Outdoors has a link to a national search database here.
Online shopping, in general, has its advantages over brick-and-mortar stores by giving you a broader array of products to choose from, low online pricing, and the convenience of home or local delivery. These advantages are true for firearms as well, and for those who are on a quest for the perfect pistol, shotgun or rifle, online gun stores like Omaha Outdoors are there to help you navigate the laws and attain your firearm ownership goals.
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