Buying A Gun Online For Concealed Carry
A lot of people can't find the concealed carry pistol they want in nearby stores, which leads one to thinking about buying a gun online. It's easily enough done - but given the regulations surrounding purchasing firearms, it isn't exactly like buying a holster online.
Why Buy A Gun Online?
There are a number of reasons one might want to buy a gun online, but the two most common reasons are to save money (you actually might not - more on that later) or to get the gun one wants but isn't available in any stores nearby to where one lives.
The latter reason is common enough. There are hundreds, if not thousands, more gun models that are made for every type of firearm and caliber than one can find in stores. Some aren't sold in the country one lives in, others just may not be offered in the area in which one lives. Some guns aren't in production anymore.
Some people are just loyal to a particular brand or want particular features. Just about any gun store will be lousy with Glocks and a few 1911s, but what if a person wants, say, a CZ or a Beretta? Some people, after all, really feel they have to have a manual safety and can't find a pistol with one that they like. For instance, a Smith & Wesson M&P has almost all of the Glock features, but can be had with a manual safety.
How Buying Guns Online Is Done
Federal law holds that transfers of firearms via shipping can only be done if a holder of a federal firearms license (or FFL) transfers the product to another FFL, so buying guns online won't get it shipped to your home. Instead - for the most part - the FFL a person buys it from transfers it to an FFL in their area, from whom the buyer will take possession.
Once a person reports to the FFL that the gun has been transferred to, they will undergo a background check and pay any shipping costs or FFL transfer fees. If there is a mandatory waiting period (usually only for handguns) then the buyer will have to wait until the waiting period has been satisfied, and they can then take possession. If no waiting period is needed (they can be waived with a concealed carry license) then they take possession and leave the gun store with their purchase.
That...is pretty much it. However, there are a few things to work out beforehand.
First, the FFL that the firearm is to be transferred to (i.e. the gun store near where you live) has to accept transfers. They also have to agree to accept YOUR transfer. They will have to contact the FFL that the gun is being purchased FROM and give them their information, as the seller has to confirm their FFL number before they can transfer the firearm. Once contact is established and the appropriate information shared, the FFL you will take possession from can accept the transfer - and the buyer can initiate it.
At that point, the process can begin.
Will I Save Money If Buy A Pistol Online?
If you buy a pistol online, it certainly CAN save money...but whether it will depends on an economy of scale.
When buying guns online, shipping costs and FFL fees should be minded along with sticker price. Let's say you find a firearm online for $75 less than in-store. Sounds good, unless the shipping costs and FFL fee is more than the difference. An FFL charging $55 is not unheard of and $20 for shipping isn't either - which adds up to $75, negating the savings.
A true savings is realized if, and only if, you pay less in total than you would have otherwise. Therefore, before you buy, make sure shipping and FFL fees don't add up to the same amount or more than you'd shell out at the gun store. If the final price comes close, tell your local gun store about your predicament. Ask if there's any wiggle room, if you're willing to purchase.
So you can...but you won't know until you can find out the specifics.
About The Author
Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests include camping, hunting, concealed carry, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible..