Back to home Back to the collection

$ Buying a Gun On-Line $

    I have had a mixed set of experiences buying through the internet, but have a generally favorable opinion of it. There are the usual problems which pop up when doing business, but there are a few special ones when dealing with firearms. Buying guns, and gun accessories on-line is no different than buying any other product, with the following exceptions:
*Large capacity magazines in places where restricted *Certain Contender barrels, where restricted
Ammunition, and components (drivers license required) Firearms (Must transact through FFL Dealer)
*Folding stocks,and parts for assault weapons, where banned *Rapid fire trigger devices where restricted 

    The starred entries reflect restrictions in local areas, which have apparantly seceeded from the United States, and no longer consider themselves to be under The Constitution. The unstarred entries can be done everywhere, but have special requirements. Presently the starred items apply to california, new jersey, and, in the near future, new york state. It is surprising to some, that ammunition may be bought if a copy of a drivers license is sent with the order, or faxed to the dealer before hand. Many people are also surprised that firearms may be bought on line, or through the mail, provided that they are sent to an FFL dealer, through whom the business is transacted.
    The dealers will not do this for free, of course, nor should they. There are forms to be filled out, and records to be kept. Handgun transfers require background checks, and many localities have additional requirements of their own. There will be shipping costs incurred, which are generally paid by the buyer directly to the seller. For firearms transactions, the law requires that the seller receive a signed copy of an FFL from a dealer. The law also requires that the seller ship the weapon only to the address on the FFL. The dealer, upon receiving the weapon, is required to fill out some forms, and to record the transaction. Records of all firearms transfers are required to be kept as long as the dealer is in business. A dealer may charge a set fee, or a percentage of the purchase price of the arm. I have an arrangement with a local FFL holder, where I pay $25 for each transfer, plus an additional $15 for a background check on pistol purchases. Adding another $10-$20 for shipping, and you can figure that buying on line adds another $50 or thereabouts to the price that is paid to the seller. This can still work out favorably for the buyer, if a good enough deal can be made, or if the arm in question is in short supply, and can not be found locally.
    The FFL that I work through is a gunsmith, rather than an actual, stocking, dealer. I pay him a fee for the transfer, and for the background check, if required, and he gives me a signed copy of his FFL. I send the FFL, along with the money order, or check, to the seller. Upon receiving the FFL, money, and the enclosed order verifying my address and the order number, the seller ships the firearm to my FFL holder. The FFL holder calls me when the firearm arrives, and I go and pick it up. In the eyes of the law, this is little different than buying from a gun shop. I must show proper identification, and fill out all of the same forms. The same records are kept, in the same manner.
    In many ways, buying a firearm is a much more secure transaction than other types of internet purchases. The very restrictions and practices which complicate matters so much, tend to hold the sellers to a higher standard. I have never been cheated or stiffed on a firearms transfer, something that I can not say about some of my other internet purchases. The intercession of the dealer, doubtless, has much to do with this. An FFL is a Federal license holder, and, particularly when the transaction crosses state lines, the penalties for cheating the buyer are much more severe, and much more vigorously pursued, than other types of commerce. In truth, the worst experiences I have had buying on line, have been with people selling computer equipement.
    Holsters, scopes, magazines, and other accessories do not have these same protections, but I have found that firearms enthusiasts, and dealers, tend to be honorable, and dependable people. While I actually see little reason to buy firearms on-line, at least as far as price is concerned, there are many excellent buys to be had in the way of accessories on line. I have gotten wonderful deals on scopes, night vision devices, holsters, and magazines. Though I have only bought four guns through the internet, I have made many purchases of gun gear. The prices of guns and gun gear are approximately the same as those found at gun shows, though the selection is much more extensive. There is presently, as of this writing, a moratorium on taxing purchases made over the net. This can often cancel out the effect of shipping costs, and make purchases through the net price competitive with purchases made at gun shows. It is a matter then of weighting the greater selection found over the internet, with the fun and association had at gun shows. Regarding the purchase of firearms themselves, it is likely to bit a bit more expensive to buy over the net than at shows, because of the transfer fees collected by the FFL holder. Still, as in most other areas, there seems to be nothing that you can not find on the internet. I have not seen a Calico pistol or carbine locally for years (actually, I have never seen one in a local shop). Before writing this page, I looked on the net, and found several dealers which carry them, and about half a dozen guns up for auction on Gunbroker. Doubtless, a determined search would have found many more.

Places to buy guns and related products on-line

The following links, while certainly not all inclusive, are a good start. Starred entries sell firearms, others sell accessories only.
*Gunbroker auction site *Guns on Sale *Williams and Sons *Big Max
*Dixie Ammo Dump *Keith's  *Bear Arms *Urban Armory
*SKS Man *C&S The Military Store STANO Components
*Gunxchange SWFA *Gunsamerica *Gunsource