You’re already online – why bother with the hassle of the crowded gun shop? Buy a gun online! In 2023, buying guns online is a quick, convenient, and completely legal option. What’s stopping you from clicking “add to cart”? Let’s dive in and explore how online gun purchases work so you can get the perfect pistol or rifle delivered straight to your local licensed dealer. With just a few clicks, your ideal weapon could be en route and hassle-free.
While buying guns online is federally legal in 2023, state laws impose restrictions so you may not be able to purchase just any firearm. Make sure to verify your local requirements around permits, magazine capacities, banned models, etc. as you navigate online purchasing.
Table of Contents
Buyer Beware – Gun Scam Sites
If you didn’t think it was sketchy enough buying guns online, mix in a handful of legit-looking websites that are 100% scams…and …yikes! Where do you start? Relax, Guy. Let us take the wheel and show you around this whole online gun sales landscape. It’s pretty dagum easy.
Scam websites think they’re smart. They will often look very much like the real thing. Beware – scam sites try to mimic legitimate retailers. For example, a site may use Remington’s name, fonts, and gun images even for discontinued models.
Major firearm brands don’t sell directly, so “buy here” claims are suspicious. Scam sites look slick with big images and account signups. But telltale signs like shady payment methods, fake addresses, and lack of reviews reveal their true nature. Trust your instincts and do thorough research before attempting any purchase.
**We will never link to any non-reputable websites
Common red flags:
1. Watch for sketchy payment methods – Scam sites will use non-traditional payment methods such as Zelle, PayPal (Friends & Family), CashApp, Venmo, or crypto. Legitimate online retailers will happily take credit, debit, etc. If “all sales final” and you have to pay in untraceable cash apps, run away!
2. Website inconsistencies – Products that have been discontinued or out of production for years may be listed and say “in stock”, often at a reasonable price. About pages with grammar mistakes, bogus info, and fake addresses. Look up any listed business address – is it real or an empty lot? Sloppy, inconsistent details signal a scam. Legit online firearm sale sites have accurate listings and credentials so 99.9% of the time they are known by the shooting community to be reputable.
3. Lack of credibility – They have zero reviews, a Google business page, or even social media. If they don’t list a business address or phone number that is a way of removing human interaction. One good place to double-check the credibility of an online firearm retailer is stopgunscams.com which is a website dedicated to listing all the gun scam sites people report.
So now that the scam speech hath been spoken let’s dive into some important pre-shopping steps. Before buying guns online, make sure you’re eligible and prepared.
The required federal background check considers factors like felonies, mental health status, domestic violence charges, and more. Also research if you and the desired firearm comply with your state and local laws regarding permits, magazine capacities, banned models, etc. Regulations are frequently updated, so double-check the latest requirements.
Finally, find a nearby licensed dealer (FFL) to receive the gun since online purchases can’t ship directly to your address. Contact them to ask about transfer fees and arrange the delivery. Some FFLs only work with retailers, not private sellers, so verify your online source is licensed.
With eligibility, legal compliance, and an FFL checked off, you’re ready to shop for guns online.
How to Buy a Gun Online
You can apply this to whatever cool gat you have in mind. We are going to go through this process using the stylish Ruger PC Carbine as an example.
Step One: Add to Cart/Check Out
The first step in how to buy a gun online is to follow your normal internet purchase process like you would for buying stuff from Bezos. Most of the time a quality website will inform you that an FFL is a part of this equation.
Step Two: FFL Info/Shipping Info
Some websites, like AT3 Tactical.com, will have a box to input what FFL you would like the firearm sent to, some will have a box to upload a copy of an FFL itself, and some may not have anything. If all else fails hopefully there is a special instructions or comments box where you can let the retailer know where you would like your firearm sent.
Step Three: Keep Em Talkin!
Almost there…. but first, the actual transfer from one FFL to Another. This will likely happen one of three ways. But you can definitely help speed up the process.
- The fastest way to get the ball rolling… Start rolling it yourself! Call your local dealer; call your online shop, and help them exchange information. Email addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers – heaven forbid in 2023.
- Wait for your online retailer to reach out to your local FFL, hopefully, it’s not days before they do, but in general, most retailers are pretty good at providing the next steps.
- Your chosen FFL will reach out to the online retailer to exchange information. Likely the least fast way to get your info shared… it’s not like you dropped $$ hundreds with them.
What to Expect – Online Firearm Purchase
After your purchase is made and your FFL and online retailer have everything you need it just turns into a waiting game. Waiting is the hardest part, folks! Hang in there and be patient. If you choose a reputable online retailer and reliable FFL everything should be smooth sailing.
Ideally, your online retailer will include an invoice (sometimes they don’t) with contact information along with your firearm. When your item arrives, the FFL should call you (worst case keep an eye on the tracking information if it is available). Once you know it has arrived simply show up and pass your background check.
The Background Check – The Firearm Finish Line
Obviously, state laws vary as far as take-home times and so on but things to note would be the following:
- Proceeded on a background check – This means you passed your background check.
- Delayed on a background check – This can mean many things. At its most basic it is a temporary hold.
- Denied on a background check – This means the government believes you cannot legally own a firearm.
An FFL does not have a say in the outcome of our background checks. They are not telling us we can or can’t have a gun. This is all done at a federal level. Background checks do not inform the FFL on why someone may have gotten delayed or denied.
For a further deep dive into these responses, complying with state and local regulations, and a general overview of the gun buying process, check out our in-depth article on how to purchase a firearm.
From Clicks Online… To Lead Down Range
Buying guns for sale online can feel like Christmas (or your applicable winter holiday)! Shipping times vary, and things happen, just try to be patient. With good communication and respect between retailers, dealers, and you, it will be smooth sledding.
Didn’t find what you were looking for here? Send over a comment or reach out to us! We are more than happy to help one-on-one or in the comments below.
How to Buy a Gun Online FAQs
You do not need a permit to purchase a firearm online. However, your given state law may require you to have a permit to acquire the firearm you purchased. Best look into your local laws before clicking the checkout button.
Transfer fee amounts are up to the FFL. On average they range from $30 to $50. This is usually per firearm and it exists since the FFL has to hold onto your paperwork indefinitely. They’re doing a service that takes time and materials and those time and materials cost money.
No. Firearms are not sold through eBay or Amazon. eBay will have firearm parts and related accessories whereas Amazon is a little less spicy with their firearm-related products.
Yes, it is perfectly alright to purchase firearms online. Before doing so ensure that you can legally own a firearm, that your ideal firearm complies with state law, and that you have an FFL near you willing to do firearm transfers.
FFL stands for Federal Firearms License. To simplify their role an FFL holder is capable of acquiring, selling, and transferring firearms.
In most cases, they cannot. There are small exceptions such as you’re an FFL and your FFL address is your home address or you have a C&R license and the firearm you ordered is C&R eligible.
Yes, it is federally legal to buy a gun off the internet. State-to-state laws vary obviously so make sure you can even own the gun that you are looking at in your state.
One Last Tip
If there’s anyone that knows the AR-15 platform, it’s the US military. As a special offer for our readers, you can get the Official US Army Manual for AR-15/M4/M16 right now – for free. Click here to snag a copy.