When buying guns online, the question of online shopping and legal regulations becomes a hot topic in conversation. Can you buy a firearm online? Is there a proper way to do it safely and legally?
This article will give you a practical idea on what to do before you actually get to the shopping cart part of your venture. Read through the tips below and ready yourself for the purchase, and your household for what may be your first online gun purchase.
Tip 1: Preparation and Purpose
The first thing you need to do before starting your online search of weapons for sale is to know what you want to do with your purchase. Are you looking for home defense, recreation, hunting, or an antique to add to your collection? If you know what you want but don’t know what you need to begin with, it’s always best to talk to someone with the right expertise to make the best purchase.
Whether you’re an experienced gun buyer or a first-timer, navigating online gun marketplaces can be challenging. It’s often difficult to find exactly what you need, and you may end up settling for what’s available among the handguns for sale during your search. Know what you want before you start shopping. A general search for “weapons for sale” won’t get you narrow enough results. If you know you want a handgun, search for that. Be specific with exactly what you want to ensure the best online gun-buying process.
Afterwards, your next preparation step is to find and chat with a local Federal Firearms License (FFL) dealer since your new purchase can’t be shipped directly to your front door. Finding AND confirming shipment to a local dealer will make the transfer process much more cordial if the dealer is expecting the delivery and you are using them as the middleman.
Tip 2: Make Sure the Seller is Reputable, and the Sale is Legal
Once you know what you want to buy and have an FFL dealer on standby, you should be informed enough to start browsing the internet and buying guns online. Most importantly, make sure you do your research and buy from a reputable and reliable seller. The best tip for starting your online search is to search based on what you know about the weapons and ammo world. You most likely know at least a few brand names or companies that offer handguns for sale. Craigslist is NOT the most reliable of guns marketplaces to look for weapons for sale online. Preferably, try more reputable websites such as:
- Palmetto State Armory
- Firearms Depot
- Sportsman’s Warehouse
- Or your local big box stores such as Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shop, or Dunhams.
If you search for gun marketplace options, ask the right questions and know how much the gun is worth compared to the seller’s asking price. All legal gun sales should be completed via transfer through an FFL dealer. In order to stay compliant, rethink the deal if your seller offers to ship directly to your home address.
Tip 3: Safety in all Aspects of Gun Buying and Owning
Weapons safety covers more than just buying your next weapon from the right place and picking it up via transfer with an FFL dealer. You need to know a few critical conditions before you bring your new weapon home.
How to Safely Handle the Gun You’re About to Buy
If this is your first gun purchase, go to a local gun shop to learn the safety and use of the gun you’re about to buy. Break it down, clean, reassemble, and shoot the same model you want to own, carry, and use.
Know your State’s Laws and Regulations for Gun Owners
Be sure you understand your state’s laws on carrying and ownership regulations plus those of any states you intend to visit or drive through while transporting your new online purchase. In the case of carrying concealed, each state has additional laws. Find a local CCW class instructor to teach you the finer points of concealed carry.
Transport the Weapon Home Properly
Most states require you to transport your firearm in a case. Ensure you know what case you want and how your new online purchase will fit properly. Your carry case isn’t a one size fits all. You may want a hard case for secured travel or a soft case to save space.
Tip 4: You Will Need Ammo: What and Where to Buy It?
Buying guns online from a reputable retailer is important, but what about ammo? Can you buy ammo online? Yes. Ammo is a separate type of purchase that can be purchased online and shipped directly to your home. The best option, if available, is to buy your ammo from the same place you can buy guns online. If the online dealer doesn’t sell ammo, check out the local dealer you use to complete the purchase transfer. Furthermore, it will help you build a relationship with the local business owner and ensure you get the right one.
How about buying ammo online without a gun license? You bet. Ammo is much easier to buy online, and your gun marketplace options may also sell the ammo needed for the gun you buy online. Ensure you buy the right caliber, grain, and bullet type. This goes hand in hand with tip 1, knowing the purpose of the gun you buy online. Take time to research to know where to buy ammo online.
Tip 5: Make a Shopping List of Additional Supplies Before You Pick up Your New Gun
If you’re lucky, the gun you buy online will come with a small carrying case and maybe an extra mag. Aside from that, you will need to check a few things off your shopping list before bringing your new purchase home.
- A case to fit your weapon and your transport needs
- A good cleaning kit that fits the weapon specifically – and generic refill supplies
- A holster if you bought a handgun and intend to CCW or open carry on your person
- A gun vault or safe for home safety and storage
- A bug-out bag or a range bag for traveling to and from wherever you shoot
Considering accessories as you get used to your gun is good practice. Do you want a scope for long-range shots, a red dot sight to pinpoint your aim, or a range finder to ensure you can hit your target? Buying a gun online opens the door for personalizing your gun to you, but you can’t always guarantee you will find what you need online.
Tip 6: Weigh the Pros and Cons of Buying Guns Online
Doing an online search at home for “handguns for sale” or how much a gun will cost has its pros and cons. Sure, you can shop at home without feeling supervised in a gun shop, but can you ask the right questions to ensure what you buy is right for you or even in good condition?
Consider these points before you click “buy” from an online gun marketplace instead of going to your local dealer in person.
- The price of the gun is probably lower than in the store.
- No one is staring at you at the gun shop.
- A bigger selection of brands and types of weapons all in one place.
- You can’t handle the gun and test how it feels in your hand before you buy.
- Without feeling the gun’s weight in your hand, you won’t know until you get it if it works for you.
- If you have questions, you must rely on reviews or chat with an agent who wants to make the sale. Any issues with the firearm will need to be fixed locally, and you chose NOT to give them your business first.
- You risk not getting the best value or knowing the gun’s condition before spending money.
To summarize these tips, be sure you do the legwork and know what you want to buy, the most reputable place to buy it, what you can and can’t do legally within your state, and what you will need to use and care for your firearm properly – safety first, and research before you buy anywhere.