Did you know that Americans bought guns in record numbers in the last two years? Nearly 23 million guns were purchased in 2020. Before the end of 2021, gun sales have already reached 22.2 million with many people buying a gun online.
Online shopping might be the norm for most products, including groceries and even cigarettes. It might seem that buying a gun online is more complicated. That is why we’ve compiled a list of everything you need to know before making your purchase.
Background Checks: Still Required
All firearm purchases require a background check. Background checks are federally mandated. We’ll detail how the background check works exactly later in this list, but there are some items to be aware of first.
The Gun Control Act of 1968 passed after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The purpose of the Act was to prohibit certain individuals from owning a gun. People who have been convicted of crimes or are wanted in connection with criminal activity are not allowed to buy crimes.
What Can Stop You From Passing a Background Check?
If you’ve been convicted of a crime that led to a prison sentence of more than one year, or a misdemeanor that carried a two-year or more sentence, you won’t pass a background check.
Additionally, if there is a warrant for your arrest, you will not pass. New laws also stipulate that people with mental health and addiction issues cannot own guns.
People residing illegally in the U.S. are also prohibited from owning a gun. You won’t be able to purchase online, despite the perception of it being an open marketplace.
If you’ve ever had a restraining order placed against you, this will also stop you from purchasing a firearm.
However, there are state-by-state rules that conflict with these federal requirements. While 14 states require some type of background check, each of the 50 states has its own unique rules.
Know Your State Laws
Each state has its own rules on gun ownership. Whether you’re buying online or in-store, there are federal and state laws to know first.
It’s easy to find out your local state laws on gun ownership. A quick Google search will reveal everything you need to know.
Some states, like Vermont, have very limited gun ownership laws. Other states have loopholes related to gun shows.
Go To Your Local Gun Shop First
No matter what, you’ll need to visit your local gun shop before making an online purchase. If you’re making your first-ever gun purchase, it is important that you get as much information as possible.
Gun shop owners know more than anyone you’ll be able to find online. They’ll understand local and federal laws. Any questions you have will be answered by these experts.
Handle The Exact Model You Want Before Buying
When you visit your local gun shop, ensure you handle the exact model you’re considering buying. A lot of first-time gun owners underestimate the weight of most firearms.
Handguns are especially deceptive. People with smaller frames are often surprised by the weight of a handgun.
Rifles are also important to handle before purchase. For example, the AR-15 is one of the most popular rifles for personal ownership. The AR-15 is great for hunting, self-defense, and competitive shooting.
If you are not used to the size of a larger rifle, the AR-15 needs to be handled to ensure it’s the best rifle for you.
Get Proper Training
There are four universal rules of gun safety. The first is to treat every gun as if it is loaded.
The second is that you should never point the muzzle of a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy. These first two rules might sound like common sense, but common sense is not very common.
Thirdly, keep your fingers off the trigger until you have decided to fire. Again, sounds like common sense. Preventable accidents happen and destroy lives. You are not playing a video game.
Finally, be sure of your target, and what is behind it. Knowing these rules is important, but practicing them in real life is essential.
First-time gun owners are often misled by movies and television. They see their favorite actors shooting and hitting targets, but this is not easy.
Proper training will ensure that you are ready to own a gun and use it. If you’re buying for self-defense purposes, brandishing a weapon is not always enough of a deterrent.
Knowing that you can hit your target will give you confidence, but also keep you safe.
You Can’t Order Direct To Your Home
Even though you can purchase a gun online, your gun will be sent to a federal firearms license (FFL) dealer. Federal law prohibits any guns from being shipped directly to your home.
The US Postal service has strict rules on sending guns via mail. Pistols can only be sent to a licensed dealer or manufacturer. While some long guns, like the AR-15, can be sent between non-licensed dealers, they can only be sent within the same state.
Other private companies often outright refuse to ship guns unless it’s to a licensed dealer. State laws differ, so be sure to check what you’re legally allowed to do before shipping or receiving a gun.
What is an FFL?
A Federal Firearms License (FFL) is a license that enables people to engage in any business related to guns. If you buy a gun online, it will be sent to an FFL.
Why Are They Calling The Feds?
Don’t worry! Part of the FFL process is conducting a federally-mandated background check at the time you pick up your new gun.
Why is there an FFL Fee?
Depending on your state, there is typically an FFL fee. The typical cost of an FFL fee is anywhere from $15-$25 per firearm.
Some states are more expensive. Connecticut charges $50, with lawmakers seeking to raise this fee even higher.
The main reason for the FFL fee is profit. The federal government does not charge for background checks for firearms. Some states may have charges associated, so be sure to do your local research.
Online Stores Typically Have Better Prices
Even with the FFL fees, it is usually cheaper to buy a gun online. Shops have to cover the costs of renting spaces. Unlike online sellers, shops also have to pay employees, the utility companies, and more.
All of these costs are passed on to the consumer. If you’re buying a gun online, you might be buying second-hand, but it’ll be far more cost-effective.
Online gun stores are rapidly becoming the new normal.
Do Not Shop on eBay, Craigslist, or Other Open Marketplaces
Most online marketplaces prohibit the sale of firearms. You might be able to buy firearm parts, but even this can be risky.
Some places will allow you to advertise your gun, but what good is that? Just like how people are getting scammed by fake real estate listings, you will get scammed trying to buy a gun on any of these platforms.
Like with any online purchase, never give out personal contact information
What Extras Do You Need?
No matter what you need, you should replace with Aero Precision products. Have you considered how you’ll be storing your gun?
If you have a family at home, a gun safe is essential. Quick access is also imperative. What is the point in owning a gun for self-defense if you can’t get to it?
Buying a gun is a big expense, especially when you take ammo, fees, and taxes into account. The newer your gun model, the more add-ons it will include anyway.
Handguns are being built with more and more safety in mind. If you’re looking at an older model, chat with your local gun shop owner about the latest additions you can include in your purchase.
Holsters, for example, are not just practical. In many parts of the United States, handgun holsters are also a fashion statement.
Have you ever walked into a restaurant in West Texas? What about in Bozeman, Montana? If you have, you know what I’m talking about.
Showing off your Second Amendment rights is not just about the usability of your weapon. Though this should come first, consider how others will perceive you.
If you plan on driving somewhere with your gun, storing it safely in your vehicle is also imperative. Having a secure compartment that is out of sight, and secured to the vehicle itself is key.
Now You’ve Read This Article, Buying a Gun Online is Easy
Buying a gun online isn’t complicated. Now you have everything you need to know, good luck and enjoy your new firearm! If you still have questions, check out the rest of our articles.