Love it or hate it, a growing percentage of our purchases are moving to online vendors. According to Digital Commerce 360, $517 billion was spent online with U.S. merchants last year. Everything we buy, from groceries to clothing is now online. Guns are no exception to the wave of online shopping.
While guns are traditionally purchased in firearm stores or pawn shops, there are plenty of reputable online vendors to choose from as well. The question is, should you buy a gun online? Since firearms are usually a hefty investment, it’s essential to think through all of the pros and cons of purchasing a gun online.
Pros of Purchasing Guns Online:
Selection, pricing and convenience are critical. There is a lot of upside to purchasing a firearm on the internet. Check out some of the best reasons to buy your next gun online.
- More extensive selection than brick and mortar stores. The internet can connect you to merchants across the globe, which allows you to select from a broader array of firearms than you could in a physical store.
- Reduced or Sales Pricing. Shopping online is an excellent option for bargain hunters. Many times, you can find products at reduced prices online versus in the store. Sales prices are lower due to the cost of running an online store versus a physical one. There are, of course, other costs to consider, such as shipping and federal firearms license (FFL) transfer fees.
- Shop whenever you want to. Like other stores on the internet, online firearm dealer websites are available to browse through 24/7. If you don’t have time to walk through a shop and look at guns in person, you can check out a selection of rifles and handguns from several online arms dealers in seconds. Many large outlets have the option to purchase guns on their website and pick them up at their nearest store.
Cons of Purchasing Guns Online:
While there are several pros to purchasing a gun online, it isn’t a perfect method. Before clicking the “complete purchase” button, take a look at a few reasons you may want to take time to go into the store instead.
- You can’t hold or inspect the gun before making the purchase. With all firearm purchases, personal preferences make or break the experience. If you examine a gun in person and decide it is not what you want at a store, you can put it back and look at another one with ease. If you order a gun online, the return process can be tedious. Also, you won’t be able to see if there are any problems with the piece before receiving it. If there is a defect, it will have to be sent back, further delaying access to your newly purchased hardware.
- The FFL transfer process can be a hassle. Whenever you purchase a firearm online, you can’t have it delivered directly to your house, unless you have your own FFL. This rule means you have to have it shipped to an FFL and then have them transfer the weapon to you. While most local gun shops are accommodating and will charge a transfer fee for their time and service, some won’t be as easy to work with because they see online stores as their direct competition. Contacting the FFL ahead of time will make a huge help for both sides.
- You don’t get expert help that is available at a local shop. If you are new to purchasing firearms, it is good to talk with a store rep who can help you make an informed purchasing decision. They can also help you with any questions you may have before and after purchasing your gun of choice.
Process of Buying a Gun Online
You need to consider two options before purchasing a gun online: do you want to obtain your own FFL online to ship firearms to your home or would you prefer to use a local gun shop as your FFL?
If you plan on purchasing several guns online in the foreseeable future, getting your own FFL online may save you time in the long run. If you can’t put the time or money into obtaining your own FFL, you will have to arrange for a transfer for your firearm to a gun store or other form of local FFL. It helps to do this first, so you can have their info when the online seller requests for it.
After making arrangements, you can begin shopping online and select the gun you want. Once you make your selection, give the online merchant the info for the business you plan to use for the transfer. Depending on the seller, they may have the FFL in their system, or you may have to send the info.
Once the gun arrives at the FFL, you will need to go to the dealer and complete the transfer. Depending on your state of residence, you will likely have to fill out a National Instant Criminal Background Check form at the shop where you pick it up. Always check to see what your state’s law is before going to pick up your gun to make the experience easier for you and the FFL.
Whether you decide to purchase online or stick to in-store, it is crucial to have a storage option to safely and efficiently hold your gun. Contact Liberty Home Concealment to see if we can help you find the perfect choice to stash your new purchase.