Friday, May 12, 2023

Buying a Firearm From Out Of State


This is not a loophole to buying a gun otherwise prohibited to buy in your home state. Sorry. There may be some exceptions in your states law, but this isn’t one of them.

First off. Let’s get the disclaimer out of the way. I am not an attorney, and I am definitely not a firearms attorney. This is just general information garnered from a lifetime as a firearms enthusiast, growing up in family businesses that had a federal firearms license, and now having my own federal collectors license. I profess to having no particular expertise in the field. In all cases I suggest you err on the side of caution and do your own research. I could very definitely be mistaken in anything I have to say on this subject. If in doubt use your local dealer who is certainly more expert in your state’s laws than I am.

If its legal for you to buy and posses something you are interested in you can usually just have your purchase shipped to a local dealer where they will have you fulfill the federal and local legal requirements before they transfer the gun to you. Some dealers are not particularly fond of this, but they will do it if you turn around and bend over. I had a local shop tell me they will charge an outrageous fee if its a gun they could have sold to me. Other dealers make it a primary part of their business, and have a low flat rate. The one I work with even has a lower rate when purchasing multiple guns at once or within a certain time period.

I also have a C&R license. This basically allows me to purchase any original configuration firearm that is more than 50 years old and have it shipped directly to me. Its great if I run across an old classic at a great price. HOWEVER, it does not exempt me from state and local laws. Also, some sates put additional restrictions on C&R license holders. Basically, making a C&R of little or no use in those states. In Arizona. I can buy old rifles, shotguns, and handguns with no issue and no extra headaches. As an 03 C&R license holder the only requirement is that I keep a gun log of those guns acquired with my license. If this sounds interesting to you check your home state laws to make sure its useful to you first.

For out of state purchases (and sales) not covered by my 03 I use Ken at Five-Shot Firearms here in Arizona. His price is very reasonable, and if you are buying a collection it is significantly discounted for each addition firearm he has to log in and out of his record book.

There is a reference I ran across once when perusing the ATF website that said something about private party sale between residents of different states if the law in both states was exactly the same, but it sounded like a trap to me. Generally it is considered 100% illegal for private parties to sell firearms directly to residents of another state. Some people think there is an exception for long guns, but there is not.

There is an allowance for the sale of long guns to residents of another state if the sale and possession complies with all of the laws of that person’s home state if they are purchasing from a licensed dealer. This is for dealer to non-resident only. It is not for private party sales. The transaction must comply with all the laws/rules/regulations of the non-resident’s home state as well as federal law. It does not apply to hand guns. Hand guns may only be purchased from a dealer in the person’s home state or from another resident of the same state if permitted by that states laws.

There is no federal prohibition on private party sales of legal firearms between residents of the same state, but state and local laws apply. Some states have stringent requirements on all firearms transaction restricting transfer to licensed dealers only, and others are fairly easy to comply with.

In all cases it is illegal for anybody to transfer a firearm to a prohibited party. Generally that means to a convicted felon, but there are additional restriction for drug addicts, immigration status, and of course residency. Download and read the form 4473 for the best summary of possible prohibitions. You may live in a jurisdiction where recent court cases has improved or reduced the situation, but I suggest in this area you should always err on the side of caution. The fines and prison time for federal firearms violations can be quite severe.

P.S. I do buy old guns. Even not working or with issues.