Saturday, May 18, 2019

New To FFL Transfers?

I can't tell you how many inquiries I answer about "the process" of FFL Transfers.  Most of the inquirers are new to purchasing firearms, or have just never purchased a firearm anywhere but a "brick and mortar" gun dealer.

I want to preface this description with the understanding that it applies only to firearms and devices not controlled by the National Firarms Act (i.e. firearms that fire in full automatic mode, are shorter than legal limits, suppressors/silencers, etc.), and is prepared primarily for Texas residents.

In virtually every firearms purchase there are at least two participants: the buyer and the seller. When purchasing a firearm remotely or through the internet, a third party must be added to the equation: a locally receiving FFL dealer.

So here's the process in a nutshell.

Step 1. Buy a firearm that is legal for you to own from a seller (the shipping FFL).

Step 2. Find a FFL dealer close to you where the firearm can be shipped to (the receiving FFL).

Step 3. Provide the receiving FFL with the e-mail address or fax number of the shipping  FFL.

Step 4. The two FFLs communicate to facilitate shipping and transfer of the firarm to the buyer.

Step 5. The shipping FFL places the firearm into an appropriate shipping pipeline (usually UPS or FedEx).

Step 6. The receiving FFL accepts delivery of the firearm, logs it into an Acceptance & Disposition Book (required by law), and notifies the buyer that the firearm is ready to be claimed.

Step 7. When claiming a firearm, the buyer must present proof of identity and residence (usually a valid Texas Driver License). The buyer must complete and sign in the presence of the receiving FFL an ATF Form 4473 (Firearms Transaction Record). This is important...the FFL dealer cannot help the buyer complete Section I of the form in anyway, so if any questions arise, refer to the instructions in the back of the form.

Step 8. The FFL Dealer uses the Driver License of the buyer to double check the entries made in Section I, and then completes Section II.

Step 9. The dealer enters a search request into the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (aka NICS). Information is input into the system by either a phone call or via the electronic NICS portal on-line. A "PROCEED" response from the NICS system is required before the dealer can release the firearm to the buyer.

Step 9 can be waived in Texas if the buyer possesses a valid License to Carry Handgun issued by the State of Texas. Don't be surprised, though, if the dealer checks with the Texas Department of Public Safety to verify the license has not been revoked for some reason by the state.

And finally, all that is left is to pay the dealer their FFL Transfer Fee.

It's always okay (and wise) to ask a dealer what their fee is to process a FFL Transfer. That fee is set by the dealer and not limited or controlled by State or Federal law. So fees very from dealer to dealer.

This process is generally the same even if shipping or transferring a firearm to another family member who lives in another state. And some states (namely California, New York, and Washington DC) throw even more layers of state buraucracy into the mix, making those transactions even more challenging. So do your homework!