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How Can this be Legal?

(last updated on 12/13/2007)

It is perfectly legal to buy and sell firearms provided federal and state legal statutes are obeyed. Transfer of firearms ownership between individuals must be managed by a third party who is a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder. Virtually anyone who is involved in the sale or distribution of firearms is an FFL holder, including gun shops.

To take delivery of a firearm, buyers must either have an FFL or find an FFL in their local area to take delivery of the item for them. If you have an FFL, you already know what is required. For buyers who do not hold an FFL, this means the buyer must find an FFL in their area to take delivery for them. This typically means the buyer must contact a local gun shop and make arrangements for the transfer.

Buyers must contact the FFL holder before placing a bid on an item. By contacting the FFL holder before bidding, the buyer can verify that all state and federal laws will be observed. For most firearms, the buyer must be able to pass a background check. has compiled a list of FFL holders who are willing to take delivery and manage the transfer of firearms on behalf of unlicensed buyers. Please check out this list at our FFL Holder Network page.

We have also created a page of information about shipping firearms. Click here for information about how to ship firearms, including tips on shipping using the various popular carriers. This page contains information for both dealers and unlicensed persons.

Typically, accessories (such as holsters, clips, sights, scopes, etc.) do not have to be shipped through an FFL.