How to Transfer Your Firearm Safely and Legally
STEP ONE: Purchase the gun from a reputable dealer.
There are two types of sellers.Those that have a Federal Firearm’s License (FFL)and those who don’t. If you purchase a firearm through a licensed FFL dealer, they will take care of a background check and your legal transfer. When you purchase a firearm some states require you to transfer the firearm through a legal FFL dealer but a private party transfer is legal in Utah. See here for how to do a private party transfer.
Major Retailers – If you purchase from a major retailer you are not in need of a transfer. It is considered “buying” a gun and not “transferring” ownership.Major retailers have an FFL. You can buy a firearm, get your background check completed, and take the firearm home. It takes about an hour to complete that process.
Purchasing from a major retailer can have advantages. They have a wide variety of firearms to choose from which you can hold and inspect. The employers are usually trained and knowledgeable and willing to answer many questions that you may have regarding their inventory. The facility is relatively trustworthy and you are able to complete the process of purchasing a firearm right then and there. Their facility can tell you a lot about your firearm, do your background check, and ring up the sale as well.
It is the ultimate goal of a major retailer to get as high of profit margin from you as they can. They aren’t likely to tell you the negative reports about any given firearm. Be aware that there are lower prices available through smaller retail facilities. Major retailers may not carry a specific firearm in their inventory. What you see is what you get. Most major retailers are require you to complete your 4473 Transfer Form through the ATF’s database, thus creating an online record of your purchase.
Small Retailers – If you purchase from a small retailer you can assume that they have a legal FFL. Their license should be posted where you can see it.
The advantages of a small retailer are competitive pricing, more localized one-on-one service and the opportunity to generate a friendly relationship.
Smaller inventory limits your ability to have an impulse buy. (Is this really a disadvantage for you or the dealer?)
A Trusted Friend – When a transaction takes place between private (unlicensed) persons who reside in the same State, the Gun Control Act (GCA) does not require any record keeping. A private person may sell a firearm to another private individual in his or her State of residence and, similarly, a private individual may buy a firearm from another private person who resides in the same State. It is not necessary under Federal law for a Federal firearms licensee (FFL) to assist in the sale or transfer when the buyer and seller are “same-State” residents. Of course, the transferor/seller may not knowingly transfer a firearm to someone who falls within any of the categories of prohibited persons contained in the GCA.
A friend is typically the most trustworthy source for firearm purchases when stayed within the bounds of legal activity. They are likely going to give you a deal and know a lot about the firearm you are purchasing, including it’s weaknesses and negative reports. “There are no GCA-required records to be completed by either party to the transfer. There may be State or local laws or regulations that govern this type of transaction. Contact State Police units or the office of your State Attorney General for information on any such requirements. Please note that if a private person wants to obtain a firearm from a private person who resides in another State, the firearm will have to be shipped to an FFL in the buyer’s State. The FFL will be responsible for record keeping.” (view ATF source).
In some states this is not legal. You must make sure that the person purchasing the firearm meets the following requirements.
- Has NOT been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year;
- Is NOT a fugitive from justice;
- Does NOT have an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance;
- Has NOT been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to a mental institution;
- Is NOT an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States or an alien admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa;
- Has NOT been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
- Has been a citizen of the United States, and has renounced his or her citizenship;
- Is NOT subject to a court order that restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner; or
- Has NOT been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence
- Can lawfully receive, possess, ship, or transport a firearm.
Online Site or Broker (such as Gunbroker.com) Does not provide FFL services. Because you are purchasing it online you will have to transfer your firearm through your local FFL dealer. (1791 Liberty Arms) See “Tips to protect your Online Firearm Purchases” 1791 Liberty Arms can manage all logistics including transfer after your purchase for a small brokerage fee; $50.00. This includes 1791 Liberty Arms contacting the seller directly, arranging the shipping and handling, and all appropriate legal documentation associated with the purchase.
The prices are competitive and you can find firearms that wouldn’t usually be available through a friend or major retailer. Collector guns are usually found here.
Buying from an online site isn’t always fool proof. The seller can deceive the buyer buy falsifying the serial numbers. (In which case the gun will be confiscated). The dealer can take your money for the gun, send the gun to your FFL and when it arrives the FFL dealer may find that the serial numbers aren’t legal, causing you to loose possession of the firearm. These dealers don’t stay online for long, and online broker sites are usually good about deleting accounts with legal issues but it is more risky.
Shady Fellow on the street. (Just don’t…there are only ends in jail time.)
STEP TWO: Find an FFL (If your purchase requires an FFL transfer)
You will have to find a licensed FFL (1791 Liberty Arms) dealer near you to to aid you in the process of your firearm purchases, (with purchases such as used firearms, online purchases, and out-of-state transactions). The FFL Dealer (1791 Liberty Arms) is required to perform a background check and fill out a federal form – Form 4473. At 1791 Liberty Arms we complete this record keeping in paper form, we do not keep digital records. We do this to protect our client’s identities, and to keep their firearm purchases off federal databases. See
STEP THREE: Call Your FFL to Arrange the Exchange/Transfer
Call your FFL dealer and let them know that you purchased a firearm and would like them to be the FFL that will transfer the firearm, and that the firearm you purchased should be arriving to their location shortly. Wait for the FFL dealer (1791 Liberty Arms) to call once they have received the firearm. You can ask them for a copy of their FFL license. You can find a copy of our FFL here: 1791 FFL – 2015. Your FFL dealer should be clear about their pricing and policies. 1791 Liberty Arms will follow all state and Federal Laws regarding firearm transfers.
STEP FOUR: Receive Your Gun
When the firearm arrives at the FFL dealer’s location they should call you within 24 hours of arrival. You will be required to go to the FFL dealer’s location and perform a background check as well as pay the FFL for their service. (You will NOT be charged for the firearm, that would have been done prior to arriving) The FFL dealer should provide you with instructions about what to bring with you. You are generally required to bring a driver’s license and proof of purchase of the firearm with identical identifying numbers. Your FFL will call into their state’s database to make sure you are legally allowed to own a firearm. If you pass, the firearm will be given to you. The FFL will take payment and provide you with a receipt. You are free take your firearm.
Complications may arise during the process:
- You may not pass the background check.
- The firearm you purchased may be illegal to own. See “What to expect from your FFL regarding a modified serial number“
- The person that sold you the firearm may have lied.
- The firearm may have been used in an open criminal investigation – If this is the case the firearm must be turned over to the proper authorities by the FFL dealer. You will not gain possession of the firearm. In most cases it will be the city police to which you live.
- An FFL Dealer is not allowed to allow you to leave the premises with the firearm if you do not pass the background check.
Legal Requirements of an FFL
- It is unlawful for a gun dealer to sell or transfer any firearm until an instant criminal history background check is conducted and approved by BCI.
- A valid Utah concealed firearm permit may be used to waive the BCI background check and the corresponding fees. However, the dealer is still required to call BCI to confirm the validity of the concealed firearm permit.
- A person who wishes to purchase a handgun must show proof of Utah residency.
- A person who wishes to purchase a rifle or shotgun is not required to show Utah residency; however, the purchaser will be required to comply with the laws of the state in which he/she resides.
- Laws governing the use of concealed firearms differ from state to state. It is important to understand the laws to ensure that your actions are in compliance with Utah law.
1791 Liberty Arms is not responsible for firearm transfer’s outside of their premises. 1791 Liberty Arms makes every effort to provide customers with a safe and easy transfer. We shall not be responsible for unsafe transfers done outside of our business operations. 1791 Liberty Arms is not providing legal council. It is your responsibility to comply with all local and federal laws with regards to firearms.