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How To: Buying A Firearm & FFL Transfer

Written by Marchelle Davis from the blog How To: Buying A Firearm & FFL Transfer New to firearms and looking to purchase? Here are the steps: 1. Take several firearm classes so you can understand what "right" looks like. This will also help you to decide your preferences (safety vs no safety, caliber, size). You can’t decide if a firearm “shoots well” or feels “comfortable” until you understand firearm shooting fundamentals. 2. Learn the gun laws and get your carry permit or equivalent. This step can be done simultaneously with step 1. 3. Decide the purpose of the firearm (concealed carry, home defense or both). 4. Narrow down your search by the purpose, your preferences and your budget. 5. Choose about 5 makes/models that fit your preferences. Rent them at the range and shoot them. It may take a few range visits to decide which firearm is best for you. This is an important and expensive decision and it’s imperative that you don’t rush to choose a firearm. 6. Research and purchase firearm related gear and accessories (cleaning kit, holster, safe, range bag, protective gear, targets, ammunition, etc). Be patient and understand that owning a firearm is a lifestyle change and a big investment. You will also need to find continuous education and training. 7. If possible, have a certified instructor go through the process with you. 8. I highly recommend that you don’t purchase a firearm that you have never shot. That’s kind of like buying a car you’ve never driven or buying a car before you learn how to drive. Also, there's no such thing as a "girl gun" or a "gun for new shooters". Any person can learn how to operate any firearm. This is an extremely personal decision. You have to do the work to find out what's best for you. Now that I've said all that, these are firearms that I personally like, have shot and/or own. You still have to go through the firearm selection process but here’s a good starting point for firearms you might want to try. These firearms vary in size, style and price. Also this list is somewhat biased because I’m a Glock and 9mm fan  Again, it’s important to go through the process and figure out which firearm works best for YOU. ALL FIREARMS ARE 9MM UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED: GLOCK 19 GLOCK 17 GLOCK 43 GLOCK 42(.380) HK VP9 HK VP9 SK CZ P-10 C SIG SAUER P320 SIG SAUER P226 SIG SAUER P365 SIG SAUER P238(.380) SMITH and WESSON M&P SHIELD SMITH and WESSON M&P 2.0 *Firearms not listed aren’t necessarily “bad or wrong”. They’re not listed because I’ve either never shot them or they don’t fit my personal preferences* FFL Transfer/Buying Guns Online A Federal Firearms License (FFL) is a license in the United States that enables an individual or a company to engage in a business pertaining to the manufacture or importation of firearms and ammunition, or the interstate and intrastate sale of firearms. Basically having an FFL means that you’re legally authorized to sell firearms. Most gun ranges are FFLs. There are also individuals who do not have a brick and mortar store who also have FFLs. Click here to see the National Black Self Defense Directory which lists several black owned FFLs. In order to purchase a firearm you have to legally be a resident of the state in which you are trying to purchase a firearm. But what if you live in Georgia and you’d like to purchase a firearm from a black owned FFL in Maryland like Wilson Brother’s Armory? In this scenario, you would have to do what’s called an FFL Transfer. This means that you can legally purchase the firearm from Wilson Brother’s Armory but you can only retrieve the firearm from your local FFL after they run your background check and verify that you are legally allowed to possess this firearm in your resident state of Georgia. Let’s say that I’d like to have this firearm shipped from Wilson Brother’s Armory in Maryland to Stoddard’s Range and Guns (local Atlanta, GA gun range). Step 1: You’ll need to make sure that you can legally possess this firearm in your state and you’ll need to identify your local FFL that you’d like your firearm sent to (think closest gun range). In Georgia, I only need my Georgia Weapons Carry License to purchase a firearm. In some states, you need a FOID card or HQL. Step 2: Call this gun range and ask if they do “FFL Transfers” (most of them do). Then ask what’s the “FFL Transfer Fee”. Most ranges and stores that do FFL Transfers charge a “convenience fee” between $10-$50. Step 3: Go to Wilson Brother’s Armory website and purchase the firearm. They’ll ask for the name/contact information of your preferred FFL. Step 4: Contact your local FFL and ask them what information they need from you in order to receive the firearm that you’ve purchased. Most FFL’s have a form on their website where you provide your contact information so they can notify you when your firearm arrives. Both FFL’s (Wilson Brother’s Armory and Stoddard’s) will need to exchange copies of their FFL license in order for the transfer to take place. Usually they take care of this themselves and doesn’t require any action from you. Step 5: Once your firearm arrives in your resident state, you’ll be contacted to come pick it up from your local FFL. If you do not have a Georgia Weapon’s Carry License (GWCL), your local FFL will have you complete an ATF Form 4473 and contact NICS to run your background check. If you do have a Georgia Weapon’s Carry License, you still have to complete the ATF Form 4473 but they don’t have to take the extra step of contacting NICS to run a new background check. Step 6: You pay the FFL their transfer fee and leave with your firearm. Notes: Say you’re on a road trip and see a gun you want to buy in Texas but you’re a resident of Georgia. You will not be able to buy the gun in Texas and drive it back to Georgia. The process is exactly the same as buying a handgun online. You’d still pay for the gun in Texas, contact your local Georgia FFL, have them exchange information, go to your local GA FFL to pick up the gun, fill out your ATF Form 4473 (run background check if you don’t have a GWCL), pay the transfer fee and leave. Original Blog Below Buying a Handgun Do's and Donts DO figure out the purpose of the gun. Is it going to be an everyday carry gun (edc) or is it going to be a home defense gun (or both) DONT purchase a firearm that you've never shot. It would be like buying a car that you've never driven DO take a firearms class before you purchase a firearm. Not taking a class beforehand is like buying a car before you learn how to drive DONT purchase a firearm based on its appearance or the recommendation of others. THERE IS NO "GIRL" GUN! DO shop around and pay attention to what's included in the cost. Gun A may cost $400 but doesn't include magazines, Gun B may be $405 but includes 2 magazines, case and cleaning brushes DONT waste money on expensive/cool gadgets until you have mastered shooting fundamentals. Save that money for firearms education and practice ammo DO think about safe storage/carry options while making your handgun decision. If you plan to carry the firearm in a holster then you should figure out what firearm/holster combination works best for you *learn your state and local handgun/self defense laws, consider purchasing gun owners insurance, and make sure your household is considered in the decision

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