How to buy a gun online

How to buy a gun online

Step 1) Select a firearm from our expansive selection of handguns, rifles and shotguns. Then use our “Can we ship this to you?” tool (below the “Add to Cart” button) to determine if we can ship that item to your zip code according to local and state laws.

Add the firearm to your shopping cart, and then click checkout. Login to your Cheaper Than Dirt! Account for quick checkout or you may checkout as a guest (you’ ll have the option to create an account after checkout to save time on your next order).

Enter your billing address and click the green continue button.

Step 2) Click the green “Choose FFL Dealer” button to pick where you would like the firearm shipped.

If the FFL dealer you would like to use is not listed, click the gray “Bypass” button and email us the dealer’s Federal Firearms License with your order number as the subject to [email protected]

Once you have selected a FFL dealer or chosen to email us your preferred dealer, press the green continue button, enter payment information and submit your firearm order.

Step 3) Cheaper Than Dirt! will ship the firearm to the chosen FFL dealer. Once your gun arrives at the FFL dealer’s address they will call you to notify you of its arrival.

The FFL dealer will charge a nominal fee at the time of the transfer. The actual amount is up to the individual dealer, but this fee typically ranges from $15 to $60.

When you arrive at the FFL dealer, please inspect the firearm and ensure the model is correct before proceeding further. If there are any issues please call our Gun Sales department immediately.

Step 4) Complete requirements for firearm transfer and take your new handgun, rifle or shotgun home!

The FFL dealer will ask you to fill out the federal, local and state required paperwork associated with your firearm as well as complete a background check. If you have any questions about the paperwork, background check or any other elements of the actual transfer, we recommend you contact the transferring FFL dealer with those questions.

Please note: All firearms sales are final

It is important to inspect your firearm thoroughly before completion of the transfer. Once the firearm is transferred into your name, Cheaper Than Dirt! will not accept a return or exchange under any circumstance. If a defect is discovered after completing the transfer, you must contact the manufacturer directly for repair or replacement.

How to buy a gun online

The best way to find a great deal on your next gun is to buy used. Just think about it. Most guns are lightly used, and reasonably well cared-for. But guns are like cars – the moment you buy a new one, it becomes used and is worth much less. Why not take advantage of that price gap?

Getting started with buying a used gun

There are two major steps to buying a used gun online:

  1. Finding your used gun: Searching the internet for the gun you want, finding a good deal, and confirming with the seller. This is the easy part.
  2. Completing your transaction: Making payment to the seller in a way that keeps you safe from fraud, and receiving transfer of the gun from your local gun dealer (FFL). This is the harder part, but we’ll help you get through it smoothly.

Choose a marketplace

There are tons of marketplaces for buying used guns. We’ll get into the details below. But first, let’s talk about what to expect. Generally there are 2 formats for firearm listings:

  1. Auctions: Sellers usually post a low starting price, and buyers bid until the price stops going up. The highest bidder wins the item. Generally there is no negotiation. Also, generally auctions are subject to sales tax, which must be paid by the buyer. That adds approximately 8% to the cost of every transaction.
  2. Classified ads: Sellers usually post an asking price. Sometimes they will say “OBO” (which means “or best offer”), in which case you should definitely consider negotiating. Regardless, you might simply ask “what’s the lowest price you can take?” Generally classified ads are not subject to sales tax.

GunBroker is the most popular place to find guns for sale online. They are also somewhat unique because they support both auctions and classified ads (which they call “buy now” ads). However, GunBroker is classified as a “marketplace facilitator” in most states, which means buyers need to pay sales tax on GunBroker transactions – even the “buy now” classifieds.

ArmsList is another big marketplace. They’re exclusively classifieds, and are not involved in transactions, so you don’t need to pay sales tax. Also, ArmsList tends to have very good deals on used guns. The downside is that ArmsList is geared towards face-to-face transactions, so if you want the advantages of a nationwide marketplace it’s easier to look elsewhere.

Other large marketplaces are GunsAmerica and GunsInternational (which is good for antiques and collectibles). Then there are plenty of smaller nationwide marketplaces, and also many local marketplaces (usually state-specific). Scroll to the bottom of this page to see the world’s best list of used gun marketplaces, organized by category.

Finding a used gun to buy

Once you have found a marketplace that suits your needs, it’s time for the fun part. Find that used gun you’ve been wanting to buy! Use the marketplace search feature to find a good deal, and express some sort of buying intent. For an auction that means bidding. For a classified ad, that means either clicking a “buy now” button, or contacting the seller.

Choosing a local FFL

Generally, you’ll need to select a local FFL to receive your used gun and “transfer” it to you. (The only exception is if you’re buying directly from a local FFL.) If you’re using GunTab, we’ll help you search local FFLs and ask the right questions about their transfer policies. The first question you want to ask is whether they will accept an incoming transfer for you. Then, if the seller is not an FFL, be sure to ask if your FFL will accept an incoming transfer from a “non-licensed” individual. If the FFL has any extra steps for you to complete in advance, they’ll let you know.

Paying for your used gun

Paying for guns is challenging, because all payment platforms prohibit firearm transactions (including PayPal and Venmo). But obviously sellers won’t ship anything until you’ve paid. Historically a buyer would mail a check or money order to the seller, and hope the seller was legitimate. Unfortunately many buyers got scammed that way, because they had no protection against a fake seller simply keeping the money. More recently, people have started trying to use platforms like PayPal and Venmo in spite of their anti-gun policies. Many of them get caught, lose their money, and get permanently banned. Even if they don’t get caught, they have no protection if they get scammed.

Basically, the only safe way to pay for a used gun is through GunTab. There is no other way that is safe for you, as the buyer. And GunTab comes with lots of extra benefits, like step-by-step guidance. So as soon as you’re ready to pay, log into your free GunTab account and click the button to “pay for something”. GunTab will guide you through each step until you’ve received your gun.

Shipping/delivery of your used gun

After you’ve paid, the seller should ship the item to your local FFL (or deliver it themself if that’s what was agreed). If you’re using GunTab, you don’t need to worry about this step. We’ll communicate this information to the seller. Otherwise, you need to provide the FFL’s name and address to the seller. The seller may also ask for the FFL’s license number, so the details can be confirmed with FFL eZCheck.

One thing to note: the seller might ask their own local FFL to ship to your local FFL. That’s not usually necessary, but it’s a common way for sellers to be certain they’re following the law.

Receiving your used gun

Your FFL should notify you when your gun has arrived and is ready for transfer. At that point you visit the FFL, complete the standard federal background check, and (unless there is a wait period in your jurisdiction) take home your new toy.

You can buy anything online, shoes, office supplies, even groceries. But can you buy that shiny new SCCY CPX-2 9mm, or the patriotic FMK carry gun?

In most cases, yes. You can buy a gun online.

Online gun sales are booming. Buying guns online is just as easy as buying anything else online, but there are a few important rules to know. Buying guns online is quick, easy, and usually cheaper than buying at a storefront. But don’t let these easy mistakes cost you more time or money.

Online Gun Buying Tip #1: Know your State’s law.

There are some easy and quick ways to know exactly what your state laws say.

You may have a hard time buying a gun online if you live in:

  • New York
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington D.C.
  • New Jersey
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Any other state that infringes your 2nd amendment rights

If you do live in one of the previously mentioned states, you may consider moving to the land of the free. If moving isn’t an option, here’s a link to a website about knitting. You’ll like that.

If you purchase a gun that is not legal in your state, you will have a handful of financial fees you’ll be responsible to pay for to get that gun shipped back to the place you bought it from and be expected to pay additional restocking fees. Better safe than sorry, and look it up first.

Why don’t most gun shops ship to California? Will Florida Gun Supply ship to California?

Yes, we can absolutely ship guns to California. In fact, we are one of the only online gun stores that support our brothers and sisters stuck in the People’s Republic of California!

If you live in California, and you want to buy a gun online, you should first:

  1. Read this list of 791 “California compliant handguns” – properly titled the, “Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale“
  2. Double check that you are able to OWN a gun in California
  3. Move out of California

Online Gun Buying Tip #2: Remember, you still have to pass a background check.

Federal law says that if you buy a gun from a Federal Firearms Licensed gun dealer (FFL) it must be shipped to another FFL so you can pick it up at a shop near you. When you buy a gun online there is usually a spot for Order Notes where you will put what FFL you want your gun shipped to.

If you’re buying a gun online from us and don’t know exactly where to ship your gun, that’s OK! Buy the gun right now and we’ll help you find a spot to ship it before we send it out.

Online Gun Buying Tip #3: Only YOU can pick up your gun.

For example, In Florida, to buy a handgun, you must be 21 years or older and have either a

  • Florida Drivers License
  • Florida Property Tax in your name
  • Florida Vehicle Registration in your name

Some states require a gun permit or special safety courses before picking up your gun. Make sure that you have the required documentation needed before you buy a gun online.

Can a gun be shipped to your home? Can you buy a gun anonymously?

Here are some tips and advice for buying from a gun store online.

Can a Gun Store Online Ship a Firearm to My Home?

No. Federal law prevents guns that you buy from an online gun store from being shipped directly to your home.

But don’t worry – it’s easy to buy from a gun store online. All you need to do is find a local gun shop near you to ship your gun to, and you go pick up your gun from them.

If you don’t know of a local gun store near you, most gun stores online can help you find a local shop to ship your firearm to. Just ask, and I’m sure they’d be happy to make a list for you.

What are the Benefits to Buying a Gun from an Online Store?

There are quite a few benefits to buying a gun from an online store. Here are the main benefits:

  1. Online gun stores usually have better prices than your local gun stores will. Typically, there is less overhead for the gun store online to deal with.
  2. Most states don’t currently charge sales tax on items you purchase online – which means you can often times get your firearm with no sales tax.
  3. You can join a gun buying club to get wholesale prices on guns for a minimal monthly fee.
  4. Most online gun stores have better selections than a local shop because again, there is less overhead.

Is Buying a Gun from a Store Online Easy?

Most gun stores online are as easy to purchase from as any other online retailer – you just add your gun to the shopping cart, enter your information, and check out.

The gun store online will then contact you about your order. They might confirm the purchase you made, and they’ll definitely ask you where you want the gun shipped to.

Ammunition and accessories can ship directly to your home.

How Much is Shipping from a Gun Store Online?

Florida Gun Supply always has free shipping on all of our products – including our guns.

We find it a lot easier to handle shipping when it is absolutely free – and everyone loves free stuff!

Will My Local Gun Store Charge Me a Fee for Transferring the Firearm?

Yes. All local gun stores that will accept transfers will charge you a fee. Generally, this fee ranges from $20-$40 bucks.

If your local gun store charges more than $40 dollars, you should probably find another shop to deal with.

Do I Need to Pass a Background Check to Pick Up My Gun?

Yes. You’ll be required to fill out form 4473 at the local gun shop and a background check will be completed within 5 minutes.

From full-sized handguns to pocket pistols, offers a wide array of used semi-auto, revolver, single shot and derringer pistols. No matter your need, you’re sure to find options from popular brands like Glock, Colt, Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Sig Sauer, Taurus, Beretta, Kimber + many more. has a rifle for every need. Are you a big game hunter? We got you. Are you a competition shooter or weekend plinker? Look no further! Shop our wide selection of used rifles available in a variety of makes and models with a plethora of modifications and accessories.

Whether you’re a competition clay shooter, a hunter or shopping for home defense, you’re sure to find what you need from our selection of high-quality used shotguns. Shop trusted brands like Browning, Remington, Mossberg, Benelli, Beretta and more.

Buying a used gun is a great option as many guns can last for decades and can often be found at great prices. It’s also a great way to get older, harder to find firearms or collectors pieces. Check out our VAST selection of used firearms today!

When you buy a Certified Used Gun you are also buying peace of mind. Our on-site experts have inspected each gun individually – making sure there are no mechanical defects, that the condition of the gun is consistent with our rating, and that it will be ready to use from the moment it arrives. So go ahead, see what the Certified Difference is really all about.

SELL YOUR GUN offers the best service to sell your gun online – period. Get a free, fast and fair quote for your gun in just a couple easy steps.

Whether you're looking for some extra cash or want to put cash made towards your next firearm purchase, we make the process easy, simple and quick. You no longer have to hassle with gun auctions or online consignments.

This innovative service was created for members of the firearms community and allows you to sell your gun hassle-free. We are a fully licensed FFL (Federal Firearms Licensee) and offer the safest, most convenient way to sell a gun. You get paid in days – just box it up and ship it our way. We even pay for shipping!

If you have a brand new or used firearm you have been looking to sell, get started today by telling us about your firearm, and our appraisal team will quickly provide you with a quote.

Looking to sell an entire collection, or more than one? Learn more about selling your gun collection .

We actually get quite a few calls and emails every month asking us how to buy a gun in Virginia, so I decided it was time to put it in writing. In this article I will walk you through the different scenarios of buying a gun in VA. I will cover buying a gun from an FFL (Federal Firearms Licensee) Dealer at a store or a gun show. There is no difference in the process when buying from a licensed dealer, whether you are at their place of business or a gun show the process is the same.

Virginia differs from the majority of states, in that the Virginia State Police handle all firearms background checks. Virginia Firearms Transaction Program

All FFL dealers must follow all local, state, and federal laws.

Buying a Gun from a Gun Store or Gun Show / FFL Dealer, the Basics:

You must be at least 18 years old to purchase a Long Gun:

  • Long Gun: Refers to any rifle or non-pistol grip only shotgun, it could be an AR15, an AK47, a bolt action rifle, a semi auto shotgun, or even a pump action shotgun. It does not matter what features a rifle has, it is still considered a long gun and as such can be purchased by someone at least 18 years old.

You must be at least 21 years old to purchase a Handgun, Receiver/ Frame, or a Pistol Gripped Shotgun:

  • Handgun: Refers to any pistol or revolver.
  • Receiver or Frame: Refers to the serialized part of a firearm. An example of which is an AR15 stripped lower receiver. The reason you must be 21 or older to buy this is because a receiver or frame can be built into a handgun.
  • Pistol Gripped Shotgun: Refers to a shotgun that does not have a stock, only a pistol grip or something along the lines of a Mossberg Shockwave, or Remington Tac-14 (the definitions get weird here).

You must be able to pass a Background check:

  • Virginia State Police Firearms Purchase Eligibility Test

Virginia Residents Buying from a Gun Store or Gun Show / FFL Dealer:

What forms will you have to fill out:

  • Virginia Firearms Transaction Record SP-65
  • Federal Firearms Transaction Record Form 4473

I provided links to these forms for reference only. These forms need to be filled out at the time of your purchase, do not print them out ahead of time. Your gun store/ FFL dealer will provide them for you at the time of purchase.

ID Requirements:

  • Your PRIMARY ID must be a valid Virginia Driver’s License or valid Virginia ID card that has an issued date of at least 30 days prior to your purchase date. If your driver’s license or ID card is not a least 30 days old you cannot buy a gun.

Address Requirements:

  • The address on your PRIMARY ID, must match your current physical address (NO PO Boxes) that you write on question 2 of the Form 4473. If your PRIMARY ID does not match your physical address you will need to provide some other form of ID that is government issued that has your current physical address (where you live on the day you fill out the paperwork). Examples are a Voter ID card, a Concealed Handgun Permit, Vehicle Registration, Hunting or Fishing License, Municipal utility bill, Tax bill, etc.

How much does the background check cost?

  • The Virginia State Police charges $2.00 for the background check of VA State Residents. Your dealer collects the $2.00

Active Duty Military Personnel Permanently Stationed in Virginia, Buying from a Gun Store or Gun Show / FFL Dealer:

What forms will you have to fill out:

  • Virginia Firearms Transaction Record SP-65
  • Federal Firearms Transaction Record Form 4473

I provided links to these forms for reference only. These forms need to be filled out at the time of your purchase, do not print them out ahead of time. Your gun store/ FFL dealer will provide them for you at the time of purchase.

ID Requirements:

  • Your PRIMARY ID must be a valid Active Duty Military ID.
  • Your permanent duty orders to a VA duty station OR your Leave and Earnings statement that shows your Physical Virginia Address. These can be paper or electronic, and we only need to see them, you do not have to provide a copy.

Your dealer may want your out of state drivers license as well.

Address Requirements:

  • No address requirements for ID or Orders, the only address requirements are if you are using your leave and earning statement instead of orders. Please write your current physical address on question 2 of the Form 4473. If you are using your leave and earnings statement the address on question 2 must match the address on your leave and earnings statement.

How much does the background check cost?

  • The Virginia State Police charges $2.00 for the background check for Military Personnel Stationed in VA. Your dealer collects the $2.00

Special note regarding Military Personnel, the state of Virginia has different requirements than the federal government. In the state of Virginia, the only way to be able to purchase a handgun is with either a VA Drivers License, VA ID, or with Military ID and permanent duty orders to a VA duty station or your leave and earnings statement with a physical VA address.

Out of State Residents Buying from a Gun Store or Gun Show / FFL Dealer in Virginia:

Out of State Residents may only purchase Long Guns in Virginia. This is a federal law, all handgun, receiver/ frame, or pistol gripped shotgun sales must take place in your state of residence. Also, we cannot sell you guns that violate your states laws. Examples include but are not limited to: States with assault weapon restrictions, states that require a special ID to purchase any firearms, or states that have contiguous state laws regarding long gun purchases. Please know your state laws before trying to buy a gun in Virginia.

What forms will you have to fill out:

  • Virginia Firearms Transaction Record SP-65
  • Federal Firearms Transaction Record Form 4473

I provided links to these forms for reference only. These forms need to be filled out at the time of your purchase, do not print them out ahead of time. Your gun store/ FFL dealer will provide them for you at the time of purchase.

How to buy a gun online

The subject of buying a firearm online often draws undue attention. In its most basic form, purchasing a gun online is a merging of the old and the new. The advent of the internet has not yet completely integrated into social expectations, even as it has certainly invaded almost all aspects of everyday life. Just as the internet has exponentially expanded the flow of information, it has also created purely digital storefronts. While we don’t think twice about ordering food or car parts from various websites, how to buy a gun online brings with it different requirements.

How to buy a gun online

Photography from

How to Buy a Gun

While different states have different minor variations, the foundation of purchasing a firearm from a business follows a specific set of guidelines. In order to buy a gun from a guns store, the purchaser must undergo a NICS background check, which for the purchaser, is performed in the store by filling out a form known as an AFT Form 4473. That background check is completed almost instantly and needs some clarification. Following under the precedence, “Innocent until proven guilty,” the NICS background check screens the potential purchaser for clearly defined factors that would prohibit them from owning a firearm. If none are adequately present, the sale proceeds. Money is exchanged and off to the range with you.

How to buy a gun online

Photography from

The traditional pipeline follows one of two routes:

Manufacturer -> Distributor -> Brick and Mortar FFL Storefront -> Buyer

Craftsman -> Brick and Mortar FFL Storefront -> Buyer

Adding a dash of internet to the equation, is an example of the benefits of online storefronts. In times past, when buying from a brick-and-mortar store, we were once limited to choosing between what was on the shelf or what could be ordered, the internet has drastically changed both our perception of the options, and what is immediately available for purchase. Online gun stores have the upside of variety, with the negligible downside of time.

How to buy a gun online

Variety is the spice of online firearms sales. No longer restricted to the selection attuned to those within driving distance. Photography from

In order to purchase a firearm online from a distributor, manufacturer, or digital storefront, the same things need to take place: money must be exchanged, the firearm must be delivered to an FFL dealer, and the purchaser must undergo a background check. when someone buys a gun from, the firearm is then shipped to an FFL of the buyer’s choice, where they will go and make the transfer legally, after completing an ATF Form 4473 and passing the background check.

How to buy a gun online

At the apex between supply and demand, online gun stores can reach a larger base, and legally. Photography from

Advantages of the Digital Age

The common myth that one could go online, buy a firearm, and immediately have it shipped to their home shows, not the dangers of buying a gun online, but the advantages of modern logistics. Since the Federal Government requires a gun to be shipped to a Federal Firearms Licensed gun store or dealer, the same laws that apply to regular firearms purchasing remain in effect and effective at the point of transfer.

How to buy a gun online

New York City has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. Residents are required to get a permit to purchase and own a gun, and all buyers – whether they shop at a store or arrange a private sale – have to go through a licensed firearms dealer and get a background check.

For unscrupulous buyers, however, the internet can provide a quick and easy way to get around the restrictions. On websites like, prospective buyers can browse through thousands of ads for guns and ammunition and contact the sellers directly. A New York state law passed in 2013 requires sellers to ensure that all buyers undergo a background check through a federal firearms dealer even if they arrange to purchase the gun online, but there is no oversight to make sure they do so.

“Websites like make it far too easy for dangerous people who want guns to do harm or who want guns to traffic,” said Lindsay Nichols, a senior attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in San Francisco. “It makes it way too easy for them to get guns and to sell to people who want to get guns.”

In 2011, investigators in New York City found over 25,000 guns for sale online, and the Department of Justice has estimated that there are at least 4,000 websites offering firearms. Gun control advocates say these online sites provide ample opportunities for criminals to obtain weapons.

NY City Lens decided to see just how easy it would be to purchase a gun online without a permit and without going through a background check. A reporter set up an e-mail account on Sunday, April 24, and posed as a prospective buyer on

Of the 22 sellers who responded to the reporter’s inquiries, the majority refused to sell the reporter a gun without going through a licensed firearms dealer. Most sellers also refused to sell the gun when the reporter asked if she could buy it for someone else or have a friend buy it for her, which is known as a “straw purchase” and is illegal under federal law.

Within four days of setting up the e-mail account, however, NY City Lens had arranged to purchase two rifles in a way that would have violated New York law, and had been told how to get an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle without a background check. The reporter agreed on prices and meeting places with the sellers, but did not continue the conversation beyond that.

How to buy a gun online

Just three hours after the reporter set up the e-mail account, one seller had agreed to sell the reporter a rifle in spite of being told that the reporter was “a little concerned about the background check” and in spite of the reporter’s suggestion that she have a friend buy the weapon for her.

Initially, the seller seemed skeptical. “[Y]ou dropping these little hints of maybe being a felon, but trying to buy it any ways, sounds like some bull shit law enforcement trap,” the seller wrote. After the reporter responded that she was not a law enforcement agent, the seller agreed to sell her a hunting rifle, even though the reporter said she did not plan to use the weapon for hunting. “If you’re a serious buyer I will sell the rifle,” the seller wrote.

The seller suggested meeting in the parking lot of a store in Watertown, New York that sells hunting equipment and other outdoor gear. For $910, he promised to hand over the gun and pay for the background check for “who ever is getting the rifle.” NY City Lens did not go through with the purchase and stopped corresponding with the seller after they agreed on a meeting place, but before agreeing to a date and time for the purchase.

How to buy a gun online

Some upstate New York sellers that responded said they were unclear about the laws in New York City. Outside city limits, restrictions on rifles and shotguns are looser and buyers are not required to have a permit to purchase these types of firearms. Many of the sellers encouraged the reporter to research city laws or contact the police for more information. But other sellers suggested ways the reporter could get around city and state regulations.

One seller suggested a loophole that would allow the reporter to buy his Remington 700 SPS Tactical rifle without registering it. “I bought this rifle before New York started the Firearms registration deal for rifles so it was never registered to me so technically if I sold it to somebody they could just keep it and not register and pretend they bought it before the law went into effect,” the seller wrote. When the reporter responded that she would “prefer to not register it and just say I got it before the law went into effect,” the seller agreed. “[L]ike I said there’s no way for them to tell. It could have been sold 50 times before the law changed.” He suggested exchanging the rifle at a T.G.I. Friday’s restaurant near Woodbury, New York because “I guess the mall isn’t a smart place to do that.” NY City Lens did not go through with the purchase.

How to buy a gun online

A third seller was not willing to directly sell the reporter his AR-15 semi-automatic rifle – the type of gun used by the San Bernardino shooters – after she said she was concerned about the background check. Instead, he suggested another way to get the weapon.

“[W]hile I AM NOT RECOMMENDING THIS,” the seller wrote, using upper case letters. “[W]hat a lot of us do who have background issues, we have a close friend of family member who is willing to play the game purchase something for us.”

When the reporter asked if she could have a friend buy the AR-15 for her, the seller responded:

“I guess it works like this, I can’t know about that in any way, otherwise I’d be committing a felony […] I’m going to have to say no, I can’t sell to your friend knowing this information. However, the gun will remain listed on Armslist and anyone who contacts me in the next few weeks with the clear intention of buying it only for themselves will have the opportunity to purchase the firearm.”

He added, “Once I sell to a private party and I have [no] reason to suspect otherwise, I think whatever she does is her business.”

NY City Lens attempted to contact Armslist via an online form because Armslist does not have a phone number listed on its website. Armslist did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

How to buy a gun online

There are two ways in which a person may legally buy a gun in Illinois. As you can imagine both methods are very heavily regulated by both the state and federal governments. This article will discuss how a new gun owner may buy a gun in Illinois.

The two methods how to buy a gun in Illinois would be to buy from a licensee or buy from a private party. A licensee is more commonly referred to as a gun store or gun dealer, and a private party would be any individual without the necessary state and federal licenses who wish to sell a gun. This article will focus on how a new gun owner may buy a gun in Illinois from a gun store. Another article previously written, How To Sell a Gun in Illinois, explains how private individuals may buy or sell guns to one another.

Step 1 Gun Owner Registration

Every gun owner in Illinois must be registered. This is what is called a Firearm Owner Identification card, or FOID for short. This can be done by going to the Illinois State Police (ISP) Firearm Services Bureau (FSB) website at, when the website actually is working. Or you can call the ISPFSB at 217-782-7980, however, be prepared to be on hold for 2 hours if you do call.

The FOID application will ask basic information such as name, address, driver’s license number, etc… The fee is $10 plus a convenience fee. The FOID card is currently valid for 10 years, although there are efforts to increase the fees, require fingerprints, and to reduce the term to 5 years.

According to state law, your new FOID card will arrive in the mail within 30 days unless the state determines you to be a prohibited person. However it is not unusual for someone to wait 3 or 4 months, and there is no penalty for the state to not comply with its laws.

You can not buy a firearm from a gun store or a private party without a FOID card. So, please be patient. (That part about patience was complete sarcasm).

Step 2 Buying the Gun

Once you have your FOID card in hand, you can now visit the gun store to buy your gun. Let’s assume you spent the last 3 or 4 months researching the best guns available, while you waited months for your FOID card to arrive. There are some great articles on the internet about choosing the right gun for you. One such article is, What is the Best Gun for Concealed Carry. While this article is specifically written regarding concealed carry guns, it does walk the reader through selection based on size, personal fit, lifestyle, etc… This is all great advice no matter what type of gun you are looking to buy.

After you’ve picked out and paid for your new gun, the dealer will ask you to fill out a federal form, the 4473. Also, the dealer may ask other information such as occupation and intended use of the gun, which are additional state of Illinois requirements. The dealer is required to keep this 4473 for not less than 20 years and turn these documents over to police upon request. Some say the 4473 is a back door gun registry.

Step 3 Taking Possession of the gun.

Ok, goodbye! You can’t take possession yet. You have to wait at least 72 hours to take possession of your new gun. There is a 72 hour “cool down” waiting period in Illinois to buy a new gun. As if the 4 months you waited for your FOID card isn’t a long enough wait! But what’s worse is, it’s not unusual for this waiting period to go longer. I’ve personally waited 5 days before, and have heard as long as 10 days for some people.

In other states, dealers will call the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and receive an instant approval or denial on the background check, but not in Illinois. Most states do not even have anything similar to the FOID card. In Illinois, the dealers are required to perform a Firearm Transfer Inquiry (FTIP), and the dealer will not release the firearm to you until they receive approval from the ISPFSB.

It is only now that you may take possession of your firearm. If you needed this firearm for self-defense, perhaps looters were in your neighborhood when you decided to buy the gun, receiving your gun 3 months later is no help to anyone.

A right delayed is a right denied. The FOID system has completely collapsed under its own weight and become a bottleneck to nonviolent civilians being able to exercise their right to self-preservation and self-defense. Now you understand how to buy a gun in Illinois, however, if this process seems like a cumbersome train wreck, many would agree. If you feel this long drawn out process prevents people from defending themselves and places lives in danger, many would also agree. It is up to each of us, and this includes YOU, to defend your right to self-defense. Take the next step and join multiple gun rights organizations. Write letters to your elected officials. We can change this if we all work together. There are 2.2 million gun owners in the state of Illinois, if we all speak up then we cannot be ignored. Your voice matters! #VoidTheFOID