An FFL transfer is the change in possession of a firearm from a Federal Firearm Licensee (FFL) to another FFL holder or to a customer. So, if a gun shop (an FFL dealer) ships a firearm to another FFL holder, then the firearm has been “transferred” from one FFL to another.
Have you ever tried to send or receive a firearm but weren’t sure how to do it?
Maybe you just bought a firearm online, or you need to ship a gun, and you’re wondering how to transfer it. You might have looked into transferring the gun and you learned that transfers the gun through an FFL can involve navigating many rules and requirements around firearm transfer laws and shipping.
Worry not! Conducting an FFL transfer is easy…. once you know the firearm transfer rules, you’ll be set.
A firearm transfer, simply speaking, is the change in possession of a firearm from an FFL to another FFL or a person/customer (non-FFL). The person or entity receiving the gun is the transferee.
Technically, any changing of possession of any item is transferring the item, however, the term “transfer,” when used with firearms, almost always means processing the gun through a licensed FFL dealer to a transferee as part of a firearm transaction.
Since the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), firearms that travel interstate (across state lines) must be transferred using a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL).
NFA items or NFA Firearms, like silencers/suppressors, short barreled rifles, etc. need to be transferred to an FFL that is also an SOT. Despite a lot of people using the term, there is really no such thing as a Class 3 License but rather an FFL dealer (usually a type 1 FFL) with a Class 3 SOT who will conduct the NFA transfer for the NFA item. We accept and transfer NFA transfers.
When an FFL is used to transfer a firearm, the FFL will acquire (receive) the firearm onto the FFL’s records from an individual (seller) or another FFL (manufacturer or another dealer). Then, the FFL will dispose (give) the firearm to another FFL or to an individual. That entire transaction is a “firearm transfer.”
There’s a bit of paperwork and rules to follow. We’ll cover those, and details on how to find an FFL and ship a gun, after we walk through each step of the FFL Transfer process.
When you purchase a firearm from an FFL dealer, you will need to have the firearm transferred to you.
If you are not an FFL holder (i.e. you don’t have your own FFL), then you, as the buyer, will need to go to the FFL dealer’s licensed premises to fill out an ATF Form 4473 (and other required paperwork in some states) and satisfy the background check requirements (typically a NICS background check).
The place of purchase is not necessarily an issue like the place of transfer is. For example, it is perfectly legal to purchase the gun online as long as it is shipped to an FFL dealer where you go to have it transferred to you.