If you’re a first-time gun buyer, you might be wondering what to expect when making your purchase. There’s a lot of misinformation about the process and it’s not as complicated as you might think!
In this article, we’ll explain what an FFL dealer is and what to expect when purchasing your first firearm. We’ll also provide an overview of Virginia’s regulations for private party gun sales.
What is an FFL Gun Dealer?
An FFL, or Federal Firearms License, is typically necessary for those engaged in the business of manufacturing, importing, or selling firearms. An FFL is not required for selling ammunition.
The FFL was established due to the Federal Firearms Act of 1938. There are several types of FFLs available, from Type 1 to Type 11, but not all can be used for retail sales. However, an FFL is required to sell firearms to the public. If you’re ready to sell or purchase a gun, you’ll want to find an FFL dealer.
An FFL gun dealer has completed multiple reviews, a background check, and an interview to receive their FFL license to sell firearms. The process includes extensive discussion of federal, state, and local firearms requirements. FFL holders can also apply for an SOT (Special Occupational Taxpayer), which allows them to pay an additional tax to manufacture, import, or sell NFA devices, such as silencers.
All new guns and all online firearm purchases in the United States must be sold through an FFL. Many states, including Virginia, require background checks for private party gun sales, so if you are planning to purchase or sell a gun in Virginia, you’ll need to find an FFL holder to facilitate the sale.
Virginia Universal Background Check Law
As of July 1, 2020, all firearm sales in Virginia require a universal background check. Green Top Sporting Goods is a licensed FFL Dealer located in Ashland, VA and offers FFL transfer services for transfers from other FFL dealers. We conduct background checks for our own gun sales as well as transfers from other FFLs.
These sales are subject to the regulations as any other sale an FFL dealer conducts. The prospective buyer needs to complete the required portion of a Firearms Transaction Record for the FFL dealer to conduct the necessary checks.
What Do You Need to Purchase a Firearm?
Federal law requires you to have a valid government-issued photo ID that includes your name, date of birth, and current residential address. Note that there may be additional identification requirements for completing a background check depending on state law, the type of weapon you’re purchasing, residency status, citizenship status, and other considerations.
You’ll also need to fill out ATF Form 4473 (the Firearms Transaction Record) to purchase a gun. The FFL holder must have a log of these to provide to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives if needed.
After you fill out the form, the FFL will run a personal background check on you through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is the federal background check system. The NICS will let the FFL holder know whether your application has been approved, denied, or delayed. This process is often very quick.
If your application is delayed, don’t panic! This doesn’t automatically mean you’ve been denied gun ownership. Your information may be similar to an individual who is prohibited from owning a firearm, or the NICS may simply need more information. The FFL dealer will let you know when your background check is complete.
If the application is denied, you won’t be able to purchase a firearm. If you’re still interested in buying a gun, find out why your application was denied. There is an appeal process you can follow if you believe the denial was made in error.
Purchasing a Gun Online
If you’re buying a gun online, you’ll need to pick up the order at a physical store with an FFL holder that can process the transaction (such as Green Top Sporting Goods in Ashland, VA) or have it shipped to an FFL dealer of your choice. Green Top offers transfer services for firearms coming from another FFL dealer, distributor, or manufacturer.
You can shop from a wide selection of firearms, ammo, and more right from our online catalog or at our Ashland location. So whether you need a gun shop near Ashland Virginia to visit or simply want to browse from the couch, we’ve got options for you.