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What is an FFL Transfer Fee?

Have you ever purchased a firearm online? If so, you’re probably already familiar with FFL transfer fees. For those new to online gun buying, any time you buy a gun through an eCommerce retailer, the firearm is shipped, not to your residence, but to your preferred local Federal Firearms Licensed (FFL) gun store. Because of the required license, gun stores/ dealers are simply referred to as FFLs. After your new online purchased firearm arrives at your local FFL, they will have you come in and go through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background check. Once you pass the NICS background check, the FFL can transfer the firearm(s) to you. The FFL will charge you a transfer fee, typically ranging from $20 to $50, for their time & effort in processing the paperwork and background check.

What Happens at the FFL?

Before we can talk transfer fees, we must first understand what happens when a firearm arrives at the local FFL of your choosing. The following things happen during an FFL transfer:

Step 1: The FFL logs the firearm's serial number into their Bound Book as required by the BATF.  

Step 2: Once you arrive at the FFL, you must provide a photo ID and fill out the ATF Form 4473 in its entirety. This form collects demographic information, information about the firearm(s) and acts as a questionnaire to determine if you are a "prohibited person" for purchasing a firearm. 

Step 3: An employee from the FFL completes the NICS background check.

Step 4: Assuming you passed the NICS background check, you can take your newly purchased firearm home.

Why Do FFLs Charge a Transfer Fee?

FFL transfers are multistep processes with many moving parts. Employees of the FFL must log the firearm into and out of their Bound Book, conduct the NICS background check, and answer any questions you might have. Naturally, the FFL requires compensation for their time and labor invested in this process. You can also look at the transfer fee as being synonymous to documentation or administrative expenses in any other type of business transaction. 


Because of the massive network of FFLs across the country, you can shop our entire selection as if you were local to Classic Firearms. So what are you waiting for? Today is the day to purchase a firearm online and ship it to the local FFL of your choosing!

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