The process for buying a firearm is pretty standard from dealer to dealer, and is overseen by the BATF, or Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. It is regulated by the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA) and incorporated Acts. The only differences are in how the paperwork is filled out and how the FBI is contacted about the NICS background check.
Buying a firearm, while not complicated, can be confusing. Many people have fallen prey to the lie that there are loopholes to the process or that getting a gun on the internet is easier than voting. This is not true. The so called gun show loophole is a misrepresentation, as every licensed FFL has to follow the same regulations at a gun show as in their So let’s clarify the process for purchasing your firearm from the shop. We’ll follow up with another post about purchasing on the internet.
When you come into the shop, we will gladly assist you in selecting the right and proper firearm. This means we will start a conversation with you about what your purpose for the firearm will be, such as concealed carry, home protection, hunting, sport shooting, etc. Once we’ve determined the what/why, we will begin the process of handling our in stock items that match. The feel of a firearm, especially a handgun, is very important. This is a process we like to call fitting. When you have selected the firearm that meets your purpose, fits you, and is your price range the paperwork can start.
To begin the paperwork, we will ask for you driver’s license and if applicable your Ohio CHL (Ohio Concealed Handgun License, also known as a CCW permit). In Ohio, if you have an Ohio CHL issued after March 23, 2015, you will be exempted from the NICS background check. Your identifying documents must reflect the address you fill out on the Form 4473, or there will need to be supplemental documentation provided, such as a vehicle registration. You will then begin to fill out the ATF Form 4473 (copy available here), which is the Firearms Transfer Record. See our blog post here to explain the Form 4473.
In our shop we use an electronic form 4473, so you will sit down at a computer to fill out section B. We do not electronically sign the form however. While you are filling out the form, we will make a copy of your identifying documents, and create a costumer/contact record for you in the system. Once you have completed the form, we will complete section C, print the form, get the first signature in section B, and if you are not permit exempt, we will initiate the NICS background check using their NICS eCheck. Some dealers will phone in the background check. We will also phone it in occasionally if there are internet or computer problems. Sometimes NICS eCheck is down. The FBI is required to return an instant response a high percentage of the time, however, sometimes the response can take a while to come back.
NICS will return 1 of 4 statuses when the response comes back. “Proceed”, which means the dealer can go ahead with the transfer; “Denied”, which means that the individual has been deemed to be a prohibited person and may not purchase a firearm; “Delayed”, which means the NICS system has flagged the individual for further research and assigned the case to a human FBI agent. If you receive a status of “Delayed”, the Brady Law sets forth a limit of 3 business days for the FBI to return a “Proceed” or a “Denied”. The dealer is allowed by law to transfer the firearm after the “Brady Date” has passed. Many larger gun dealers, such as Rural King, and others, will not honor this part of the law and will require a “Proceed” response from the FBI before transferring a firearm to you. We will follow the law and ask that you pay for your firearm and return after the “Brady Date” to pickup your item. The fourth status is “Cancelled”. For more information on terminology see this page.
Once you receive a “Proceed” or are permit exempt, or after the “Brady Date”, we’ll sign the rest of the paperwork and process the payment for your item, if it was not already paid. You will leave a happy customer.