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The NSSF is reporting continued good times in the firearms bidness.  Year-over-year, NICS (adjusted FBI background check) search volume was up 17.3% in January. Sure, there are the naysayers who base their claims of lower gun sales on other metrics. But you’d have a hard time convincing retailers, manufacturers or SHOT Show attendees that the firearms market is anything less than robust. To say nothing of the stock market. One of the growing areas in a growth industry: internet sales. The acceptance of which seems to be increasing, particularly among local brick and mortar dealers who buyers have to call on to do the FFL transfer dirty work for them. BUT . . .

As a recent survey of retailers for shows, the vast majority of gun stores are agreeing to do the transfers for Internet buyers ’cause there’s money in them there services.

The study showed a dramatic increase in retailer willingness to perform transfers for online sales in recent years. Some 45 percent of the responding retailers indicate that they have begun performing Internet transfers within the past five years – nearly have of those have only begun within the past two years.

The motivating factor: dinero. This is America, right? Sure, there are plenty of gun stores that may grumble and look at an Internet transfer as a lost sale, but they see the service as an opportunity for add-on sales. Not to mention wanting to provide a service to existing customers.

And doing the transfers also brings new customers in the door. What’s not asked: how much the retailers charge for their FFL expertise. A gun store that charges $100 or more to do an Internet transfer technically “does Internet transfers” for the purposes of the survey. In practice, though, they’re using the high price to tell anyone who asks to take a hike.

Which brings us to the question, does your store do on-line transfers? Are you sheepish about asking? Do they welcome the business or do they look at you sideways for not buying from them directly? And how much do they ding you for the service?

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  1. Transfers around here (Baltimore-to-DC corridor) are generally in the $40-$60 range. Most stores will transfer new guns. Obviously, they prefer if you buy new from them… and sometimes, the numbers do work out for them that way.

    Personally, I think the whole system needs a revamp in this era of internet sales. Why can’t the BATFE license individuals to receive guns but not be in the business of selling them? Think of it like a C&R license, just for modern guns.

    • We need fewer licenses surrounding the transfer of goods to customers… not more.

      The “revamp” the system needs is to get rid of FFL’s altogether. Then we can go back to buying 1911’s at Sears.

  2. I think the present requirement for an FFL meets the requirements of many states. My favorite retailer does a large volume of internet transfers. These involve no inventory cost, 10 minutes for $50. Then the purchaser buys ammo and indoor range time. They must find it very profitable?

  3. Generally about $30. There is a guy that does them free, but he’s a bit of a drive, and I’m not a regular customer, so I wouldn’t feel right asking. My local guy does $25 for private party/$30 from another FFL.

  4. My three most commonly visited local stores:

    $30 inbound first/$20 thereafter from same source + $5 NICS; $40/$30 outbound + actual shipping
    $40 inbound + $7 NICS; $50 outbound + actual shipping
    $50 inbound + $5 NICS; $50 outbound + actual shipping

    All are happy to do it, although less so at busy times. None of them have any restrictions on new/used, or care if it’s a private shipper, another retailer, or an internet source.

    • Oh, and interestingly, the three different price levels correspond to three dramatically different inventory levels. The cheap guys have a really nice store, but not a lot of guns in the cases, maybe 30 handguns total. The middle price has “average gun store stock,” and the expensive guys have a large store with literally hundreds of guns on display.

      I’ve bought three firearms from the “middle guys” so far. They’re not quite as cheap as the “big guys,” but they offer free range time for 30 days with the purchase of any firearm. Nobody else in town does that.

  5. Every shop in my area does transfers. Last time I bought a rifle online I found a place that only did transfers and some gunsmithing. Or gunsmithing with transfers on the side. Anyway, I sent it to them because the fee was only $20 and the dude knew his shit while the shop 5 min from my house wanted $50 and didn’t know what a saiga was.

  6. Northern KY prices range from $15 to $40, with most stores at $25 +/- $5. Not too shabby. Itd take more than that in gas for me to drive to Bud’s gunshop in Lexington and back. I’m looking forward to my first online deal (Sig SP2022, best Valentines day present evar

  7. 1) Yes.
    2) Hell no.
    3) They didn’t seem to like it much at first but I’ve transferred a bunch of guns over the last few years and these days they seem happy enough to see me. And they know my name now so that’s good I guess.
    4) Twenty-five for the first, twenty for each additional. It was twenty – fifteen up until about last November.

  8. Place by me is $35 plus 10% of the invoice. Unless you’re getting a great deal it ends up costing as much as buying from them, which I think is their intent.

  9. From my experience in NJ…yes, but they’re not happy about it. Most stores I visit charge around $50 (or more) to deter you from buying online. So instead I will stop by a gun range that does not sell any guns and is happy to do transfers for around $25.

  10. I have a local guy here in NH who sells firearms as a part-time job. He has a good full-time job in an unrelated field, but really enjoys guns and decided to get his FFL and go into the business side of things. While he’s not going to earn a full-time living at it, he moves a fair amount of merchandise every year. Plus, his hours are 6 P.M. – 9 P.M. weekdays and 10-5 weekends, so getting over to see him after work is pretty easy. He charged $15 for each transfer. His philosophy is that it gets his name around. Plus, his prices are pretty reasonable – Often, by the time I factor in the shipping and/or insurance plus the $15 transfer fee, I could just as easily buy a new gun from him for the same or less than if I bought from an online dealer and had him transfer it.

  11. In Northern California, basically every shop does, and every shop charges for it.

    A in-person private-party-transfer costs the state mandated $35 ($25 to the state, $10 to the shop for their time. All shops MUST perform such transfers on request. CA has no “Private Party” loophole, all pistols, and all long guns less than 50+ years old, have to go through a store. Annoying, but IMO, probably the only really sensible idea in CA’s gun control laws.)

    Receiving through the mail (e.g. Internet sales), its whatever the dealer wants to charge. Most charge ~$50 in addition to the state’s $25: Its easy money and good revenue, since thats probably more than what the shop would make on an in-inventory sale. There are some kitchen table FFLs who really only exist to make money on transfers (and so the owner has better access to cool toys.)

  12. Yes, $25 for members, $50 for non-members. They’ve got a great system to handle transfers and are always prompt with processing and notification. Since new guns are generally low margin, they make about as much on a transfer, and there’s no inventory tying up capital. They still get people in the store to buy ammo & accessories, which is the real profit center.

  13. Yea mine will do them for 40$. So the deal you thought you had isn’t as good a deal as you thought. My hunting partners decided enough was enough and we all pitched in the money and Bud got a FFL we all use. Being from Michigan you can never have enough toys(guns) to play with. He also will do it for a nominal fee for other people. We refer to that as the general fund, we bought all of us radios w/headsets, built 2 new blinds. It is also handy for buying ammo, that FFL # and a tax # for a business we pay wholesale.

  14. The store I work at charges $75. We do it that way because it encourages customers to buy it from us: Normally, most online retailers will be able to beat our price point, but not by a whole lot. This makes it a better deal for our customers to buy the gun from us, or have us order it, than getting it from somewhere out of state in god knows what condition.

    We are very much a brick and mortar affair: We don’t sell guns online. We sell them to Washington state residents, most of which are high income, and live within a certain area.

    Our unofficial business motto is “Customers don’t come here because we’re cheap.”

    When everyone is trying to make fast cash by selling guns online, we have an ENORMOUS client base. We operate a very nice establishment, have top tier salesmen who are very knowledgeable and experienced, and we even give the customers free coffee while they fill out their paperwork.

    I guess most people probably just want a cheap gun, and don’t care who they buy it from if they can save some money, but we treat our customers incredibly well, and we’re making money hand over fist, internet or no internet.

    • I love guys like you. Can you actually quantify this customer-centric facing into some sort of numerical benefit for the customer, or is this just your way of convincing yourself that your high pricing isn’t high, and that you’re not screwing over your customers by overcharging for transfers?

      If you don’t know how much value you’re giving the customer, neither does your customer. I guarantee it.

      • No mistake about it, we do, indeed, over charge for transfers. And its done intentionally. And when ever anyone asks, I tell them that, yeah, it is, indeed, far above the industry standard for FFL transfers. And people still chose to do it, sometimes, but mostly, they’ll go somewhere else. Thats not the type of buisness we’re after.

  15. Do you have to get a background check to go to church?
    Do you have to get a background check to speak?
    Do you have to get a background check to make a comment here or write a letter to the editor?
    Do you have to get a background check to go to your friend’s Super Bowl party?
    If your answers were no, then why do we put up with our government obviously violating our natural right and personal freedom to keep and bear arms?
    It is sad to me to see so many Americans ready and willing to have their God given, inalienable rights taken from them by their government. As I read these posts it is so sad to read so many of you have bought into the idea that control and regulation is better than liberty and freedom.

    • This was not the question nor topic of discussion, and has been discussed extensively elsewhere. It’s the system we have, and we work within in ’til we get a better one.

  16. Locally it’s anywhere from $25-$50. There’s a sports shop 15 minutes north of me that will only transfer for firearms he can’t get (so used firearms) and insists that it’s state law that he collect 6% sales tax on the price of the gun + transfer fee. Needless to say, I’ll never transfer a firearm through them.

    • I would seriously tell your state comptroller about this policy and verify he’s actually remanding those collected taxes to the state.

  17. My employer, while not allowing us to possess weapons on property, has a pistol and rifle club, and dues are only $10/yr. The president of the club has an FFL and it costs only $10 to do a transfer. #winning.

  18. Several FFLs do the transfers here, maybe all of them. Prices range from $0 for active military from one shop to $50 from one that probably doesn’t do much transfer business. Average is around $25. I’ve used a nearby local pawn shop for all my transfers.

  19. Gun retailers, like any other retailer, need to understand that the Internet is a “competitor”, and that people often buy guns based primarily on price. These local gun retailers can either get with the program and offer transfers and get a small piece of the action, or not do them and get none of the action. And if they choose not to do transfers, their competitor down the street…will.

    BTW, I find that here in Oregon pawn shops are much better than gun-only shops for transfers. $20 is the going rate at a local pawn shop, and they do up to 30 transfers per day. That’s real money!


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