Just like any savvy consumer would, most of us turn to the internet or private sellers when making large item purchases to save a little bit of money — and our guns are no exception. There are a number of myths that have been circulating about how easy it is to buy a gun but the fact of the matter is they just aren’t true.
“Gun Show Loophole”
Some have been led to believe that one way to purchase a gun and avoid a background check is by obtaining a firearm at a gun show. However, there is no such thing as a “gun show loophole.” The only time that a gun is sold without a background check is when a gun is sold from individual to individual. As that guns are private property, they can be bought or sold without licensing just like your car or used sofa. The reason that the gun show loophole is unable to exist is that one person cannot be “engaged in business” in private selling of guns. If it is found that one individual is buying and selling guns as a means to support their livelihood, they will be investigated by the police. A one-time large selling event, such as a gun show, allows private sellers to display a large gun collection for sale at the one-time event without raising any eyebrows.
While it is true that private sellers may use the internet as a means to sell their guns, there are many rules and stipulations that outline the purchasing rights. All gun purchases from online retailers have a long lists of policies, guidelines and regulations to protect both the buyer and the seller. In fact, some online forums, like Craigslist, will not even allow the posting of guns for sale on their website. Sites like eBay will only allow postings if the seller and the item are in the United States. It is legal to advertise and sell firearms within your own state but unlawful to transport or sell with knowledge that they will be transported over state lines. Although private sales are technically legal, it is illegal for a person to sell to a buyer that they believe to meet any of the criteria that would otherwise not allow them to buy a gun from a retailer that would require them to get a background check (i.e, felon, illegal alien, etc).
When purchasing from a reputable online dealer, you are required to fill out your location information, complete an age and compliance verification, read and accept the online firearms ordering guidelines before being taken to the payment screen. After submitting payment online, you still are required to submit a background check at a physical store that you will be picking up the item from. In addition to these safety measures, the firearm must picked up by the purchaser with ID in hand to be fully cleared to leave the store with the firearm. In the event that the item is paid for but the purchaser is unable to provide the needed information or pass the background check, the sale is simply refunded.
Knowing the laws and regulations when purchasing firearms is important to both the buyer and seller. The best protection is to educate yourself on the matter to avoid any penalties or setbacks in your purchases.