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Unlicensed Person Obtaining Firearm from Out-of-State Source

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Be Aware:

A person not licensed under the Gun Control Act (GCA) and not prohibited from acquiring firearms may order a firearm from an out-of-state source and obtain the firearm if an arrangement is made with a licensed dealer in the purchaser's state of residence for the purchaser to obtain the firearm from the dealer.

[18 U.S.C 922(a)(3) and (5), 922(b)(3), 27 CFR 178.29]

The ATF's Code of Federal Regulations, Part 178 - Commerce in Firearms and Ammunition is available at the following link:


What This Means:

Essentially this means that it is legal for private parties residing in different US States to engage in the private transaction of a firearm, but only if the transfer is done  through a licensed dealer (FFL) in the purchaser's state of residence.  The FFL in the purchaser's state will be responsible for receiving shipment of the firearm and facilitating the background check and fulfilling all other legal requirements applicable in the purchaser's state before allowing the firearm to transfer to the purchaser.

It also means that a seller in one state cannot legally ship or otherwise convey or transfer ownership of a firearm to a recipient in another state without going through a licensed dealer (FFL).  Bypassing this process would be in violation the Federal Gun Control Act.

There are many ways available on the Internet to locate a licensed dealer (FFL) in the United States, easily obtained by using an Internet search engine, such as Google.  One such source might be https://fflgundealers.net/.


Our Opinion:

Our opinion is that a person selling on TGO to an out-of-state individual should enter into that transaction with extreme caution and ensure that Federal and State laws are being followed to the letter.  While interstate Private Party sales are possible and in some instances make sense, we would recommend trying to limit your sales to in-state buyers for the sake of simplicity.  Consider that there are various ways that an interstate transfer could potentially "go wrong" and weigh your risks against the potential gains.


The Disclaimer:

The content on this site is offered only as a public service to the web community and does not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice.  This site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney licensed or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. You should always consult a suitably qualified attorney regarding any specific legal problem or matter. Since legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing on this site should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel. The author of this post and Tennessee Gun Owners assume no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on this site and disclaim all liability in respect to such information. You should not act upon information in this website without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction.

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Additional information of interest to Unlicensed Persons (those not possessing a Federal Firearms License) as provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) may currently be found at the following link:



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Before engaging in any transaction of goods or services on TGO, all parties involved must know and follow the local, state and Federal laws regarding those transactions.

TGO makes no claims, guarantees or assurances regarding any such transactions.


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