What’s The Law: Non-FFL shipping of guns interstate (revisited)

Question: I know from prior WTL columns that I can ship a gun to a FFL in another state even if I don’t have a FFL. The federal laws does not require FFL-to-FFL. (See WTL, May 2013 and February 2014.) But when I sell my guns on internet auction, I discovered a number of my mainland buyers’ FFLs refuse to accept firearms from me and require I have them sent via a Hawaii FFL. What gives?

Answer: You are correct that under the federal law a non-FFL can ship a firearm interstate to a FFL. But a growing number of FFLs will not accept firearms shipped by non-FFL. This prohibition is mostly imposed by the receiving FFL; the main reason is they don’t know you and the firearm may be stolen. Even when you give them a copy of your HPD registration, some FFLs will still refuse to accept your firearm. These FFLs feel that if a FFL, rather than the seller, ships, at least it’s in the ATF system. Some states even prohibit FFLs in their state from receiving firearms from non-FFLs. California took one step further and require out-of-state FFLs to register with California before a gun can be received by a California FFL.

There isn’t much you can do about this other than having your buyer find a receiving FFL who does not require FFL-to-FFL. Keep in mind having your firearm shipped from a Hawaii FFL to a mainland FFL is a problem. Your Hawaii FFL must dealer register the firearm and take your long gun or handgun into inventory. This requires that your dealer go down to HPD and obtain a dealer permit for a handgun, get your signature, and return to HPD to dealer register the handgun. Your dealer must also obtain a HPD registration for your long guns. Once done, your FFL can ship. This can be simplified by having both you and the dealer go to HPD together. Note some dealers have declined to offer this service, and those who do will require a fee.

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