Questions & Answers about Firearms Terms

Q:  What is BATFE?  (aka ATF or BATF)

A:   Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  This is the branch of the US government which regulates firearms sales and enforces firearms law.


Q:  What is FFL?

A:   A person who holds a Federal Firearms License.  This enables the holder to buy and sell firearms.


Q:  What defines a firearm?

A:   The BATFE defines a firearm as any weapon including a starter gun which will or is designed to or may be readily converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive and/or any frame or receiver of any such weapon.  As long as it is a receiver and contains a serial number, it is considered a firearm.


Q:  What is NICS?

A:   National Instant Criminal Check System is a service run by the FBI that we as a FFL use to verify that a person attempting to acquire a firearm is not disqualified from doing so due to a criminal record. 


Q:  What is a 4473?

A:   BATFE Form 4473 is the standard over the counter firearms transfer form.  This form records identifying information about the individual acquiring the firearm, (such as name, address, date of birth, etc.) as well as a series of questions and answers about the persons eligibility to own a firearm.


Q:  Do I need a permit to purchase a handgun?
A:   If you are a Minnesota resident, yes you do and this will also cover the requirement for an assault rifle.  You must apply in person at your local Police Department.  If there is no local Police Department you must apply with the Sheriff’s Department in the county where you reside.  If you possess a valid MN Carry Permit it also works as a permit to purchase.  For all other states please check your local laws.


Q:  What is a FFL Transfer?

A:   Firearms transferred between two Federal Firearms Licensed (FFL) holders when a gun is sold across state lines.  In other words, a non-licensed person cannot sell a firearm to another non-licensed person who lives in another state.  The most popular use of FFL transfer is for online purchases of firearms through auction sites. 


Q:  Must I do a transfer at a dealer for an individual sale?

A:   It is not necessary to use a FFL for a private sale of a firearm between individuals who live in the same state.  Some people, however, wish to be certain that the person buying their firearm is not prohibited from owning a firearm and may request a FFL to do a NICS background check.


Q:  I do not live in Minnesota.  Can I purchase a gun from you?
A:  Yes.  We work with people from outside of Minnesota all the time.  In some cases we are able to sell you the gun just by doing the federally required transfer while you are here.  In almost all cases we can ship the gun to a Federal Firearms License holder near your home to meet the transfer requirement.   As an example, if you live in South Dakota and are here in person, you can purchase a long gun just like a Minnesota resident.  If the same person were to buy a handgun we would help arrange the transfer to be done in their home state.  If you aren’t sure how this applies to your state, give us a call or send us an email.