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Smaller FFL's vs. Gun Stores


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#1 Illini2A312

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 08:44 AM

Debating on whether to make my next purchase at my usual store or have it shipped from manufacturer to a smaller "ma and pa" FFL closer to where I live (albeit I found none in the city proper...don't know if this is a zoning thing or not). Does anyone have good/bad experiences with smaller FFL's/how does the experience compare to typical stores?

#2 Craigcelia

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 08:49 AM

I love my home based FFL Dealer.  Typically the bigger chain stores charge more also.  Probably depends on your own circumstances, if you have an FFL in your area or what is more convenient.


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#3 soundguy

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 09:21 AM

If by "city proper" you mean Chicago, you are correct. There are none. There are some in Cook County and all the surrounding counties. There is a list here (somewhere) of IC members who are FFLs. Some of the gun sales web sites may have lists of FFLs.

 

I have found home based FFLs easy to deal with and less expensive than full service stores. I once did a transfer at Cabela's in Hoffman Estates and that went well, though it required two trips.


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#4 jim schad

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 09:52 AM

I was one until Clinton/Reno.  Your milage my vary, but the one thing that might be a consideration is the fact that when any FFL ends or turns in his license, ALL the 4473's that they have ever processed are shipped to our friends in the government and "warehoused."  With assurances from the government that they would NEVER build a data base off of these records.
 
Probably not a consideration, but some might be bothered by that fact.  The "Big Box" or larger gun/sporting goods stores won't be going out of business and shipping their records anytime soon.



#5 Praetor330

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 09:54 AM

I bought in-store only once, quickly learned my lesson.

 

Stores charge huge markup compared to online prices. it can be 20-30% more. i got a P320 M17 recently for $580 (total incl shipping+transfer fees). Nearest store wanted MSRP $750 before taxes. No thanks.

 

In-store service is variable. i've been to both good and bad.

 

my home-based FFL responds lighting fast, is available almost 24/7 so i can drop in on my schedule, not 'store hours'. You cannot beat the personalized service.



#6 RacerDave6

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 10:40 AM

I'm betting a whole lotta home based ffl's will be dropping their license (and turning over their records) due to the states bs licensing scheme that goes live in a couple weeks.
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#7 PeepSight

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 11:29 AM

I think they both have positives. In the "store" you can handle many firearms and at some stores with a range you can rent the gun/guns you are considering in order to try them out and see how they feel in the hand which may not be an option with a home FFL. On the other hand the home FFL I use is (as stated in previous posts) very convenient, hours are flexible and the price is very low- plus the tax savings can be significant (especially in Crook County)- only thing is, you have to know in advance what you want as it will often come from somewhere else.



#8 ealcala31

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 11:36 AM

I am a home-based FFL out of Oak Lawn, IL in Cook County. We are required to have business hours but I am available "practically whenever" except for my normal 9-5 job. I encourage most of my customers to check their favorite places to shop and if they could, give me a chance to counter offer. If not, that's fine just please use my business for the transfer. I close early on the weekends but if my wife and I are done for the day and go home, "shop" reopens. As long as I don't rush my wife on the weekends, she's fine with it. One of the negatives, is it's interrupting my competition and recreational shooting time...

#9 Thiokol

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 11:41 AM

For new guns, I only deal with Mike Bethman of Seven Sigma Arms in Manhattan. He's a home based FFL and will beat any price that you find. If I see a firearm that I may like, I'll go to Bass Pro or Big R to look at it and decide if it's something that I really want. If it is, I order it from Mike.


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#10 Euler

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 11:46 AM

Another advantage to non-LGS FFLs is that your wait can be shorter. The waiting period is defined as the time between when you agree with the seller to buy and the time you can take your purchase home. A good fraction, if not the entirety, of the wait period can be run out while the item is in shipping to your FFL. Many LGSs ignore when you actually bought the item and start the clock when it arrives in the store.

Yet another advantage to non-LGS FFLs is that they may let you fill out the 4473 before the item arrives, so they can run your BG check. If there's a delay with that, it can also run concurrent to the time the item spends in shipping. Again, many LGSs won't run the check until the item is in the store, and some won't run the check until their version of the wait time is over (i.e., after it's in the store + additional time), so if there's a delay with your BG check, that's even more time.
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#11 Thiokol

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 11:50 AM

Yet another advantage to non-LGS FFLs is that they may let you fill out the 4473 before the item arrives, so they can run your BG check. If there's a delay with that, it can also run concurrent to the time the item spends in shipping. Again, many LGSs won't run the check until the item is in the store, and some won't run the check until their version of the wait time is over (i.e., after it's in the store + additional time), so if there's a delay with your BG check, that's even more time.

 

My guy has a copy of my FOID on file. When I send him an email and ask him to order something for me, that starts the clock for the waiting period and he gets the NICS approval. By the time the gun arrives at his house, the 72 hours has elapsed and I go in to pick it up. It's a one trip event and couldn't be any easier.


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#12 chicagoresident

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 12:42 PM

I think they both have positives. In the "store" you can handle many firearms and at some stores with a range you can rent the gun/guns you are considering in order to try them out and see how they feel in the hand which may not be an option with a home FFL. On the other hand the home FFL I use is (as stated in previous posts) very convenient, hours are flexible and the price is very low- plus the tax savings can be significant (especially in Crook County)- only thing is, you have to know in advance what you want as it will often come from somewhere else.


By the time you pay the markup and range rental you might as well buy what you think you want and sell it if you don't like it. This board has a great marketplace, and if you buy low to start you won't have any issues flipping it. You'll also save the next buyer the NICS or transfer fee via private party sale.

Edited by chicagoresident, 16 May 2019 - 12:44 PM.


#13 Illini2A312

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 12:48 PM

Thanks guys, this was helpful. I do have what I want in mind, just a matter of ordering/getting logistics worked out. It does seem like the smaller FFL's are a better experience? They seem more involved/passionate about their business vs. anyone who can go work at an LGS.

#14 PeepSight

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 12:55 PM

 

I think they both have positives. In the "store" you can handle many firearms and at some stores with a range you can rent the gun/guns you are considering in order to try them out and see how they feel in the hand which may not be an option with a home FFL. On the other hand the home FFL I use is (as stated in previous posts) very convenient, hours are flexible and the price is very low- plus the tax savings can be significant (especially in Crook County)- only thing is, you have to know in advance what you want as it will often come from somewhere else.


By the time you pay the markup and range rental you might as well buy what you think you want and sell it if you don't like it. This board has a great marketplace, and if you buy low to start you won't have any issues flipping it. You'll also save the next buyer the NICS or transfer fee via private party sale.

 

 

True.  :cool:



#15 quackersmacker

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 02:02 PM

I was one until Clinton/Reno.  Your milage my vary, but the one thing that might be a consideration is the fact that when any FFL ends or turns in his license, ALL the 4473's that they have ever processed are shipped to our friends in the government and "warehoused."  With assurances from the government that they would NEVER build a data base off of these records.
 
Probably not a consideration, but some might be bothered by that fact.  The "Big Box" or larger gun/sporting goods stores won't be going out of business and shipping their records anytime soon.

Except for Dick's.


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#16 Illini2A312

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 11:49 AM

I think they both have positives. In the "store" you can handle many firearms and at some stores with a range you can rent the gun/guns you are considering in order to try them out and see how they feel in the hand which may not be an option with a home FFL. On the other hand the home FFL I use is (as stated in previous posts) very convenient, hours are flexible and the price is very low- plus the tax savings can be significant (especially in Crook County)- only thing is, you have to know in advance what you want as it will often come from somewhere else.


Does the $25 brick-and-mortar tax still apply if you ship to an FFL?

#17 Euler

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 11:55 AM

Does the $25 brick-and-mortar tax still apply if you ship to an FFL?


If you mean "Do smaller FFLs charge a transfer fee?", they do. $25 is the lowest I've seen. Some charge much more, but I don't think I've ever seen a small FFL charge as much as some LGSs charge. Some LGSs make a point of charging high fees, because they consider a gun you ordered online to be a sale they lost, and they still want "their" money from you.
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#18 billzfx4

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 01:00 PM

The $25 tax applies to purchases made in Cook Co.

Even if your FFL is in Cook, you are actually purchasing from an out of county source.  The FFL is only doing the transfer.


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#19 InterestedBystander

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 01:01 PM

If you mean "Do smaller FFLs charge a transfer fee?", they do


I think he may have been referring to the $25 Cook County tax.

Edited by InterestedBystander, 18 May 2019 - 01:02 PM.

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#20 Illini2A312

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 01:19 PM

Does the $25 brick-and-mortar tax still apply if you ship to an FFL?

If you mean "Do smaller FFLs charge a transfer fee?", they do. $25 is the lowest I've seen. Some charge much more, but I don't think I've ever seen a small FFL charge as much as some LGSs charge. Some LGSs make a point of charging high fees, because they consider a gun you ordered online to be a sale they lost, and they still want "their" money from you.

Not necessarily the transfer fee, but the so-called "violence tax" that Cook imposes on brick-and-mortar stores.

#21 soundguy

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 07:21 AM

 

 

Does the $25 brick-and-mortar tax still apply if you ship to an FFL?

If you mean "Do smaller FFLs charge a transfer fee?", they do. $25 is the lowest I've seen. Some charge much more, but I don't think I've ever seen a small FFL charge as much as some LGSs charge. Some LGSs make a point of charging high fees, because they consider a gun you ordered online to be a sale they lost, and they still want "their" money from you.

Not necessarily the transfer fee, but the so-called "violence tax" that Cook imposes on brick-and-mortar stores.

 

 

No.

 

If you order (buy) a gun through your Cook County based FFL you will pay him for the gun, IL sales tax and Cook Co special tax.

 

If you buy a gun on-line and have it shipped to your Cook County based FFL, you pay the cost of the gun plus shipping plus sales  tax (if applicable) to the seller. You pay your FFL his fee for the legal transfer.


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#22 skinnyb82

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 08:01 AM

Some charge much more, but I don't think I've ever seen a small FFL charge as much as some LGSs charge. Some LGSs make a point of charging high fees, because they consider a gun you ordered online to be a sale they lost, and they still want "their" money from you.
Outright refusal (to facilitate a transfer) is a violation of terms of the FFL, illegal, so they price people out of it. One could argue they're de facto refusing to facilitate a transfer. I've seen an LGS charge $100 for a transfer. Another, $50. Cheapest I can find is $25 and he's gonna be put out of business by the gun dealer licensing crap. Sent from my VS987 using Tapatalk
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#23 Thiokol

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 08:30 AM

Outright refusal (to facilitate a transfer) is a violation of terms of the FFL, illegal, so they price people out of it.


Are you sure that by being issued an FFL a dealer is required by law to complete the transfer of a firearm to a non-FFL?

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#24 chicagoresident

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 10:38 AM

Outright refusal (to facilitate a transfer) is a violation of terms of the FFL, illegal, so they price people out of it.

Are you sure that by being issued an FFL a dealer is required by law to complete the transfer of a firearm to a non-FFL?

Obviously you can't refuse for reasons that would violate a civil right. I'm guessing there is great latitude taken in refusing a sale based on suspected use in an illegal act or self harm.

#25 EdMac87

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 12:52 PM

I personally wouldn’t purchase a new firearm from any brick and mortar or through a home based FFL unless their price plus tax is within my internet price plus their transfer fee. Not many times does the local boy win here.

#26 skinnyb82

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 07:47 AM

Are you sure that by being issued an FFL a dealer is required by law to complete the transfer of a firearm to a non-FFL?
FFL has right to refuse to transfer but I'm specifically referring to FFLs who refuse to do transfers for reasons like "I don't make much money" or "it's a hassle" or (my favorite) "I don't like transfers." Not because they suspect straw purchase or other lies on 4473, transferee is being obnoxious, whatever else. The latter would be perfectly legit. The former would be violating terms of their FFL. Sent from my VS987 using Tapatalk
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#27 chicagoresident

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 08:01 AM

Are you sure that by being issued an FFL a dealer is required by law to complete the transfer of a firearm to a non-FFL?

FFL has right to refuse to transfer but I'm specifically referring to FFLs who refuse to do transfers for reasons like "I don't make much money" or "it's a hassle" or (my favorite) "I don't like transfers." Not because they suspect straw purchase or other lies on 4473, transferee is being obnoxious, whatever else. The latter would be perfectly legit. The former would be violating terms of their FFL.
I somehow doubt Josh Sugarmann will process your online purchase transfer. Know any DC residents that can find out?
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#28 Xwing

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 08:05 AM

I much prefer a small FFL.  Much cheaper service and less hassle.  But hopefully they won't all go out of business due to the new Illinois regulations.  We all know the purpose of the the Dealer Licensing regulations is to put small business owners at a disadvantage to they have to close shop.


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#29 Thiokol

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 08:54 AM

 

Are you sure that by being issued an FFL a dealer is required by law to complete the transfer of a firearm to a non-FFL?

FFL has right to refuse to transfer but I'm specifically referring to FFLs who refuse to do transfers for reasons like "I don't make much money" or "it's a hassle" or (my favorite) "I don't like transfers." Not because they suspect straw purchase or other lies on 4473, transferee is being obnoxious, whatever else. The latter would be perfectly legit. The former would be violating terms of their FFL. Sent from my VS987 using Tapatalk

 


I seriously doubt that an 01 license specifically requires the license holder to accept incoming shipments for the ultimate transfer to a non-FFL holder. It would be interesting to hear from some of our forum members who hold 01 licenses who can either confirm or refute your theory.


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#30 gangrel

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 01:35 PM

 The "Big Box" or larger gun/sporting goods stores won't be going out of business and shipping their records anytime soon.
Tell that to Dick's in a couple of months. Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

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