Does your FFL dealer open your gun packages?


July 1, 2003, 06:17 PM
Mine does and I was wondering if this is normal. I have ordered about a dozen guns through him and I have never even seen the box that the guns were shipped in. I wish he would wait and let me open them but I don't know how to ask. I don't want to be rude if this is standard policy.

If you enjoyed reading about "Does your FFL dealer open your gun packages?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
July 1, 2003, 06:20 PM
He should, just to be safe.

It's a good thing to make sure that the serial number on the gun matches the serial number on the manifest. Keeps the books from getting screwed up.

July 1, 2003, 06:22 PM
he has to log the gun in. and most don't trust the numbers on the box. so he has to get them off the gun its self. 187

July 1, 2003, 06:25 PM
Yes, this is standard proceedure. They also need to enter the serial number into their bound book. Knowing this, I don't have a problem with my dealer opening the box. Where I have a problem is if they start playing with my guns. My local dealer and I have done a lot of business. A LOT of business. We had a serious falling out at one point because I would buy an gun and have it shipped to him, or I would buy a new gun through him; when I got it, I would tell all the local gunstore commandos about my new gun but they had all seen it already. He let them handle it, play with it, pick it apart etc. They knew what I paid for it etc. I told him in no uncertain terms that I did not want people knowing what I bought unless I told them about it. And, I did not want ANYONE playing with my toys before I did.

El Tejon
July 1, 2003, 06:26 PM
Sure. It's business, plus Les puts my guns on display to attract attention amongst other shoppers (geez, put some capital in inventory, would ya?).

July 1, 2003, 06:26 PM

Yes, it is normal. It's no slight to you. It's just good policy for your FFL to be diligent in his own responsibilities. Your FFL has an obligation to keep up on his books. He can't/shouldn't let unlogged firearms sit around in his store. He is simply protecting himself.

It wouldn't be rude for you to ask what time packages are generally delivered to his shop. That way, you could show up a little beforehand and be there while he opens the package. Since legally the pkg is shipped to him, he will be the one to open it. You should be able to get that good warm fuzzy feeling just as well doing it that way.;)


July 1, 2003, 06:59 PM
my ffl doesnt open my packages. she waits until i come in and i open them up, and i match the invoice to the product. then when i am done with that the 4473 is filled out.
i probably wouldnt care if the shop did open my packages, i trust them, but i like to be the first one to handle my new purchase.

Yuck Mouth
July 1, 2003, 07:00 PM
I'm somewhat suprised that this seems the norm. My FFL waits for the customer to show up before he opens the package so you and he both can see the gun and make sure everythings there thats supposed to be there and you can see the condition of the gun right out of the box.

July 1, 2003, 07:04 PM
The first couple of times I ordered guns, the FFL lady opened them. THe last couple she opened one and left one shut, but she was really busy that week. We usually look the guns over together and have some light conversation. She's really cool and only charges $10 for the transfer.

July 1, 2003, 07:36 PM
My FFL dealer just takes delivery and locks it up in his safe till I get there. Then I open the package and inspects it. After my inspection he fills out his necessary paperwork.

Mike Irwin
July 1, 2003, 07:52 PM
He has to to log it into the store's bound book. I THINK that there's a requirement that all firearms received have to be in the book by a certain time after they're received, isn't there?

July 1, 2003, 08:10 PM
Mine does not untill I get there and then he lets me do it and then we record all the numbers and sign all the papers. He feels this is best because if something is not right or damaged he knows that I can't think it was his fault, I like it this way.

July 1, 2003, 08:32 PM
I believe the standard is within 3 days of its arrival, but I could be wrong.


4v50 Gary
July 1, 2003, 08:48 PM
I should hope so. Like Wun_8_Seven says, he has to check the serial #s and enter it into the log book. If he goofs, the ATF slaps his hand :( and it's better that (s)he's on the level and looking after your interest than going out of bidnez which really doesn't benefit any one 'cept the antis.

Safety First
July 1, 2003, 09:04 PM
Firestar, that was a good question. If and when I order a gun to be delivered to the FFL, I will ask if he will wait until I arrive and we open it together. I know I would feel much better if I see my gun the way it arrives to the FFL and not have any question as to the condition of the gun when the package is opened. Just seems to make good sense to me,that's my 2 cents worth

July 1, 2003, 09:40 PM
if the dealers are waiting for you guys to show up before logging the gun in, i hope your showing up the same day he recieves it. if not he is asking for trouble. 187

July 1, 2003, 09:45 PM
Don't have guns ordered by someone you can't trust...

July 1, 2003, 09:45 PM
You bet your butt I do. If I dont make sure that everything is just like the paperwork says, it's MY butt that gets pounded. First by the ATF, then by bubba.:what:

July 1, 2003, 09:51 PM
The ffl i use opens them when they arrive just to make sure all the paperwork is in order,i've had 2 guns arrive without any paperwork,just a gun in a box addressed to them.

July 1, 2003, 10:09 PM
I think I'd expect it to be the norm. My local store is pretty much ''small town'' and the guy running it is well Ok .. I do a fair bit of bizz with him and he is very helpful. Never bothered me really ... many a time he has charged me less than norm for transfer ... no complaints at all. Lucky really.

July 2, 2003, 12:44 AM
Oh. I see. I do trust him and he is the only person that works in his shop so I don't worry about people messing with the gun. I would feel better if I saw just how the package came and maybe the packing material. He throws away the shipping box and I am always worried that he might be tossing something that might be interesting to me.

4 eyed six shooter
July 2, 2003, 01:35 AM
Not only do I open the guns to verify the ser # but I also safety check them before the customer gets there. I do not let others handle them. The safety check is very important. Guns do come from the factory with defects and if I catch them before the customer gets there I can do two things. Either correct the problem myself or send the firearm back to be fixed or replaced. Nothing pisses off someone more than picking up a new firearm, taking it home and then finding out there is something wrong with it. With liability being what it is today and to protect my customer from possible injury, I feel it is the right thing to do. My customers seen to like the fact that I have checked all safety features and verified that the headspace is good prior to them picking up the gun. If someone requested me not to open the package before they arrived, I would honor the request but so far no one has asked. Look at it this way, if you bought the gun from a stocking dealer the package would have already been opened and god only knows how many people have handled the firearm before you. Find a dealer that you can trust and your way ahead of the game.
Good Shooting, John K

July 2, 2003, 09:22 AM
my ffl transfer guy is a kitchen table FFL type... opens the package and checks serial numbers. i have no problems with that. last time, with the RAP 401, he already knew to have a butter knife ready when i came over to get that :cuss: plastic box open.

July 2, 2003, 10:05 AM
Yes, standard operating procedure.

From what I have seen, the packing slip/receipt containing buyer's name is usually contained inside the box too.

Never had a problem with him inspecting it before I got there ... always considered it an added value. He has spotted a couple suspect things over the years that would have taken me a bit longer to notice.

He always gives me the original box with the gun, as well. (Except for once or twice, when he ASKED me for it to ship something else out in --> generic box/no factory markings, used gun, no problem.)

A GOOD dealer knows where the "lines" are.


July 2, 2003, 06:36 PM
Holds it for my inspection, then does record keeping.

July 3, 2003, 07:35 AM
The fact that he opened the package only bothered me a little.

When he was dryfiring MY new gun without asking and while pointing it at me as I was filling out the form, I got seriously bothered.


July 3, 2003, 08:10 AM
My dealer only opens packages when I get there to pick up. We do it together to match serial numbers for his security and for my peace of mind that nothing has happened to the weapon between UPS delivery and my pick-up.

Billy Sparks
July 3, 2003, 08:35 AM
It depends if he is ordering a gun from a distributer then alot of time he has already opened it. If it is one that I have ordered from and sent in the FFL he does not until I get there. Some time back my dealer had a problem in that a customer's gun arrived was opened and logged in when the customer arrived there was a problem with the gun. Then started this entire the gun was fine when it left the seller, ya'll most have broken it.

July 3, 2003, 10:07 PM

Any FFL that does not open and verify serial numbers is waiting for an ATF spanking. Being an FFL myself.....There is no way that I would not open that package the moment that it arrived to verify no damage before the delivery person leaves. Damaged....they take it right back with them. Not damaged, I immediately verify serial number and lock it up. First off...although you have paid for is technically not yours until you pass the paper work...second ATF can show up at any second, including the same time that the delivery person is gun registered in book equals fines and suspension...If you can't trust the FFL....don't do business with them....if you expect me to not open a package when received...I won't do business with you...for you to expect me to risk jail, fines, or suspension is an insult. I don't mean to be so stern...but it is a real nightmare to get an FFL, and an even bigger one to keep it. It really pains me to see that there are FFL's out there that make the rest of us look bad. If I damage something that I have received, then I am liable for it until it is delivered to you the customer. You always have the right to refuse delivery if something is not up to par. Let this one die.

My $200 worth.
Enter 5-75-XXX-XX-XX-01488

Any of you not verifying your numbers and recording in your Book....please forward your business to me when you lose your ticket.

July 3, 2003, 11:20 PM
Yo Chaz - Glad to see ya registered. More typing out of you there than I've seen in a loooooong time. Welcome to THR ! :D

March 1, 2010, 05:54 PM
i know this is an old thread, but it is happening to me. i understand opening the package for the numbers, paperwork must be done. but the handing it around to whoever else happens to be there? i just bought a gun and the original packageing was gone. anyway my ffl has buddies that hang around and handle my guns before me. my question is if one of em drops my gun and breaks the grips who pays?? do ya think they would admit it. also if the gun arrives broken, then it is the ffls responsibility to deal with fed ex or ups or the mail then, as they are the witness to the package, not me. i buy thru gunbroker lots and this leaves me in a position where i dont know who is screwing me, the gunbroker guy or my own ffl? this issue bothers me cause i dont think its right to have other people looking your gun over, except the ffl. if its done by professionals, thats one thing but just casual observers who could drop it or break it, it is bs. but i know your answers, change ffls, which i am seriously thinking.

March 1, 2010, 05:58 PM
I think it would be appropriate to create a new thread.

If it gets damaged while in his care, he pays (or his insurance policy). I would never use that FFL again if I knew these things were taking place.

March 1, 2010, 06:17 PM
Some of your dealers MAY wait for you to open it, but you should not expect that type of service. First of all, the dealers have an OBLIGATION to the rules of the license to be responsible for the logging of the item, and it's security, etc, even to the point of VERIFYING what it is. It would be frowned upon by BATF if they waited to log it in. If a theft occurred before opening the package, they'd probably be expected to have a good reason for not logging it in. Stroking the guy ordering it just isn't a valid reason for delaying the verification or entry. Put yourself in the FFL holder's place, and don't be offended if they DO open it. It's just business SOP.

March 1, 2010, 06:19 PM
Any FFL that does not open and verify serial numbers is waiting for an ATF spanking.

I agree --- if you want the FFL holder to wait till you get there before he opens the box --- for his sake , get there BEFORE THE ATF DOES !!!!

EDIT --- if we are talking a hour or so after UPS/etc. drops it off , no big deal. If the gun is dropped off Friday and you wait till Monday the FFL guy will get a ATF spanking !!!

March 1, 2010, 06:38 PM
No, I do not want FFL to open until I am present; they can look at contents after I have opened. Last one I bought, he wanted me to come back later (NOT) since it would take so long to do the paperwork, and even said is wasn't there (box was leaning on the counter not 5 feet from him!). So, for the next two rifles, I have changed FFL dealers since it was to be such a burden for him to do while I was there. I think a dealer opening early is being very forward and to be mild, discourteous.

March 1, 2010, 06:51 PM
I think a dealer opening early is being very forward and to be mild, discourteous.

To those that think along these lines --- what do you think of the ATF and their rules and penalties for not following these written rules ???

March 1, 2010, 06:53 PM
Quote from a FFL holder;
Any FFL that does not open and verify serial numbers is waiting for an ATF spanking. Being an FFL myself.....There is no way that I would not open that package the moment that it arrived to verify no damage before the delivery person leaves. Damaged....they take it right back with them. Not damaged, I immediately verify serial number and lock it up. First off...although you have paid for is technically not yours until you pass the paper work...second ATF can show up at any second, including the same time that the delivery person is gun registered in book equals fines and suspension...

EDIT ---- I once did have a FFL and had to deal with the ATF boys --- they have NO sense of humor as in " I was going to log that gun in as soon as my customer got here"

March 1, 2010, 06:57 PM
Coming up on 7 years old here, aren't we?

March 1, 2010, 07:06 PM
AFAIK, the FFL has 1 business day to log into is bound book. If he thinks the customer is coming that same day to pick it up, it would be nice if he waits until the end of the day to open it up and log it in. ATF can't spank him for that if they walk in right behind the delivery guy. If he waits a day or two, he's toast. I wouldn't be pissed if he opened it as soon as it showed up.

March 1, 2010, 09:50 PM
Personally, I'd prefer the ffl holder wait until I get there, which would generally be the same day they tell me "c'mon over its here". May be shipped to him, but I'm the buyer, I'd just prefer to see the package, inspect for any dmg etc, and not wonder if something got dmg'd or thrown away before I got there.

I've only used an FFL twice around where I live, and due to some issues, I'm looking for a different FFL holder to use for the next time..

Coming up on 7 years old here, aren't we?

The result of people constantly (and irritatingly) saying "Search, search, search".. Can't have it both ways.

navyretired 1
March 1, 2010, 10:16 PM
The ATFE requires that all gun serial numbers be inspected and logged in Big Book within either 24 hours or close of business I don't remember exactly which. The package must be opened to verify serial numbers.
The FFL should return the gun to the packageing and place it in storage till you pick it up. At this point you might want to inspect the weapon, packaging and paperwork for correctness and damage.
Your ordered weapon is nobody else's business be it price, beauty or weirdness unless you choose to show them. Stand up or change FFL'S

March 1, 2010, 10:47 PM
The last new firearm I bought was from in store stock and was in the original unopened box. My cousin and I bought two of the same and neither was opened. Still had the original factory shipping stickers stuck over the joint in the plastic shipping case. They were from a shipment at least a week before. The serial number was on the manufacturers sticker on the box. This is at the largest gun dealer in the state.

dogtown tom
March 2, 2010, 12:07 AM
When in doubt, check the ATF FAQ's and the citation from the Code of Federal Regulations.
Q: How much time does a dealer have to record acquisitions and dispositions of firearms in his or her “bound book?”

Generally, licensees have to enter the acquisition or purchase of a firearm by the close of the next business day after the acquisition or purchase and shall record sales or other dispositions within 7 days.

However, if commercial records containing the required information are available for inspection and are separate from other commercial documents, dealers have 7 days from the time of receipt to record the receipt in the “bound book.”

If a disposition is made before the acquisition has been entered in the “bound book,&rdquo the acquisition entry must be made at the same time as the disposition entry.

[27 CFR 478.125]

While you may consider it rude, the dealer is required by Federal law to log the firearm by close of business the next day.

March 2, 2010, 01:17 AM
Thanks Dogtown for posting the words straight from the horses axx , i ment mouth.

March 2, 2010, 01:19 AM
While you may consider it rude, the dealer is required by Federal law to log the firearm by close of business the next day.

Darn it,you got there before me :)

We open them all, carefully and with an eye to the fact we do not own them. We inspect, where possible without removing the firearm from the box (we get some very valuable ones too so we handle them with extreme caution and care).

Where possible with things like modern pistols etc we will safety check them, make sure they are not loaded etc, then return to packaging the book into the system. We call the owner within an hour at the longest to come get them, they cant always make it same day but some do.

It all gets logged into the book before the end of that day, the book has to be "balanced" before the end of day for us. Currently its written but about to go electronic.

It would be one thing not opening a factory sealed item, which a portion of the transfers are, but anything thats been handled by another, sorry am not trusting my license and safety to a stranger.

evan price
March 2, 2010, 01:48 AM
Interestingly, a local gunstore I was visiting (and visit regularly) received a Gunbroker package on behalf of someone who requested a transfer of an HK firearm.. they opened it up to log it in while I was chatting.. on opening the package to ensure the serial number matched, they discovered the shipper had sent a select-fire SEF triggerpack varient accidentally.
Much hilarity ensued...

March 2, 2010, 03:17 AM
Opened yes, touched no. Granted, I am there within 10 minutes of getting the "your gun is in" call anyway :D

March 2, 2010, 08:52 AM
Sec. 478.125 (e) states: "the purchase or other acquisition of a firearm recorded not later than the close of the next business day following the date of such purchase or acquisition"

navyretired 1
March 2, 2010, 09:40 AM
For the people who want the benifits of a FFL but none of the responsibility of same. The only answer for someone insisting the FFL doesn't do a normal recieved log in is a prime candidate for getting their own FFL, But be warned those young girls and men who do spot inspections are friendly and nice but they have no since of humor and will slap a padlock on your stock in an instant. I know 2 people who have went to jail over book keeping mistakes. NOT FINED, JAILED. In one fel swoop ATF shut down 1/3 of the FFL's in Springfield Mo. in a couple of weeks about 9 years ago and court cases are still going on and nobody kept thier business.
If you gave me that crap about don't open my box til I'm here, I'd take your gun, Box it back up with a note explaining problem and send it back and off my books, NO ARGUEMENT, this my lively-hood and not your business. As long as it was sent to me it's on my books and you may not even touch it if I don't say you can. It's mine by proxy til transfered off my books.
Now all that common sense goes 2 way's nobody but FFL should touch your ordered item. Notice I said ordered, It's not yours till 4473 and NICS have been completed.
If someone thinks that a serial number on box never fails to match gun. It happens less in these automated than it used to, but when ser.#'s were written by hand on boxes I saw lots of mistakes, and thats why the rules are written the way they are.

March 2, 2010, 11:00 AM
Had it go both ways, and I really don't care one way or the other...But I dang sure want my boxes...all of them.

March 2, 2010, 11:09 AM
Since this thread is so old, it would be appropriate to start a new discussion.

If you enjoyed reading about "Does your FFL dealer open your gun packages?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!