Is it abnormal for a FFL to open your package?


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v3r71g0
September 2, 2008, 09:54 PM
Say you bought a gun online or had one shipped to a FFL. Is it standard practice to open the package before you get there and fill out the forms?

What would you say to something like that?

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Rustynuts
September 2, 2008, 09:57 PM
Not normal, but maybe their procedure? Mine always let's me open and then they check the gun for the proper serial number, etc.,for the form.

john44402
September 2, 2008, 09:57 PM
The FFL I use either has me open it, or she does while I'm there.

Soybomb
September 2, 2008, 09:59 PM
I've never had them not open it. I was under the impression that FFL's had to log received weapons in their bound book within a set amount of time after getting them.

scrat
September 2, 2008, 09:59 PM
its going to vary from gun shop to gun shop.

ftierson
September 2, 2008, 10:02 PM
The FFL has to enter firearm info, including the serial number, into his bound book...

It would be incredibly stupid for the FFL to fail to check the invoiced SN against the one actually on the firearm. Sometimes the invoice doesn't even include SN information.

In addition, the info has to be entered into the bound book with no delay, like the day that it is received...

So there's no need to read anything sinister into the FFL's opening of your parcel...:)

Forrest

VARifleman
September 2, 2008, 10:06 PM
They have to log it that day, if you're going to show up that day, you can request they wait for you, but if it's not going to be the day it arrives, expect it to be an open package.

Rmart30
September 2, 2008, 10:07 PM
FFL has to either have you open it or them. Most transfers have a piece of paperwork in it for the FFL doing the registering and they have to record the s/n of the firearm.

Flash!
September 2, 2008, 10:59 PM
I expect them to open it..... they have to verify the accuracy of the serial number and model before they do the transfer.

Aguila Blanca
September 2, 2008, 11:00 PM
I have received firearms purchased elsewhere through four different FFLs that I can think of immediately. In every case the FFL had opened the package upon its arrival so he could enter the gun into his bound book.

I would not expect anything else. He is required to enter it in his book. How can he do that without opening the package to see what's inside?

Bubbles
September 2, 2008, 11:13 PM
When we receive a transfer firearm we open the package at the end of the day to log it into the bound book, or sooner if the purchaser shows up during business hours that day.

In one instance we had a customer beat the UPS driver. He really wanted his gun. :D

220_Swift
September 2, 2008, 11:19 PM
My FFL always opens it as soon as it shows up. He enters it into his bound book ASAP. And he alwyas goes by the SN on the gun, never the paperwork. He verifies it on the paperwork, but doesn't trust someone elses typing. And I certainly do not have a problem with him doing it.

retgarr
September 2, 2008, 11:24 PM
My ffl always opens it and checks the invoice against the serial number on the firearm.

Z-Michigan
September 2, 2008, 11:30 PM
Yes, like most, my FFL always opens it up before I see it. I assume he is entering the correct sn into his bound book like many have said. It has never been an issue for me.

Telperion
September 2, 2008, 11:32 PM
The FFL is required to log all incoming shipments. See CFR 478.125 (e): "...The purchase or other acquisition of a firearm shall, except as provided in paragraph (g) of this section (not applicable here), be recorded not later than the close of the next business day following the date of such purchase or acquisition ..."

hotpig
September 3, 2008, 12:15 AM
The only reason that some of us do not open the package is liability. Nothing is worse than doing a 10.00 transfer and receiving damaged goods and getting the blame for it.

Stevie-Ray
September 3, 2008, 12:19 AM
Every new gun that I've bought was opened in front of me, but never BY me. Gun store, gun show, bought from stock, ordered in, didn't matter.

Zedo
September 3, 2008, 12:22 AM
The parcel is sent to the FFL -- for you. Legally it's their package.

Dan0076
September 3, 2008, 12:27 AM
I've had an FFL open my box once because the outside did not have my name on it. They opened it to see who it was for. It was all there, so I had not gripes.

Aran
September 3, 2008, 01:08 AM
When I had my AR-15 lower receiver delivered, my FFL only gave me the receiver and the invoice from the shipper, none of its packaging. He also said I made a good choice with Stag Arms.

Sir Aardvark
September 3, 2008, 02:24 AM
When I had my FFL, I would open every gun package and make sure that the serial number on the gun matched the invoice and inspect the shipment for damage. I would then log it into my bound book.

Nobody ever asked me why I opened a package without them being there.

Also, I would make sure that all the parts and accessories were with the gun. About the only thing that I would find missing were choke tubes for shotguns.

Josh Aston
September 3, 2008, 02:43 AM
Every gun I've had shipped was handed to me by the dealer sans any kind of packaging, so they had to have opened it.

freakshow10mm
September 3, 2008, 02:51 AM
It is not ready to be picked up until I log the gun in my books. I open and handle my business, then I notify the customer that it's all ready to pick up.

hobgob
September 3, 2008, 02:59 AM
All the guns I've had transfered were all out of the package when I picked them up. I never thought much of it.

mad hungarian
September 3, 2008, 03:07 AM
My ffl never opens the packages. His policy is you ordered it so get to shop in timely manner and he takes it from there. The only time he opened a package was last year, ATF was doing yearly audit of his shop and the books. He called me to say a rifle i ordered came in and was apologetic about having to open the box it came in.

evan price
September 3, 2008, 03:33 AM
Every gun I have had shipped was opened by the FFL to confirm the serial number and enter in the book. ONe time I was watching UPS.com and saw it had arrived. I was at the FFL asking for the gun before he knew it was there. He still opened it and logged it before I got to play with it.

goon
September 3, 2008, 05:06 AM
It's normal.
FFL's have to log in any guns that they recieve.
I don't blame them for not wanting to wait around for me to show up to do that - sometimes it takes the better part of a week for me to get in to pick a gun up.

Ridgerunner665
September 3, 2008, 05:29 AM
Serial numbers are on the packaging... (even Baers plain brown boxes)

My FFL always waits until I get there...I open it...then they check everything out.

I am a regular customer, that orders some rather "pricey" guns, parts and components on a regular basis (Baers, custom barrels, custom receivers, lots of expensive reloading components such as Lapua brass, Barnes bullets, etc.) ...I have been doing business with them for years, and they know I'm picky...

What I mean is...if I open it and something is wrong...we know who to blame. Business is good that way.

It may be their "business"...but its my $$$.

Aran
September 3, 2008, 05:45 AM
The serial on the package could have no relevance to the gun in the box, unfortunately.

Ridgerunner665
September 3, 2008, 06:02 AM
Thats true...but that can be verified after I open it.

I don't make them wait and I usually know its there before they do...I'm there to pick it up pretty quick.

waterhouse
September 3, 2008, 11:18 AM
I've had an FFL open my box once because the outside did not have my name on it.

This is more common than not. Usually the paperwork on the inside of the box says who the gun is for.

Sometimes customers come right after the gun arrives, sometimes the gun sits here for a few weeks if they are busy or out of town.

If a customer specifically requests that they be able to open the package, and they can be here within a few hours of it arriving, I can work with that, but in general I open and log everything in as soon as it comes through the door.

UPS/FedEx often deliver 6-10 boxes at a time. Doing something the same exact way every time helps minimize mistakes and ensures that a gun never sits overnight without being logged in.

Bubbles
September 3, 2008, 12:04 PM
This is more common than not. Usually the paperwork on the inside of the box says who the gun is for.

Provided the sending FFL put it in there. It's always fun dealing with orphans.

Norinco982lover
September 3, 2008, 01:19 PM
in my experience they remove the UPS (outer) box it came in and either open the package and log the SN before you get there or if you come before they can they write it down right off of the gun before they let you have it. He just flipped open the CZ factory case and set it on the counter in front of me for me to inspect it but did not touch my gun. I thought it was very professional.

contenderman
September 3, 2008, 01:33 PM
Basically it's the FFL's preference. Many like to make sure that what is in the pkg. is what is supposed to be and log the piece in. It shouldn't be a concern either way.

Tim Burke
September 3, 2008, 01:47 PM
I wouldn't use an FFL that I didn't trust to open my package without me there.

SSN Vet
September 3, 2008, 02:00 PM
I've never had them not open it.

that's my experience as well....

they need to know what they've just taken custody of.

but in my case, the FFL is a long time aquaintance and I think he's just interested in seeing my toys. :)

texas bulldog
September 3, 2008, 02:18 PM
i don't even remember if they had opened it before or after i arrived in each case. it was just about that unimportant to me...

sernv99
September 3, 2008, 02:24 PM
" What I mean is...if I open it and something is wrong...we know who to blame. Business is good that way.

It may be their "business"...but its my $$$. "

Business is good when you find a gunshop that you trust, if they happen to "damage" your gun by taking it out of the box before you arrive, they will make it right by compensating you. I have my dealer open up gun packages before I arrive and he inspects the guns for any "defects". I tell him what the seller told me about the gun (e.g. shot only a box of shells through it, no marks or dents, etc.) and he inspects it and if he finds otherwise, he lets me know. If he damaged it in anyway, he would compensate me. I know for a fact he isn't going to screw me over, to me that's good business.

Jim K
September 3, 2008, 02:32 PM
The dealer has to open the package and record the firearm in his book. He is responsible for recording in his book ALL firearms physically present in his store. I have no problem with that, and I am not sure why anyone else would.

If, for some reason, you don't trust that dealer, find another one, but I can almost guarantee he will open the package also.

Jim

freakshow10mm
September 3, 2008, 02:47 PM
It may be their "business"...but its my $$$.
And while it is in my possession in my shop and until I run a 4473 on you, it is my gun.

crofoot629
September 3, 2008, 02:51 PM
Is this really true? “it’s a gun, they have to open it and log it in”. There has to be some reasonable time period. No one even knows for sure what’s in the package until it is opened. I’d prefer to open my own packages, and like some other posters some of the firearms I buy are collectable and condition is everything.

Emory

freakshow10mm
September 3, 2008, 02:52 PM
It's always fun dealing with orphans.
Yup, dealing with one now. Got a 5.56x39 lower yesterday from someone. No clue who it's for or where it's supposed to go. I do know it's shipping to California but no clue to the customer's name or the dealer he's using.

freakshow10mm
September 3, 2008, 02:54 PM
Is this really true? “it’s a gun, they have to open it and log it in”.
Yes, we have to log in every gun that comes in and every gun that goes out. If a package arrives, I open it to see what's in it, as I'm responsible for items in my possession. If it's a firearm I log it into my log book and then notify the customer that it's arrived and ready to be transferred.

jackdanson
September 3, 2008, 03:24 PM
I wouldn't use an FFL that I didn't trust to open my package without me there.

+1 on that.

Bubbles
September 3, 2008, 03:38 PM
Is this really true? its a gun, they have to open it and log it in.

Yes, unless the dealer wants to spend time at Club Fed.

http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/faq2.htm#e5

(E5) How much time does a dealer have to record acquisitions and dispositions of firearms in his or her "bound book?" [Back]

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," the acquisition entry must be made at the same time as the disposition entry.

[27 CFR 478.125]

rcmodel
September 3, 2008, 03:41 PM
The dealer is the one whose FFL & livelyhood is on the line.

I'd suggest if you don't want your dealer opening your package & logging the gun in, you should get your own FFL.

rcmodel

rr2241tx
September 4, 2008, 09:55 PM
I'd suggest if you don't want your dealer opening your package & logging the gun in, you should get your own FFL.


Well said! By the time I get there to claim my prize, I really appreciate my FFL having already checked it out for me so all I have to do is start wearing out the barrel installing holes.

Lashlarue
September 4, 2008, 11:02 PM
My ffl just received a locked case and no keys.He got hold of the sender only to find that the keys were sent to the buyer.Now the buyer is a no show. He told me that was one of the reasons he raised his transfer fee.Plus the sender couldn't remember who he sent it to.My ffl said three days and he was opening the case by whatever means necessary and logging in the weapon.I haven't been back so I have no idea how this has turned out!My ffl remembered exactly what I purchased 18 months ago and will no doubt remember this latest purchase as well...

esq_stu
September 4, 2008, 11:04 PM
I open it - then it gets logged in by my FFL. I assume it is normal.

distra
September 4, 2008, 11:05 PM
Mine always opens the box, it's their policy. No big deal from my perspective. He checks out the firearm for damage and that's about it.

Griz44
September 4, 2008, 11:21 PM
Every gun that arrives here is opened immediately, Photos are taken with a closeup of the serial number. It gets logged in. I fill out the bottom of the 4473 to prepare for the buyers arrival, that saves us both time. It gets put in the safe. The buyer or transferee is called and informed of the arrival. I have never had a single complaint. It covers us both! The digital pictures get stored on a backup set if I ever need them. On new guns, I do not open the bagged packing unless I just can't see through it to verify the serial. On used guns, I inspect the gun for any obvious defects or safety issues.

.cheese.
September 4, 2008, 11:33 PM
at my local FFL - yes. The box is always open when I go to pick stuff up that was special ordered, or transfered. It's because they log it into their book upon arrival to make sure nothing gets overlooked.

At first I wasn't sure, but since I've seen they do it every time, I'm more relaxed about it.

ilbob
September 4, 2008, 11:41 PM
Say you bought a gun online or had one shipped to a FFL. Is it standard practice to open the package before you get there and fill out the forms?They have to enter the firearm on their books within some fixed period of time by BATFE rule. They have to open the box to do so. I bet most of them do it as soon as they can after getting a delivery.

SHOOT1SAM
September 5, 2008, 08:48 AM
In one instance we had a customer beat the UPS driver. He really wanted his gun.

Geez, I hope the UPS driver wasn't hurt too badly & didn't press charges! :D

I wouldn't use an FFL that I didn't trust to open my package without me there.

+1000 on that. And also, remember that they don't have to receive a firearm for you. Granted, it's some easy money, logging it in & then logging it out, but it's still the FFL whom the BATFE will be questioning, not you.

Sam

ftierson
September 5, 2008, 01:00 PM
For the few of you worried/concerned about your FFL opening 'your' packages containing firearms...

It's really not 'yours' until it's backgrounded out to you by the FFL.

The FFL is required to enter the firearm into his bound book on the day that it is received. When BATFE conducts a compliance check, the FFL had better be damned sure that every firearm in the shop (or no longer in the shop) is accounted for in the shop's paperwork. If not, it can potentially result in loss of license (FFL) and even jail time.

At our shop (Hickman Rifles in Colorado Springs), we can easily receive ten firearms a day by UPS/FedEx/USPS. Since we're a gunsmith shop and not just a retailer, we receive firearms for both transfer and for repair. These firearms go into two separate books, but both books must be right up to date, and they'd better account for every firearm in the shop, or else...

We also receive packages with ammo, with reloading supplies and tools, with gun parts, etc. We don't automatically know what is in each box, except that ones looking like they contain long guns probably do contain long guns.

Usually, we don't know who a parcel is for until we open it. Sometimes, the final recipients name is on the outside of the box, but usually not...

Sometimes, we are expecting something for someone, but often not...

To guarantee that we keep our paperwork straight (and to avoid potential time in the gray-bar motel), our policy is to open parcels immediately (or close to immediately) after they come in and log stuff into our books appropriately.

Our policy is also to molest the firearm/parcel only enough to verify the manufacturer, model, serial number and chambering, all of which have to be entered into the bound book. And, of course, we retain a copy of the invoice for our records, which we physically place in the completed 4473 after transfer/background check.

Often, we don't have a clue who ordered something in even after we open the parcel, and have to wait until someone comes in to claim it. Sometimes the 'final' recipient nearly beats the BBT to our door. Sometimes the final recipient doesn't make himself known to us for months. But the firearm is entered into our records immediately, not matter when we finally discover who ordered the firearm.

In addition, unless we have some reason for retaining the original packaging, we discard it immediately after taking whatever information we need from it (obviously, this doesn't include original factory boxes and whatall, but it does include the exterior packaging). If we didn't discard the piles of cardboard, we'd quickly be up to our necks in boxes.

By opening the boxes and entering the info into our bound books immediately, we greatly lessen the chance of making mistakes. And, you must remember, it's our neck that's on the line.

And, if you don't pass the background check, you don't get the gun. That happens occasionally, and leads to all sorts of additional problems before things are resolved...

That's my story and I'm sticking to it...

For what it's worth...

Forrest

Tom Servo
September 5, 2008, 01:03 PM
Granted, it's some easy money, logging it in & then logging it out, but it's still the FFL whom the BATFE will be questioning, not you.
It's not always easy. I've had transfer-only customers who were far more high-maintenance than any regular customer.

Some will track the package online, and the second it says "out for delivery," they start calling every five minutes, asking if it's there yet. They're at the desk the second the UPS/FedEx truck pulls up, and no matter how busy the store is, they expect it to be checked in right now, to the exclusion of anything else.

Then they'll argue that the gun is only in 88% condition as opposed to the 90% condition the seller claimed it was. These people literally bring magnifying glasses. They'll make the clerk stand there for 30 minutes while they go over the gun and complain. If there's a discrepancy in condition, they yell at the store clerk rather than the person they bought it from. Sometimes, they'll demand compensation from the store.

I lost track of how many times I had to explain, "you didn't buy it from us. You need to take it up with onlin3sh00ter44."

Sometimes, they'll try to blame the shop. I had one guy scream profanities at me, swearing that someone at the store had taken the gun and shot it before he got there, because there's no way a new revolver could possibly have powder residue in the barrel (they test-fire them at the factory, fella).

Then there are the folks who will call dealers who may have the shop's FFL on file and order guns without the FFL's knowledge, claiming they've already cleared it with the shop.

Often, those are guns the shop had in stock.

Then there's the fun situation where they get denied on the background check, and the shop has to make arrangements for return shipping after getting chewed out by the customer for 45 minutes.

As far as opening the box, if you can be there shortly after it arrives, it's a reasonable request that the dealer wait. However, if eight hours have passed, and it's time to close up, the gun has to get logged in, and it's going to get opened.

That doesn't mean it's getting drooled on or fondled. Usually, the firearm doesn't have to be taken out of the plastic wrapping. The dealer does have to be absolutely sure of the serial #, though.

You do get alot of orphans, with no indication of why they were shipped, or who they were shipped for.

Odd1
September 6, 2008, 12:31 AM
The three FFls I have used always open the package before I get there.

I have always been given everything to include the shipping box.

I have never ever had a problem and fully expect them to open the package.

Having had an FFL, I fully understand he needs to know and dcoument what he has in his possesion.

However, I do not agree with the philosphy stating "it is the FFL dealer's gun until he transfers it to me".:scrutiny:

I paid for it and I am responsible for paying to ship it back or deal with the seller if it is not as advertised.

The FFL dealer is required to do certain things to legally transfer it to me, no doubt.

I do not think he can sell the gun to someone else if another offer is made.

It is in his possesion, but that does not mean it is his gun.

He decides if he does buisness with me, but he does not own what I bought.

Now this applies to me paying for a gun from someone else and the FFL only receiving it. If it is was ordered from his shop and I have not paid for it yet, different story, that is his gun.

ftierson
September 6, 2008, 12:43 AM
Originally posted by Odd1
However, I do not agree with the philosphy stating "it is the FFL dealer's gun until he transfers it to me".

I paid for it and I am responsible for paying to ship it back or deal with the seller if it is not as advertised.

The FFL dealer is required to do certain things to legally transfer it to me, no doubt.

I do not think he can sell the gun to someone else if another offer is made.

It is in his possesion, but that does not mean it is his gun.

He decides if he does buisness with me, but he does not own what I bought.

Now this applies to me paying for a gun from someone else and the FFL only receiving it. If it is was ordered from his shop and I have not paid for it yet, different story, that is his gun.

I agree, Odd1.

I could have stated my point a little better, but I think that the point that I was trying to make still stands. If you cannot pass the background check (which the FFL has to complete), you don't take possession of 'your' gun, and other arrangements for the disposition of the gun have to be made.

The FFL certainly cannot just turn around and sell something that you have already paid for, and I didn't mean to suggest that was the case in my earlier post...

You just don't get 'your' gun until the dealer can transfer it to you following the letter of the law.

Forrest

By the way, Odd1, welcome to THR...:)

jakemccoy
September 6, 2008, 12:49 AM
I ask my FFL how a used gun looks over the phone. If he says it sucks, then I start the process of returning it.

freakshow10mm
September 6, 2008, 01:28 AM
However, I do not agree with the philosphy stating "it is the FFL dealer's gun until he transfers it to me".
My books say otherwise. So does the ATF.

It is in his possesion, but that does not mean it is his gun.
A dealer transfers a gun to me. Not the customer, to ME. How is that gun not under my control?

He decides if he does buisness with me, but he does not own what I bought.
Possession is 9/10ths the law. Any gun on the premises that is for business use is mine. Try this once. Take a gun in. Don't log in in your bound book. When the ATF does their yearly compliance visit and notes you have a gun in possession that is not in your bound book, tell them it isn't yours, it's John's gun, he just hasn't come by to pick it up and do the transfer yet. Guess who's ass is grass?

Odd1
September 6, 2008, 12:02 PM
I guess we can go on with sematics forever.

Got it, gun is in the delaers possesion, he has to log it in, BATFE expects him to log it in. I am not arguing any of that.

But I think just becasue something is in your possesion does not make it yours.
Can you sell it to someone else ?
Can you say "I am not going to initate a transfer because I want to keep it?"
Or is all that okay, becasue possession is 9/10 of the law?
(By the way, I have heard that before, just not from lawyers or judges, why then is stolen property recovered from theives?)

My car was in the shop getting tires replaced, is the car no longer mine?
I gave the keys to the shop, they have possesion, I bet the logged it in.
I know, cars and guns different laws.

I guess I feel the gun is mine becasue my FFLs always say "Hey your gun is in, come get it".

They do not say "I have a gun in that is mine even though you paid for it and BATFE says it is mine and I have decided to give it to you."

Either way, never had an issue with my FFLs, I just consider what I paid for mine. If they do not, they have never let me think otherwise, and we are all happy.

Ratshooter
September 6, 2008, 03:07 PM
If I couldn't trust my FFL with opening my package I wouldn't deal with him in the first place. So for me its not a problem.

SoCalShooter
September 6, 2008, 03:16 PM
For the FFL I work for we have to open the guns up to check to make sure they are the correct product and to make sure the serials are correct then they have to be added to the bound book.

Flyboy
September 6, 2008, 03:46 PM
Odd1: simmer down before you have a coronary.

Yes, the gun you paid for and had shipped to your dealer is yours. That said, the dealer is--by law--the custodian of that firearm. He remains the custodian, with all the responsibilities thereof, until such time as it is transferred to you.

No, the gun isn't "his," but he is solely responsible for compliance with all appropriate laws, including logging, until it's transferred to you. If he's smart, he's going to open any necessary boxes to look the thing over and at least verify serial numbers. That's one of the responsibilities--mandated by Federal law--that goes with his custodianship. If he's not smart, he's not going to be your FFL much longer.

Furrfu. Some people get wrapped around the axle about the silliest things.

MinnMooney
September 6, 2008, 04:00 PM
My FFL opens the box and records everything as soon as he gets a break in business - not necessarily when I get there.
Nothing under-handed or cloak-&-dagger about it.

usp9
September 6, 2008, 07:16 PM
Mine always opens then up. :scrutiny: If it's from CDNN, he helps himself to the freebees. :cuss: He ships my guns for cost, so I can't complain to much.:D

Big Mike
September 6, 2008, 09:15 PM
Have used multiple FFLs when living in different states. All have opened packages.

Odd1
September 7, 2008, 12:19 AM
Flyboy,
no coronary at all, quite relaxed.

I said I had no issue with opening boxes, I expect him to that and all the law requires.

I may think the gun is mine, he may think it is his, however we never had an issue. We are all happy and I have never had a bad FFL transfer.

Like I said before, a matter of semantics. I get what I paid for and they follow all paperwork requirements, we all win.

Consider me unwraped from around the axle.

yeti
September 7, 2008, 12:05 PM
I would be more surprised if my FFL did not open the package.

Honestly, I always assumed that since it was shipped to him, it would have been addressed to him, and just that alone would give him the right to open it up.

Besides, I trust him, and just never gave it a thought beyond that.

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