Cabela’s offers in-store pickup for guns bought online

August 29, 2016 03:38 PM

Cabela’s Inc. on Monday became the largest online retailer to sell guns online. 

The sporting goods retailer, No. 61 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, on Monday began selling handguns and long guns on Customers can have the order shipped to a Cabela’s store where they can pick it up for free after going through the proper screening process. Previously, consumers could purchase ammunition online as long as it complied with the laws of the state to which it was being shipped, but could only purchase firearms in a store.  

Cabela’s is one of six online retailers in the Internet Retailer Top 1000 that feature a distinct “Add to Cart” option for purchasing guns online. The other online merchants that enable shoppers to buy guns online are (No. 178), Gander Mountain (No. 213), Mack’s Prairie Wings (No. 527), Academy Sports + Outdoors (No. 762) and Farwest Sports (No. 834). .

The buy online, pickup in-store service “gives Cabela’s customers access to the company’s online selection of new handguns and long guns, and ensures better firearms availability, while enhancing a seamless customer experience,” the retailer said in a release announcing the program. Cabela’s did not immediately return a request for comment regarding the policy change.

Other large retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (No. 4) and Bass Pro (No. 109) sell firearms in certain stores but stop short of giving website visitors the option of purchasing online. “Wal-Mart has never sold firearms online and has no plans to in the future,” says a Wal-Mart spokesman who declined to comment further on the retailer’s policy.

Online gun purchases from retailers are legal provided the seller and buyer meet federal requirements. All sales must be processed through a Federal Firearms License Dealer (FFL dealer), which is a registered dealer that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) reviewed, investigated and approved.

It is the FFL dealer’s responsibility to follow local, state and federal laws when facilitating the transaction of a firearm. These responsibilities include filing the Firearms Transaction Record Form 4473 for the customer who is attempting to purchase the gun, which includes all pertinent information for a background check as required by the state in which the purchase is being made. The FFL dealer then submits Form 4473 to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for review and the sale is final once the background check is completed. If the background check is not completed within three business days, the FFL dealer has the option to complete the sale without a background check in what is called a “default proceed” but is under no obligation to do so. Background-check laws and gun ownership requirements vary by state. As of July, there were more than 141,000 registered Federal Firearms License dealers in the U.S.

Consumers who buy guns from online retailers cannot have the firearm shipped directly to a residential address or a P.O. Box. Certain retail chains, such as Cabela’s, require customers to include their ZIP code of residence and choose the store location closest to their home where their sale is processed. Others, such as, take a different approach by listing external FFL dealers by state. The buyer selects a dealer in his state of residence and the retailer ships the firearm to that location. The FFL dealer completes the checks required by local, state and federal laws and notifies the retailer when the sale has been completed or denied.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation received more than 28,700,000 firearm-sale background-check requests between July 2015 and July 2016, according to data from the NICS. It is unclear how many of those requests originated from online sales.

Transactions that occur via and other retailers’ sites are not part of the so-called “gun show loophole,” which extends online. That loophole enables private hobbyists and others to sell guns without a dealer’s license in many states. A consumer can then purchase a gun online from someone online who does not have or need a license—via a peer-to-peer listing websites and auction sites where buyers and sellers can meet and negotiate a price—because the buyer does not need to undergo a background check in most states.




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