I recently sold one gun via an Internet gun auction site and purchased another. Each transaction constituted a complex bureaucratic nightmare passage through a labyrinth of rules and restrictions.
Paypal, the (commonly used, and ill-loved by everyone) vehicle for on-line payments, is a California entity and will have nothing to do with firearms transactions.
You cannot send a gun to anyone who is not a dealer possessing a Federal Firearms License (and the BATF has been doing its best for years now to restrict the number out there and to make FFLs very difficult to get).
Handguns and ammunition present special problems. The US Post Office shuns the kind of moral lepers who own handguns today, and won’t convey them, period. FedEx and UPS will reluctantly carry them, but only by exorbitantly-priced Priority Overnight or Next Day Air respectively.
When you buy a gun, you have to pay a dealer a fee to receive it for you, and you also have to pay for a police check on yourself.
Essentially, buying or selling any non-antique gun in any federally-regulated interstate transaction is a royal pain. The whole affair is loaded with added costs, occult rules and regulations, laws with stiff penalties just waiting to be violated, and the opportunity to be treated like a criminal.
This month’s issue of the NRA’s magazine, American Rifleman, had a letter from a reader (unfortunately not posted on the American Rifleman web-site) which really got my attention.
Just a few generations back, when America was still a free country, an American soldier could slap a handful of stamps on the buttstock of a captured enemy rifle, put on an address label, and (just for safety’s sake) hang a second address tag from the front sling swivel, and put a completely unpackaged, unwrapped rifle in the mail to his dad back home. And the post office would a) deliver it without demurral, and b) not break it.