1. What is your return policy? ALL FIREARM AND AMMUNITION SALES ARE FINAL. NO EXCEPTIONS.BE SURE YOU ARE ELIGIBLE TO POSSESS/PURCHASE A FIREARM PRIOR TO SENDING PAYMENT. TILSON DEFENSE RESERVES THE RIGHT TO FORFEIT ANY PAYMENTS MADE IF THE TRANSACTION CANNOT BE COMPLETED DUE TO FAILURE TO PASS A NICS CHECK. IF TILSON DEFENSE SHIPS YOUR FIREARM TO YOUR LOCAL FFL, TILSON DEFENSE'S INVOLVEMENT IN THE TRANSACTION CEASES UPON PROOF OF SHIPMENT.
2. I live in Iowa, I’ve never bought a gun before, and I'd like to know what the process entails. Once you have selected a firearm you would like to purchase, you will fill out an ATF Form 4473. This form asks a bunch of questions about you personally, and then asks a series of questions to make sure you are not prohibited from purchasing/owning a firearm. Once you fill out the form, you may need to undergo a NICS (National Instant Check System) background check. The background check often only takes a few minutes to complete. Once ATF Form 4473 is complete, and you have passed your NICS background check, you'll pay for your new firearm, and will be good to go! The paperwork and background check part of the gun buying process typically takes about 15-20 minutes or so to complete.
3. I don’t have an Iowa permit to carry/permit to acquire. Can I still purchase a firearm? Yes! That is totally fine! As of 07/01/2021, the State of Iowa passed “Constitutional Carry” into law. This legislation allows you to buy a pistol, revolver or long gun without the need to obtain a permit to carry/permit to acquire. This legislation also allows you to carry your pistol, revolver, or long gun on your person without needing a permit to carry as well. Simply put, if you’re over 18 years of age, and can pass a background check, you can buy a long gun without any issues. If you’re 21 years of age or older, and can pass a background check, you can then buy a pistol or revolver without any issue.
4. I don’t live in Iowa. Can I still buy a gun from Tilson Defense? Yes! If you want to buy a gun from me, the process is very similar as if you lived in Iowa. I will ship your gun to an FFL of your choice, who is based in the State you live in. I will then send you tracking information, and once your firearm arrives at the receiving FFL in your State, all you have to do is go to the receiving FFL’s place of business, fill out ATF Form 4473, complete a background check if required, then you get to go home with your gun. Be sure to know your State and local laws prior to purchasing a firearm, though! One FFL can send virtually any type of firearm to another FFL, but if the gun you bought is illegal in your locale, the receiving FFL will not transfer you the firearm, the sending FFL will probably NOT refund you, and now you're out a lot of money. A great resource about your local gun laws would be to contact either an ATF field office in your State, or even a licensed gun dealer (FFL) in your area.
5. What is an FFL? FFL stands for: Federal Firearms License. This is essentially a business license issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) that allows the licensee to engage in the commercial sale and transfer of firearms. This license is extremely time consuming to obtain, and involves extensive vetting and interviews with the ATF prior to being approved for this license.
6. My friend has a gun that I would like to buy from him/her. How do I transfer the registration of the gun from their name to mine? Great question. There is no registration of firearms at all, and because of that, there is no paperwork to be done. Private sales are completely legal, no background check is required, neither is any proof of ID. One of the only limitations put on the private sale of a firearm is that the seller cannot KNOWINGLY sell a firearm to a person who is prohibited by law from owning/possessing a firearm. The law does not put any burden on the seller to collect information on the buyer to verify if they are prohibited or not. Some private sellers are very cautious, and will ask that the buyer meet them at a licensed gun dealer (FFL) to conduct the transaction, which will then require an ATF Form 4473 be filled out by the buyer, and a NICS background check to be completed, if required by law. The wildly incorrect misconception that there already is a national firearms registry is EXACTLY how we will actually end up with a firearm registry. 7. What happens to the ATF Form 4473 that I fill out when I purchase a gun from a licensed gun dealer? The four page application you fill out when you go into a gun store is not electronically recorded in a searchable manner by any government agency. The four page application is kept in the FFL's file cabinet at the business's location. The FFL is required to retain this record at the business location for no less than 20 years. The Firearms Protection Act of 1986 bans the registry of guns, gun owners, and gun sales.
8. Is there a situation in which I wouldn't have to undergo a NICS background check? Yes. In the State of Iowa, if you have a valid Permit to Carry Weapons or a valid Permit to Acquire Pistols and Revolvers, no background check is required at point of sale. Both of these permits require a background check be done prior to being approved for the permit, and these are to be renewed every five years. Now that Constitutional Carry has been enacted in Iowa, the Permit to Carry and Permit to Acquire are both optional for the purposes of purchasing weapons, and carrying them on your person. 9. Do you take trades? Yes. However, trade deals are made on a case by case basis. Lets talk about trades in general too, while we are at it. Trading a gun in at virtually any gun store is very similar to trading in your used car for another car at a dealership. You often do not make nearly as much money by trading in the car, as you would have if you sold it on the private market. Guns are no different. If you have a certain gun that you saw sell for $500 on Gunbroker or ArmsList, do not walk into a gun store expecting to receive that amount on trade in. Big box retail stores will never offer you market value for your gun, you shouldn't expect your local gun store to do so either. Have realistic expectations. 10. Drake, I have this gun that I want to sell, but I don't know how to go about selling it. Can you help? Of course! I take guns in on consignment all the time. This is an easy way to sell your gun without having to worry about any of the logistics, because I take care of everything for you. Basically, when you meet with me to discuss a consignment deal, I will take possession of your firearm and get it checked into my A&D book. From there I will list it for sale on ArmsList, my website, and offer to sell it to in-person customers as well. Depending on the firearm you are trying to sell, you and I can come to one of two arrangements: 1) If you aren't sure what your gun is worth, or just want to get rid of it and aren't concerned with the sale price, I will do my own research on the gun to determine it's value and attempt to sell it for that amount. I will collect 15% of the final sale price, and will write you a check for the rest. 2) If you know exactly how much money you need to make on the sale of your firearm, I will advertise it for no less than the price you need to get for it. If your firearm sells for more than the amount you needed to get out of the sale, that amount is collected by Tilson Defense. Example: You give me a used Gen 3 Glock 19 to sell for you. You tell me that you'd be happy to get $375 out of it. I then sell it for $450. I will write you a check for $375, and pocket the $75. In the event that your gun doesn't sell, and you want your gun back, we'll schedule a time for you to come pick your gun up. You will have to fill out ATF Form 4473 in order to get your gun back, and you will be charged $25 to cover my time, and paperwork to transfer the firearm back to you. 10a. Wait, I have to fill out a 4473 form to get my own gun back? Yes. Per Federal law, when a firearm is left in the possession of an FFL, it must be logged in the FFL's Acquisition and Disposition book (also referred to as an "A&D book", or "bound book"). In order to "dispose" of a firearm back to the owner (or any non-FFL for that matter), there must be an ATF Form 4473 attached to the disposition of the firearm. The only time when I don't need to collect a 4473 to dispose of a firearm is if I am shipping a firearm to another FFL. Tilson Defense operates with the highest level of integrity, and honesty. If you ask me to do anything shady or illegal, I will not do business with you. 10b. Can you list my gun on Gunbroker too? Sure! I'm happy to sell your gun however you want. However, Gunbroker collects their own listings fees. They will charge me about $5 just to list a gun, and then they get a percentage of the final sale price of the gun as well. I've seen Gunbroker collect more than $40 as part of their cut of an auction before. This is why I typically don't sell on Gunbroker any more, because I'm tired of paying their listing fees. If you want me to list your gun on Gunbroker, I'll happily do that, but you are paying for the Gunbroker listing fees, in addition to my own fees that I've outlined above. Example: Your gun sells on Gunbroker for $500, and we've decided I am getting a percentage of the sale price. 15% of the sale price (in this case, that would be $75) goes to Tilson Defense minus the initial Gunbroker listing fee of $5, and minus Gunbroker's cut, which in this case would probably be about $20. You are left with $400. 11. I'm trying to find Tilson Defense on Facebook, but I can't seem to find your page. Correct. Due to the nature of my business I have been banned from Facebook, YouTube, PayPal, and even Venmo. Hence, I've made a website to decentralize myself from social media. My website gives me a lot more flexibility to advertise and talk about what I want. When I was on Facebook, almost all of my posts got taken down within a day or two of posting them anyways. Because of the draconian censorship, I'd encourage all like-minded people to quit doing business with companies that hate you. 11b. Wait, if you're banned from PayPal and Venmo, how do you receive payment? As of 07/31/2021, I can still use Cash App and Zelle for electronic payments. Cash, checks, USPS Money Orders, and cashiers checks are also accepted by Tilson Defense. In the near future, I will be able to directly accept credit and debit cards, which will negate the need for any middle-man payment platform similar to PayPal. The downside to that is, is the credit card companies like Visa, Mastercard, etc. have been talking about not allowing their cards/bank accounts to be used to purchase firearms, ammo, etc. We'll see where things go! 12. What do you think about Governor Reynolds taking away the need to get a pistol permit? I'm afraid of what's going to happen now that criminals won't have to get background checks. This misconception is unequivocally FALSE. I have had enough people ask me about this that I feel it's necessary to address it here. The misconception is that now that Iowa has "constitutional carry" (see question #2 for explanation of constitutional carry) that anyone can buy and carry a gun, and also does not need a background check. The TRUTH is that one way or another, EVERYONE who buys a gun from a licensed dealer (FFL) will undergo a background check. What has changed is how often you must undergo a background check, and that you can carry your gun without needing a permit to do so. With either an Iowa Permit to Carry or Permit to Acquire, part of the application for such a permit is that you undergo a Federal background check. If you pass the background check (and satisfy the State's other requirements) you get your permit. Once you have the permit, you will NOT have to undergo another NICS background check until you renew your permit, regardless of how many guns you buy in the five year span the permit is valid for. You could always buy a long gun (rifle or shotgun) without a permit to carry/acquire, and you would undergo a NICS background check per each long gun you buy. Prior to Constitutional Carry, it was required that you have a permit to carry or permit to acquire to even purchase a pistol or revolver. Now, a permit is not required. This is the part that people go off the rails on, and make wild assertions that the murder rate is going to go through the roof, and that there will be blood in the streets now that you don't have to have a government issued permission slip to purchase/carry your gun. Under constitutional carry, it is true you do not need a permit to carry/acquire to buy a pistol or revolver, however you WILL undergo a background check for EVERY firearm purchase you make from a licensed dealer. The ironic part about this whole thing is that the people who are FOR permits, are usually the same people who demand background checks for everyone. If you have a permit to carry, you get a background check once every five years when you renew your permit, regardless of how many guns you buy. Without a permit, you get a background check for EVERY gun you buy. So depending on how many guns you buy, it's entirely possible that people WITHOUT a permit may undergo MORE background checks than someone who actually has a permit. This point right here is what makes the aforementioned misconception patently false, and is also completely nonsensical. 13. Since you're an FFL now, are you going to let your Permit to Carry expire? Honestly, I thought about it. It's very easy for me to obtain guns (obviously) and there is less paperwork for me to acquire firearms than there is for the average person, specifically because I'm an FFL. I am also a big fan of being able to carry a gun without a government issued permission slip. I was going to let it expire, until I found out my concealed carry/defense insurance requires I have a valid permit to carry for the State I live in. Because of that alone, I'll be maintaining my permit. 13a. Concealed carry insurance????? Yep! God forbid you have to defend yourself with a firearm, you will likely be arrested, booked, and put in jail until you can post bail. The cost to post bail after shooting someone (whether or not you kill the attacker) is typically north of $500,000. After that, the next several years of your life will likely be consumed with crippling legal fees, court dates, and not to mention the heart ache associated with the traumatic event itself. Your life will NEVER be the same again. For $16/mo, I am insured by a company called, "CCW Safe" and they take care of the legal aspects and fees associated with defending oneself. I'd recommend you check them out! CCW Safe also has a great podcast called, "In Self Defense" where two criminal defense attorney's pick apart, and discuss self-defense cases that went to trial and talk about what the person claiming self defense did right, what they did wrong, and also what they should have done as to have made for an easier case to defend in court. CCW Safe offers a few different protection plans you can choose from. I have the "Defender" plan, as this is the least expensive, offers a monthly payment plan, and still offers a fantastic level of coverage. CLICK HERE to learn about CCW Safe's Defender plan. 14. Does Tilson Defense do business with Law Enforcement agencies? Yes. However, Tilson Defense will NOT outfit LE with firearms that the general public cannot obtain legally themselves. 15. What is a "ghost gun"? The media would have you believe that a "ghost gun" is a gun that is manufactured without a serial number, and they are incredibly common, are the direct cause of gun violence, and are NOT traceable by law enforcement because they don't have serial numbers engraved. The term "ghost gun" is hyperbolic, and inaccurate. Simply put, building your own firearms at home has ALWAYS been legal in the United States, and continues to be legal. Typically, when people make their own guns, there is no markings engraved on the gun, including a serial number. The legal caveat here is, while homemade guns are totally legal, the builder cannot legally sell it due to the lack of serial number and other Federal paperwork. While there are a lot of ways to make homemade firearms (some more primitive than others) most of the people making their own guns are people who have access to heavy machining equipment, like a CNC machine. Your average gang banger isn't turning barrels, and milling receivers in his meth lab. Another point to make on this topic: If the media actually knew what they were talking about, they'd know that 100% of guns in circulation could (in theory) be untraceable, even with serial numbers engraved. Let me explain. When a gun is manufactured, it is sold to a wholesale distributor, who then sells the gun to an FFL dealer, who then (presumably) sells the gun to the end user. Between each of these change of hands, is a paper trail of documentation as required by Federal law. However, once the gun is sold to the end user, the end user can sell the firearm legally on the private market to his friend, who then sells the gun to his cousin, who then sells the gun via ArmsList to a private buyer who meets him at a truck stop parking lot to conduct the (totally legal) private sale. My point here is, is a firearm can change hands countless times, and if it never runs through a gun store (FFL) there isn't ANY Federally required paperwork on the firearm since the gun was first sold to the original end user. The firearm could change hands 50 times over the course of 20 years, and the last known documentation on the firearm would have been the 4473 form filled out by the end user 20 years ago, in this example. This makes ALL firearms potentially untraceable by law enforcement. 16. I'm interested in buying my first AK-47. What do you think of the Century Arms VSKA/RAS-47/C39v2? Few things annoy me more than gun stores that pass off low quality AK-47 variant rifles as high quality rifles to unsuspecting customers. In the world of AK's, it is very common to be able to get low quality and high quality rifles for nearly the same cost. It is extremely common to find the Century Arms VSKA at your local gun store, or at gun shows in your area for around $999. However, If you go online (or get ahold of me) you can get the comparable Zastava M70 ZPAP for right at $999 as well! The difference here is that the M70 is unquestionably a higher quality, premium rifle. So why then, if the Zastava product is a far superior rifle to the Century Arms product, do local gun stores only seem to carry low quality Century Arms VSKA rifles? In this rant, I'll explain why. There are a handful of manufacturers in the United States that produce their own AK-47 variant rifles and most of them are low quality rifles, most notably the "VSKA" made by Century Arms. Why is this a low quality product, and why should you care? It's a low quality product because the most critical parts of the gun are made out of cast steel. Cast steel is steel that is heated up to the point where it's liquified, and its poured into a casting mold. The steel then cools and hardens...the issue here is that by doing it this way, there are air pockets that are created within the steel, making it significantly weaker than the same component that's cold hammer forged. These cast components in any of Century Arms's AK's, (including the VSKA) would be the front trunnion, gas block, bolt, and bolt carrier These are components that are under an extreme amount of heat and stress, especially the front trunnion and gas block. If any of these components fail, your rifle becomes a hand grenade and can cause catastrophic injury or death to the user. Okay, so what's the solution to cast parts in AK's? COLD HAMMER FORGED parts! A large amount of AK's that are imported into the US from European and former Soviet Bloc countries have cold hammer forged components, including those made by Zastava (imported from Serbia). In addition, Palmetto State Armory's PSAK-47 and Kalashnikov USA's products all have cold hammer forged components. How is this better? It's infinitely better because CHF is where the steel is heated up, and pounded into the shape it needs to take. There are no air bubbles within the steel, it's extremely dense, and the grain structure is completely aligned as well. There are countless instances of these low quality AK's blowing up in peoples faces as they're shooting them, and cast parts are to blame. These low quality rifles typically cost just as much as high quality rifles (like the Zastava made products), the problem is is supply. Because Century Arms AK's are made in America, they're easy for your local gun store to source. However, if you do a quick search online, you'll see that you can easily order a quality AK with cold hammer forged parts for the same or nearly the same price... it just takes a little more work to order it yourself. In short, I will not keep anything made by Century Arms in stock. If someone asks me to order them something made by Century Arms, they're going to be made well aware of what they're buying before I order it in for them. 17. If I order a gun from Tilson Defense, and Tilson Defense sends it to my FFL what happens if I fail the NICS background check? First of all, IT IS THE BUYER'S RESPONSIBILITY to ensure they are not prohibited from purchasing/owning/possessing firearms before attempting to purchase a firearm. Here's our scenario: I get your gun in stock and send it to your FFL for you to pick it up and fill out the paperwork. You fill out the 4473 at your FFL's store, and he/she initiates a NICS background check, and then you find out you failed the background check. This means that at some point in your life you have been convicted of something that is now prohibiting you from buying (and probably possessing) a firearm. This can be a felony conviction, domestic violence conviction, possession of a controlled substance conviction (including marijuana), possession of drug paraphernalia conviction etc. Most (if not all) of these convictions stay on your record forever, meaning you are prohibited from buying/possessing firearms forever as well. So what happens now? You've spent $600 on a new gun, now you can't own it at all. This is the part that sucks for you. The seller (in this example, Tilson Defense) will not be issuing a refund for no other reason than all sales are final. Even if Tilson Defense was able to issue refunds, there is no reality that exists where you get a refund for a gun that you had no business trying to obtain, that I don't even have possession of myself to try and resell. Secondly, the gun I sent to your FFL is not my gun anymore, and I have no business calling that FFL asking for that gun back. The moral of the story here is: if you think this may be an issue for you (and if you live in Iowa), go to Iowa Courts Online and search your own name to see what's on your record. If you have any of the above convictions, do not attempt to buy a gun. If you have any questions about your record as it relates to buying a firearm, call your local law enforcement agency, or regional ATF field office. Think you can beat the system? Prohibited persons attempting to purchase a firearm is a federal offense in and of itself, and the FFL you're attempting to complete the 4473 and NICS check with has every right to call the police on you. 17a. Couldn't I just send my friend to the gun store to fill out the paperwork for me, since I can't pass a NICS check? NO! That is called a "straw purchase" and that is against Federal law! A "straw purchase" is where a criminal knows he/she cannot purchase a gun because of their criminal record, so he/she sends a friend to the gun store to buy it for them. This is highly illegal, and will likely result in felony charges being filed against both people in this example. You cannot buy a gun for someone who couldn't legally do so themselves!