Can You Buy a Gun with Someone else’s Credit Card? Q/A

Guns are expensive. They range in cost from several hundred to several thousand dollars apiece, and that doesn’t take consumables like bullets and gun cleaning cloths into account. That’s why you may want to borrow money to pay for a gun. Can you buy a gun with someone else’s credit card? And what else can you do to afford a new gun?

Can you pay for a gun with your credit card and have someone else pick it up?

Suppose you buy a gun online, but the closest FFL licensed dealer is thirty miles away. You have to pay with a valid credit card or through some other means that they accept. This could be a money order, cashier’s check or credit card.

If you bought the gun through an online auction site and had it shipped to the FFL licensed dealer, they won’t check ID and make sure it matches the credentials on the credit card because they are not transferring the gun to you.

The only requirement is that the person picking up the gun must fill out an ATF Form 4473, pay the transfer fee, and pay any sales tax on the transaction. There will be a background check done on the person picking up the gun. That might be skipped if the person picking up the gun has a valid CCW permit.

The third party can only pick up the gun when they’ve been cleared to take possession of the gun. And that can be someone other than the person who ordered it online.

A third party who picks up the gun would officially transfer the gun to the person who bought it. Furthermore, they’re in violation of the law if they give the gun to a prohibited person.

For example, if the person who picks up the gun gives it to a felon or someone with a domestic violence order limiting gun access, they would be in violation of the law. That is true whether or not the individual receiving the gun paid for it.

However, they might use someone else’s credit card to hide the fact that they bought the gun.

That said, you can get into trouble with the online gun auction site if you buy a gun with a credit card without permission.

Note that this is only a problem if you use someone’s credit card without permission. If you’re an authorized user on the card, then there is no problem as long as the dealer allows the transaction.

Can I Have the Person Picking Up the Gun for Me Pay for It?

We’ve outlined the process where party A could buy the gun online and have party B pick it up. If party B wants the gun but wants to simplify the process, party A could pay for the gun with their credit card with the expectation that party B reimburses them.

From the gun dealer’s perspective, the person buying the gun and the person picking it up are the same person. Their liability regarding the sale ends when the person who bought it gives it or sells it to someone else.

Why Do Many Gun Shops Refuse to Let a Third Party Pick Up the Gun?

Many gun shops will not let party A pay for the gun online and have party B pick it up. In general, they’re concerned about party B violating the law.

This type of transaction raises concerns about:

  • Use of stolen credit cards to buy the gun
  • Straw buyers picking up a gun for individuals not allowed to own a gun
  • The person picking up the gun is stealing it from the legitimate buyer

This is why many gun shops simply refuse to “transfer” the gun to anyone other than the named buyer. And, in general, the buyer better have an ID that matches the name on the receipt and on their credit card.

Can You Pay Cash for a Gun?

If you buy a gun with cash from the dealer, the same process involving background checks and ATF forms occurs. However, you can maintain a measure of privacy by paying for the gun with cash. In general, gun shops don’t have a problem being paid in cash for a weapon. The bigger concern is selling the gun to someone not legally allowed to own it, whether because they’re mentally ill, have a criminal history, or are red flagged for some other reason.

Can You Buy a Gun with Someone Else’s Credit Card from a Private Individual?

In most states, you don’t have to go through the same background checks and fill out the ATF forms if you’re buying the gun from a private individual. They can choose what payment method they’ll accept.

This could be cash, cashier’s check, a traditional check, debit card or a credit card. However, they have the right to refuse to accept a credit card if it is not in your name.

Furthermore, their payment processing system might flag the discrepancy, if Joe X is buying the gun but the credit card is in the name of Juan Z.

Note that the person picking up the gun is supposed to state on ATF form 4473 that they are the person who will own the gun. If they transfer the gun to a third party, they are officially a straw buyer and could be prosecuted if that third party uses the gun illegally.

What Do I Do If I Want to Give the Gun as a Gift to a Third Party?

If you plan on giving the gun as a gift, let the FFL holder know so that they can assist you in filling out the paperwork correctly. This helps you to avoid charges of working as a straw buyer.

Some stores have a policy that the person who will be receiving the gun must be present in order for them to pick up the gun. This means you may have to bring your teenager or your spouse with you to fill out the form or show their ID before you can buy a gun in their name.

On the other hand, this avoids problems if you pay for the gun with your spouse’s credit card or your child pays for the gun with your credit card. You’re there to confirm that you approve of the gun purchase.

What if the third party you say will receive the gun isn’t really the intended recipient? 

Know that it is a crime to make false statements and representations in the course of firearm purchases. In layman’s terms, it is a crime to lie on the ATF form regarding who will end up owning the gun. And you probably will face criminal charges if you are discovered.

Can I Resell the Gun to a Third Party?

Let’s assume you pay cash for the gun. You have plans on selling it to a third party who may not want or be able to buy the gun themselves. Know that it is a crime to sell a gun to someone you believe cannot legally possess it.

See Also: 7 Best Ultrasonic Gun Cleaners in 2021

Can I Buy the Gun with a Prepaid Debit Card?

A purchase prepaid debit card is similar to that with a conventional debit card. You swipe the card, and the value of the item is deducted from the card balance. These cards may be issued in your name or they may not have a name initially attached to them.

For example, you could buy a prepaid debit card at a big box store and load it with a thousand dollars. That card could be used to buy a gun or other item. It doesn’t hit your bank account or credit card statement.

However, the gun may still be traceable to you via the ATF forms you must fill out and the purchase of the prepaid debit card itself. You could buy the prepaid debit card with cash and buy a gun with it that way, but you still have to go through the mandatory ATF background checks if you’re buying from an FFL licensed dealer.

In theory, you could show up with a prepaid debit card in someone else’s name and buy the gun. However, the dealer could refuse to let you pay if the debit card is in someone else’s name.

This is generally done to limit their liability. They don’t want to get sued because someone stole a coworker’s prepaid payroll debit card before buying a bunch of guns.

There is very little to prevent you from paying cash for a prepaid debit card, entering false information when registering the card, and then trying to use it to buy a gun.

However, the gun dealer should still ask to see ID and require you to fill out the ATF forms. And if the name on the ID doesn’t match that on the ATF forms or the debit card, they may kill the deal.


Can you buy a gun with someone else's credit card? It is theoretically possible to buy guns using someone else’s credit card or debit card. However, you must legally have permission of the person lending you the payment card and obey all state and federal laws in order for this to even be possible.

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