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This is a common practice across the country. In Texas, it is most used when parties need to ship a firearm, to stay in bounds with the law regarding shipping guns.
For local sales, it is unnecessary, so folks usually sell face to face, though there is an occaisional seller that makes it a condition of purchase for whatever reasons they feel warranted.

Gun shows, contrary to popular belief, have very few private sales (as a % of guns sold) that would be exempted from a background check. The dealers run them by phone right there at the show. And occaisionally, a private seller will enlist their services as a condition of purchase on a firearm.

This is not a new practice, and there was one thread on facebook today, originating with a gun rights group in Texas, that indicated the ATF was trying to squelch the practice, but upon reading the letter under discussion, it was the opposite. The ATF sent a letter this week compelling MORE support of private sales by FFL holders.
 
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