Ok.... an FFL is a Federal Firearms License. If you are buying a firearm online/mail order, the seller cannot mail it directly to you. It has to go to an FFL. The FFL will then do the background checks that TX requires. So, once you've decided what you want to buy, contact an FFL near you and get their info. Tell them what you are buying. Provide the seller with the FFL's info. Pay the seller. The seller will ship it to the FFL. The FFL will contact you when it comes in. You go to the FFL, pay his fees and pick it up.
Any complete rifle will have to go through this process. You can buy parts of a rifle and have them mailed directly to you... except the lower receiver. That's the part the Feds decided as the controlled item. You can buy what's called a "rifle kit" from places like Del-ton. It will include everything for an AR-15 except the lower receiver. You can get a lower receiver online too but it will have to be shipped to an FFL as described above. Or you can buy a lower receiver locally at a gun show or gun store then assemble it yourself. It's not hard. Another "build" option is to buy a complete upper and a complete lower (via FFL) and attach them together. Or you can order a complete rifle.
A budget AR-15 will run about $700 and will be perfect for plinking at the range on weekends. You can get as fancy as you want and drive the price up to $2500 or more. It all depends on whether you buy into the Kool-Aid klan that insist you need the most expensive parts because it could cost you your life. If you're not using your AR to kick doors down in the sandbox or busting up crack houses, then a budget AR is best.
Last edited by propellerhead; 06-16-2008 at 11:26 AM.