From the instructions on the back of the 4473:
For purposes of this form, you are the actual buyer if you are purchasing the firearm for yourself or otherwise acquiring the firearm for yourself (for example, redeeming the firearm from pawn/retrieving it from consignment). You are also the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm as a legitimate gift for a third party.
ACTUAL BUYER EXAMPLES: Mr. Smith asks Mr. Jones to purchase a firearm for
Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith gives Mr. Jones the money for the firearm. Mr. Jones is NOT
the actual buyer of the firearm and must answer “no “ to question 12a. The
licensee may not transfer the firearm to Mr. Jones. However, if Mr. Brown goes to
buy a firearm with his own money to give to Mr. Black as a present, Mr. Brown is
the actual buyer of the firearm and should answer “yes” to question 12a.