Protect yourself when selling a gun
So it’s time to sell your gun. For many gun owners, selling a gun can cause some anxiety – for good reason, too. Today’s legal and political environments don’t tolerate a single misstep. Selling a gun can carry significant liability. Taking the proper steps will protect you from any future liability.
Here are 3 tips to help you stay safe when selling a gun.
- Know the Law: Unfortunately it’s a lot easier said than done. Gun laws are complicated and change drastically from location to location. Covering the specifics is far beyond the scope of this article but we’ll cover the basics.
We’ll start with the Federal law. Since it applies to everyone, it’s easier to wrap our heads around. The key is not to sell to someone you “know is or have reasonable suspicion is a restricted person.” That means you must do some due diligence and cannot blindly sell to anyone. Doing so is a felony and can be punished by up to 10 years in prison.
All gun transfers between individuals living in different states must go through an FFL (Federal Firearm Licensee). That includes gifted guns from a family member. If the individuals live in the same state, an FFL is not required but there likely are many other laws you need to comply with.
Get to know your local state laws (and sometimes county or city laws). Many states have restrictions on buyer’s age, types of guns that can be sold, permits required for the buyer, and documentation required. As the seller, it’s your responsibility to comply with all the laws. Most states have a rule that if you commit a gun crime, you’ll do hard time – no exceptions. Play it safe and you’ll never have to worry about it.
- Document the Sale: Some states have very specific laws regarding documentation. You may be required by law to use a bill of sale with specific language and keep a record of it for up to 7 years. While many states don’t require documentation, it’s in your best interest to do so.
We recommend getting a bill of sale on every gun transfer; whether you’re selling or gifting the gun. Then keep a lifetime record of the transaction. Once the gun is out of your possession you cannot control it. You don’t know who the future owners will be and if they’ll be responsible. It may be stolen, it may get lost and it may be used in a crime. I’ve know a lot of people, including my 75 year old Mother-In-Law, that have been questioned and drug through a mess because of a gun they use to own.
When the police or FBI knocks on your door, you’ll be grateful that you properly documented your gun sale.
- Verify the Buyer: While most states do not require a background check for private party transactions, we strongly recommend them in certain situations. If you’re giving a gun to a family member or selling it to a close friend, there’s no need for a background check. That’s why many states don’t require it by law (and we strongly agree with this stance). As discussed earlier, the Federal Law requires you to do some due diligence on your buyer. If you don’t know the buyer (find them via a classified ad, referral, etc.), we recommend doing a background check as part of your due diligence. There are many resources online, including guntransfer.com, where you can run a background check on your buyer. At a minimum, you’ll need to know where the buyer lives and that they are who they say they are.
If this all sounds a bit complicated, that’s because it can be. We believe in selling guns safely and legally. But we also believe it should be easy for everyone, otherwise it infringes on our 2nd Amendment Rights. That’s why we created Gun Transfer – so you can protect yourself and make selling guns easy. It just takes 3 easy steps: enter your information, verify both parties (including an optional background check), and create a bill of sale. It’s simple, confidential, and helps you comply with all the laws.
Gun Transfer will be launching soon in 41 states for in-state, private party transactions. Future product releases will add more states and state-to-state transfers.
Click here for a list of where Gun Transfer will be available first.Back to All Posts