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Private gun sales law in the US is often regarded as off-record gun sales. While they are legal in some states, they are not in others.
The idea that off-record gun sales are automatically bad is being perpetuated by those with an anti-gun agenda. This information gets passed around in the media and the middle ground of America that doesn't really understand how firearms ownership works. Most People think selling a gun privately without a licensed dealer is wrong.
In some places, there are actual laws against private transfers of firearms. But in the vast majority of states, there are circumstances under which it is perfectly legal for you to transfer a firearm to someone else, either as a gift or by selling it to them.
You do not have to do a background check, they do not have to be registered with a local dealer, and you don't have to let anyone know. As long as you feel like they are giving you a reasonable price for the gun, there ends the transaction.
Private gun sales are very much like buying or selling any other piece of personally owned property. But there certainly comes a moral-ethical integrity issue with the obligation you have to where that firearm ends up or where that firearm comes from. So, it is going to be in your personal interest to have some idea of what is going to happen in both cases.
The private sale of firearms in the US is not always a legal issue. If at all there is a legal issue, then it should be pretty black and white, either private sale is legal in your area or it is not.
If it is not legal, then it is not a good idea to do any private gun sale because it is a violation of the law, and no responsible firearm owner should enter such a situation. In this case, you should go to a federally licensed dealer shop, do the appropriate transfer and paperwork, and pay the appropriate fee so that the dealer can take care of that transaction.
But in the case that you are legally allowed to buy a gun from someone or sell a gun to someone that you don't know, there are some reasonable precautions you should take.
When it comes to the actual transfer, where you have made an arrangement on the internet, or you have met someone at a gun range or at a gun shop that you don't know very well. If they have a firearm you want to buy or they want to buy a firearm from you, and you're just going to go ahead and do that cash transaction, the precautions you should follow include:
Make sure that you get some kind of idea of who this person is. Get a photocopy of their id, maybe you take a picture of their driver's license on your smartphone. If the person isn't comfortable with you taking the picture or letting you have a photocopy of their driver's license that is a red flag.
Since you are selling them a potentially lethal tool, something that your name may be attached to on some federal paperwork, there is a responsibility and a trust factor here. So if they don't trust you with the information of who they are and what they need the gun for, there is a potential problem.
In the same vein, as a buyer, if they don't trust you with the information about where the gun you are purchasing came from, that is a red flag too.
If you're selling or buying the gun to a person from your area, ask for a concealed carry permit. If you are in a state which requires id for firearms ownership, then private sales are probably tightly controlled.
But if you end up in a situation where the state or city requires an id or a permit to own a firearm, and they don't require any special restrictions on private sales, then it is in your best interest to make sure that that person has a legal permit to own the gun you are about to buy. If you are a seller you can request a permit to carry before you go ahead with that transaction.
A bill of sale is a document to be signed by both parties. It is going to have the information about the price, that way you can prove that there was an actual business transaction. It is also important if for any reason the transaction, sale, or transfer of a firearm gets asked about by authorities in the future.
Make the transaction have some legal factors and you know who you are getting the gun from or who you are giving it to. You also need to have some way to track that information and share it with the authorities if it becomes important in the future. That also will establish trust between you and the other party, that not only is the firearm exchange happening, but there's an information exchange happening as well.
State gun laws are different. So you might want to go a step further and request which state the person buying the firearm wants to use it. If you are the seller and the state you got the gun from does not have reciprocity with the buyer's state, you may not want to sell the firearm to prevent future issues. You want to be careful about things like crossing state lines too.
Be careful of somebody that tells you to make sure that no dealer knows about the gun transaction. This is another red flag for private sales because when they are legally able to purchase or buy, there will be no need to hide details of the transfer.
You can buy guns online but that does not mean you will not complete a background check. Actually, the same laws apply whether you buy a gun in a store or online.
There are great websites that sell every kind of gun you can imagine. There are also mobile apps you can download on your phone that will let you compare the prices of a particular gun with retailers so you can take advantage of the best deal available.
The procedures to purchase firearms online include the following:
Where purchasing a gun online becomes a little different from buying anything else is that it is illegal to have a gun sent directly to your house. Because of this, the store you buy from won't ship the gun to your doorstep.
The gun has to be shipped to a gun store with a Federal Firearms License. So, when buying a gun online you will have to decide which local FFL you want the gun shipped to.
When you make the purchase, the online store will require a copy of your local store's FFL before they ship the gun out to you. So do some research on the gun store close to you and have one in mind that you will like to use.
If your online store has never worked with your local gun store they may not have their FFL on file. But don't worry, you can establish communication between them and they will take care of this. Although this sounds overwhelming, it is pretty easy and all gun stores are accustomed to doing it since it is a federal law. Some gun store websites even have sections where you can pick from a list of FFLs in your local area.
After you have found your gun online at a great price and you have paid for it and provided the online store with a copy of your local gun stores with FFL, the gun will be shipped.
Once it arrives you will go to the store in person and fill out your paperwork, and complete the background check. Since the FFL is providing the service for you, it is possible they will charge you to complete the background check.
The most common cost for a transfer like this is around $30. After you pass your background check you are free to take your new gun home.
Online sales of guns in the US can be done by both private and licensed dealers. For private gun sellers, there is no need to follow the above procedure. The buyer and seller can both agree to meet at a location to complete the transaction.
Private sellers that make use of the online sales approach do so by running ads on gun websites and other platforms related to gun sales. Some also make use of social media platforms and other online marketing strategies.