What You Need To Know About Transferring Ownership of a Firearm Legally

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What You Need To Know About Transferring Ownership of a Firearm Legally

30 November 2021
 Categories: Recreation & Sports, Blog

If you own firearms, you need to understand the laws surrounding firearm transfer and legally sell a gun you no longer need or want. Not every state looks at these transfers the same way, but most are similar, and the local gun store is often the best resource you have when it comes to buying, selling, and trading guns legally.

Selling Your Guns

The first thing you need to consider when selling any gun is that there may be a firearm transfer requirement that limits you from doing it without a dealer being involved. Guns that require registration, like handguns, are particularly limited because the federal government requires these firearms to be registered and a background check be performed on anyone purchasing one. 

Selling the gun without the proper registration transfer could become a problem for you if the gun is used in the commission of a crime. Since the last registered owner is you, the first place any investigator will look is for the owner is at your front door. If you can't prove that you sold the gun, you could be in serious trouble, so skipping the transfer is not worth the risk. 

Most gun dealers are willing to help you make the transfer legally. Often the process is as simple as selling the gun to the dealer so they can transfer it into their stock, then they resell the firearm to your buyer and transfer it legally, run the background check, and fill the paperwork that shows the transfer and protects you. If the buyer is unwilling to go through this process, it could be a red flag that you want to pay attention to, and you may wish to decline the sale at that time. 

Long Guns

There is no requirement to register long guns like hunting rifles and shotguns in many states, but a semi-automatic firearm or one deemed an assault rifle may still require registration. The laws are often cloudy where long guns are concerned, and federal laws will supersede the state laws most of the time. It is vital to check the local laws before making any sale to ensure that you are not violating one you didn't know existed.

Check with the local gun dealer about the requirements for rifles and shotguns. If your firearm does not require registration, you can do a firearm transfer to a new owner with a signed bill of sale that has the date of the sale, the serial number of the firearm, and any details related to the sale. It is also a good idea to attach an ID or driver's license number to the bill of sale so that the buyer can be identified later if there is ever a legal issue and you need to prove you no longer own the firearm. You may also want to provide the future owner with suggestions for types of ammo to use for the firearm.