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I wanted to ask a few questions on selling a used firearm. I'm not looking to become a dealer of any sorts and will only be selling 1 or 2 used guns. I have only purchaed firearms from retailers in store and never had them shipped to me. I am in the state of Florida and posses a Florida Concealed Weapons or Firearms permit. I will kind of list out my questions numerically to make it easier to respond and easier for me to find.

1. Do I need any permitting or licensing to sell a used firearm

2. Do I need to check or verify a persons criminal record before selling them a used firearm.

3. What pertinent information do I need to get from a prospective buyer.

4. Can I ship a used firearm and through who. ( I believe a couple local shop ship for customers with thier licenses) What does it cost to ship a used firearm.

5. IF selling on the Internet do I need any special permitting and how do I ship (4.)

6. if the firearm I am selling is a handgun am I obligated to document some kind of a waiting period. ( In Fl, holding a Concealed W anf F permit I don't have to go through the waiting period when purchasing)

7. Am I obligated to report to the Government of a sale?

Sorry for all the questions, any help is appreciated and any other information.
 

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This will be a long one:

PLEASE BEAR IN MIND THE FOLLOWING IS WHAT I KNOW OF THE REGULATIONS. I COULD BE MISTAKEN, OR THE LAWS MAY HAVE CHANGED. YOU HAVE TO CHECK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU SELL A FIREARM. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR KNOWING THE LAWS & REGULATIONS BEFORE YOU SELL OR SHIP A FIREARM. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR ACTIONS OR POSSIBLE LACK OF KNOWLEDGE. I AM TELLING YOU ABOUT FEDERAL REGULATIONS NOT FLORIDA'S. I HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE OF FLORIDA REGULATIONS OR LAWS ON THIS SUBJECT.

That said, I can point you in the right direction regarding some of the info you need. I have shipped several guns before. With regard to federal law you don't need a license to sell a firearm as a private individual who is not a dealer and who is not dealing in firearms - in other words no license if selling a firearm as a private citizen now and then. As to Florida law, I have no clue but I tend to doubt you would need a license. Check with whomever handles Florida carry permits, they can get you in the right direction.

I will assume you are intent on selling on by way of the internet, and most likely to someone out of Florida for the remainder of this. In state sales may require a bit less (but it does not hurt to do the bit more with in state sales too).

When selling a firearm online, you can use an online auction service. I recommend GunBroker.com or AuctionArms.com . Or you can sell online through want ads on a gun related site, in which case I recommend this one. The auction sites charge a fee or fees for selling. Usually a percentage fee of the selling price, and add on any extras for special eye catching advertisement things like having an ad featured at the top of the page. Photos are included in the normal rate, you supply the photo. Photos are a must, as is an accurate description of what you are selling and its condition. Very few other additional cost things are worth it, except maybe to have the frearm featured or showcased which sort of puts it in the limelight. I always, and I mean always, slightly understate the condition of the guns I sell. In other words, for example, I say the gun has at least 90 to 95% of the blue finish when in fact it probably has 99%. That is how I say it too - 90 to 95% not 95%. This way the buyer gets something a little better than described, and real nit pickers would be hard pressed to tell me it was not at least as good as I had said. I have not had a dissatisfied customer yet. I prefer an online auction to sell a firearm, and my preference is GunBroker.com. Please note that these auction sites both have a section for sellers that explains what the federal requirements are; at least they did last time I looked. Here is the one for GunBroker.com, it should be a big help:Gun Broker.com Info For Sellers

They also both had links to a very important site: ATF. Other important links they have go right to the meat of the matter:ATF Firearms Page and ATF Firearms FAQs. If you are actually going to sell a firearm online, even if not using one of these auction services, you should still read the info available at either auction site and at the ATF about selling and shipping a firearm; this is a MUST DO . As I said before, do not just depend on what I am writing here, go to the source and check with them.


As to doing criminal history, and wants/warrants checks you do not have to do them yourself as per federal regulations. Florida again may be a different story. Federal regulations require that if you ship out of state, you ship to a federal firearms license (FFL) holder. The FFL holder must do checks before turning the gun over to the buying party (I think unless it is the actual FFL holder who is buying the gun from you).


As far as info from a buyer, here is what I get when I sell over the net. I ask for a photo copy of a driver's license or other valid government issued photo identification. The license must show a valid address (not a PO Box), and the person's date of birth, and a full face picture. If the photo ID is not a license it may not have an address, in that case get the photo ID plus an ID with the buyer's address. Whatever ID is supplied, it must be current. Other ID that I would accept are: valid stae non-driver ID card, US Passport, plus an ID with address. I also require a signed statement from the person similar to this one:
I, John Doe, born on (date), reside at: (buyer's address). I am a citizen of the United States of America. I am eligible to purchase, receive and possess firearms - in particular a (description of firearm you are selling). There are no local, state or federal laws, regulations or other restrictions against my purchasing, receiving, or possessing the above mentioned firearm in the configuration which it is being sold. I have never been convicted of a felony of any type, nor of any a crime (including misdemeanors) involving domestic violence.
Note it must be signed in a signature that matches the signature on the government ID - or do not sell it! You get this statement, and the ID, before you ship the firearm - no ifs, ands or buts about - just absolutely no exceptions. High capacity magazines require the same type of statement.

You also require a signed FFL from the dealer to whom you will ship. This is absolutely a requirement for all firearms you ship out of your home state. It must be received and verified before you ship, again no ifs, ands or buts about it. It is also required for handguns shipped within your state, but I am pretty sure is not required for rifles shipped within your state (as of the last time I checked the ATF web site). As far as not needing to do so for rifles within your own state, you can require it anyhow to be on the safe side, and that is exactly what I strongly recommend. You do not need or want a team of federal agents or state police knocking on your door at 4 AM to arrest you for screwing up, especially if the guy you sold to just killed someone with the gun you sold him. It will happen if you mess up, that is just Murphy's Law. The reason the gun must be shipped to an FFL holder if you ship out of state is that this is federal law or regulation. When the FFL holder gets the gun, he will do a criminal history check, as required by law on the buyer. He will also do the transfer paperwork. This will all cost money. Here in NY about $35 to $50 in the NYC metro area. It is cheaper in other places. You do not pay the fee, the buyer is responsible for it and he/she can pay the FFL holder directly. You must make it clear in your item description that the buyer is responsible for this fee, and for getting you the signed copy of the FFL.

Remember I said it needs to be a signed copy of an FFL. Well, it also needs to be signed in a color of ink that is different than the color of the photocopy of the FFL. If a normal black and white copy of the license is made, the FFL holder has to sign it in blue ink. That way you are much more certain it is an original signature, and not just a copy of a signed FFL that someone got hold of. Once you receive this - it should be sent to you at the same time as the signed statement and the ID that I mentioned above - you need to check the validity of the FFL. This can be done at the ATF web site: FFL eZ check . I strongly recommend you check out the validity of each FFL you receive. If anything is not an exact match, either do not make the sale or contact ATF to verify the FFL before shipping.

Then you ship the gun - NO WAIT! Whoops did I forget something? Yes I did so don't ship yet. Make sure that you were paid and that payment is good. Hold onto checks for at least 10 to 14 days to make sure they have cleared. Make sure money orders have cleared too. Make sure to have mentioned, that this is what you will do, in your online ad. I accept only US Postal Money orders (as far as MOs go) and wait a few days to make sure it is good. I also accept credit card payments through PayPal. You can sign up for paypal for free, and note if you sign up for paypal you do not need to become a "verified user" (at least you did not when I registered). Becoming one may have its benefits if you use paypal a lot, but I am not verified yet and I have used them for over 3 years. Note that not being verified does not mean that someone does not have a certified address if using a credit card to pay through PayPal. PayPal certifies that the address supplied is the same as the billing address for the credit card. Not ethat when you ship to an FFL PayPal may not cover any costs for theft or a bad deal, because you shipped to an addfress other than the certified one. This is a bummer, but you have to ship to an FFL holder. You can also use another online credit card middleman service like pay pal, they probably have similar rules. Doing it throguh a middleman like PayPal, of course, requires the buyer to also be registered which is not a bad thing and may be helpful if you later need to track him down.

Payment should be received with all the above paperwork, the FFL, the ID and the statement. If a buyer is unwilling to do any of this - forget that guy as a buyer, notify the online auction site, and they will usually not charge a final value or relisting fee.

Now to shipping. I use UPS. They gladly ship long arms, and I think handguns too for individuals. Handguns require overnight air at a greater expense. Remember that the buyer pays for shipping fees, all of them. Make certain to tell the potential buyer this in your item description or terms of sale. Get the weight then call or check with UPS online and find out how much it will cost to ship to the furthest place from home possible in the USA (exclude hawaii and Alaska for now) and you have a good guesstimate as to shipping fees. remember to ad on insurance, and the cost of shipping materials. You can usually ship a rifle from NY to the west coast for about $20 or less.

When actually shipping: Make sure to securely package your firearm in an UNLOADED condition. Check it once, then check it again, then go through a complete unloading sequence just to make sure, then put a cable lock through the action. This is extremely important. I usually place a cable lock through the action to show it is safe - sometimes packages get opened by authorities or they break open. God forbid it is loaded and someone gets killed, better to put a cable lock on it. Use an inexpensice one, and give it to the buyer as a freebie. The magazine, if any, is secured in the box with tape along with the keys to the cable lock - don't forget the keys.

Do not ship ammo with the gun. If you also are selling ammo for it, ship that in another box as part of another shipment.

On any shipment put the name and address of the seller, and the name of the buyer in care of (c/o) the name and address of the FFL holder to whom you are actually shipping, inside the box. Also put them on a good address label on the outside. Add phone numbers too. Remember the name of the buyer has to be in care of the name and address of the FFL holder exactly as they appeared on the FFL! Do not ship directly to the buyer. As for the shipping box, I go to a gun store and ask for a box before they trash it. Sometimes they charge a few bucks but this is worth it as the box was made for shipping. I usually double box. The manufacturers box holds the gun, then an outer shipping box. I use plenty of padding or styrofoam or bubblewrap. I secure the box with strong shipping tape. I want that gun to get there as I described (even better), I want good feedback from the buyer.

Now you can ship. You need to tell UPS what is in the box. You don't need it, but take a copy of the FFL the guy sent you with you to show UPS in case they ask. Be pleasant with UPS, don't get nasty if they refuse to ship, just ask for a supervisor. They likely will take the box and just send it off with almost no questions asked. They will almost always ask one question: "Is it loaded". Make certain to insure the gun for the sale price or a bit more to cover the shipping cost, the paypal cost, the online auction house price, the box cost, etc... Do not lose the tracking number and receipt that UPS gives to you. Keep it forever with the statement and copy of the FFL - and I really mean for as long as you live.

There are a few more things. I do not know about having to make the buyer go through a waiting period. However, if you sell to an out of state person and ship it to the FFL holder, then that would be (I am guessing here) the responsibility of the FFL holder to do because he is the one running the checks and actually transferring the firearm to the buyer. He fills out any applicable paperwork too as far as I am aware. If you sell in state, as I said I would also go through an FFL holder just to be careful (and remember Florida may require this).

Also make sure you can legally ship the type of firearm you are shipping to the state of the buyer. For instance California and other states such as New Jersey severely restrict what type of firearms citizens can own (sounds like a bunch of commies running those states - remember them, the commies, they ran the USSR and East Germany and still run North Korea). I figure I am covered by the statement from the buyer saying that he can legally receive, buy, possess the specific firearm and that no local, state or federal laws or regulations restrict him from such, but it does not hurt to double check.


Stay in good communication with the buyer. After the auction contact him/her. Explain what you need in an email or on the phone, I prefer email as it is a written record, and yes I save copies of all emails regarding firearms sales. Once you receive payment let the buyer know. Also let the buyer know when you have shipped (after the check clears!). After the sale and shipping have been completed ask the buyer if he/she was satisfied. if not, find out why and try to make amends if a valid gripe. If not valid work it out somehow; sadly thisnsometimes comes to telling the buyer to stuff it so long as you were honest in the sale and the gun works (which by the way is a requirement of the online auction houses unless you sate the gun does not work). If you allow it, and they ship back to you for a refund, they have to ship to an FFL on your end. I always make sure that I let them know - in my online ad - that these expenses are to be paid by the seller. Any online sale is a contract, remember that too. Whatever you claim has to be true, and whatever the buyer agrees to has to be adhered to.

If all goes well, and the buyer is satisfied, then leave good feedback for the buyer on the online auction site. There is always a link for thisnon the big auction sites. This is important for anyone selling to or buying from that person again. It is also important that the buyer leaves good feedback for you. The more good feedback you have the easier future sales will be. This is as good a reason as any to follow my advice and to sell the buyer something that is actually a little better than you described it. One reason to feature or showcase an online ad is when it is among your first sales. You have no feedback, so no one can tell if you are a good guy or a slug. You will be happy to have good feedback later, so make sure to do it right and have more chance of getting that good feedback.

One final bit of advice: Unless Florida or your local community requires it, there is no need for you to have an FFL holder ship out your firearm for you at your end. You are only required to ship it to an FFL holder at the buyer's end. Many people believe they have to go through an FFL holder on their end first, this is pure BS - unless your state requires it. By the way, if someone in your state says it is a requirement ask them to show you the actual regulation in writing. Many police officers here in NY (the police departments handle licensing) believe that is the law, and have told me so, however I know for a fact, as of the last time I checked, this was not required where I live. Yet some would try to tell you it is - go figure:rolleyes: .

Now it may seem like a lot of difficult stuff to do, but it is really pretty easy. Once you have finished your homework, write down the steps you will follow, then follow them to the letter. You want to make sure you have covered your butt in todays world of anti-gun nuts:angry:.

If you read all of this, then I am fairly certain you will still want to sell a firearm or two online;). I mean if you could get through my post, you probably can get through all the requirements even easier than reading all of this mess. Check the info for sellers on the auction site, check the ATF FAQs and so forth. When you do sell, follow the rules to assure a safer and happier sale. Good luck.

Best regards,
Glenn B:cool:
 

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Thanks Glenn

Glenn I really appreciate you going to such lengths to explain this thorougly. Just to let you know this is Mike @ Mother Gecko from over at Faunaclassifieds. I am familiar of course with shipping rates and various online sites, and do have an maintain a PayPal account through my reptile business as well as accounts with various shippers. I think you actually hit all my questions, only thing I can think of is wether or not there should be a waiting period for handgun sales, but I think you may have covered that when saying I must ship to a FFL dealer and I presume they hold it for the waiting period for the buyer to pick up?

What about selling in the local newspapers? I see ads in the local and county papers for firearms from personal sales all the time. I would imagine that I would need all information as if I were shipping as you stated like IDs, signed statements of eligability, and basics to cover my ass.

I don't plan on selling too many firearms at all, just these couple ones I have now to get a new one, but I said that about reptiles some years ago too lol.....

Again, thanks big time for taking such effort to steer me in the right direction, I want to do this one hundred percent by the book and make sure the reciever of any firearm I sell is not going to be a danger with it.
Mike B.
 

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I don't know about selling olocally, but I think you don't have to go through an FFL locally - but am not sure.
 

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Depends on what county you are in. Hillsborough county, for instance, has prohibited private sales at gun shows (which really sucks at the Tampa Gun Show), but I don't know if that covers person to person sales out side of gun shows or not. In most counties in Florida, you are just selling personal property and are under no obligation to check or know anything at all about the purchaser. Matter of fact, many people prefer "no paper" transactions when they buy their guns, and in many cases you can find people at gun shows even with a table selling that way. Some people just decide to sell several of their guns during a weekend, and having a table there is a very opportune manner to be able to do that. The only thing I have seen a person selling as a private party do at a gun show may be to verify that you are a Florida resident. But beyond that, you pay your money, and walk off with your newly purchased gun.

I have also seen these private sales refused when the seller just apparently didn't like the looks of the person attempting to make the purchase. That is their choice to make, and probably not an unwise one at that.

Many people get some sort of receipt just in case the gun is ever involved in a crime, but personally I never bother to do that myself.

So, what are you selling, Mike?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Probably nothing you'd be interested in Rich, but I am looking to sell my 9mm High Point 995 Carbine and a 9mm Ruger 89 P-series. The carbine has all the bells and whistles on it, such as a Winchester laser beat shot, compensator, sling, butt pad which holds 2 extra mags, with a total of 4- 10rd mags. It's a real fun gun to take to the range I just wish it had high cap mags to it rather than just the 10 single stack. The Ruger has a nice slip on grip and has been a real joy at the range, and I do tend to keep it in my car, but it's just to big, heavy, and just not made to be a good carry gun. There are a few smaller framed handguns I have in mind, but after reading so much information on the site I am more leaning towards a revolver instead with a flush hammer instead. I just would prefer to have higher capacity for holding more rounds. Any suggestions???

Mike B.
 

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Well, if you are looking for a gun to keep in your car, that gives you a whole lot more options than something you want to carry around on your body. I went through the same thinking process a couple of years ago for something I could stick in my Jeep.

First gun I had in the console was a S&W Sigma in .357 Sig. It's a semi-auto much like a Glock. But when I found out that S&W only made 500 of them, I decided the gun was better off in my safe.

So I wanted to get something that was inexpensive to replace it, so that if the Jeep got broken into (a Jeep Wrangler is about an insecure place to keep a gun as can be imagined), I wouldn't cuss too long nor too loudly over it. So I went to a local gunshow and found a nice 3 inch barreledS&W 629-4 Trailboss revolver in .44 mag. My idea was to just shoot .44 Specials out of it to keep recoil manageable. Plus shooting .44 mags in the confined quarters of the Jeep would probably blow the roof off of the vehicle! It is a stainless gun, so I wouldn't have to worry too much about constant maintenance.

Anyway, I took the gun out to see how well it would shoot, and it is one of those guns that just does everything right. It can put holes in the black all day long, which surprised the hell out of me for such a short barreled gun. Well heck! No way I want someone to steal that baby! So in the vault in went as well.

Damn.....

So I decided to take a look at a Taurus. I got one of those stainless and titanium models in .45 Colt for around $300. Has a HUGE hole at the end of the barrel, and is very light weight. The gun shoots well enough, but damn it is LOUD! If I ever have to shoot it without ear protection, I doubt I will ever hear the second shot I fire. Not crazy about ported barrels on self defense guns, but that's the only way I could find this gun.

So it's still not the perfect solution.

Personally, I tend to favor big bullets for something like this. For a carry gun, this tends to make for a gun that is bigger than you would like to have to squeeze in somewhere on your body. But for a car gun, it really doesn't matter too much. I never bought into the high capacity argument too much, because realistically, if you can't solve the problem the gun is intended to solve with 5 shots or less, you are in a real world of hurt anyway, no matter how many bullets you have. So I want the odds of ONE bullet stopping THE situation immediately heavily weighed in my favor.

Besides, you get dragged into court on a shooting rap, even though it might be clear cut self defense, you will be really sweating it trying to justify the 17 rounds you fired into the bad guy. It would be a WHOLE lot better to run out of bullets at 6 shots..... :)
 
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