How to Sell a Gun Legally

By Contributor ; Updated April 12, 2017
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Because of federal restrictions on who may own a firearm and the requirement in some states that firearms be registered or gun owners licensed, those who want to sell their firearms often worry about how to legally do so. In most states, the laws regarding buying and selling firearms are considerably laxer when the transaction takes place between two individuals.

Find a federally licensed firearm dealer to sell your gun for you. Many gun shops offer this service for a fee and will complete the background checks on prospective buyers for you. You can also find firearm dealers on the Internet who will send you a kit to mail your gun to them for sale.

Learn the laws in your state. As a private owner, you may be able to legally sell your gun without a background check or waiting period. The website for the state police should have the information you need.

Arrange for table space at a gun show. Gun shows ensure that many prospective buyers will have a chance to consider buying your gun. Most states allow private owners to sell their guns at gun shows without meeting the requirements imposed on licensed firearms dealers.

Notify your local law enforcement agency or a federally licensed firearms dealer that you have sold your gun and who you sold it to (if required by your state). You will probably have to pay a fee to do this, but if you don't, and the gun is later used in a crime, the police may consider you a suspect. Also, failure to notify law enforcement of the sale of a registered firearm is a violation of the law in most states.


Federal law prohibits anyone under 21 from buying a handgun and anyone under 18 from buying a rifle or shotgun.

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