Selling a gun in the Internet age

We keep firearms for a lot of reasons:
Was it given you by a family member or friend for a reason?
Was it your first firearm that you shot?
Do you intend to pass it on to your kids?
Was it the first firearm you purchased?
Is it an investment?
and more…

The reason you have the firearm also makes it a big decision when it comes time to sell it and how do you make sure you get a fair price for the firearm and you are following the legal process?

In the age of the Internet selling firearms has gotten easier but also more complicated.
The easy part:
– With sites like, and it very easy to find what a firearm is worth before you even sell it as long as you can judge the firearm condition.  Remember although you might have bought a firearm for $500, its present price will be dependent upon how well you took care of it, the age, and how rare it is.
– The Internet allows you to find FFL dealers around you area as quickly as a Google search takes.
The hard part:
– Even though the Internet is international and people can find what you are selling from anywhere in the world Federal law still restricts you to two types of firearm sales.
  1. Private sales to an individual from your state of residence.  This is easily checked by the address on their driver’s license from and applies to family transfers too.  If they are not a resident of your state you have to use a FFL dealer for the transfer.
  2. A Federal Firearm Licensed dealer (FFL) which are able to transfer firearms to individuals as well as other dealers in other states.  They will do the required 4473 background check before doing the transfer and may charge for the transfer.
– As a private citizen you are not allowed to ship a firearm to anyone besides yourself and a dealer even if that person is in your state or another family member.
– Use caution when selling a firearm through a private sale to someone you’ve never meant.
  • Meet in a public place during the daylight hours
  • Check out the user’s profile on the site they found you on.  Profiles made recently or someone who has no purchase history should be someone you steer clear from.
  • If you are not able to come to terms on a safe place to meet it’s probably best to avoid the sale all together or use a FFL dealer.
– If you use a FFL dealer and the other person doesn’t pass the background check you should think about what you’ll do.
– Although we are talking about private sales in this article you should check your state and local laws to see if this is allowed in your locality.
When selling a firearm keep the following points in mind
– Include all the accessories for the firearm in the deal unless you’ll have a use for them afterwards.  That includes magazines, holsters, sites, gun case, gun lock, and any other extra parts.
– You’ll get a better price out of a clean car then a dirty one so make sure you clean you gun well before selling it.  This is more than just a field stripping of the gun and if you are not comfortable with it may require you to take it to a gunsmith or armorer.
– When doing a private sale make sure you do your due diligence in making sure their driver’s license is from your state and check if they have a CCW license.  Although a CCW license isn’t required for a private sale but it does demonstrate that they have gone through a background check.
– If at any point during a private sale the person talks about buying it for another person, they use illegal drives, is a felon, or would otherwise be prevented from purchasing from a dealer (because of the background check) you should stop the sale and not complete it.
Selling a firearm in the Internet age has its advantages and risks but if you are cautious about it there’s no reason you can’t get a good price when selling your firearm.  Although the best price you will get is from a private sale keep in mind that you want to do your due diligence when conducting a private sale to avoid being questioned in connection with a crime or even worst being charged with a crime because you sold a firearm to someone bared from having firearms.