Tag Archives: 4473

The Facts on guns transfers

There’s been a lot of misleading information on the internet lately about purchasing/selling guns in private sales and dealer sales.  Below are the facts on

Here’s are the basics that Federal law presently covers when transferring guns

Privately (giving to a family member or selling to friend or stranger)
The seller has to make an effort to ensure the person is not prohibited from purchasing the firearm under Federal, State, and local laws (we are talking about just Federal here)

  • Purchasing this gun for themselves not for someone else (i.e. straw purchase)
  • Cannot be under indictment for a felony or any crime where the punishment is over a year
  • Cannot be convicted of a felony
  • Cannot be a fugitive from justice
  • Cannot be a user of a controlled substance (marijuana or other controlled substances)
  • Has never been adjudicate as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution
  • Been dishonorably discharged from the military
  • Subject to a domestic violence restraining order
  • Convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence
  • Renounced their US citizenship
  • In the country illegally
  • The buyer and seller must live in the same state

If any of the above apply to the person that is trying to purchase the firearm then you cannot legally sell the fire.  No one is going to come knocking on your door the following day but it is against the law and you run the probability that someone will.  A simple way on a private sale to do your due diligence is to ask to see their CCW license.  All CCW license holders go through a background check to make sure they can possess a firearm.

There is no requirement for the seller to keep documentation on the person who buys the firearm in a private sale but it’s probably wise to take a picture of their drivers license or CCW permit just for your records.  If nothing else make a note on when you sold the firearm and their name.

Dealer sales (anyone with a FFL license has to do this including dealers at gun shows or dealers selling to their next door neighbors. Most public gun shows require all vendors at their shows to do a background check)

  • Fill out and sign the ATF form 4473 (The form has the same questions as above for the private sale but the dealer calls the FBI)
  • Call FBI for background check
  • The FBI can come back with three potential answers
    • Proceed with the sale
    • Deny the sale
    • Delay the sale for up to 3 business days.  (Most delays are due to incomplete information or excessive workload on the FBI).  If after 3 business days the FBI has not found a reason why you cannot have the gun the sale goes through
  • The dealer is required to keep the 4473 form for 20 years

As you can see selling a gun has a lot of Federal laws around it no matter if it’s a private sale or a dealer sale.

For more information on buying and selling firearms check out our other blog posts

Selling a Gun in the Internet Age

Purchasing Firearms in the Internet Age


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 Armslist.comGunbroker.com, and BlueBookOfGunValues.com 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.

Purchasing Firearms in the Internet Age

Purchasing a firearm for most people is a major investment.  Equivalent to a monthly car payment or mortgage payment which is why most people are always looking for the best deal.  Firearm dealers don’t have BOGO (Buy One Get One) sales and seldom have rebates (although we’re seeing more lately).  The big stores sell things at MSRP or close to it.  The smaller firearm or sporting good stores will be cheaper than that but what do you do if that’s still too expensive? Buying on-line can help but look at the whole process before you jump in.
Where to find on-line firearms?
GunBroker.com – this is a firearm auction site similar to eBay that requires you to use a FFL dealer for firearm transfer.  A lot of dealers are selling hard to find firearms as well as trying to move parts and accessories
Armslist.com – a firearm selling site used by dealers and owners alike for guns and accessories
Cabelas.com or BassPro.com – will allow you to ship to gun to a local store.
GalleryOfGuns.com – gives you the ability to search for all kinds of variations of guns and have them shipped to your local dealer
The rules around firearm transfers:
– Private transfers can only occur in person and between people in the same state.  Even if you’re family or the guy lives 100 feet from your front door, if their drivers license is from another state you need to use a FFL dealer to transfer any the firearms.
– Private transfers must be done in person and you cannot ship a firearm to another person for any reason.  If you ship a firearm off for repair that company or person will have a FFL license allowing you to ship it to them and for them to return the firearm to you when the work is done.
– A FFL dealer is allowed to ship firearms to other FFL dealers but have to verify the other dealers FFL license and keep record of the transfer.  The ATF publishes a list of active FFL dealers so this is a pretty quick check normally.
-If you purchase a firearm at an online site you will need to ship the firearm to a FFL dealer and pick it up from the dealer after doing the paperwork.  Yes, you paid for the firearm on the auction site but Federal law (and sometimes state and local laws) prevent you from taking possession of it without the required background check.
Expect when you use a FFL dealer to pay a transfer fee anywhere from $10 to $50 or more per firearms for them to perform the required background check (form 4473)on you.  If you are going to be transferring multiple firearms see if the FFL dealer will give you a single price deal.  Depending upon how well they know you they might just do that.  That’s one reason to get to know the FFL dealers in your area and ask questions.
Remember if you have a problem with the firearm the FFL dealer only handle the required background check.  You’ll need to contact the original seller or the manufacturer for warranty or return information.
Before purchasing a firearm on-line make sure you know what the sellers shipping policy is, what payments they accept, cost of shipping, if there is a credit card surcharge, and their return policy.  Make sure you know these before bidding or committing to purchase a firearm.  Failing to follow through on a purchase will look negatively on your account and may get your account suspended for a time.
When comparing prices between a local gun shop and on-line consider the following:
– Shipping cost.  On-line you pay for shipping where as locally all you need to do is walk in and purchase the firearm.
– Price of firearm.  On-line can have some very tempting prices but keep in mind you’ll get better service from your local gun store.
– Availability of firearms at your local dealer
– Do you know what you want?  Local store a lot of times have ranges to test a firearm on or will let you return things if you don’t like it.  On-line store are more difficult if they allow returns at all.
– FFL transfer fees (if you are not doing a private sale with another owner in your state)
– How comfortable are you with taking apart a firearm.  A local dealer can show you how the gun comes apart but a on-line dealer won’t be able to and you’ll end up depending upon YouTube videos and the manufacturer for any problems cleaning or breaking down your firearm.
In summary where you purchase your firearms at is up to you but make sure you look at the total picture so you are not disappointed in your purchase.  Follow the law and you can save money while also getting the firearms you want.
Note: Although this article addresses how to legally transfer a firearm under Federal law it does not take into account any state or local regulations which you should research before transferring a firearm.