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A member of our Armed Intelligentsia writes: “Lots of rackets and scams on-line. Some I’ve done a background check on, some I haven’t. Being cautious (anal) I would get ID and a bill of sale. But…..what about the moral dilemma of selling to someone who really shouldn’t have a gun?

What about that? How would you know? If you posted online (I think it’s forbidden on Craigslist), would you use a fake email address? If you wanted to see their ID, would you expect they’d want to see that personal info on you? Would you meet at their place (maybe walk into a trap?) or your place (NOT) or what? I’m probably over-thinking it.” Or not.

Have you have good/bad experiences selling guns online and/or privately?

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  1. I live in CA where every firearm sale (all but C&R rifles) are required to go to an FFL to transfer property. However, many people do not comply with said law. Its a hassle, costs money ($35/item) and more importantly one’s time.

    Many of the urban areas have driven out FFLs via regulation, special taxes and or an aggressive DOJ. As example, one can no longer obtain an FFL without a storefront in CA (unless one lives rurally). Consider that in many areas to ‘transfer’ a firearm legally, one might need to take time off from work, wait at a gun shop until its convenient for THEM to do the paperwork, and for what? Information is gathered, the check is performed, then the information is presumably destroyed. Information that can’t even be used in court should someone be found in possession of an unregistered handgun.

    People comply with laws that are inexpensive, without hassle, and where their is an incentive to do so. Mandating background checks is all three and punitive.

    But if we really must have background checks for private property transfers, simply get the VPC and the BC to compromise and open up the NCIS to any conscientious seller who may want to check the buyer. It could be done with a simple 5 minute phone call; no FFL needed. Offer a tax incentive of say $100 for any transaction that goes through the secondary market. Without some incentive, there’s no reason for any of us to comply just because some group wishes to elevate firearms into something more dangerous than other tools.

  2. I’ve bought and sold a couple firearms in private face to face sales, and personally I’ll only deal with people I know or people that my friends can vouch for. So all of my private sales have been great, nobody felt cheated and I also didn’t feel like my gun was going to be used in a bank robbery the next day.

    I’ve only bought one firearm online (gunbroker), and it was a good experience I guess… It was just kind of a hassle dealing with him and my FFL and mailing the money and waiting on the gun. Honestly next time I’ll pay a little extra just to walk into a gunstore and walk out 15 minutes later with the gun I want. I like instant satisfaction, sue me.

  3. More a question than a comment: Is it illegal to make a face to face private purchase w/ someone who lives in another state? I live near a city that just happens to be across the state line and I’ve seen some good guns posted in classifed ads online, but I’ve been reluctant to risk making the purchase just in case it’s a no-no. Neither state, to the best of my knowledge, has a California-style requirement to go through an FFL.

    • Yes, don’t have the statutes or anything at quick hand @ work. But short gist is along the lines of guns can be transported across state lines when traveling (Vacation, business, big gun shoot, whatever), you can also take them with you no problem when changing residence (assuming it’s not like california where your weapon is likely restricted. But when it comes to selling, it must go through an FFL to cross state lines. This is why when looking at local gun ads you should often see “xxx state residence only, must show id”

  4. I’ve had good experiences. Bought a revolver and sold a .22. Its nice to do things locally.

  5. I would never consider buying or selling any gun without going through my very friendly and helpful FFL dealer. He doesn’t charge a fee and he handles all the details which helps insure no future legal problems. He would help transfer any online purchase for free, but I don’t like buying a used gun that I can’t inspect from someone I haven’t met. I usually have my guy buy direct from the custom shop or performance center or I’ll buy it at AFS if I see somthing used that I like and they send it to him. The last thing you want is the ATF knocking on your door about a problem gun buy or sale.

  6. I just wanted to point out that selling guns on craigslist is not illegal, it is just against company policy. Apparently prostitution, which is illegal every in the US outside of some sparsely populated counties in Nevada was ok, but owning firearms, which was legal everywhere in the US except for DC and Cook County was not. Very principled of them.

  7. I’ve had nothing but good experience with private sales. Here in AZ, I can turn to for a huge inventory of private arms for sale. Most require ID and or CCW. Those who don’t, I don’t deal with. Just gotta be diligent.

    I honestly do have reservations about the whole thing though. W/out the usual background checks and balances, is this truly a good idea? The anti-gunners have bemoaned these outlets as loopholes while the NRA goobers deny they exist.

    I am fortunate to live in a very pro-gun state.

  8. Wow, I guess I assumed that most members of the Armed Intelligentsia at least dabbled in private trade/buy/sell transactions (were draconian laws don’t interfere). What do you folks do with guns you buy and don’t care for after a few range trips, trade them back to a dealer? I visit the following sites, several times a week looking for a rare find or a bargain:

    I also look at the on-line version of a few newspapers that still have classifieds for firearms.

    I use the following rules of engagement when completing a transaction:
    1) Face to face only.
    2) Neutral meeting place. Big box store parking lots work for this (lots of people, who really don’t care what you are doing).
    3) A quick glance of each others drivers license to confirm residency and legal age.
    4) Walk away from anything that looks or smells wrong. I have only done this twice, once during the email exchange leading to the meeting and once during a meeting when the seller’s story changed on how he obtained the gun.
    5) Take the time to thoroughly inspect what you are buying – the same as you would anytime you buy something used. Don’t be rushed, see #4 above.

    I also attend a couple gun shows per month. Here in the Buckeye State, about half of the dealers are “private collection” people. The antis call it the “gun-show loophole”. I call it legal, private commerce between consenting adults.

  9. I’ve traded, sold and bought privately since I was 21, (now 45), as a collector/shooter/barbarian. It is legal in my state but although no records are required here, we normally keep it among friends or else we record the sale with ID for safety’s sake. I’ve literally traded/sold/bought 200-300 and never had an issue.

  10. I tend to favor dealing with folks I know and private gunshow tables. If I want to fill out paperwork, I’ll patronize a local dealer.

  11. I have no problem buying and selling right out of the trunk of a car. I prefer to buy this way. I’ll take the risks with my fellow citizens over the risks of associating my name on a 4473 any day of the week.

  12. I hae the misfortune of living in Connecticut. We are about to be worse than California. Now my doctors give me less than a year.Any suggestions ??

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