How to Sell a Gun
If you're new to firearms in general or you've recently purchased your first gun, the idea of selling that gun might seem strange to you. There are, however, many reasons you may eventually want to sell your guns.
You might decide you want a different caliber; you could decide you don't like the gun itself. Sometimes, you fall prey to the dreaded "spouse is making me sell this one before I can buy another one" factor.
It may be a sad time, but it need not be a stressful one. Discover what you need to know about selling guns below.
Is it Legal to Sell Your Gun?
In general, the answer is yes.
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington all have background check or licensing requirements even when you're selling your gun to another individual in the same state. In some cases, the sale must be completed at a Federal Firearms License (FFL) location.
Florida does not have a state requirement, but counties within the state have the authority to require background checks and some do have ordinances.
All other states don’t require a background check if you’re selling to a resident of legal age with a valid ID.
Laws are always subject to change, so it's definitely in your best interest to double check the laws of your state before selling your firearm to another individual to find out what paperwork must be completed.
Ways to Sell Your Firearm
The first method of selling your gun is person to person. State requirements aside, for many people, this is the optimal method of selling your gun. You can often get a better price selling this way, and you’ll walk away with cash in hand.
One of the most common methods for person-to-person selling is to list your gun on websites geared toward facilitating gun sales. Another option is to sell your firearm is to consign it to an auction. Selling your firearm as part of a larger sale may bring some foot traffic your way and could help your chances of selling your firearm.
Peace of Mind When Selling a Gun to an Individual
Speaking of peace of mind, let's address the elephant in the room. How can you be sure with a person-to-person sale that you aren't selling your firearm to someone that shouldn't have one or is legally barred from owning one?
A very common tactic is to require two forms of identification and specify that one be a driver's license and the second form be either a military ID or a concealed carry permit. While this isn't entirely foolproof, if the person has a current driver's license and has undergone the background check required for a concealed carry permit, you can breathe easier.
Conducting a background check is obviously the safest method to ensure a clean record, but even those aren't foolproof. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) misses people sometimes. However, at least you will have done your due diligence and made an effort. And let's face it: that effort alone likely weeds out many scammers and criminals.
Other Methods for Selling Your Gun
But what do you do if you want to sell your firearm but don't want to worry about inadvertently selling it to someone you shouldn't? Not to worry; there are other methods of selling your firearm where you aren't burdened with the heavy lifting, so to speak.
The most obvious other method would be to take your firearm to a gun store. The store owner might offer you a decent price if they're interested in your gun, and you can rest easy knowing you don't have to worry about any other requirements. Since gun stores are licensed dealers, any regulation requirements would be handled by them.
The only real drawback to this method is that you will likely not get as much for your gun as you could by selling it yourself. The store still needs to make money too. However, you still typically get a fair price, and given that you don't have to deal with background checks or any other paperwork, the difference in price is essentially just the convenience fee you're paying for making it easier on yourself.
You might also sell your gun to a pawn shop. Many pawn shops deal in guns, and those are also licensed dealers. This has similar benefits to selling to the gun store, because you can, again, sell easily and worry-free. One good thing about pawn shops is that they may be less likely to turn you down than a gun shop. Additionally, you have the option of pawning the gun, which would allow you to sell, but retain the option to get the gun back if you change your mind. This might help ease the pain of a forced sale.
The drawback is that you will likely get less at a pawn shop than you would anywhere else, mostly due to the convenience of an almost guaranteed sale. It's quick cash, but quick cash usually means less of it.
While this is not a comprehensive list of every possible way to sell your firearm, it should be enough to get the ball rolling and ease your mind.