You’ve bought a gun you’re no longer in to, or maybe you’re looking to trade up for a new one. Whatever the reason, sometimes you just want to sell your firearm — and that’s okay. There is a certain way you should do it though, to make sure you stay out of trouble with the law.
So let’s answer the question:
What is the best way to sell my gun?
The most popular ways to sell a gun is to bring it to the gun shop, or sell it online via one of the gun classified websites. Each method requires the buyer to go through a background check.
The first and easiest method is to bring your gun down to your local gun shop and see what they will offer you for it. If you don’t like the first price you hear, you can see if they will consign the gun for you to take a portion of the sale, or go to another gun store to see if the price goes up.
This way, they conduct the necessary background checks for you and then you just pick up the cash after the gun is sold. If you want to reach a bigger audience you can also utilize one of the many online firearm marketplaces, like Armslist.com. Finally, some states offer the option to sell certain firearms between family and friends in a private transfer.
Let’s take a look at each of these in turn, a bit more in depth.
Selling at the gun shop:
The biggest thing to remember is that you won’t likely be happy with the price the gun shop offers you for your prized possession. They’re a business and have to make money, too. Many gun shops rely solely on the resale of used guns and background check fees to stay in business.
The main reason why is because markups on new guns is very thin. I’ve heard one gun shop owner tell me that some manufacturers allow only 10 to 15 dollars profit on each firearm. That’s much less than it used to be.
A used gun that they can pick up for a decent price will be much more worth their while because they can make more off the sale.
Conversely, another way you can sell it is to have them sell it for you. In turn, after the gun sells, you pay them a small finder’s fee, or shelf-rental fee. The buyer pays for the gun and the background check and you get whatever is left over from the sale after the consignor fee is satisfied.
This can be a very good option, especially if your gun shop is located in a hot area. If not, your firearm may sit for a very long time as it waits to be sold.
Selling a gun Online:
It’s a common misconception that if you sell a gun online that the person buying doesn’t have to go through a background check. This simply isn’t true.
If you’re going about things the right way, in accordance with the laws in your state and unless doing a private transfer (which you shouldn’t be doing with someone you don’t know anyway), then everyone goes through a background check when they buy a new gun.
Simply make the listing for the gun after doing some background research to find out what you can get for it, and make the listing.
The site you sell it on, like Armslist or one of the local gun classifieds you may be a member of, may or may not be hands off in that you have to make the deal yourself and exchange monies and make sure all laws are followed.
The best thing to do is to get acquainted with the rules of the listing website you plan to use, and remember that you can no longer sell guns via Facebook or Craigslist.
Private gun transfers:
I have the firm belief that a private transfer should only take place if you know the person well enough to believe they can pass a background check.
The reason why I believe that actually has nothing to do with the other person passing the background check, though. What I mean is that I want to cover my own ass. If I were to sell a gun to someone who was planning to go rob a bank and that person killed someone with the gun I sold them, I don’t need that on my conscience.
I therefore make it a requirement for people to go through the background check if they want the gun I’m selling. What I do is set a time and place for that person to meet me at an FFL and they go through and deal directly with the gun shop.
Private transfers do happen, but are extremely rare these days due to the trust factor. The only time I’ve ever gotten a gun without a background check was because a family member gifted it to me as a present, like when I was 10 or 12 years old and my dad gave me a 12 gauge shotgun as a birthday present.
Selling a firearm you no longer want is easy. Just make sure you don’t end up doing something the wrong way by not following the laws set forth by your locality.