painiac's Essential Guide to Buying and Selling Firearms

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painiac's Essential Guide to Buying and Selling Firearms

Post by painiac » Sat Mar 29, 2014 2:59 am


Table of Contents:
Prohibited Possessors
Buying from an FFL
Cost vs. Value
Private sales
Buying Online
Gun shows
Buying a Used Gun
Selling your gun
Fraud Prevention
Curios & Relics
Firearms Freedom Act

Prohibited Possessors:

Federal law, under the Gun Control Act of 1968, makes it illegal to sell or otherwise furnish a firearm to anyone who:
1) has ever been convicted of a felony
2) is a fugitive from justice
3) is an unlawful user of or addicted to drugs
4) has been adjudicated by a court as a mental defective or committed to any mental institution
5) is an illegal alien
6) has been dishonorably discharged from the armed forces
7) has renounced their United States citizenship
8) currently has a court-issued restraining order from an intimate partner
9) has been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence

Buying from an FFL:

Purchasing a new or used firearm from a “Federal Firearms License” holder (this can be a gun store or an individual) in most states is a straightforward process. The buyer must fill out a “ATF Federal Form 4473 (Firearms Transaction Record)”, which requires a photo ID to complete. This form includes a checkbox affidavit where the buyer swears that he is not a “prohibited possessor” as described above.

The FFL adds the make/model and serial number of the gun being sold, and submits the buyer’s identity to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to verify that the buyer has no record of being a “prohibited possessor”. This typically takes only minutes, and can be done over the phone or internet.

The following comes from the FBI’s informational video on the NICS check process. A check through NICS searches three federal databases: the Interstate Identification Index (known as III or “three I”, which contains records on criminal history), the National Crime Information Center (known as NCIC, which contains information such as warrants and protection orders), and the NICS Index (which contains information on people known to be prohibited possessors). Additionally, if the applicant is not a US citizen, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement query is made. Every NICS check is assigned a unique “NICS Transaction Number” (NTN) for follow-up if there are any delays or problems.

If none of the databases yield any hits, the transfer is approved and the FFL is instructed to “proceed”. If there are any hits, the FFL is advised “delay” while the results of the search are reviewed by an FBI employee. Usually, it is found that the hits are not applicable, are not federal/state disqualifiers, or actually belong to someone with a similar name. When this is the case, the transfer is approved. A delay for review can take up to three business days: if a decision is not rendered within that amount of time, the FFL is permitted by law to go ahead with the transfer or deny it at his own discretion. When one of the databases does reveal that the applicant is a prohibited possessor, the FFL is advised to “deny” the transfer.

Denials do happen by mistake on occasion, and an appeal process is in place. You can enter the NICS transaction number on their website to attempt a resolution. If you encounter chronic delays or denials by mistake, you also have the option to submit an application to the “Voluntary Appeal File”, which is a database set up for streamlining NICS reviews for those who run into frequent problems that result in spurious denials (such as sharing the name of a person who is a felon).

Cost vs. Value:

Before you actually buy the firearm, it’s important to know what the gun is worth so you know if you’re getting a fair price. Many retail tags will “helpfully” list the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) so you can see what a great deal you’re getting. This is actually a dirty marketing psychology trick known as “price anchoring”, and knowing about it is the only defense. We know what numbers mean but our minds are actually not good at interpreting the values of numbers, because prices are a deceptively abstract concept.

If a price tag says $800, your first reaction might be that this is not a reasonable price to pay. Now let’s say instead that the price tag tells you that the MSRP is $1,100 but the store is asking “only” $800. Nothing has actually changed in this scenario -- the gun did not cost any more or less to manufacture and does not cost any more or less to buy -- except that your mind was “anchored” to the higher MSRP as the item’s actual value. It’s difficult to even think of the item anymore in terms of not being worth the price your mind was “anchored” to, hence the name. Then, by comparison, the same $800 price now makes you feel like you’d be getting a good deal that you wouldn’t want to miss out on.

“Sale” prices are similarly not often much of a discount off the actual selling price, because the profit margin for retail firearms is actually fairly small as it is.

Private sales:

Many states have little to no restriction on an individual privately selling a gun to another individual, though some states require that an FFL holder transfer any gun between individuals. In those states that do not regulate transfers, there is no paperwork involved in a sale as long as both parties are residents of that state. This is a right of free commerce that is disparagingly referred to as the “gun show loophole” to Federal firearms law.

Under Federal law, though, a gun sold to a resident of another state must be transferred by a dealer with an FFL. The FFL will charge a fee for the “labor” of processing the transfer for you, typically between $20 and $30 (it’s not reasonable to pay more than this unless it’s not feasible to travel to the next-nearest FFL). Most big gun store chains do not want to do transfers for guns they aren’t selling themselves, so they try to discourage such by charging an exorbitant transfer fee of $35 or more. Apparently they think you will buy the gun from them for full retail price instead, but in actuality this practice only pushes savvy consumers to take their business elsewhere. Most small shops, on the other hand, will be glad to make the easy buck.

Buying Online:

If you’re looking for a firearm that is relatively obscure (or has a relatively obscure configuration), you’ll probably have the most luck finding the gun for sale online. Local shops usually can’t afford to stock exotic or collectible guns that don’t have a high chance of selling, but support your local businesses and check with them to see if they can place a special order for you. and are auction sites similar to eBay that are very popular, and have the advantage of being searchable by make, model, or keyword. Be aware that asking prices on Gunbroker tend to be a little high. It’s a good idea to search for auctions of the gun you want to buy that have already closed, to see an average of what they have actually sold for and not what the current seller is asking. It’s fairly common for sellers to list an item with a hidden reserve of much more than the gun could conceivably sell for, just to feel out what the gun might go for if they decide to get rid of it in the future.

The sellers on such websites are often but not always FFL dealers. Everyone there earns feedback ratings just like on eBay, which you should scrutinize. There is a calculated risk involved in buying from sellers who have little to no feedback accumulated, because on the one hand they don’t have a long track record of positive customer experiences yet, but on the other hand the best deals often come from inexperienced sellers who don’t know what their gun is worth. Use caution if the pictures are unclear: this could just mean the seller has a low-quality camera or poor photography skills, but it could mean the seller is trying to obscure something. If you have any questions, there’s a link on the auction page to send the seller a message. If the seller dodges your question, gives an evasive answer, or doesn’t reply, trust your instincts and pass on the transaction.

If you find the gun you’re looking for, you can try your luck bidding or just “buy it now” for the asking price. You will receive instructions for sending payment. The main difference between eBay and gun auction sites is that eBay does not allow gun sales, and PayPal will not allow transactions for firearm sales so the gun auction sites cannot use this service. Occasionally people will use PayPal without making any mention of firearms in the transaction. This does violate their terms of service and they will terminate your account if they find out about it, but the risk of that happening is relatively small. The main concern with using PayPal is if the sale goes sour or is a scam, you can forget about receiving any assistance from PayPal when you tell them a firearm was involved: you won’t be able to get your money back, and they will terminate your account. For these reasons, it is best to use other methods of payment.

If the seller has a brick-and-mortar gun shop, they will usually be capable of accepting payment by credit card. However, by far the best method of payment for online sales is a US Postal money order. If on the small chance the sale goes badly or turns out to be a scam, the US Postal service will bring considerable muscle to the table in investigating any case of mail fraud. A credit card company, by contrast, will usually just write it off and might just make you pay the $50 maximum amount allowed by federal law for a fraudulent credit card transaction.

After completing the auction but before you pay, unless it’s a private sale from a seller in your own state you will need to have a local FFL dealer standing by to receive your new firearm: call them with the contact information of the seller so they can fax or email their FFL to them. After everything is set up, the seller will mail your purchase to your FFL. After it arrives, the FFL will notify you to come pick it up. When you arrive, you will go through the same procedure for the Form 4473 as described above in the “Buying from an FFL” section, and the FFL will charge you a modest fee. Be sure to inspect the firearm carefully before filling out the form, because if the gun is not as described, returning it for a refund after you take legal possession of it will be much more difficult.

Many gun-related forums have “classifieds” sections for listing firearms for private sales, as well.
Last edited by painiac on Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: painiac's Essential Guide to Buying and Selling Firearms

Post by painiac » Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:02 am

Gun shows:

A gun show, if you’ve never been to one, is like a flea market but with many tables of guns and gear. Many of the sellers will be FFL holders who brought inventory from their stores, but many others will be private collectors who do not hold an FFL (in states that do not regulate private sales, these sellers can be bought from without any paperwork involved). There will also be many tables of trinkets and other junk that doesn’t belong there, because some exhibitors apparently got lost on their way to a flea market or the landfill. The old-timers will tell you that gun shows have gone downhill (but, to be fair, they do say that about everything…)

Buying a Used Gun:

Caveat emptor is very much in force at gun shows.

You should research the gun you’re looking to buy before you go to the show. Look up what it generally sells for ( is an easy place to look, but asking prices there are slightly above normal so you’ll know not to pay quite that much). Grab an electronic copy of the manual online (these can usually be found with a search, and if not the manufacturer can sometimes email you a copy for free) and be familiar with the controls, particularly the safety, slide lock, and magazine release if the gun has these features, and know the field stripping procedure. If you’re not good at remembering these types of things, you can always print out the relevant pages from the manual. Bring your own bore light (or buy one at the show), which is an inexpensive angled light that fits into the action to allow the bore to be inspected.

When you find a gun you’re interested in, ask the dealer first if you can pick it up and look it over. This shows him you're not a drooling yokel and scores you major points. Since manners seem to be an increasingly lost art, this will sometimes even earn you an astonished look (which is amusing). Customers aren’t the only ones who can be dicks, though: if the dealer refuses your request to inspect his merchandise, kindly honor his wishes and take your money to another table unless he’s truly selling collectibles.

The very first thing you do as you pick up the gun is keep your finger off the trigger, and check to make sure it's unloaded. See the chapter on “Loading and Unloading” for the proper general procedure, or review it in the manual ahead of time if you had a specific model in mind. Loaded guns at gun shows are prohibited, but once in a great while somebody fails to check the chamber and brings a loaded gun to sell, so NEVER assume that somebody else checked. Most gun shows will require a zip tie through the action to ensure that the gun is not loaded, but still look. The dealer will cut the zip tie off a gun for you if you want to inspect the internals more closely, but don’t ask him to cut the zip ties off more than a couple of his guns because that would make you extremely annoying, triply so if you’re not a serious buyer.

By adhering to the Four Rules of gun safety and simple courtesy, you have shown the dealer that you are not an idiot and that you know about guns (which silently communicates to him that you know what they are worth and that you both know you can just as well leave and buy the gun you’re looking at from another dealer). This will make the dealer much more receptive to haggling. If instead you violate any safety rules (failing to check the chamber, putting your finger on the trigger, and/or fumbling around with the gun sweeping another patron or the dealer with the muzzle), you’ve instantly destroyed all of your credibility and you will find that the original asking price has become set in stone. The dealer may even refuse to sell it to you, and he would be right to do so!

Inspect the gun’s fit and finish. Look it over for cosmetic damage. If this will be a carry gun or field gun, cosmetic damage might not matter to you. In fact, holster wear might even be considered desirable in a carry gun because it is an inevitable occurrence but will serve to bring down the price of a flawlessly-functioning gun. Look for rust spots, scratches or pits, and other damage to the finish. Twist it a little to see if it moves where it meets the stock or if it's sturdy as it should be. Ensure that the stock is not cracked. See if the gun rattles when it shouldn't. Take care that you do not point the muzzle at the dealer or at other patrons while doing all of this.

Make sure the sights are lined up straight instead of canted to one side, particularly in military-pattern rifles assembled from parts kits (I’m looking at you, Century Arms…). If it’s drilled and tapped for a scope mount, ensure that the holes are centered and not crooked (I’m looking at you, Remington…). If the gun has a scope on it, if at all possible “bore sight” it by opening the gun so you can look down the bore at some distant object, then look into the scope to see if it lines up with what you were looking at through the barrel. If they aren’t even close to matching up, this tells you the seller threw an unwanted (probably crappy) scope on the gun at the last minute just to inflate the selling price. He may be willing to sell the gun at a lower price without the scope, but you won’t know unless you ask.

Gently work the action. Is it relatively smooth, or does it hang up on something? Does it sound gritty? Grit means it hasn’t been cleaned. Don't let a slide or bolt slam forward on someone else's gun: it actually won't hurt anything from a mechanical standpoint because it's far less violent than the gun cycling itself when fired, but it shows a basic lack of respect and pisses some dealers off to no end.

Check the chamber again, and then use your bore light to take a look down the barrel. Ensure the crown (the very end of the rifling at the muzzle) is even and doesn’t appear damaged or worn. Then make sure the rifling is sharp and well-defined from the chamber to the muzzle: if the rifling is not sharp, that tells you that the barrel is shot out and accuracy will suffer greatly. Also ensure that the surface of the bore is clean and shiny, and not corroded or pitted. Pitting tells you that a previous owner used corrosive ammo without properly cleaning afterwards, or severely neglected it before they decided to sell it. Look at the bolt face and under the extractor for buildup of carbon deposits. Underneath the extractor is difficult to clean if you only do a cursory job, so this is a good metric of how well-cared for the gun is. Look particularly for rust spots in these areas or anywhere else within the action. Very old guns will almost certainly have surface rust, but if it’s a modern gun with rust this tells you it was not well-cared for and you should pass.

Guns which are new will have been test-fired at the factory, so a little powder residue will remain. If it’s a new revolver, there will be a little fouling around the front face of the cylinder. This is normal and even desirable, as it tells you the gun worked when it left the factory. The residue from modern non-corrosive ammo will not have hurt anything.

Now, if you’re still interested then ASK FIRST if you can dry-fire it in order to do a function check. Only total jerkasses dry-fire somebody else's gun without asking. First re-check the chamber to ensure it is empty. Engage the safety and, double-checking first that the gun is pointed in a safe direction, pull the trigger. If the hammer drops all the way it tells you the safety doesn't work. Now disengage the safety and pull the trigger without releasing it. The hammer should drop. While still holding the trigger down, work the action: you should feel the seer reset the trigger (the trigger will “jump” a little bit towards your finger). Remove your finger from the trigger, and it should return to its forward position as soon as you release it.

It would be helpful if you had a "snap cap" of the appropriate caliber to make sure the firing pin is hitting the primer, but this isn't strictly necessary. You can also use the “pencil trick” with many firearms: drop an unsharpened pencil eraser-first down the barrel so the eraser rests against the bolt face, point the gun straight up and pull the trigger: if the firing mechanism is working properly, the pencil will be propelled a short distance out of the gun (so be ready to stop it with your off-hand). The other advantage of having a snap cap is that you can next work the action to make sure the magazine feeds properly and that the extractor and ejector are functional.

If this is a used gun and is of a type that it's hard to see inside, and it passed all of these tests and you're really serious about buying it after all this, ask if you can field strip it (or if he will do so for you if you're not very familiar with it). If there's a lot of carbon fouling (or worse, rust) anywhere inside the action, it was not well-cared for and you should probably pass unless you’re just looking for a project gun to do a restoration. Keep an eye out for chipped extractors or damaged firing pins, too, but if everything else is fine these are pretty easy to replace (as long as the gun isn’t very old or rare which would make replacement parts difficult to find). However, if the dealer doesn't disclose them you should probably pass.

If the gun is an old military model or otherwise collectible, don’t forget to ensure that the serial numbers on parts match. If they don’t match, the gun was cobbled together from spare parts or cannibalized guns and does not have the collector value of a gun with matching parts: in fact, it has no collector value at all. Extreme caution and a high level of knowledge are required if you’re buying a gun for collector value, because any alteration to the gun such as re-bluing, stock refinishing, or even a simple but subtle alteration (which you won’t notice if you’re not intimately familiar with the model) such as a non-original sight will drop the gun’s collector value down to zero. Do your homework to save yourself a lot of wasted money, because fraud is all too common when it comes to military collectibles.

Ask the dealer about the gun’s record of being serviced. Some military rifles will have specific markings on the stock from the armorer as to what servicing was performed. If the gun was used by the dealer, ask him why he’s selling it. He will probably just claim he doesn’t want it anymore, but you might get an enlightening answer as to whether the gun has any problems.

If the dealer objects to any of your inspection, say OK and politely thank him for his time. There are still plenty of good guns around. Be sure to check the chamber again before you hand the gun back to the dealer, locking the action or slide open if such is possible with that model.

Do not under any circumstances exclaim that you are very interested in a particular gun: you’re not there just to chat about your interests, and all you accomplish by this is to let the dealer know he can get more money out of you. Look over a few guns with the same level of scrutiny to camouflage your specific interest. Negotiation is an important skill to have. Carry enough cash in more than one pocket, so you don’t whip out a huge wad of money after claiming you can’t afford the asking price. Be sure you have at least $100 or so of that in $20s, because if you haggle the price down and then ask the dealer to break a $100 bill, he might just claim he can’t break it fully so he can bring the price back up a little. Most importantly, if you know the price is a good deal, don’t insult him by trying to negotiate it way down, because somebody else might just snatch the deal out from under you. Snatching a sale from someone is poor etiquette, but it definitely happens.

The most important thing: NEVER ask the salesman what you should buy!
Last edited by painiac on Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: painiac's Essential Guide to Buying and Selling Firearms

Post by painiac » Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:04 am

Selling your gun:

You will almost never get a worthwhile price selling a firearm to a gun store or pawn shop. Your best bet is to list the item for sale online, or take it with you to a gun show. Obviously, you want to know what price the gun is likely to sell for. You can get a good general idea by searching for that model on Gunbroker and finding closed auctions to see what the guns actually sold for. If you came into possession of an old gun you aren’t familiar with (such as while going through the belongings of a deceased relative), you should have the gun appraised by somebody who isn’t offering to buy it from you.

You do not need to have a table to sell a gun at a show. Make a sign telling people what model and caliber the gun is so they don’t have to ask (sticking a wooden dowel in the barrel and attaching your sign like a flag works very well for this, as does making a sign to hang around your shoulders) and just walk around the show browsing. Some of the other patrons will stop you and ask to look over your gun, and if you’re lucky you’ll find a buyer.

If your state does not regulate private gun sales, no paperwork or background check is necessary: you just agree on a price and make the transaction like you would for any other inanimate object. That being said, there are a few perils for the unwary! Agents from the BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (who’s bringing the chips? Har har)) do not generally go after real criminals, and real criminals don’t typically hang out at gun shows because (like any other venue) the exhibitors and patrons want nothing to do with bad guys. Agents instead try to entrap law-abiding citizens who make innocent mistakes because they don't know the gun laws as well as they should. I tell you this not to scare you out of selling off a gun, but so you can be informed. Stay within the law and you’ll be fine!

If you do a lot of un-papered transactions even as a private collector, and the BATFE takes notice and decides you’re deriving "significant income", they may pinch you for dealing without a license. For this reason, you should never tell anybody at a gun show if you're making money on a sale. If anybody asks, you're just a collector and you’re luckily breaking even!

A handwritten receipt is not a bad idea (keep a copy for yourself), but it is optional. I very strongly recommend that you ask to see a driver's license to verify state residency, though. The law does not specifically require this, but you should do so because Federal law makes it illegal for a non-FFL to sell a gun to a resident of another state (with exceptions in the laws of a few states for long guns between residents of adjacent states). Legally speaking, if you know (or as a reasonable person you “should have known”) that the buyer lives outside the state and you transact anyway, you've just committed a felony. BATFE agents frequently troll gun shows and online listings trying to catch the unwary in procedural infractions that can be charged as felonies. If the prospective buyer “lets it slip” that they came from another state, this is a huge red flag: they are probably agents attempting a sting, and you should walk away. A paltry few hundred dollars isn’t worth the risk of a savings-draining legal battle and several years in prison, especially when you consider that you’re likely to find a real buyer eventually.

All is not lost if the potential buyer is from another state, though. If your gun is rare or hard to sell and it’s worth the trouble, with a little asking around you should be able to find an FFL who would be willing to assist in a transfer. Some receiving FFLs will probably not be comfortable with doing this at a gun show unless they reside in the same state as the buyer, and this may require shipping the firearm later unless it’s a at very large gun show with dealers from many states. Money can change hands then and there, but the gun cannot change hands until the transfer is complete! If the prospective buyer balks and tries to convince you to sell without a transfer, he’s either an idiot or it’s an attempted sting: either way, you should refuse to transact.

It is legal for a non-FFL to ship a long gun for any lawful purpose through the Post Office or by common carrier to a resident of their own state, but if shipping to another state it must be shipped directly to an FFL. Handguns mailed by non-FFLs must go by common carrier, as Federal law makes it illegal to send a handgun through the Post Office, and they must be shipped directly to an FFL. UPS will ship unloaded firearms but they must be declared and be shipped “Next Day Air”, which is fairly pricey. It may be a little cheaper if you can find an FFL willing to ship it to the receiving FFL for you, but they might charge you a fee for shipping as well and negate any savings. Old guns which are classified as “Curios & Relics” (see below) can be shipped directly to an individual with a "C&R collector" license at their registered address, but if the buyer has no such license then the gun must be shipped to an FFL and the same Form 4473 procedure applies as for other firearms. If the receiver was manufactured prior to 1899, it is legally classified as an "antique" and not as a "firearm", and antiques can be shipped and even sold across state lines without any paperwork or NICS check.

Fraud Prevention:

If you’re selling online, there are a couple things you need to be cautious about in addition to the above warnings about BATFE stings. If you’re abiding by the law, you have nothing to fear from a sting. Just trust your gut: if anything at all seems fishy, if you have even a hint of misgiving at all, decline the sale and keep trying. Don’t fall into the trap of ignoring or denying your intuition because you want to make a sale.

Only accept payment by postal money order, never by check (not personal, certified, or cashier’s). You might make an exception if both you and the buyer agree to wait until the check clears and you have the cash in hand before you’ll ship the item, but I would absolutely not do so unless I knew the buyer personally. Clearing a check takes a couple weeks. What typically happens otherwise is you receive a check in the mail, take it to your bank and deposit it, and the money appears in your account: the transaction seems to have gone smoothly, so you ship the item. Afterwards (maybe more than a week later) your bank processes the check and finds it was fraudulent, and removes the money from your account… but your gun is long gone. To avoid this, do not deposit the check but instead cash it at a local branch of the bank from which the check was issued: this way, you’ll find out immediately if the check is good or not. It’s much better to avoid all of this hassle and risk by not accepting checks at all.

Sometimes a prospective buyer will ask you to end an auction early to sell to them (citing some urgent circumstance like a business trip, or a surprise deployment for a military tour, or whatever), which is a classic setup for the common check scam above. You should decline to volunteer for this. There are no circumstances where a legitimate buyer can’t wait a couple extra days for your auction to end, because if they know their time is so short they wouldn’t be shopping online for a gun that would take days to receive. Let’s pretend for a moment that they are telling the truth: it’s their problem, not yours. By ending the auction early, you’d have removed yourself from whatever protective mechanisms exist through the auction site, including the user feedback system.

Curios & Relics:

Federal law considers firearms made more than 50 years old as “obsolete” firearm designs, so these guns are automatically classified as “Curios & Relics”. Consequently, the laws governing their sale and transport are more relaxed (provided the firearm is in its original configuration).
To qualify as a C&R, the firearm must fall into one of these categories:

1) Manufactured at least 50 years prior to the current date (but not including replicas of such firearms); This classification happens automatically. Or, the BATFE can be petitioned to give such classification to a firearm if it is:
2) Certified by the curator of a municipal, State, or Federal museum which exhibits firearms to be curios or relics of museum interest; and
3) Derives a substantial part of its monetary value from the fact that it is novel, rare, bizarre, or because of its association with some historical figure, period, or event.

The C&R category includes many muzzle-loaders, but not modern designs which use a receiver or can readily be adapted to fire fixed ammunition. Any modifications to a C&R firearm may (and often do) invalidate its C&R status.

You can obtain a "C&R collector" license for a modest fee, and with this license C&R firearms do not require a Form 4473 to be filled out as with modern firearm transfers. The seller will keep a copy of your C&R collector license on file, and you will not have to go through a NICS check with each purchase. Additionally, you will be able to have C&R firearms shipped directly to the address you registered with your C&R license. As a licensed collector you are required to keep a “bound book” detailing such transactions, but because a “collector” is not considered to be a business these records are not routinely submitted to the BATFE. A C&R license is advantageous if you plan on buying very many C&R firearms, but isn't worthwhile if you only plan to own a few. Beware: in order to actually deal in such firearms you need to obtain an FFL license!

The BATFE keeps a FAQ and their latest rulings:

Firearms Freedom Act:

Starting with Montana, with many states following suit, these state laws declare that any firearm or firearm accessory manufactured in that state to be sold only in that state is not a part of interstate commerce and is thus not subject to any federal restrictions.

Though I fully support these laws, I do not recommend that you rush out and buy an unlicensed machine gun or suppressor that was manufactured in your state. This is a complex battle that is more about state sovereignty than it is about gun rights, and unless you have a lot of money and time to spare you probably do not want to become a test case. The Feds don't care what your state law says, and the BATFE has issued a letter stating this position. The Feds hold that any firearm sale is a matter of interstate commerce, even when it isn’t. If you are taking a stand against federal overreaching pursuant to your state’s Firearms Freedom Act, the feds might be annoyed enough to take notice and charge you with a felony. Your trial will not be in your state’s court, it will be in a Federal District Court. You’ll probably have lots of legal help from the many organizations who support state sovereignty, but keep in mind that federal prosecutors rarely fail to get a conviction.

[End of File]
Last edited by painiac on Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: painiac's Essential Guide to Buying and Selling Firearms

Post by TheLastOne » Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:52 pm

Wow I read the whole thing! Well written and I don't see any errors. Maybe a bit heavy handed against some of the fed regs, which isn't to say I don't agree :crazy:

Good post for someone looking for info for a first time purchase or sale.
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