I frequently get asked about the process of selling a firearm through a private sale. Here are some important rules and tips to keep you legal and safe.
The State of Florida requires that if you're going to transfer ownership of a firearm through a private sale you follow the following rules.
Rule #1 - Identification Requirements
The buyer and the seller must possess a valid government issued ID from the State of Florida.
Rule #2 - Minimum Age Requirements
The buyer must meet the minimum age requirement for the firearm type being transferred.
Pistol / Revolver - 21
Shotgun (No Shoulder Stock) - 21
Shotgun (w/ Shoulder Stock) - 18
Rifle - 18
Rules #3 - Is the buyer a prohibited person?
To the best of the seller's knowledge, the buyer is not prohibited from possessing a firearm. To learn more about prohibited persons, click here.
That's it as long as you follow the legal requirements listed above your well within your rights to sell your firearm. However privately selling a firearm can be dangerous, so here are some helpful tips to keep you safe.
Tip #1 - Make the trade in a public place.
The first firearm I purchased was through a private sale. I met the seller online and after some negotiating we decided to meet. As you can imagine I was a little nervous. I mean this guy knows that I have $600 cash and I'm not even sure he has the gun. I was supposed to meet the seller in a Starbucks parking lot. I figured it was a public place and it should be ok. When I arrived I couldn’t find the seller. “I'm in the alley behind the Starbucks” the seller said via text message. I proceeded to the alley where the seller opened a bag to show me the shotgun. I gave him the cash and got out of their as fast as I could. It was like a scene out of a movie. I have never made a purchase like that again. I choose the location like a gun show, gun store or very public parking lot.
Tip #2 - Use a Bill of Sale Document
If the firearm you're selling is ever stolen or used in a crime, a firearms trace will link the weapon back to you. A bill of sale will help you prove who you sold the firearm too. Here is the bill of sale that I use, you can download it here.
Tip #3 - Verify the Firearm isn't Stolen
The State of Florida has a website that allows you to see if a firearm has been reported stolen or not. FDLE Stolen Gun Search. Simply type in the serial number of the firearm and if the search results say “No Records Found” your good to proceed with the sale. However, if the search results list a detective name and phone number you should walk away from the transaction as safely as possible.
Tip #4 - Take a Friend with You
Private sales can be very dangerous. Take a friend for backup.
Tip #4 - Be ready to walk away
If the situation doesn’t look or feel right, be ready to walk away. Many years ago I was meeting a buyer in a very public parking lot. When the buyer arrived and stepped out of his vehicle. I quickly realized that this is not a person I wanted to sell a firearm to. It was the face tattoo that tipped me off.
Tip #5 - Must have a Concealed Carry Permit
One of the tricks I like to use is to only buy or sell a firearm to individuals who have a valid Florida concealed carry permit. If the buyer or seller has a CWP I know they have passed an FBI background check and they are not a prohibited person. This will reduce the pool of potential buyers or sellers but it will make for a much safer transaction. Personally, if the buyer doesn’t have a concealed carry permit, I walk away.
Don’t send someone money without seeing the firearm in person.
Don't allow people to know where you live or work.
Don't get suckered by a deal too good to be true
There are lots of scam artists posting amazing firearm deals online. They tell you to act quickly before it's too late. Don't buy into this. Firearms have very little margin, so if you find a huge price difference between top sellers there's a reason.
I hope this article has been helpful. Tell me what you think of this article by giving me a thumbs up and share with you friends.
If you have any additional questions feel free to contact me by phone, text or email. If you're looking to get your Florida Concealed Weapons permit, take a look at our class schedule here.
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