The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution ensures that all Americans have the right to bear arms. But there’s a whole lot more to purchasing a firearm than visiting a local store or making a purchase online. And as you might imagine, online gun sales have heightened in recent years as the internet has established itself as a major source of commerce.
Yet, there’s a right way and a wrong way to sell a gun online – and doing it the wrong way could land you in legal trouble. So if you’ve ever wondered how to sell firearms online, this post is for you. In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about legally selling a gun online and the best places to do it. Here’s a closer look:
How to Sell Guns Online Legally
As you may imagine, selling a firearm online is a bit more complicated than creating a new listing on Facebook Marketplace or putting it up for sale on eBay. In this section, we’ll outline the steps for how to sell guns online. Here’s what you need to know:
Step 1: Get a Valid Federal Firearms License if Selling Across State Lines
Per the Gun Control Act of 1968, a firearm cannot be sold across state lines to anyone except a licensed FFL, or Federal Firearms Licensee, dealer. It’s important to note that most transactions made within state lines don’t require an FFL. But if you’re planning to sell commercially across state lines – which is common when selling firearms – then you must be FFL licensed.
On a similar note, it’s important to know the difference between a commercial dealer and a private seller. A private seller is anyone who is typically making a one-time transaction with a buyer and moving a firearm from their private collection. A commercial dealer is someone who sells at wholesale prices to other dealers or at retail to consumers. An FFL is essential if you want to sell firearms as a business and at a higher quantity then a typical hobbyist.
Furthermore, after a transaction is agreed upon, sellers must ship to a local FFL – and not directly to the buyer. This is an additional check and balance to ensure that any transaction is legal. The local FFL will manage any state regulations which typically include background checks, navigate any waiting periods, or state required paperwork. They’ll also verify the customer’s identity to ensure the legality of the purchase.
Step 2: Abide by the Customer’s Local Laws and Regulations
In the United States, there are both federal and state-specific gun laws that sellers and buyers need to abide by. Essentially there are 51 different sets of eyes that regulate firearms transactions in the US. Keep in mind that if you’re selling guns online, the state law that applies is that of the buyer – not of the seller. State laws largely determine the purchase age and what firearms can be legally sold. For example, in some states, the minimum age to purchase a firearm is 21. In others, it’s 18. Similarly, some states outlaw firearms with high-capacity magazines or “Assault Weapons”. Others do not.
As we said in the above section, the FFL that you ship to helps ensure the legality of any firearm transaction, but it’s always best practice to be familiar with the receiver’s state laws.
Step 3: Only Work with Private Carriers
Contrary to what you may think, you can’t walk into the post office and mail a firearm. It’s strictly prohibited. Private carriers are your best bet for shipping – and they even have stringent rules and regulations for firearm shipments. For instance:
- A signature is usually required upon delivery.
- Most carriers require the firearm to be shipped separately from any ammunition.
- Carriers often require firearms to be shipped in a non-identifiable package.
- Recently, carriers are requiring sellers ship from a location with a known firearms business and have regularly scheduled pick ups. Dealers operating out of their home or small office are running into issues of shipment.
Step 4: Not All Payment Processors Authorize Firearm Purchases – Know the Right Ones
This final step is an especially important one – and not one that many new sellers think about when they go to sell their gun online: Not all payment processors will accept firearm transactions. In fact, if you read the fine print of most credit card companies, you’ll find that firearms sales are prohibited transactions. Even PayPal, Square, and Stripe pose bans on firearm transactions. And for someone unaware, it can come as quite a surprise when the transaction is frozen or worse, your account cancelled.
So how can you sell a gun online – and actually get paid for it?
You need to be sure that you’re working with the right payment processor. Merchants like PayKings and Second Amendment Processing are two of many merchants that work to help process firearms transactions. Otherwise, it becomes necessary to use a third party invoice company that incorporates a 2A friendly credit card processor.
Finding the Right Places to Sell Firearms
Now that we’ve covered some of the basics for selling firearms, let’s talk about where to sell a gun online. As we noted above, you can go the private seller route with your collection and take matters into your own hands – but there’s a lot of red tape that tends to come with this method to stay in compliance with federal and local laws. Red tape that may or may not be worth your time to mitigate.
Perhaps the better route is to sell it to a qualified dealer in collections that specializes in properly evaluating and then selling firearms at auction, thereby making your gun available to the largest possible audience and eliminating some of the selling hurdles. Such dealers tend to specialize in acquiring antique firearms or different niches of the business, but will purchase guns of all types. Simply put, a qualified dealer with experience in large collections makes selling your gun very easy. All you’ll have to do is contact them directly and they’ll walk you through the process, step-by-step, and answer any questions that you might have. A dealer will then arrange for the shipment of the firearm. All you’ll have to do is sit back and wait for the payment check to arrive after it’s received and has been sold at an auction.
If you’re wondering how to sell a rifle, pistol, or whatever firearm you may have online, it’s often much easier to just work with a dealer that specializes in collections that knows the ins and outs of the process rather than try to go at it alone. How much is your time worth to work this process of sale versus hiring a dealer to do it for you? How about your legal liability? Time spent and legal fees will certainly set you back on the sale of your firearms if you should fail to comply with laws.
Contact CT Firearms Auction Today
For more information on how to sell a gun online, contact CT Firearms Auction today. As a professional, qualified firearms dealer, we’ll walk with you throughout the gun-selling process to ensure it’s carried out legally and safely. You’ll have peace of mind that any transaction was carried out the right way and expose the firearm to a large audience at an auction. Contact us today for more information and to learn about how to sell your gun.