Is it Legal to Sell a Gun Privately?

While selling your guns to a private party can be legal, it also involves some careful research. The gun seller is expected to observe federal gun laws, state gun laws, and local gun laws specific to the buyer’s city, county, and state of residence. Firearm laws can be complicated when privately selling a gun, and the penalties for selling a gun illegally are severe.

As an example, a gun seller is free to sell firearms to another individual in the same state without having a license, but anyone who sells guns or ammunition to the resident of another state, or someone who frequently buys and sells guns as a dealer with the intent to make a profit, must become a Federal Firearms License (FFL).

Gun laws around the country are complicated, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives enforces an expanding list of gun regulations every year. Even shipping a gun to an FFL in another state could be illegal if something about the firearm being sold violates the law in the state it’s shipped to, even if the seller was unaware of the violation.

Before any firearm sale is completed by an FFL, the seller must call the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to ensure the gun buyer is eligible to legally purchase and possess a firearm. While an unlicensed seller is not required to conduct a federal background check, some states still require a background check. Both the gun buyer’s state and the gun seller’s state may also require other permits and legal steps, and all of these must be observed to legally sell a gun privately.

Planning a safe place to conduct the gun transition, writing up the bill of sale, and completing ATF transfer forms are all important steps to consider when selling a gun privately. There’s a lot to keep track of, and most gun sellers explore other options when asking where guns can be sold legally without all the hassle.

Alternatives to Selling a Gun Privately

With all the limits and regulations on private gun sales, firearm sellers tend to look for safe alternatives that can get them the most cash for their guns. Several popular options for selling your guns include:

·         Selling your gun at a pawn shop.

·         Selling your gun at a gun store.

·         Selling your gun to an online retailer.

·         Selling your gun at an auction house.

The level of legal experience can vary, and so will the amount of cash each type of gun buyer pays. A pawnshop, for instance, tends to buy low and sell high, often offering less than half of the true gun value to a seller. Gun stores follow a similar model and usually only pay a fraction of a gun’s worth, often leaving the shipping and transfer cost to be covered by the gun seller. When it comes to both the safest legal option and offering the most cash for your guns, Rock Island Auction Company is the best place to sell your guns.

Selling a Gun with Rock Island Auction Company

As a licensed FLL with nearly thirty years of experience selling guns, Rock Island Auction Company takes care of all the legal hassle and paperwork involved in the sale of your guns and gun collectibles. This includes sorting out the gun regulations and conducting any local, state, and federal background checks required when conducting legal gun sales, including the complex laws involved in selling machine guns.


It’s no surprise that the number one auction house in the world gets gun sellers the highest prices around. Whether you’re looking to sell a recently inherited gun or an entire gun collection, Rock Island Auction Company gets your firearms in front of hundreds of potential buyers and handles everything on the legal end, eliminating all the stress and risk for the gun seller.