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How To Sell A Gun

While many of us live by the law of “never sell, only buy”, there comes a time in most of our lives when you have at least one more gun than you really need or want. So why not turn that into something new!

But how, where, and what is legal is a big question to ask. We’ll cover all of that and more!

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Check Your Laws

Selling guns is a lot easier than buying them, generally.

For most states, there are basically no restrictions outside of some federal laws. Fundamentally, as long as both people can own firearms, you just meet, exchange goods, and leave.

However, even in the most relaxed states, you need to keep a couple of things in mind.

First, you cannot ship a gun to someone out of state directly — it must go through an FFL first. 

Sometimes that means you need to take your gun to a local FFL so they can ship it to the receiving FFL, sometimes you can just ship it to the receiving FFL yourself. Call the receiving FFL to make sure you choose the right option.

You also cannot sell to a prohibited person. You must be under the reasonable belief that your buyer can legally own firearms.

Maybe you know the person, maybe you know they already own guns, maybe they have a CCW permit or other kind of licensing, maybe you don’t know anything about them except they have cash and weren’t giving off creepy vibes. The wording for this part of the law is so vague that there is a lot of wiggle room and is basically left to your own judgment.

Some states require that you use an FFL no matter what. Even if you are two locals, you must process your sale through an FFL — that’s how it is for me in California. Every sale must go through an FFL, period. 

Bottom line — if you want to sell a gun to someone that is not a federally licensed firearm dealer, check your local laws.

The Fastest Way To Sell A Gun

If you want to cut out as much of the B.S. as you can — sell your gun to an FFL. Maybe the local gun store buys guns, maybe there is an auction house near you that sells firearms, both are pretty good options for selling something locally and fast.

A newer option is to sell firearms online to FFLs in other states, this is the option I use the most.

There are a few companies that offer this service, but I use Guns.com the most.


Now in full disclosure, I first hooked up with Guns.Com because they paid me to review their service. But that was a couple of years ago and based on what happened then, I’ve been using them ever since.

I don’t get a cut or any special consideration, I just really like their service so I keep using it.

Basically, you take a couple of pictures of the gun, answer some basic information like make, model, serial number, etc., upload the information, and within a few days, you get an email with their offer.

The price they give ranges on what you have but 9 times out of 10 it’s a very fair offer. A couple of times it’s even been more than what I was offered locally.

If you accept their offer they let you choose to package the gun yourself or they’ll send you a box. Either way, they pay for shipping.

Once you ship it, they receive it, inspect it, and pay you. You can get a paper check in the mail or you can set up a direct deposit to your bank account.

I’ve sold half a dozen guns this way and I highly approve.

How To Get The Most For Your Gun

If you’re looking for top dollar, you’ll want to look at either local forums and buy/sell boards or auction sites like GunBroker.com.

Local forums are nice because they can be done quickly and fairly easily, but you might not be able to find the perfect buyer. It helps to live in/near large population centers. 

GunBroker.com is basically eBay for guns. Make an account, list your goods, and wait for the bids to roll in.

Don’t forget to set a reserve price unless you want to roll the dice on not making as much as you thought you would.

Tips & Tricks

No matter what path you go down I cannot stress how important good pictures are. Take good pictures. Take them in good light. Focus your camera on the firearm. Don’t leave your toes in the picture.

Generally, it’s better to leave the flash off and just have good overhead or outdoor lighting.

Do NOT just take one picture, take several. Take them from all angles. Take close-ups and macro shots. 

Giving your gun a wipe down can help also.

Research what your gun is worth before you go off into the world demanding a price for it. GunBroker.com lets you research past sales and that will help a lot to nail down what people are paying. Search functions on forums help a lot also.

Looking Out For Scams

It won’t matter where you sell, you’ll find someone trying to scam you sooner or later. Be on the lookout not only for prohibited people trying to dodge the law but also for people that just don’t want to pay for what they are trying to buy.

Never accept crypto, just don’t. Never let someone bully you into meeting somewhere you’re not comfortable. And if they try the old “I’ll send you a money order for XX more than the price, just send back the difference” it is 100% a scam.

@AntiBitcoin has the right idea

This is another point where dealing directly with an FFL can help you out. While there are some crummy stores out there that might try to lowball you, at least they won’t try to rob you.

Generally Accepted Etiquette, Bill Of Sale, Records, And More

If you sell face-to-face to a normal person, there is a bit of etiquette you should know. These aren’t hard rules, just some guidelines I’d give you after a lot of sales.

Make sure your gun is CLEAR, I would also recommend using a chamber flag when possible.

No firearm should be transported with a round in the chamber unless it’s a duty weapon or CCW. Showing up to a sale with a round in the gun is unacceptable.

Be nice. If you go into this expecting to have a bad time, you’ll have a bad time.

It’s totally okay to ask to count the money before you sign any paperwork. I would recommend it.

Don’t meet in a dark ally outside the Tasty Freeze. Daytime is my preferred option, but lots of light and a safe area are required.

This is a bad place for a meet-up.

Even if you’re in a state that doesn’t require that you use an FFL, asking to meet at one isn’t out of line and is a great way to give both of you a level of safety. 

Don’t be scared to say no to a buyer. If it doesn’t feel right, walk away.

Some people will ask for a bill of sale so they can prove they sold something, some will ask to take a picture of IDs also. It’s totally okay to ask, but don’t be shocked if not everyone is okay with that. If it’s a deal-breaker for you, stick to your guns.

Wrapping Up

I hope this has given you the rundown on how to sell your gun. If you have any questions or tips to add, let us know in the comments!

For some great places to buy guns and more online, take a look at the Best Online Gun Stores!

1 comment
  1. If it’s not someone I know personally, or sometimes a friend of a friend, I use a FFL locally. If i’m going to require to go use the local gun store guy/FFL I’ll offer to split the transfer fee. It’s just not worth taking on risk to sell it to someone I know nothing about. If they have an issue with that it’s fine, I’ve never had a problem finding another buyer that doesn’t.

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