A Firearm Bill of Sale Form is a legal document used to execute the sale or transfer of ownership of a gun from a seller to a buyer. It records the transaction of firearms such as pistols, rifles, shotguns, etc.
Sellers can use the gun/firearm bill of sale form as a receipt that records specific data about the transaction.
A gun/firearm bill of sale form acts as proof of a transaction between the seller and the buyer. It verifies the authenticity of the gun and provides information on its condition during the sale. It also traces the history of the gun in case of a fraudulent claim or crime commitment with the gun. A firearm bill of sale form is also used to shield the seller from any liabilities associated with the gun after completion of the sale by verifying who the new owner of the weapon is.
Due to varying gun laws in different states, the form and process that should be followed to ensure a legal sale may differ. All Sellers, particularly private gun sellers, must review local laws before conducting a firearm sale.
Significances of the Firearm Bill of Sale
Drafting the gun/firearm bill of sale form is a valuable measure that the seller should take. This is because the gun/firearm bill of sale form plays a significant role in enabling the seller to prove that the transaction between him/her and the buyer actually took place, which ensures the buyer cannot make any false claims, such as the lack of delivery of the weapon. It also helps prove that the seller was the legitimate owner of the firearm; therefore, no claims can be made that he/she initiated the sale of a stolen weapon.
A seller that uses a gun/firearm bill of sale form can prove that the transaction with the buyer was conducted within the confines of state and federal law; this will help provide clarity on the legality of the whole process of the sale. It is also significant in ensuring that all relevant details about the gun, such as its make, model, serial number, year, and unique makings, are recorded. This helps ensure that the seller’s promises and assurances about the condition of the firearm are appropriately recorded by enabling him/her to state if the gun was sold ‘as is.’ Both private gun owners and dealers can use a gun/firearm bill of sale form when transacting the sale of a firearm.
Federal Firearm License
A federal firearm license (FFL) is a permission document given to shops and businesses that deal with gun sales. It allows these dealers to sell firearms in the U.S. legally. They can also use the FFL to manufacture and transport guns and ammunition. Private gun sellers do not need to be issued a federal firearm license unless indicated by state law. It is, however, required if the private sale takes place across state lines. Shops and businesses issued with a federal firearm license must follow special procedures like carrying out background checks of their buyers before a transaction occurs.
FFL License Types
Dealers applying for an FFL must complete an application, pay the set application fee and send the application document to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives agency (A.T.F.). This agency is part of the United States departments of justice. It was established in 1938 to enforce the Federal Firearm act. There are nine different types of FFL’s however, the most common types issued are Type1 and Type11.
Firearm dealers such as manufacturers and businesses can trade in ammunition and firearms once they acquire an FFL for commodities they have applied for. However, these dealers can only engage in firearm and ammunition trading once they meet the requirements set in their FFL. For instance, shops engaged in the sale of guns should only participate in the transfer after the buyer produces and fills out A.T.F. form 4473. The buyer must then undergo a background check by the seller on the official National Instance Criminal Background Check System(NICS) to obtain approval. Some buyers may be subjected to delays or denied a gun or ammunition if the system identifies an issue.
Buyers may also purchase a firearm or ammunition without the FFL or registration; however, the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution that grants citizens their right to bear arms also contains limitations on how guns can be sold or owned. States have their own laws regarding private arms sales; some require background sales to be carried out via a licensed intermediary, while others have little to no regulations. A firearm dealer licensed by the Federal government is obligated by law to conduct a background check on the buyer while an unlicensed private seller is not.
In the United States, 36 states do not require local citizens to have permits/licenses when they buy or own guns such as rifles, shotguns, handguns, or firearms. These states also do not require local citizens to register guns, making it easy to purchase firearms online or at gun shows. Therefore, buyers and sellers must review state laws before engaging in any transaction. For example, according to Texas state law, local citizens are not required to register their guns.
Key Elements of Firearm Bill of Sale
Sellers must ensure that their gun/firearm bill of sale forms contain the necessary elements to provide adequate information, ensuring that the gun/firearm bill of sale contains detailed and specific information.
The following are the elements of a gun/firearm bill of sale form:
The day, month, and year when the transaction information is filled should be indicated in the gun/firearm bill of sale form to ensure there are no doubts about when the transaction details of the gun/firearm bill of sale were provided.
The seller’s name, address, and contact information should be indicated to help distinguish the individual selling the firearm. If a shop or business sells the firearm, the full name should be indicated in the gun/firearm bill of sale, including its suffix, which will ease the process of identifying the dealer involved in the transaction.
The buyer’s name, address, contact information, and government identification details such as his/her state-issued I.D./driving license number should also be provided in the gun/firearm bill of sale form. It will help ensure that the new owner of the gun can be identified.
The seller must then ensure that the gun being sold is appropriately identified by providing details about the weapon. The gun’s serial number, make, model and features such as the color, caliber, customization, accessories, and materials should be indicated in the gun/firearm bill of sale form.
The model /type of the firearm distinguishes it from other firearms like shotguns or hunting rifles. It is the manufacturing information of the gun that can easily be established through visual examination. The caliber refers to the size/diameter of the barrel of the seller’s firearm. It is indicated in millimeters(mm).
The serial number of the gun is a unique identifier assigned to the seller’s firearm. It is used to register the firearm and link the gun to the owner, who must have a firearm license. Buyers may find the serial number on the slide or trigger guard of the firearm. A gun may have more than one serial number, especially if it has been rebuilt. Therefore, the gun/firearm bill of sale should contain information on whether the gun has more than one serial number and where the numbers are located on the firearm, ensuring that all relevant details are indicated.
The seller should also indicate if the firearm will be ‘sold as is or as advertised to ensure that the state of the weapon at the time of sale is indicated. This will help protect the seller from any future litigation on the condition of the weapon.
The seller should ensure that the sale details are appropriately outlined in the gun/firearm bill of sale form. The information included should be written correctly.
The following are purchase details that must be indicated in the gun/firearm bill of sale form:
- Date of purchase: The date when the gun was sold should be indicated in the purchase details. It helps provide a record of when the firearm was sold to the buyer if issues arise after the sale.
- Sale price: The sale price should also be indicated in the purchase details of the gun/firearm bill of sale form. It helps indicate the amount involved in the transaction between the seller and the buyer. Also proves that the buyer accepted to pay a particular amount of money for the gun.
- Payment options: The form of payment made by the buyer should be indicated in the gun/firearm bill of sale form. Sellers may request payment in the form of cheques, money orders, credit card wire transfers, or cash. Apart from cash, all other forms of payment usually leave a money trail which is best to ensure that the money can be easily traced by relevant authorities if ever required. If the gun is given as a gift, sold at a discounted price, or exchanged for another item, the purchase details should indicate this information.
- Payment arrangement: The purchase details should also include the payment arrangement agreed upon by both the seller and the buyer. It should include if payment will be made in full, installments, or initial down payment. Suppose the payment arrangement indicates that payments should be made in installments or that the final payment should be made later. In that case, the purchase details should include information on when the last payment will be expected and what terms have been agreed on if it is not made by the due date.
- No warranty clause: The seller must also provide information on whether the buyer will be receiving a warranty for the gun. Often when the firearm is sold ‘as is,’ no warranty is offered to the buyer. This information should appear in a well-written clause/statement by the seller to prevent any future misunderstanding with the buyer.
The buyer’s name, signature, Driving license number, and issuing state should be indicated in the gun/firearm bill of sale. It proves that the buyer has agreed to the terms and conditions of the document. It also proves that the buyer is engaged in the purchase of the gun.
The seller’s name, signature, Driving license number, and the issuing state should also be provided to solidify the gun/firearm bill of sale form. It helps show that the seller consents to the terms and conditions outlined in the firearm bill of sale form.
Related: Notarized Bill of Sale Forms
The Firearm Selling Process
Sellers are required to have a clear understanding of the firearm selling process to ensure a smooth transaction. The process followed will also help ensure that all legal requirements are met.
The following is a step-by-step process that the seller should adhere to when selling a firearm:
Ensure you have the Federal-Firearm License
Shops and businesses involved in the sale of firearms must first obtain a federal firearm license before selling any weapon. On the other hand, private gun sellers do not need a federal firearm license to sell guns. However, if the transaction is taking place with a buyer across state lines, the private seller will be required to obtain a federal firearm license. Further details on this have been provided in the subheading ‘Federal-Firearm License’ above.
Verify state laws on private gun sales
Secondly, a private gun seller should verify what the state laws on private gun sales indicate. It is important to govern the transaction terms in the gun/firearm bill of sale form.
The seller must determine if the state requires the buyer to have a permit or if the state laws require the seller to use a certified dealer to enable the sale.
The seller should also follow current local, state, or federal government affairs to determine if any laws on private gun sales have been amended.
Sell to a trusted person
Firearm sellers must ensure the buyer is someone they trust. Openly advertising the gun sale on social media is not allowed when searching for a suitable buyer. Most states allow citizens with virtually no criminal record to become licensed gun owners. However, state laws do stipulate a category of individuals that are prohibited from procuring a gun. The seller must review the categories and ensure that the buyer does not fall in any of them.
Individuals that may be prohibited from procuring a firearm according to Texas state law may include:
- Convicted persons: These are individuals that have been convicted of crimes by a court of law
- Fugitives: These are individuals that have escaped justice, such as prison escapees
- Substance abusers/drug addicts: These are individuals known to use substances that alter their ability to make rational decisions
- Individuals diagnosed with mental illness: These are individuals prone to changes in emotion, behavior, or thinking due to a mental condition
- Illegal aliens: These are individuals whose migration status violates the country’s migration laws
- Individuals dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces: These are military members discharged from the armed forces due to unacceptable behavior leading to loss of their veteran’s benefits
- An individual that has renounced his/her United States citizenship: These are individuals that voluntarily lose their United States citizenship
- Stalker/harrassers: Individuals issued with a restraining order by the courts for offenses such as stalking, harassment, threatening intimate partners or their child.
- Convicted domestic violence offenders: These are individuals tried and convicted for the offense of domestic violence against an intimate partner.
It helps the seller exercise vigilance if the potential buyer is a stranger. The seller should request the buyer’s physical documentation, such as a driving license and physical address. The seller should also consider how he/she feels about the buyer’s character. It is often recommended that a seller considers selling the firearm to individuals well known to him/her, such as family, friends, or neighbors.
Perform a background check
The seller must then exercise due diligence by performing a background check on potential buyers. This will help the seller avoid selling his/her weapon to a criminal. The seller can use various criminal background search portals to help reveal which potential buyers have clean criminal records and which do not.
A seller should consider using the following sites for criminal background checks:
- CriminalWatchdog.com-for $18.95
- SentryLink.com-for $19.95
- BeenVerified.com-in $26.89 (For a one-month subscription with unlimited queries)
The seller can use www.nsopw.gov for free to conduct background checks on sex offenses. These sites offer credible information making them the best option for a seller conducting a background check on the buyer.
Ask for a gun license
Next, the seller must ask for the buyer’s gun license to help protect himself or herself from any issues after the sale. A gun license is a government-issued permit authorized by the state to allow an individual to own or carry a gun. The seller may also ask the buyer to provide him/her with his/her concealed carry permit. A concealed carry permit enables an individual to carry a firearm in public in a hid
den manner. Most states in the United States require gun owners to have a concealed carry permit along with a gun license, while other states lawfully do not require individuals to have the license. Guns such as pistols or any other type of handguns are concealed carry weapons.
Negotiate the sale
When a seller is sure about the buyer he/she has picked, the negotiation process can proceed. First, the seller must lay out his/her terms, such as the purchase price, mode of payment, and payment arrangement, if any. Then, the negotiations with the buyer should center around a reasonable purchase price based on the model and make of the gun in the current market price.
Fill the firearm bill of sale form
Once negotiations have been concluded between the seller and the buyer, the gun/firearm bill of sale should be drafted. The seller must ensure that all relevant details agreed on with the buyer are included in the firearm bill of sale. In addition, the seller may request the buyer to sign a disclaimer verifying that he/she has assumed responsibility for the weapon. It will help withdraw liability from the seller if the weapon is used in committing a criminal offense after the sale.
Arrange an in-person sale
Finally, the seller should set a meeting with the buyer to finalize the transaction. The seller must have the firearm, and the buyer will be required to bring the payment. Once the exchange occurs, the deal will be sealed. At this point, neither party owes the other anything.
Following is a free downloadable gun/firearm bill of sale template for you:
Laws for Private Sales
A private sale under federal law allows a private seller to sell a gun/firearm to a resident of his/her state. Some states require private sellers to conduct background checks on the buyer, usually through a licensed intermediary, while others have few to no additional regulations on private firearm sales. Private gun sellers must review their state laws before deciding to engage in the sale of their firearms.
The gun/firearm bill of sale form is a critical document that sellers can use to record transaction details between them and their buyers, prove the gun’s change of ownership, and issue the buyer with a receipt. Private gun sellers must first start the process of selling their firearms by reviewing their state laws to ensure that the sale is carried out within the confines of the law. When writing a gun/firearm bill of sale form, the seller should write all relevant transaction details