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Old 01-26-2009, 08:39 PM   #1
Kolat's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2009
From: Spokane
Posts: 371
What you should know before buying and selling guns

The Law

Laws Regarding Interstate Firearms Sales and Transfers

NRA Guide to Federal Firearms Laws
ATF Online
ATF / FFL eZ-Check
Find an FFL / transfer dealer in your area.

Faxed FFL file-copies for firearms transfers are now recognized by the BATFE.

Doing Business Here

Here's how I do business

When selling:
  1. Be brutally honest, to yourself and the buyer. Better to undersell than to oversell, and the buyer will be happier upon receipt. Be clear about any defects or shortcomings, but also sell the good points.
  2. Post pictures. Even crappy pictures are better than no pictures. Do the best you can with the equipment you've got. You can even get useful pics from a low res cheap webcam if you take your time. Photograph every "little" flaw, as your idea of little might be the buyer's idea of serious damage.
  3. Spell out every detail of the deal. Price, shipping cost, who pays insurance, what carrier will be used and what level of service. How the payment will be made, what the return policy is, and how return shipping will be handled.

When buying:
  1. Have the money or the trade goods in hand before making an offer. Don't depend on selling something else to raise the money, or working a third party trade to get the trade goods.
  2. Request pictures if none are posted in the ad. Make sure you are getting what you want, getting value for what you pay.
  3. Spell out every aspect of the deal, as posted above. Leave nothing to chance, or as "customary" or "understood".

For all deals, whether buying or selling:
  1. If you make a deal, follow through. If after you make a confirmed deal, you get a better offer or find a better buy, chalk it up to your impatience. Is it really worth your honor (and a possible -1) to save $20, or get $20 extra on a deal?
  2. Tag the thread, bookmark the thread, quote the original ad in the thread, do something to record the original offer. Keep a copy of every email and IM sent during the deal. You may need it later.
  3. If the deal is big enough, talk on the phone. You can tell a lot about someone from hearing their voice, their demeanor, and just their general level of amicability.
  4. At any stage of negotiations before a deal is reached, don't hesitate to bail on the deal if your gut tells you to.
  5. Never ship to a PO box. Always get an address or an FFL address. Verify the FFL address.
  6. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS leave feedback. If someone does you right, let everyone know he's a good guy (or gal). If someone does you wrong, let everyone know that too. I don't know how many threads I've seen over the years where someone says "he screwed me too, but I didn't want to post because blah, blah, blah [insert lame excuse here]".
  7. Try to ship your payment the same day the deal is made, or next day if the deal is made late. Try to ship the goods the same same day payment is received, or next day if the payment is received late.
  8. If you use Paypal, you deserve whatever bad things happen to you.

That's my thoughts. Feel free to agree or rebut as you see fit.

FTF Trades

Doing a FTF is always a little awkward.

Meet during daylight in a neutral place so you can take a GOOD look at the firearm. If there happens to be one, meeting at a gunshow or a shooting range works well. Also, believe it or not, if the guy you're doing the trade with is a LEO, the police station is good place. A couple guys fondling a firearm in a PD parking lot doesn't draw much attention,.... unlike a McDonald's parking lot. Better yet, if you're dealing with a "big cheese", do it inside.

Make sure you describe your vehicle & yourself while you're setting up the meeting, or you're both liable to be passing each other up for twenty minutes.

Most important of all trade information when you do a FTF. It protects both of you!

For all the buyer knows the gun is a sizzler... or may have been used in a crime.

For all the seller knows, it's being purchased to be used in a crime, or to be resold to a third person who'll do who knows what with it.

Never let the paper trail end with you know who you're selling to! If you're going to do a FTF sale or trade I'd strongly suggest clicking on the appropriate link below and print two copies out (1 copy for the seller, 1 for the buyer) and USE them!

As long as nothing goes wrong, nobody except the buyer and seller will ever see either copy.

Firearm Private Bill of Sale

Here's a simpler one firearm private bill of sale

Firearm Private Bill of Trade

Print a couple of them - I don't know how long they'll continue to be hosted


UPS Tracking
USPS Track and Confirm
Some thoughts on shipping to Alaska and Hawaii

Want to know if the USPS money order you sent has been cashed yet? Call the USPS M/O status line at: 866 974 2733 before 7PM central time.

Smart Shipping

On the USPS web site if you buy and print out your postage for priority mail shipping, you get free delivery confirmation (save $0.55 and the data is automatically entered and emailed to your buyer). While not as good as tracking or registered mail, it is at least something that allows the buyer to know when something gets mailed and the seller to know when it arrived.

Also, FedEx rates for registered account holders are significantly cheaper (small discount is 15%) than FedEx and UPS rates over the counter.

Shipping Parts & Accessories to Addresses outside the US

The laws that govern this are covered in the ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations). A set of regulations that the State Department has about what can and cannot be shipped outside the US. Those of us in the Defense Industry deal with this all the time, but for most folks this is a completely unknown set of regulations.

Right now this pretty much covers just about everything (parts & accessories) made for any semi-automatic firearm.

Info on ITAR from the State Department
Specifics on Firearms & Ammo

These regulations are particularly important - ITAR Munitions List - read page 2 in particular sections (a) and (h).

Section (a) in particular covers all semi-automatic firearms under .50 caliber, and section (h) lists all the parts and accessories of those times in section (a). Thus pretty much listing all semi-auto parts & accessories on the Munitons list.

What does this mean? It means in order to legally ship those items to someone in another country (even Canada) you need the approrpriate licenses. (see the first link on how to obtain the right license).

Of course there are countries that you cannot ever ship items on the munitions list, these countries are on the Embargo list which can be found here: Embargo List

Last edited by Kolat; 01-26-2009 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:24 PM   #2
KillermondoDude's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2009
From: Washington on the wet side
Posts: 371
How do you deal with pistols All great and almighty T??
Old 09-05-2009, 04:34 PM   #3
GunNews's Avatar
Joined: Sep 2009
From: Honolulu
Posts: 2
Thumbs up Hey!

Excellent Tips!!


Old 09-09-2009, 06:35 PM   #4
rockriver's Avatar
Joined: Sep 2009
From: Seattle, wa
Posts: 24
good info!
Old 10-22-2009, 06:58 AM   #5
325er's Avatar
Joined: Oct 2009
From: Prosser
Posts: 15
Ecellent info
Old 12-11-2009, 11:52 AM   #6
Joined: Sep 2009
From: whatcom, washington
Posts: 23
You should really mention something about thead crapping, Its BS and it happens here all the time...

If someone has something for sale, you should only post on thier add if you are going to make an offer, ask a question about the item, or offer a referance to the seller...
Old 12-29-2009, 07:58 AM   #7
hubers454's Avatar
Joined: Dec 2009
From: Spokane Valley Washington
Posts: 101
hey T
no kidding nothing like driving 400 miles for a peice of crap or waste shipping costs both ways. seller won't pay because you are being picky hehehehe
Old 05-10-2011, 07:22 AM   #8
krayvon's Avatar
Joined: May 2011
From: Afganistan, WA
Posts: 22
Thanks for the info! Thumbs up to you grunt!
Old 02-19-2020, 12:44 PM   #9
Joined: Feb 2020
From: geralnd
Posts: 1
I wonder if it is allowed to deliver this type of produce to all regions of the country. I am based in Las Vegas zip code. Are there any restrictions in this are if I order a gun in the online store? My all permits are fine. How does a purchase happen? I believe I have to submit all my permissions and licenses for approval and then after the verification a purchase is approved. Please advise me if the procedure is different.

Last edited by ertiools; 02-21-2020 at 09:56 AM.

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