Are you under a Stay At Home order? Have the gun shows in your area closed down due to the pandemic? Gun stores around the country are experiencing an influx of new purchasers and more questions than ever are arising about how to conduct a private sale as an alternative.
What is the law on conducting a private sale as an alternative?
You’re in the middle of negotiating a private sale, but you don’t know the other party’s history or if they’re a prohibited person. Missouri does not require you to go through a Federal Firearms Licensee (“FFL”) to sell a firearm to an in-state resident. Private sales in Missouri do not require background checks or registration.
You may be legally responsible if you knowingly sell a firearm to a person Missouri law prohibits from gun ownership. Be sure to check the identification of a private-party buyer to ensure they are an in-state resident. Also, be aware of other indicators of potential out-of-state buyers, such as out-of-state license plates. Missouri law prohibits knowingly selling firearms to a person who has been convicted of a felony; is a fugitive from justice; is habitually on drugs or under the influence; or is currently mentally incompetent. If you have concerns about whether a private party is prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm, consider using an FFL to process the sale. The FFL can conduct a background check and ensure that your purchaser is legal.
Document the Transaction
It’s good practice to document a private firearm purchase or sale with a bill of sale. By documenting your sale, you can protect yourself from liability if the purchaser of your firearm or a subsequent owner commits a crime. Before purchasing a firearm, check with your local Sheriff’s office to ensure the gun you are purchasing has not been stolen. Documenting your purchase can later help verify the time of sale if a liability issue were to arise based on a crime or accident previously committed with the firearm you purchased.
For questions about legally conducting the private sale of a firearm, please contact U.S. LawShield and ask to speak with your Independent Program Attorney.