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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 overrun with new purchasers and more questions than ever about how to conduct a private sale as an alternative.

Let’s look at some best practices when selling a firearm to another person in a private sale, here in Texas.


It’s easy to sell a standard, non-NFA-item firearm to another person in Texas; you don’t even need to involve a federal firearms licensee (“FFL”). Generally, all you need to do is ensure the prospective buyer is at least 18 years old; a fellow Texas resident; is not intoxicated at the time of the sale; and is not an otherwise prohibited person.

This does not mean you must perform a background check or an interrogation. But you should use your common sense. Do not go through with the sale if:

  • The ID a buyer provides looks fake;
  • They pull up in a vehicle with out-of-state plates;
  • They make strange statements about breaking the law, being under a court order, being institutionalized, or failing a background check.

Trust your gut; there are many honest, lawful gun owners in Texas who would love to add your firearm to their collection.

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Document the Sale

While Texas law does not require any formal paperwork to document a change in firearm ownership, a bill of sale is a strong recommendation. This bill of sale should include the date of the transaction, the make, model, serial number, color, and general description of the firearm. You should also list the names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of the buyer and yourself. We also recommend you take a photo of the buyer’s Texas Driver’s License or License to Carry a Handgun.

You should keep a copy of the bill of sale, give one to the buyer, and make sure to store the document in a secure place. It might even be a good idea to save a digital copy using an encrypted cloud service.

This document will be essential should the firearm you sold wind up at a crime scene or in the hands of a criminal. If the police show up at your front door asking questions about the gun sometime down the line, you will be able to clearly show when it left your possession.

Non-Resident Sales

Remember, this applies only for private sales of standard firearms to fellow Texans within the Lone Star State. Do not sell or otherwise transfer a firearm to a non-resident without going through an FFL. This is a federal felony for both the seller and the buyer. If convicted, penalties for these crimes include up to five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000!

If you have any questions about how to legally conduct a private sale of your firearm, call Texas LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.

The information provided should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. The information provided is “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied, and should not be relied as an alternative to individual legal advice. If you have any specific questions about any legal matter, you should consult the attorney of your choice.


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