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Cashing Your Firearms: How to Sell a Gun in the U.S.

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So, you finally decided to part ways with your trusty Smith & Wesson revolver but don’t want to make any legal mistakes?

You’re not alone.

Given today’s ever-shifting gun laws, many gun owners first check their state’s legal obligations before even looking for advice on how to sell a gun.

There are a couple of ways to sell your firearms online quickly, safely, and profitably. In this guide, we will show you where and how to sell your guns and how to find the right buyers.

But first, let’s clear up the legal requirements.

Why You Should Consider Selling a Gun

You’ve heard the saying: “Never sell. Only buy”.

This is exactly why you should consider selling the firearms you no longer use.

Since everybody is holding on to their pistols and rifles, you’ll always find gun owners looking for a rifle with a halved price tag.

Of course, the quality must also be on par with retail standards.

Here are a few reasons for selling a gun:

  • Profit: Buying low and selling high is a great way to rack up some extra cash, especially if you’re a proud owner of a rifle that’s discontinued or no longer in manufacture.
  • Clutter: Many gun owners need help with freeing up space for their newer gun collections. Sure, it’s hard to part ways with a valuable piece. But, once the time is right, you’d wish you had more space in your gun storage safes instead of settling for keeping your rifles in the garage.
  • Reputation: As soon as you start selling more guns, you slowly begin to gain recognition as a respectable gun seller in the community. Your reputation positively affects how quickly you’ll find future firearm buyers.
  • Peace of mind: Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Selling your gun is tricky the first few days. After that, you’ll have more time to focus on your other firearms. A focused mindset like that ensures proper gun maintenance.
  • Healthy economy: Nearly half of US households own firearms, and more than 60 Billion dollars circulate within the market. Contributing to the gun market means keeping the US economy afloat.

Problems With Selling a Gun

Although selling a gun yields extra cash and space, it’s not exactly a win-win situation.

There’s a good chance you’ll come across multiple issues during the transaction. Most buyers are haunted by second thoughts and regret even after a successful gun sale.

Consider these essential points before you start selling your guns online:

  • Miscalculated value: Be very careful when selling a certain piece because you never know when a firearm manufacturer will discontinue it. After a firearm goes out of commission, the price usually jumps significantly.
  • Used is used: Once you buy a gun, the paperwork states it’s yours. This means that, after the sale, the price drastically drops, and it’s unlikely you’ll get to sell this gun at a near-approximate price tag again.
  • Seller’s remorse: Most gun owners really regret selling their firearm either because they’ve grown too used to it or because it’s a valuable piece of their collection. Think long and hard if you really need the money.
  • Ethics: You never know whom you’re selling your guns to. FFL and background checks aren’t enough to evaluate how the future owner of your used gun will use these guns. Take a close and hard look at your buyers first.

Where to Sell a Gun

There are four main ways to sell a gun. You can sell it:

  • Privately: This transaction is done in person with a buyer.
  • Via an auction house: There are special auction houses that deal with firearm marketing.
  • At your local gun shop or pawn shop: Pawning your gun is fast but not profitable.
  • On an online gun marketplace: This is the tried and true method of the 21st century.

If you don’t want to sell your guns at an auction, gun store, or in person, the best way is to sell them online.

Here are the most popular online firearm marketplaces that offer excellent benefits for the seller.

1. GunBroker.com

A screenshot of the gun broker homepage

Widely recognized as ‘the eBay of guns,’ GunBroker.com is a prominent firearms auction house from Atlanta, Georgia which serves as one of the main channels for buying and selling used guns.

Established in 1999, they have a massive market for all kinds of sports, hunting, and gun-related equipment.

What Makes This Gun Marketplace Great

Since it’s so popular, you can find countless auction listings on many items. You need to be constantly alert for any fantastic prices and bids, both as a buyer and a vendor.

Fees/Commission: GunBroker.com doesn’t charge listing fees until the gun sells, and they have no recurring membership fees.

Here’s a more detailed chart of their fees if you’re planning on listing guns as a seller:

Source: GunBroker.com

Payment Methods: Credit cards, coupons, PayPal, Layaway, online Escrow services, and USPS Money Order.

2. Guns.com

Another reputable firearms website is, of course, Guns.com. They’re not an auction house but serve as the fastest licensed FFL dealer online with decent fees and vendor benefits.

What Makes This Gun Marketplace Great

They’re fast, straightforward, and they have the shipping covered.

Simply tell them about your firearm, send pictures, and receive an offer from their appraisal team. If the price suits your liking, ship the gun to their local retailer, and wait for your transaction.

If you’re looking to sell your entire gun collection, Guns.com’s appraisal team can give you an excellent price for it. Otherwise, you’re free to make an offer yourself.

Fees/Commission: Guns.com charge a 3% commission fee on new firearms, used FFL firearms, customized merch, a 5% fee on ammo, and an 8% fee on used firearms, sights, and accessories.

Payment Methods: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and Credova.

3. GunsAmerica.com

A screenshot of the guns america homepage

Online since 1997 and still going strong, GunsAmerica.com is regarded as the oldest firearms marketplace online.

You can find lots of types of guns and ammo here. But, since it’s an oldie, there’s a high chance of running into illegitimate users, so thread lightly.

What Makes This Gun Marketplace Great

GunsAmerica.com offers a basic and free membership, trusted membership with a monthly fee, and a platinum membership for the most serious gun vendors looking forward to selling 5-10 firearms per month.

Fees/Commission: basic membership has a 4% fee for every successful sale.

Payment Methods: Credit cards, money orders, and personal checks.

How To Sell a Gun: Step-By-Step Instructions

Regardless of how you choose to sell your gun, these are the essential steps you need to follow:

1. Clean and Unload the Gun

Safety first. Always check the chambers to ensure the gun is empty before thoroughly cleaning it for the paying customer. Additionally, if you can, sell the gun in its original casing. It’s ethical, professional, and up to the safety standards of gun handling.

2. Check Your State Laws and Regulations

You need to first check your state laws before continuing with the sale. You can check your state laws by visiting www.nraila.org under the ‘Purchase’ section. Remember that not all US states allow private sales, too.

Suppose you decide to sell your gun online; here are the additional steps you should take. We’ll use GunBroker.com as an example to show you how to add a listing step by step.

3. Register as a Seller on Gunbroker.com

First, you’ll need to create an account on GunBroker.com. This can be done by going to the Registration menu and filling out the details. Once done, GunBroker.com will email you a code to activate your account.

4. List Your Item

After you’ve verified your account, you’ll need to click the ‘Sell Your Item’ button to list your desired firearm.

You’ll be prompted to describe the firearm, and you’ll need to fill out the category, description, payment/shipping info, and price fields.

Additionally, you can click the optional services button if you need tips for boosting your listings and gaining more attention to your guns for sale.

5. Snap Your Firearm

You’ll need to take a photo of your firearm and upload it to your listing.

This step is undoubtedly the most important because how you’ll capture the lighting, features, and the right angle of your firearm will decide how fast your item will sell.

Try to make the photo as aesthetically pleasing as possible without editing it with external tools.

6. Review the Listing

Review every detail before you submit the listing to ensure everything is in order. Then, when you’re confident in your listing, go right ahead and press the ‘Submit New Listing’ button.

7. Contact Your Buyer

When you get an offer, make sure your customer is legitimate. It’s considered good etiquette when asking for necessities like IDs, agreed time and location, or counting the money before proceeding with the paperwork.

Things to Consider Before Selling a Gun

If you decide to sell your gun privately, you should consider also the following:

Conducting background checks

Most states require you to first do a background check on your potential customer before you sell them the gun.

You can conduct the background check at your local gun dealer who has a federal firearms license (FFL) where they will charge a nominal fee for the processing.

If you’re selling the gun privately, both you and the buyer need to be present during the background check to ensure that the person is eligible to purchase the firearm and that the type of firearm is approved for sale.

Tip: You should facilitate the sale via your local FFL dealer if your buyer is from another state.

Drafting a bill of sale for the gun

Although it’s not obligatory, drafting a bill of sale before going to your local FFL dealer ensures both parties agree on the gun’s price and method of payment, and you’ll have an official document for the transaction.

You can find a template for the bill of sale for your state here.

Filling out the paperwork

It’s imperative that your paperwork for the gun is in order.

According to federal law, if you sell the gun and it’s not registered in your name, the dealer will mark it as a stolen gun.

Be very careful when filling out the paperwork. In most cases, this issue is usually very overlooked with inherited or gifted guns that almost always turn into a very serious offense.

Frequently Asked Questions

Gun sellers usually ask about their local or state gun laws.

Here are some of the most popular inquiries regarding selling guns and handling paperwork or transactions.

What Is the Best Site to Compare Gun Prices?

There are multiple firearm marketplace platforms and forums where gun owners actively buy and sell used firearms.
If you’re looking for a diverse price range and a wide variety of gun appraisals, you should check out Gunbroker.com, Guns.com, as well as The Blue Book of Gun Values.

Can I Buy a Gun if I Live in Another State?

Depending on your own state laws, US residents can purchase firearms if they follow their states’ applicable gun regulations, usually by complying with standard FFL and background check requirements.

Do I Need a Background Check to Sell an Antique Firearm?

Any gun made before 1899 that either uses rimfire or centerfire ammo that’s no longer on the market (or doesn’t use these types of ammo at all) is considered an antique. No background check is required for the sale of an antique.

How Should I Value My Gun?

Gun collectors and vendors can put a proper price on their guns by considering five factors: 1) Condition, 2) Rarity, 3) Aesthetic appeal, 4) History, and 5) Make, model, and manufacturer.

Similar Tutorials to Check Out

Besides guns, here are some other tutorials to check out if you have other stuff lying around your house and you’re willing to part ways with it.

  • How to sell baseball cards: Here’s a tutorial on profiting off of old baseball cards. Check your attic. You never know if your grandfather’s chest has a rare, vintage card that may be worth a small fortune.
  • How to sell clothes online: This tutorial will show you the best platforms where the buy and sell used clothes for an excellent price.
  • How to sell digital art: If you’re an artist, you can check out this guide on how to make money from digital art online.

Wrapping Up

Don’t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t get rid of your guns if you truly need more room and money for a new one. Maybe you’re a deer hunter who wants to scrounge up money for a new camera.

These simple steps and considerations are, for most gun owners, the right direction for making a transaction.

You just need to check your gun laws, but most importantly, think long and hard before you sell any of your guns.

Please share your comments about your local gun laws and remember to share the article!

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