A firearm (gun) bill of sale serves as official documentation that a firearm was sold from one person to another. It contains the contact information of the buyer and seller, details on the firearm(s) exchanged, how payment was (or will be) made, and the parties’ signatures. Regardless of whether an individual needs a bill of sale for a transaction, including one serves as proof that the buyer is the rightful owner and that the firearm is no longer in the possession of the seller.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
As the table below points out, firearm laws are diverse across the United States, as certain states contain heavy restrictions on how private transactions can take place (if at all). Even if the parties need to go through a dealer to complete the transaction, a bill of sale should be used.
If the firearm has been fired considerably prior to its last cleaning, the owner should take the time to completely strip the weapon, clean any carbon fouling, re-lubricate high-friction parts, and check for any broken or damaged components. A functioning, good-quality firearm will sell for far more money than one that is visibly lower quality. In other words, the money spent on parts will almost always pay itself back.
One of the best ways of identifying the selling price of a used handgun or rifle is by looking at online postings for the same (or similar) firearm make and model. Sites that host used gun listings include:
For valuable/collector-type firearms, using GunValues can produce more ‘accurate’ results (cost $5 for 3-day access).
There are three (3) general ways one can go about selling a firearm:
1. In-person (most recommended)
For states that don’t require a background check on private sales, the in-person route is the easiest. So long the seller knows the buyer is a trustworthy/upstanding individual, the process is straightforward from here on out. Payment exchanges hands, the bill of sale is signed, and the firearm is given to the buyer.
2. Through a Pawnshop or Retail Store
So long the pawnshop purchases used firearms, the owner can bring in their gun for a valuation. Because the pawnshop purchases firearms with the intention to re-sell them for a higher price, the offer they give will be far lower than retail.
Selling the firearm to a retail store that purchases firearms (Cabelas, for example), can bring a slightly higher price, although the same principle applies.
Important: When handling, the firearm should be unloaded, pointed in a safe direction, and treated as if it were loaded at ALL TIMES.
While listing online has its positives, including a wider range of potential customers, it requires certain actions to be taken in order to comply with state law. For example, firearms can only be shipped to an FFL (Federal Firearms License) holder. In other words, the buyer would need to receive information on the buyer’s FFL and ship it to that individual. There are several requirements when shipping firearms, which should be consulted prior to starting the process.
Laws – §§ 28050 – 28070
Laws – § 18-12-112
Laws – § 29-33
Laws – Ch. 20
Laws – § 134-2
|Idaho – Ch. 33|| |
Laws – 430 ILCS 65
Laws – § 724.15
Laws – § 5-124
Laws – § 128A
Laws – § 28.422a
Laws – § 69-2403
Laws – SB 143
|New Jersey |
Laws – Ch. 54
|New Mexico |
Laws – SB 8
|New York |
Laws – § 898
|North Carolina |
Laws – § 14-402
Laws – SB 941
Laws – § 6111
|Rhode Island |
Laws – § 11-47-35.2
Laws – § 18.2-308.2
Laws – Initiative 594
Note: Colors are used for showing contrasting options only.
Step 1 – Party Names
On the first page of the form, the following will need to be entered for both the seller and the buyer:
- Full name;
- Drivers license number (#);
- Street address;
- ZIP; and
- Phone number.
An email address, fax number, or other means of contact can be written manually beneath the listed fields.
Step 2 – Firearm(s)
The bill of sale contains space for up to three (3) firearms. For each gun, the follow characteristics will need to be added:
- Cost ($) of the firearm (the price agreed upon by both the seller and buyer);
- The make of the firearm (ex: Ruger, Winchester, H&K, etc.);
- The model of the firearm (ex: 10/22, Model 70, VP9SK, etc.);
- Action (how the weapon loads ammunition into the chamber – check just one box);
- Caliber/gauge (the type of ammunition the firearm takes – .40 S&W, .45, 9mm, etc.);
- Serial number (this is specific to the individual gun and can be found stamped on the firearm itself); and
- Total cost ($) – found by adding up the cost of the firearm(s).
Step 3 – Payment
This section covers how the buyer will pay for the firearm(s). If accepting money in exchange for the gun(s), check the first box. Then, write (in words), the total amount, followed by the numerical value (in parentheses). Below, check one (1) of the three boxes that correspond to when the buyer will pay the total owed amount. If they are paying on the date of sale, check the first box and write the date in which the bill of sale will be signed by all parties.
If accepting a trade (doesn’t have to be another firearm), check the second box and write a description of the item(s) the seller is accepting in exchange for the gun(s).
Step 4 – Buyer’s Disclosure
For liability purposes, the buyer will need to read through all of the listed bullet points. So long all of the points are true, they should sign their name on the provided line.
Step 5 – Seller’s Disclosure
Likewise, the seller needs to read all bullet points and sign their name, so long all of the listed points are true.
Step 6 – Signatures
Start by writing the date (day, month, and year) in which the parties will be recording their signatures onto the bill of sale. Then, the seller AND the buyer will need to write their signatures (by hand or with eSign). If the parties had witness(es) view the transaction, each witness will need to print and sign their name(s).
Step 7 – Notarization (if applicable)
Also optional, if the parties decide to have their signatures notarized, the last page is reserved for a Notary Public only. The first section is for notarizing the buyer’s signature, and the second section for the seller’s signature. At this point, the bill of sale is complete. The original should be provided to the buyer, and a copy can be made for the seller (if desired).