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Buying And Selling Guns At An Auction

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Auctions have a wide variety of items up for bid. Among the most popular items are variances of a single item, like a gun. However, there are some restrictions involved in buying and selling firearms. You may also be wondering, when is licensing required for a gun? Being informed before you go to auction will land you with the right gun for the right price.

Types of firearms

A handgun is exactly what it sounds like, a firearm that is designed to be handheld, either in one or both hands. This general definition is then divided into sub-categories.

A pistol is a handgun having one chamber integral with the barrel.

Rifles are guns that are manufactured to be fired from the shoulder. A rifle’s barrel has a pattern of grooves (called “rifling”) cut into the barrel walls.

Shotguns are also manufactured to be fired from the shoulder. A shotgun’s barrel has the same rifling or pattern of grooves present in the barrel walls.

Revolvers center on a revolving cylinder containing chambers for multiple shots.

Now that you know more about the type of gun you’re looking for, it’s time to find out if you can actually buy it when you find it.

Restrictions of buying and selling firearms

Gun laws are first regulated by the federal government of the United States. Under federal law, to purchase a long gun, like a rifle or shotgun, from a dealer with a valid Federal Firearms License (FFL) you must be 18. If you want to buy a handgun from a licensed dealer, you must be 21. Then gun laws are enforced and regulated by the states. The minimum age to buy a type of gun may differ in your state.

There are two types of auction that give you the best option for locating and buying guns: Consignment and estate auctions. Consignment auctions are a good resource if you know of a specific gun that you are looking for.

Gun dealers work to establish connections between specific buyer and seller pools. Dealers know what items are in-demand for a particular auction category. Then the dealers contact bidders interested in those items. While the item on the auction block is transferred to the dealer, the current owner of that item retains their ownership until it is transferred after the sale.

Dealers are required to run background checks on all the firearms sold at an auction. For auctioneers, things work a little differently. Auctioneers typically take part in estate auctions. At estate auctions, auctioneers sell off individual collections of firearms after the current owner dies. Auctioneers can also buy firearms for resale, but to sell the guns, they are required to have a dealer’s license.

Age and licensing are not the only restrictions on purchasing a firearm. Federal law states that the purchaser cannot be any of the following:

  1. Anyone currently under indictment for a crime punishable by more than a year in prison
  2. Anyone who has been previously convicted of such a crime
  3. A fugitive
  4. User of any controlled substance
  5. Anyone who has been committed to a mental institution or deemed mentally incompetent
  6. An illegal alien
  7. Anyone with a  dishonorable discharge from the military
  8. Anyone who has given up U.S. citizenship
  9. Anyone who currently has a restraining order against him or her. This applies to an intimate partner or child of partner
  10. Anyone who has been convicted of a misdemeanor related to domestic violence

When licensing is required for a gun

Licensing required for a gun can differ between federal and state law. Federal law does not require any licensing to buy a gun, only to carry it. Most states and municipalities uphold this regulation, but some require a license to both purchase and carry. Check the regulations for your state before attending the auction.

It is always a good idea to buy guns from a Federal Firearms Licensed (FFL) Dealer. The dealers not only track and keep ownership records for every gun they sell. Dealers also collect the appropriate information from buyers before completing a sale. This information can be used to verify authenticity and it may have bearing in certain legal matters.

Don’t be surprised if you are required to fill out paperwork and submit to a background check before making your sale official. Some states also have waiting periods for the purchase of firearms, beware of those as applies.

It may take a while to find the exact gun that you’re looking for through auctions. Knowing the law, licenses, and purchase requirements ahead of time will make the process run more smoothly. After all, preparation is a key component to successful transactions.

For more information, call High Plains Auctioneers today at (806) 244-6776. We could have that specific gun you are looking for, so stop by one of our auctions. You can also connect with us via email by clicking on Contact Us. Check out our website to view our upcoming auctions.