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Old January 15, 2010, 11:23 AM   #1
frolic1
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What's required to legally sell a hand gun?

Let's say I post a hand gun for sale on this forum. I'm in Florida. I know if another Florida resident wants to buy there is no problem with a face to face transaction. But what if I have to mail it in state, no crossing state lines? And, how do I legally sell to someone out of state? Can I mail the gun to their local FFL dealer? Do I need to take it to a FFL dealer here and have them ship it? What paperwork is required?
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Old January 15, 2010, 12:48 PM   #2
johnwilliamson062
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*not a lawyer
Legally there is probably no law directly stopping you from mailing it within your state. There is a law that states you must meet all of the policies of whatever carrier you are using. Every carrier has a policy that they won't ship firearms to an individual. So, in conclusion, you can not legally mail it to someone in state unless you can find a carrier who will mail it in state.

Lots of people just don't tell what it is, but this is against the law.

I would go through an FFL anyways as you have absolutely no idea who is on the other end of the transaction. Could be a 12 year old kid.

You usually don't have to mail from an FFL legally from your side, but some states require an FFL receive from an FFL, so in that case you have to in order for the FFL on the other end to accept the shipment.

It is a real pain and I avoid shipping absolutely whenever I can.
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Old January 15, 2010, 01:40 PM   #3
carguychris
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In addition to what johnwilliamson062 correctly said...

It's illegal for anyone but an 01 "Dealer" FFL to send a handgun via the U.S. mail. Period. It's a violation of postal regulations. You may find some people who claim it's legal because it doesn't show up in the federal firearms regulations, but they're not looking in the right place.

You can send a handgun out-of-state via UPS or FedEx, but their regulations require that you send it next-day air rather than ground. Generally the cheapest option is UPS "Next Day Air Saver", which doesn't guarantee AM delivery, but will save you $8-$10. However, the package will still typically cost $35-$50. Furthermore, you have to ship it from an actual company-operated hub, not from a drop box or one of their strip-center "UPS Store" locations, which are franchises and aren't authorized to handle firearms. Hubs can generally be found at your nearest commercial airport with scheduled airline service. The obvious problem here, however, is that the airport may be 100+ miles away if you live out in the boonies.

Due to the expense, it's often cheaper to send it FFL-to-FFL because they can send it USPS Priority Mail. The difference in cost between this and Next Day Air may offset the FFL transfer fee.

Some unethical folks will tell you "well, you can lie about what's in the package and send it UPS Ground...", but this in itself is a violation of federal law.

Furthermore, although federal law allows FFLs to accept handguns from non-FFLs, it doesn't require them to do it. Some FFLs choose not to accept handguns from non-FFLs because they don't want to be stuck holding the bag if the gun turns out to be stolen or illegally modified.

You must do an FFL transfer to an out-of-state buyer. Period. Federal law is crystal-clear in this regard.

Whether you're required to do a FFL transfer to a Florida buyer is a matter of state law, and I'm not familiar with FL state law. Be aware, however, that almost every state has legal provisions requiring a seller to take reasonable steps to verify whether the buyer is eligible to own the firearm, and many have eligibility requirements that go somewhat beyond federal law. (For instance, TX prohibits selling to someone who is visibly intoxicated.) It's so easy to fake a faxed, mailed, or scanned copy of the buyer's ID that there's simply no way that I would mail a firearm to an in-state buyer who isn't personally known to me.

Mandatory disclaimer: I am not an attorney, nor do I play one on TV. This is not official legal advice. Caveat emptor.
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Old January 15, 2010, 02:14 PM   #4
NavyLT
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First of all, there is ONE, very LIMITED occassion where FEDERAL LAW requires the shipper to notify the company that they are shipping a firearm. It is contained in 18 USC 922 (e):

http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/1...2----000-.html

Quote:
(e) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to deliver or cause to be delivered to any common or contract carrier for transportation or shipment in interstate or foreign commerce, to persons other than licensed importers, licensed manufacturers, licensed dealers, or licensed collectors, any package or other container in which there is any firearm or ammunition without written notice to the carrier that such firearm or ammunition is being transported or shipped;
IF the firearm is going to ANYONE within the same state, OR if the firearm is going to a licensed manufacturer, dealer or collector in ANY state, notification that the shipment contains a firearm is NOT required by Federal law and no law is broken if the shipper does not notify. Company POLICIES, NOT LAW, require notification of the firearm shipment.

Most states' laws do not specify what are considered reasonable measures to ensure the firearm is not sold to a prohibited person. Most states (if not all) have laws mirroring Federal law, which say that you cannot KNOWINGLY or REASONABLY SUSPECT that the buyer is prohibited. So, basically, ask for a ID to verify state residence (in your case, Florida), verify minimum age (in your case, 18), ask them is there any reason you are prohibited from possesing a handgun such as felon, domestic violence conviction, restraining order? If you have no other reason to not believe them, have them sign a receipt for the gun and be on your way.
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Old January 15, 2010, 06:20 PM   #5
Lurch37
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johnwilliamson062

Quote:
It is a real pain and I avoid shipping absolutely whenever I can.
John, while I agree with your assessment of the polcies/rules, I must say I disagree with your statement about shipping being a real pain. I don't find it terribly difficult to drop off a firearm at my dealers and tell him this needs shipped here.
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Old January 15, 2010, 10:08 PM   #6
carguychris
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Quote:
Most states' laws do not specify what are considered reasonable measures to ensure the firearm is not sold to a prohibited person. Most states (if not all) have laws mirroring Federal law, which say that you cannot KNOWINGLY or REASONABLY SUSPECT that the buyer is prohibited. So, basically, ask for a ID to verify state residence (in your case, Florida), verify minimum age (in your case, 18)...
This is basically what I meant, NavyLT gives more detail. Most states that allow person-to-person sales are fairly vague about what exactly the seller has to do to verify whether the buyer is eligible.

For instance, here's what the TX Penal Code says about it.
Quote:
Sec. 46.06. UNLAWFUL TRANSFER OF CERTAIN WEAPONS. (a) A person commits an offense if the person:

(1) sells, rents, leases, loans, or gives a handgun to any person knowing that the person to whom the handgun is to be delivered intends to use it unlawfully or in the commission of an unlawful act;

(2) intentionally or knowingly sells, rents, leases, or gives or offers to sell, rent, lease, or give to any child younger than 18 years any firearm, club, or illegal knife;

(3) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly sells a firearm or ammunition for a firearm to any person who is intoxicated;

(4) knowingly sells a firearm or ammunition for a firearm to any person who has been convicted of a felony before the fifth anniversary of the later of the following dates:

(A) the person's release from confinement following conviction of the felony; or

(B) the person's release from supervision under community supervision, parole, or mandatory supervision following conviction of the felony;

(5) sells, rents, leases, loans, or gives a handgun to any person knowing that an active protective order is directed to the person to whom the handgun is to be delivered; or

(6) knowingly purchases, rents, leases, or receives as a loan or gift from another a handgun while an active protective order is directed to the actor.
The key words in all of these regulations are "intentionally" and "knowingly". If the seller didn't intentionally or knowingly sell it to an ineligible person, the seller is theoretically in the clear.

That said, I'm still not personally comfortable selling to a stranger whose identity I can't verify by looking at their photo ID to verify that they're over 18.
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Old January 15, 2010, 10:48 PM   #7
paull
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carguychris said:
Quote:
The key words in all of these regulations are "intentionally" and "knowingly". If the seller didn't intentionally or knowingly sell it to an ineligible person, the seller is theoretically in the clear.
I think he meant to say: the seller is legally in the clear.

Since that is what the law says.

p
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Old January 15, 2010, 11:09 PM   #8
rixret
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Frolic 1,
If you do it the way you think, you will probably end up needing a Lawyer.
Go to the ATF site and read and understand the rules. Your best bet is to ship it FFL to FFL, leaving little chance of repercussion. All above said is only my humble opinion.
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Old January 15, 2010, 11:18 PM   #9
carguychris
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Quote:
I think he meant to say: the seller is legally in the clear.
Yeah, that.
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Old January 15, 2010, 11:29 PM   #10
bblatt11
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With the caveat that this is not legal advice from attorney to client and should not be taken as a replacement for seeking the advice of a FL attorney:

I would strongly suggest shipping FFL to FFL because FFL holders are required to meet all sorts of standards that basically remove issues of criminal liability form your hands.*

If you contract with an FFL holder who then screws up, BATFE and FL LEOs will be knocking on HIS door, not yours.

*As far as knowing the age and eligibility of the purchaser, I strongly suggest looking at the relevant FL statute and making a sales contract that uses the statutory eligibility language - i.e. "I hereby affirm that I am over 18, not a felon, etc." You can email that and have the buyer sign, scan, and send it back to you, giving the buyer proof of your right to sell the firearm, and you evidence of knowledge of eligibility if the sale goes south.
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