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Old May 17, 2013, 07:50 PM   #1
Dadsgirl
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Inherited guns and papers from dealer- what to do with them?

My dad, who was a lifelong gun enthusiast, passed away suddenly a few months ago. The estate is split equally between my step-mom and I, and we are in agreement to try to sell his guns. We have set aside the precious family heirloom guns already. We have about 40 more to dispose of.

My dad was for about 10 years a registered gun dealer and did business mostly by mail order and gun shows. About 4 years ago he got out of the business after an audit took place. He was a poor record keeper and although he passed he audit, his papers are pretty much piled into bankers boxes and very unorganized.

So some questions:
How can we sell these guns and get a fair price for them? I have no idea the value of them, or if it would be worth it to get them appraised. I have no idea what paperwork or legal processes are required to sell them. We live in Arizona.

Do we need to prove ownership of these guns aside from the fact that they were my dad's and in his possession? Like I said he was a poor record keeper. I have no idea if we have receipts or not.

Lastly, do we need to keep the gun dealer papers for any length of time or can they be shredded? Or do we need to turn them into someone? I was just quickly looking the papers and a lot of them appear to be applications for background checks, and receipts for guns he sold.

Thank you for any advice you can give to us. We are anxious to offload these as soon as possible, as it was commonly known that dad kept these guns and my step-mom is afraid of someone breaking in to steal them. They are being temporarily kept by a trusted friend, but we can't impose on them for very long.
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Old May 17, 2013, 07:59 PM   #2
Aaron1100us
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Re: Inherited guns and papers from dealer- what to do with them?

can you list what all you have?
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Old May 17, 2013, 08:09 PM   #3
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Seems if he was in the biz that long, there MUST be some family friend or trustworthy acquaintance around there who is both familiar with guns AND who would be willing to step in and give you some help with the task for, say, 10% of the proceeds.

I feel you need somebody THERE to get hands-on with that project.
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Old May 17, 2013, 08:30 PM   #4
hermannr
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You do not need to prove ownership. His will does whatever is needed to make them yours. No transfer needed.

IMHO: There is one way to sell something and get the best return on investment. That is through a auction.

Obtain a membership (free) to gunbroker. Make you descriptions very detailed, and take good pictures, lots of good pictures. Put them up for sale for a starting price of $1.00, no reserve....you WILL get what the weapon is truly worth...(assuming a description and pictures that will allow the purchaser to make an intelligent bid.) Make it clear YOU ARE NOT an FFL. (licensed dealer)

In most states you can sell face to face with someone that resides in that same state, but not someone that resides in another state. A lot of FFL's will not accept from someone that is not an FFL also, so make arrangements with a local FFL...bargain the price as you have quantity...to handle your end if you need to ship out of state to an FFL that will not accept from a private citizen. OK

Good luck. Auctions do really work.
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Old May 17, 2013, 09:01 PM   #5
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If you can take a picture of the lot, we can probably pick out any interesting and/or especially valuable pieces for more information.

Other than that, I agree with the gunbroker suggestion. You will have to follow the rules for shipping to an FFL, but if I remember, they make it pretty painless.
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Old May 17, 2013, 09:18 PM   #6
CWKahrFan
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Selling them one by one is going to be a time-consuming and sometimes frustrating task even for someone familiar with guns... Not for the faint-of-heart...

If you do it that way, you'd probably get two or three thousand $ more for them but it would be a hassle if you're not REALLY into it... Instead...

You might want to call up the used gun buyers from two or three big local box-outdoor-stores like Gander Mountain, Cabela's, etc... Have them come over and make you an offer on the lot... and then sell to the highest one.

You won't get top dollar but it'll save you a whole lot of grief.
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Old May 17, 2013, 09:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
He was a poor record keeper and although he passed he audit, his papers are pretty much piled into bankers boxes and very unorganized.
Exactly what kind of papers are we talking about? If they're bound books (acquisition/disposition, like a ledger) or form 4473's, those need to go to the BATFE. If it's just general personal stuff, no worries.
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Old May 17, 2013, 10:21 PM   #8
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^^^ What Tom Servo said. But ...

If your father quit the business of being a dealer four years ago, he should have turned over all his Form 4473s (that's the form each buyer fills out as part of the background check procedure) and his "bound book" (which is his official log of what guns come into the business and from whom, and what guns leave the business and to whom they went) to the BATFE at the time he closed the business. At that time, any guns he had not sold SHOULD have been logged out of the company's bound book to your father's personal possession.

Do NOT shred 4473s or bound books -- if you have them or find them.

[Note: Tom, feel free to correct me if I got any of that disposition stuff wrong.]

Last edited by Aguila Blanca; May 18, 2013 at 12:11 AM. Reason: Grammar
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Old May 17, 2013, 11:09 PM   #9
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Once you have legal posession of the guns, from your father's estate, as I understand it, you can do pretty much what you want. Before that, if everyone involved agrees (in writing, to the estate lawyers) you could sell the guns, with the proceeds going to the estate.

It might work differently where you are, its worth knowing.

You said he was a dealer, so what are the 40 pieces, in general? Are they regular working grade guns? rare or unusual models? A general list would go a long way to helping us give you good advice.
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Old May 18, 2013, 12:14 AM   #10
dakota.potts
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Part of me wonders if we couldn't set up a TFL exclusive auction. We've got the members and we know the fair price of things.
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Old May 18, 2013, 12:22 AM   #11
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Doesn't sending the 4473's to the BATF constitute gun "registration?

You can bet they don't destroy anything.
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Old May 18, 2013, 01:22 AM   #12
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A different option is a live auction rather than on line. A company such as this one in Washington state sells guns on a regular basis.
http://www.stokesauctioninc.com/auctioncalendar.html

Find one in your state that deals in firearms on a regular basis. They will charge a sellers premium, but usually they'll get close to retail prices.

There are also national auction houses that deal with firearms but shipping guns out of state might have its own problems.
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Old May 18, 2013, 06:46 AM   #13
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myusername
Doesn't sending the 4473's to the BATF constitute gun "registration?

You can bet they don't destroy anything.
If the BATFE took all those 4473s and entered the data into a searchable database it might be construed as a partial registration (partial because it would not account for face-to-face sales in states where legal), but I don't believe they do that. It's my understanding that they just put them in boxes and store the boxes on shelves in a large warehouse.

But, even if they do use the information to compile a (partial) registration ... turning the records over to the BATFE when an FFL terminates his business is required by Federal law. Are you advocating that FFLs should not comply with the law?
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Old May 18, 2013, 07:32 AM   #14
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Just recently went through this with my Grandmother. We found a pistol in her house that no one knew was there. In Michigan, we had to fill out the paperwork "to purchase a pistol" and list how obtained as "through estate." That was all. Now we can do what we wish with it as it is registered to one of the family. Not sure about any of the long guns as typically they aren't registered in Michigan.
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Old May 18, 2013, 07:33 AM   #15
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Quote:
You can bet they don't destroy anything.
They don't. The forms and bound books are warehoused so they can effect traces if need be. However, the Tiahrt amendment makes it illegal to enter that information into a database.
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Old May 18, 2013, 09:04 AM   #16
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I believe with a lot the size of 40 guns you could have your own auction. I would contact your local auctioneers, especially those who deal in gun auctions. Many of them use the live auction format and internet auction by Proxybid at the same time which makes for some high prices.

A local auction house has a bi-annual consignment gun auction. The last time along with consignments they sold about 50 guns from a local gun shop that went out of business. They did very well.

I do agree with CWKahrFan, get some help from your Dad's old pals. No matter which way you decide to go with the sale.
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Old May 18, 2013, 12:39 PM   #17
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What it is worth, and how to go about it really do depend on what it is. They said Dad was a dealer, but there are dealers, and then there are dealers.

Was he a fellow who was a collector that used his license and business to benefit his collection? Meaning his collection could be a wide range of different things, or are the "leftover" guns dealer stock intended for sale? OR a mix?

A "collection" that consists of 17 Mossberg pump shotguns, 8 Glock pistols, 4 Hi Point carbines and small numbers of like guns is a different matter than a collection of Winchesters, Smith & Wessons, Colts, etc.

For a bunch of market guns, I would suggest selling as a lot, to a dealer or jobber. Guns that some appeal to any kind of collector, then the open sale, or auction would bring the best return, but is time consuming, and also the effort and expense of shipping through an FFL dealer, multiple times. Consigning them as a lot to a dealer or auction house is also a possible option.

Which is most important to your situation, getting a reasonable amount for them as quickly as practical, or getting everything possible from each one, without time pressure?
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Old May 18, 2013, 07:17 PM   #18
Dadsgirl
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Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions! I so appreciate it. His collection is mostly rifles and handguns from what I can tell, and yes, he was a hobbyist who did get his license to buy wholesale and sell to others. He did make a little money but mostly it was to feed his own passion.

The auction is an excellent idea! I think that would be the best way to get a fair price and quickly sell the whole collection at once. I don't have the time or knowledge to sell each one individually. I will start doing some research on local auctions. I know we have big gun shows about every 3 months in Phoenix and that might be a good place to start gathering info on auctions.

My dad had a few buddies who shared his interests, but there is only one I would call very trustworthy. He managed to sell two of dad's guns at a recent show and would not take any part of the money for himself, just handed it over to my step-mom to pay for funeral and medical expenses. That gentleman is in poor health and I don't want to burden him much with the disposal of dad's collection, but I will ask him about local auctions or other connections.

As far as the papers go, I will have to take another look at what he has. As far as I know there was no notebook, just the mess of papers in the box. When he was audited he had to ask for an extension and this gun buddy of his helped him get the papers in order and pass the audit. As I mentioned before dad was a very poor record keeper.

Thanks again, you all are great! I will keep you updated as to what we decided to do.
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Old May 18, 2013, 11:26 PM   #19
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I am a bit late to the discussion, but...

I would suggest that you ask your Dad's friend who was a reputable FFL holder, and make a contract with the FFL to sell or auction them for a set fee on GunBroker, etc. Say 25-50 bucks each per firearm to the FFL and the shipping is passed on to the buyer, and you get everything above the set fee. That seems the most reasonable to me. I don't know of any auctioneers here who would auction just 40 pieces without a set fee plus buyers premium/transfer fees for firearms. Heck, most of them have a consignment auction (different rules per ATF then a regular auction) that go from 8am til the early evening for a set fee plus at least 10% buyers premium (drives price down a bit).

Count me in the minority if you will, but local auctions tend to go either low or high here. Low you probably don't want. I would say agree with an FFL on a set fee for the longest auction that GunBroker, etc, has. It makes it simple for you. Also, just another suggestion. Research your auctioneer if your doing it local or in a consignment. Some auctioneers do not have an FFL. That may cause an issue depending on your state/local laws.

Just FYI, a good basic read on it is:

http://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpre...-selling-guns/

Depending on your state this may be informative as well:

http://www.ncalb.org/documents/Selli...%20Auction.pdf

Key points are if its an estate auction or a consignment, the rules are different (depending on the state), so make sure you do your research up front.

Last edited by Fishing_Cabin; May 18, 2013 at 11:33 PM.
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Old May 20, 2013, 05:34 AM   #20
Dadsgirl
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Fishing Cabin, thank you for the links-- I took a quick look right now and they are definitely worth reading over. After talking it over with step-mom and dad's friend, we are strongly leaning towards an auction. I was told by the friend that there is a big one coming up that is reputable. We just need to go over the details more carefully.

Cleaned out the garage today and found several gun-smithing kits and tools including one new in box, ammunition, another gun, and other related stuff. I'm giving it all to dad's buddy to see if it is sellable. Also found all his HAM radio gear today. (Anyone have ideas what to do with it?? It's all rather circa 1980's . .) but anyway back to topic . . .

I know how much dad loved his firearms and I'm sad in a way to part with it because it was a part of him. But I *know* we have no use for it and someone else will enjoy them very much.

And, I found a priceless (to me) box of his childhood treasures including some cub scout stuff, marbles and rocks, and civil war ammo he found as a child playing in the forest in VA. THat's more valuable to me than these firearms.
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Old May 20, 2013, 10:49 AM   #21
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Quote:
I know how much dad loved his firearms and I'm sad in a way to part with it because it was a part of him. But I *know* we have no use for it and someone else will enjoy them very much.
Y'know, Dadsgirl, you don't have to part with everything. Consider keeping just a couple, to have as keepsakes and pass down to the next generation. Your Dad might've liked to know that something he valued so much is remembered that way in your family. They don't have to be used, just cherished as part of who he was.
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Old May 20, 2013, 01:56 PM   #22
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I agree with Vanya. Though attitudes vary on guns, many folks keep them simply as keepsakes.

As far as the HAM radio stuff, there is a dedicated and loyal market (I am not a geek ), and I'd consider eBay as an outlet.
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Old May 20, 2013, 03:35 PM   #23
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Sorry for your loss.

Regarding the Ham radio gear: The recent surge in the "prepper" movement should help you unload that at a decent price. Perhaps you could start a thread in a forum with a good prepper following to sell those items (pictures should be a boon).
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Old May 20, 2013, 04:48 PM   #24
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Sadly I am also in your situation exactly. My father just passed and his collection is mine.
Now we talked prior to him going in hospital and his one request is that each kid gets a Glock. So I picked out one for myself and two siblings but there are a lot of guns/rifles-around 40 that I'm not sure I want to keep all if them.
I too feel guilty as this was his passion.
I will go thru them and keep the good ones: his 1911's, Luger, as s&w 357, am-47 etc. but some of the misc. .22's and odd rifles I don't really want and they were not sentimental to him or me.
So I do agree with the auction but do keep a few to be handed down at some point. It would be what he wanted. Just like my dad knew I would not keep all but some would and be passed down to my son and daughter. And that I think would have made him happy.
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Old May 20, 2013, 04:55 PM   #25
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Local auctions are only realistically effective if the firearms are noteworthy, desirable, and scarce/valuable enough to draw folks from out of town or over the phone or internet. A local auction of relatively common firearms will attract only local interest, and more than likely that means local dealers/brokers who won't pay anywhere near the fair market (retail) value of the firearm.
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