documenting a private sale of firearms

Documenting A Private Sale of Firearms


To be very clear, Florida law does not require that the private sale of a firearm be documented at all!  If the firearm you transfer in a private sale is used in a criminal act, the police will come calling.  These suggestions may keep you out of trouble with the law.  Documenting a private sale of firearms is purely up to you.  However, you should be very careful about completing a transaction with someone who does not want the transfer documented in anyway.

Suggestion on how to document a private firearms sale

Protect yourself!

This is practical advice when documenting a private sale of firearms, not legal advice.  If you engage in the private sale of a firearm, here are some practical tips:

  • Ask for identification whether you are the buyer or seller to establish residency;
  • Get and/or give a “bill of sale” for the transfer and keep a copy.
  • Identify the firearm including make, model, and serial number, as well as the date and place of transfer;
  • Put the residency information on the “bill of sale” including names, addresses, and phone numbers;
  • Do not complete the sale or transfer a firearm or ammunition
    • to a person you suspect is not permitted to possess a firearm
    • or is prohibited from receiving the firearm.

Why bother documenting a private sale of a firearm?  This will help establish residency.  Further, it will show when you actually owned or possessed the firearm.  This matters if the firearm you buy or sell was previously used in a crime, or is later used in a crime.

Can the buyer legally possess a firearm?

Further, as a matter of good course, if you are a seller  in a private sale, you might ask whether there is any reason the buyer cannot own a firearm.  Why?  So that if there is an issue later, you can at a minimum say that you had no reason to know the buyer could not legally possess firearms.

Behavior Matters!

However, do not overlook behavior that may indicate the buyer is not telling you the truth.   Why?  Because, law enforcement will not overlook facts that show you knew, or should have had reasonable cause to believe that the buyer could not own a firearm at the time of the transfer if a legal issue arises later.

Learn More.

To learn more about private gun sales read our two other blog posts on the subject:

  1. Private Gun Sale
  2. Private Gun Sale Between States

We are here to help!

The Expert Firearm Attorneys at The Firearm Firm are here to help.  Further, our primary goal is to keep gun owners legal.  If you have any firearm related questions, visit our website.  There, you can search our knowledge base, or leave a question for us to answer.  The Firearm Firm is a statewide Second Amendment and Self-Defense law firm.


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