Yesterday the 15th of December, 2011 the Sale Lake Tribune published a news story entitled “Group says illegal gun sales common in Utah, other states.” Like most news stories about guns this has inspired a long list of comments on either side of the issue.
Essentially the practice of private gun sales is in question. Private, one on one gun sales are legal in Utah. The statue only requires sellers to make sure the buyer is of legal age, lives in the same state, and naturally isn’t planning to commit a crime with the weapon. The research conducted is suggesting that sellers should also inquire as to the buyers ability to pass a background check, or at very least restrict the sale from buyers who make a statement about not being able to pass the background check.
This news story has made me think a little about private sales of firearms. Let me put forward the following recommendations to those of you who are considering selling a gun privately:
- Be careful about your advertising. When posting a classified ad about your firearm for sale, do not include your city or neighborhood. When you receive phone calls only offer to meet potential buyers in a public place, such as the parking lot of a busy grocery store. Never give out any information that would tip the buyer as to your address or place of residence.
- Before you meet with a potential buyer prepare a bill of sale. It doesn’t need to be complex or legally worded. Just create a document that includes a space to insert the time and date of the purchase, the names of both parties, and the serial number of the weapon. Also include the make and model of the weapon along with any other identifiable traits. Print two copies to bring with you.
- When meeting with the buyer be discreet. If you are in a busy and public place it won’t help your situation to openly display assault rifles for passers by to see.
- Verify that the weapon is empty and separate any ammunition from the firearm or its case.
- Ask to see the buyers photo identification and verify that they are a resident of the state and that they are 21 years of age or older.
- Ask them for what purpose they are buying a gun and if they feel they could pass the required background check. If they say anything that makes you feel uncomfortable ask for more details. “Why do you feel you couldn’t pass the background check?”
- Use your best judgement about the buyer. If you make the sale ask the buyer to sign your copy of the bill of sale.