Is It Legal To Sell A Gun Privately?

There are restrictions and requirements on how guns can be sold and who may possess them, despite the fact that the Second Amendment to the US Constitution protects the right of private citizens to keep and bear arms. Federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers to conduct background checks on potential customers, but private (unlicensed) sellers are not. Background checks for private sales are sometimes required by state legislation through a certified middleman, although others have few or no restrictions on private gun purchases.

Certain people, such as the mentally ill or those under protective orders for domestic violence, are unable to own guns because of federal gun laws that emerged from the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act.

Laws For Selling A Gun Privately

The transfer of a gun between private individuals is referred to as a secondary sale. The reason it’s considered a second sale is because the weapon was originally purchased from a licensed dealer before being resold privately. To sell weapons, you do not need a license.

In Texas, How Do You Conduct A Private Sale Of A Firearm?

Texas does not have a law requiring all gun purchases, including private sales and those made at gun shows, to go through a background check.

However, if the gun was sold to an ineligible individual, a defaced weapon, or a prohibited firearm (explosive device, machine gun), the buyer and seller may be charged with various criminal offenses including felony criminal charges.

The Sale Of Private Guns

Who You Can (And Can’t) Sell To

Residents of Texas must be at least 21 years old to purchase a handgun. To buy rifles, shotguns, and ammunition, Texans must be 18 or older.

According to Texas Law Sec. 46.06, it is unlawful to sell or transfer any firearms or weapons that are not specifically registered under the state’s laws. It prohibits a person from selling, renting, trading, leasing, loaning, giving away, lending against collateral security of sale in exchange for money or other property if they know or have reasonable grounds to believe that the recipient intends to:

  • Knowingly selling to someone who plans to use the item illicitly is a violation;
  • Knowingly trade with a minor less than 18 years old;
  • Knowingly sell to someone who has been intoxicated;
  • Knowingly sell to someone who is not permitted to own a gun. Those with a felony conviction, for example, are unable to purchase guns until five years after their release from jail or probation.

This is a short summary of the most popular rules. A detailed list of all limitations may be found here.

Is It Necessary For Me To Conduct A Background Check On The Buyer?

Private gun sellers are not required by federal law to perform a background check on each customer. The term “gun show loophole” is sometimes used by anti-firearms advocates to describe this gap in the law.

However, a private gun vendor may be obliged by state legislation to run a background check on the buyer. At least 17 states and Washington, D.C., for example, demand that some form of background check be completed on the customer by private gun dealers.

Connecticut, California, Colorado, Delaware, New York, and Rhode Island are among the states that demand a private seller to get a comprehensive background check.

What Should I Do If My Only Sale Is A Handgun?

Background checks are not required by all states for only gun purchases. Background checks are necessary for New Jersey, Hawaii, Maryland, and Pennsylvania when a private seller does the sale. It is up to the jurisdiction in Florida.

Do I Need To Hire A Criminal Lawyer?

You should contact a criminal defense lawyer if you have any questions or concerns about gun law regulation. A lawyer will assist you with any legal issues that may arise from the sale of weapons, as well as advise you on how to follow all firearm sales and possession rules.

Is It Incumbent On Me To Check If The Buyer Has A License?

It is determined by where you reside. Some states, such as New Jersey and Iowa, require a private seller to only sell guns to individuals who have obtained a state license or permit.

Keeping A Record Of The Sale

We highly suggest that you keep official paperwork documenting the transfer of ownership, as per Texas law. This bill of sale can assist you in establishing that you are no longer the owner of the weapon should it be used for unlawful purposes. The following items should be included in a bill of sale:

  • The date the transaction was completed;
  • The make, model, and serial number of the gun; as well as it’s color;
  • The buyer’s name, phone number, address, and e-mail;
  • A picture of License to Carry a Handgun or the buyer’s Texas Driver’s License.


The most serious type of misdemeanor in Texas is a Class A misdemeanor. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. On rare occasions, the court may issue both penalties to the accused.

When you sell a weapon to a minor, the penalty is considerably more serious. This is considered a state jail felony, and the court would sentence the individual to 180 days to two years in jail plus a fine of up to $10,000. However, if the accused has one prior felony conviction, it will be classified as a third-degree felony rather than a state jail felony. Third-degree felonies are punishable by a maximum of ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.


If you’re accused of selling a firearm to the wrong person, you have the right to defend yourself in court. If you can show the court that you are innocent, your charges may be dismissed. You wouldn’t be guilty of a crime if you didn’t realize that the individual who purchased your weapon would use it illegally. You also would not be culpable if you sold a weapon to a minor and the child’s parent gave you written permission. Remember that, although a criminal arrest does not always result in a conviction, you do have the option of defending yourself in court.

To know more about Selling Your Car At A Pawn Shop click here.

Thomas Boseman

Thomas Boseman is the author of A pawn shop owner by day, blog writer by night. When not writing, he enjoys exploring the outdoors with his dog, Roman. Thomas received his bachelor of arts in film from the University of Arizona. A Brooklyn native, Thomas is a lover of filmmaking, motorcycle, and coffee.

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