The sale of a gun usually involves the issuance of a firearm bill of sale by the seller. This is a document used to record the purchase of a gun and the transfer of ownership. If you want to sell a gun, you might get held liable for the consequences if you aren’t familiar with the laws governing gun sales. Selling a personal gun doesn’t usually carry the same liabilities as dealers who sell guns or those who host gun shows. In such a case, it becomes the seller’s responsibility not to allow the sale of guns to convicted felons.

Gun Bill of Sales

What is a gun bill of sale?

A handgun bill of sale is a document that serves as proof of purchase of a rifle, handgun shotgun, or any other gun from a seller to a buyer. In this document, the seller agrees to transfer the ownership of their gun to the person who purchased it. If you’re a seller, you will use the document to record the transaction and the personal information of yourself and your buyer. When you sell a gun using proper documentation, you will protect yourself from any future criminal or legal issues that would involve the weapon you sold.

The documents and procedures required in the sales of guns differ depending on the state. Therefore, it’s important to check the laws in your locale before selling or buying a privately-owned gun. Gun businesses and shops that offer firearms possess a Federal Firearms License that permits them to manufacture, sell, and transport ammunition and firearms in the US. But these businesses must follow specific procedures including background checks on their customers who want to buy firearms.

Most gun owners don’t possess this license when selling a privately-owned gun unless it’s specified in the local or state laws. But you will need this license for the private or public sale of firearms outside your state.

Firearm Bill Of Sales

Who can use this document?

In most states, you aren’t legally required to use a bill of sale for guns if you will privately sell or purchase a gun. However, it’s recommended to have this document as it will prove that:

  • The transaction occurred so the other party can’t claim theft or that they never got the gun.
  • The firearm belonged to you and you didn’t steal it.
  • You intended to transfer ownership of your gun to the buyer legally.
  • The details of the gun you sold.
  • You made assurances and promises in terms of the condition of the gun.

Without this document, you can become legally liable for events or people with associated it. This may include violations, fines, fees, or worse, criminal behavior. If you plan to sell a gun to one of your friends, the bill of sale will serve as the receipt between two individuals without official licenses. Even dealers like pawn shops that frequently sell and buy guns often need a Federal Firearm License.

Handgun Bill Of Sales

How does a bill of sale differ from an affidavit?

When you sell a gun to someone, it’s best to provide an official bill of sale. It should be a professional document that contains all of the essential provisions including detailed information about yourself, the buyer, the firearm, the transaction, the deal you made, all of the provisions for the ownership transfer, a list of legal usage, and a declaration from you and the buyer so you can consider the document legal. In case a dispute arises in the future that’s associated with the gun’s ownership, usage, and more, this document will prove useful.

You can find many bill of sale for firearms templates online. They’re often free, fillable, and printable. Having this document will protect your interests and avoid the exploitation of yourself and your buyer. The document will ensure that the buyer will have ownership of the gun and you’re selling a legal item. This also makes the buyer aware of the gun’s legal usage. In case of a legal dispute, the bill will prove vital.

Blank templates contain several declarations and clauses that state that the buyer isn’t a criminal, theoretically. Your details along with the buyer’s details and information about the gun will help the authorities in case an investigation begins. In contrast, you would use an affidavit for the transfer of ownership from yourself to the buyer. You will sign this document in the presence of a notary public. It includes the details of your transaction and all basic information about yourself, the buyer, and the gun.

Is this a legal requirement?

A bill of sale for firearms isn’t a legal requirement in most states but it’s considered an important document to have. This is especially true when buying or selling a privately-owned gun. In such a case, the document serves as proof of the transfer. It will indicate that a transaction occurred, how much you sold the gun for, and the date of your transaction.

You can use this information in the document in the event that you will need to show that you’re either the rightful owner of the gun or you’re not liable for the firearm anymore. In some states, you need to perform other actions to trade or sell a firearm privately. These actions are:

  • Conducting a criminal background check.
  • Getting a license to own, purchase, or transfer a firearm through a licensed FFL dealer.

You might also decide to sell your gun to an arms dealer. If you decide to do this, remember that arms dealers will try to get a very low price from you so they can make a bigger profit. The better option is to sell your gun privately. Doing this will get you a much better offer. If you decide to sell your gun because of financial issues or because you aren’t using it, you should know the guidelines of selling firearms through an effective and safe method.

Some gun owners consider selling their gun an overwhelming task since it involves plenty of paperwork along with all the legal consequences that go with selling your firearm. The important thing here is to follow your state and federal laws as these will protect you from any legal issues.

Family Gun Transfer Forms

How to write a bill of sale for gun?

A firearm bill of sale is an official document that indicates that you have sold a firearm to another person. It should contain the contact details of yourself and the buyer, information about the firearm you sold, how the buyer paid or how they plan to pay, your signatures. Although this isn’t a requirement in several states, having this will serve as proof that the buyer is now the rightful owner and that the firearm is no longer in your possession. Here are the steps for writing this document:

Name of both parties

On the first page, you must include the following information for both yourself and your buyer:

  • Complete names
  • Drivers license numbers
  • Addresses
  • City, state, and ZIP code
  • Phone numbers
  • Email addresses, home numbers, or other contact details of both parties

Firearm details

Most bill of sales for guns have space for up to 3 firearms. For each of these, you must include the following details:

  • The model of the gun along with the details about the manufacturer.
  • The model or type of gun.
  • The caliber, or the diameter of the barrel of the gun.
  • The serial number (SN) of the gun – this is the most important detail to include.

Payment details

This section will describe how the buyer plans to pay for the gun. If you will accept money in exchange for the gun, indicate this, then write the total amount in words followed by the numerical amount.

If you’re signing a pre-made template, you may just check the corresponding box, then indicate when the buyer will pay the amount they owe you. If the buyer will pay on the date of sale, indicate this date, then write it on the appropriate space.

If you will accept a trade in exchange for the gun, check the corresponding box, then write a description of the items you will accept in exchange for the gun.

Disclosure of the buyer

Just to feel well-informed and safe, especially in terms of liabilities, the buyer must read all of the listed bullet points in this section. As long you have only listed true statements, the buyer can sign their name on the line confidently.

Disclosure of the seller

As a seller, you also need to read all of the statements in the document to ensure their accuracy. Only then should you can sign your name.


Write the date on which you and the buyer will affix your signatures on the document. After this, you and the buyer should affix your signatures, either by hand or using eSignatures. If you have any witnesses present during the transaction, they can print their names and affix their signatures too.

Notarization (only if applicable)

This part of writing your document isn’t required. But if you and the buyer decide to have the document notarized, you should reserve the last page of the document for the notary public. The first part is for notarizing the signature of the buyer and the second section is for your signature as the seller. After this, you can consider your bill of sale complete. You should give the original document to the buyer and keep a copy for yourself.

How to sell a gun?

In some cases, you may need a family gun transfer form. You need this if you will sell your gun to a member of your family. Let’s say, for instance, that you own a gun and you want to get rid of it or you know someone who wants to sell you a firearm that you need for your collection.

Most of the time, people who sell, exchange, or give a firearm as a gift aren’t required to have a Federal Firearms License, something a gun shop requires. Still, if you will do this, you need to know and follow the state, federal, and local laws. There are several things you need to consider if you will deal with a private sale:

  • First, find out the legal requirements in your state.
  • Remember that are some states that don’t allow private sales while others have certain restrictions you should know about.
  • You should also know that it’s illegal to sell firearms to residents from other states without going through a licensed dealer.
  • As a seller, you can’t ship the firearm directly to unlicensed buyers in other states.
  • Selling firearms to convicted felons and prohibited purchasers isn’t legal either.

You can visit, the official website to find out what about the laws of your state regarding gun sales. This site is very helpful as it has detailed breakdowns of rules and guidelines by state. When you go to the site, check the sections under “Purchase.” The sale of guns to private citizens is widely supported by Second Amendment advocates who consider this a founding principle in gun ownership in the US.

You should also know that there are gun control groups that oppose private transfers widely. In the past couple of years, these groups have pushed to either bring private sales within the universal background checks umbrella or completely ban them.

On the other hand, most groups that advocate for gun rights, the most popular of which is the NRA, have long fought many attempts with the reason that the prohibition of private sales would hinder the constitutional rights of gun owners greatly without affecting the likelihood of crimes occurring. According to the NRA, the guns used in crimes are mostly obtained by illegal transactions, straw purchases, or theft.

Also, private sales of guns account for only a small percentage of the total gun purchases in the US. If you plan to sell your firearms or add another one to your collection, the procedure isn’t complicated. As long as you understand all of the applicable laws and have the right documentation, you can do this without worry.