Private Gun Sales – No Questions Asked No Sale – Protecting Gun Shows

Private Gun Sales – No Questions Asked No Sale – Protecting Gun Shows
By Jeff Knox

Manassas, VA, – -( Anyone who does not hold an FFL and sells a firearm to someone he doesn’t know well is incurring a certain amount of liability. And, a bit of bad judgment could cause trouble not just for the seller, but for the rest of the gun owning community as well. There is no question that individuals have the right to buy, sell, and trade firearms between themselves without government infringement. But there are laws on the books and failing to know and follow them is just asking for trouble. A prudent trader will take into account not only the legal technicalities, but the political environment also.

Title 18, Section 922 of the U.S. Code, the 1968 Gun Control Act, covers sales and transfer of guns. The law forbids transfers between residents of different states except through an FFL in the buyer's state. Of course it is also illegal for a federally “prohibited person” – a felon, fugitive, someone dishonorably discharged from the service, etc. – to purchase a firearm from anyone, FFL dealer or not. If the seller has any indication that the prospective buyer is a “prohibited person,” selling the gun is a crime. It is also illegal for anyone to purchase a firearm on behalf of someone else – even if that someone else could legally purchase it himself – and a seller can again be held criminally responsible if they had any indication that such a “straw” transaction was taking place.

Any sale in violation of the 1968 Gun Control Act and its subsequent amendments exposes traders to serious criminal liability – as much as five years and $5,000 for every violation. And when those sales happen at a gun show it does grave harm to the gun show industry and the entire Second Amendment movement.

Given the legislative threats and the political climate – with Bloomberg and his anti-gun mayors, the Brady Bunch, and various reporters and other scoundrels routinely targeting gun shows with hidden cameras and sting operations – it is wise for traders and gun show promoters to engage in some self-regulation to keep the government from coming in and doing the regulating for us. The trick is to solve, or at least mitigate the problem without creating worse problems in the process.

As with most problems, the solution here begins with education, so smart gun show promoters are making an effort to make sure that everyone selling at their shows understands the basics of the laws. The next step is procedural: Making sure sellers always ask the tough questions and get clear answers. Some promoters are solving that problem with a simple form issued to non-FFL sellers. A good form is like an abbreviated 4473. It informs the buyer of the legal requirements while it asks them disqualifying questions and collects identifying information. The seller keeps the part with the drivers license number and signature, the buyer gets a part with the sellers ID as a receipt, and the gun show checks receipts at the door. Nobody else gets a copy. By mandating use of such forms gun show promoters protect themselves and their business as well as providing some legal cover for their sellers. Since there is no government involvement and no centralized storage of records, the privacy of both buyer and seller are also protected.

Most sellers won't make a sale if they catch a hint of impropriety, and smart sellers always take down the buyer's drivers license information as a precaution. But not all sellers are that prudent. A foolish few think they are “safe” if they take a “don't ask, don't tell” approach, avoiding any question of the buyers’ legal status and studiously not noticing if the buyer says something that might indicate ineligibility. They delude themselves. Even though it is highly unlikely that a buyer is breaking the law or that a particular gun will ever be remotely connected to a crime, that rare exception can not just ruin your day, it can ruin your decade, and provide ammo to the enemy. Anyone making a private sale to anyone they don’t know well should always get a signed statement of eligibility and a drivers license number. Buyers should be concerned about identifying the seller as well, just in case.

The public's lack of understanding of the so-called gun show loophole issue, and the complexity of trying to explain it, has placed gun shows and all private transactions in the political crosshairs. If gun show promoters, exhibitors, and attendees don't accelerate efforts to mitigate the issue, the gun shows – and all private transfers – could be just a fond memory in the not too distant future.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition is a project of Neal Knox Associates, Manassas, VA. Visit: .

  • 52 thoughts on “Private Gun Sales – No Questions Asked No Sale – Protecting Gun Shows

    1. I need a compact 9mm or 38 for self defense asap my home was broken into and I dont have time to wait and jump through loops. I am looking for a fast private cash sale if somebody can help me please email me. I live just outside of boston.

    2. Repeal the 1968 GCA. I live in the gun loving upper northeast. I am 69 yrs old. In early 1969 I walked into a Van Nuys gun store selected a cheap 22 revolver for $10 used. I filled out a form but never was asked for ID. I could have said John Doe. I was going to school and walked out with gun. I didn’t wait 2 weeks!…Was that the law then? Others say no but I think it was regulated by the county of residence. Anyway don’t count antiques out! pre 1899 solid frame revolvers are sought.I restore and repair for the hobbyists. Ammo is around on line even black powder. People regularly buy 50 lbs for ammo. Hobby cannons and fireworks without a blink. Black powder is safer for your health. The smokeless can make u sick. Anyway.I have several antique revolvers in 38-32-22 for sale. Many truckers buy my old guns plus the cowboy ‘re-enactors..Some are S&W.H&R. I also buy and repair Boston bulldog, Over Johnson.Otis A Smith. Hopkin Allen. Pump 22.

    3. I, myself am a veteran of OIF I,II,IV, V, VIII ,IX and X as well as Korea’96, Somalia, Haiti , and Kosovo(missed Bosnia) ….have over 3,000 flight hours (uh60 blackhawks) and am looking for a judge 3″magnum OR 2 3/4 45 colt/ 410 and a lever action 45/70 and a 22 magnum rifle….don’t want the govt involved. Have cash and am a 100% disabled veteran. ..5754956158 or [email protected]

      1. @larry, Thank you for your service. Turn from the internet to your local gun club, there is always someone that is selling something from their private collection or knows someone that has what you are looking for, and you would be buying from someone that you know. At a gun show, there is always someone that is selling from their personal collection, but you are not buying from someone that you know.

    4. You all know what the gov. wants,,I don’t know what to say to a person when they say things like “”OH it just needs to be more reg that’s all,,well give em an inch and they take a mile,,they will come up with a bill that will be a foot high,,and if you think for one second that anyone can read it and remember it I don’t know what planet your on.THEY WANT OUR GUNS!!!get it in your heads.just a month ago a man in a mall in Minn with a knife went on a rampage and cut up a lot of people and thank god there was an off dudy cop to take him out.if they don’t have guns they will use knives,,kbooms,,poison and the list goes on..Its a mental health issue. by the way I am looking for a 223 bush or what ever its for my 17 year old son for hunting with me only,,he will not have access to it,,thats another thing 18,,,,21 is way to young for a kid to have a firearm at hand

      at his or her disposle. Capt.Ron Lee U.S.M.M. PS that gental man Gary beleaves that all reg,s on guns are well lets just say UN-AMERICAN !!!!! [email protected]

      1. @Ron Lee: Have to resectfuliy disagree I received my first .22 for Christmas when I was 10, my 12 ga double for Christmas when I was 12. Was taught responsibility, care and feeding. Dad never regretted his decision and was quite proud of how I turned out. If I ever had a doubt one just needed to listen to his voice when he introduced his son to his friends. We start teaching hunter safety at age 8 both my son and daughter aced the course at that age. I think it would be cruel to teach them at that age then tell them you cant have one till your 18+.

    5. Looking for a Mossberg 500 tactical persuader shotgun 12 G for protection of my home and family. Will pay cash
      678 978 3320 Ed
      P.S. I live in Atlanta Georgia

    6. All gun laws are unconstitutional and any government that enforces them are in Gross Violation of Oath of Office. The most grossly unconstitutional law is the misdemeanor Domestic violence and using the has been langue. This question was asked in Voisine v. United States: Justice Thomas was particularly enlivened by the specific topic of this case. Gun possession – a topic on which he (joined by Justice Scalia) is known to feel strongly about, and about which he recently wrote in a December dissent from denial of certiorari. In Friedman v. Highland Park, Justice Thomas contended that “[t]here is no basis for a different result [in analyzing governmental actions] when our Second Amendment precedents are at stake.” So yesterday: “One question. . . . [T]his is a misdemeanor violation. It suspends a constitutional right. Can you give me another area where a misdemeanor violation suspends a constitutional right?” “I – I’m thinking about that,” hesitated Eisenstein – unsurprisingly, not only because it is a difficult (but not unanswerable) question. There is no other misdemeanor law or violation that suspends a constitutional right.

    7. I think it stupid how tight they run the background if you have a few traffic tickets they will deny you its bullsh*t I want a AR15 /5.56 or a AK 47

        1. Hey do you still have that 9mm I am in Las Vegas I will love to talk to you about it if you don’t have it I am looking for something just like that Glock 9 mm bill bec something just like that Glock 9 mm baby Glock 9mm or 380 or a 45 you can call me at 4098545

          1. Want to buy 38 special lite or 357 + p for home and car protection. Have .22 Mag semi auto, feel it’s not enough hitting power for the kind of nut balls running around out there.
            Warning to the nut balls!!!!!! You come into my home or car and I won’t shoot you center mass. I will Gut shoot you and even a little lower. Get my drift criminals? I’ll blow your balls off, you won’t go forth and multply then.

    8. I would like to buy an AR15 LOWER. I’m trying to build my own rifle from scratch. Any size though combo lower would be better.. Thanks Fred 754 264 2143


    10. looking for a medium size 380. or 9mm. cash .need for home protection and target practice. Don’t want any hoops to jump threw.


    12. I need a .22 l.r. rifle used any deals?if so im in sacramento,ca. 95815 not picky long as it don’t jam.for target practice #9167069160#call me if ya got one to trade or?$thanks

    13. Can anyone point to a legal case wherein a person was found either criminally or civilly culpable for selling a gun to a stranger in a state where that is legal? Can anyone cite a legal case where a person was exonerated from criminal or civil culpability because he had the buyer fill out a homemade form?

    14. Hi,

      I need to get a gun now because IM handling some problem property starting tomorrow.

      I don’t have time to wait weeks for the guns and ammo to get back in stock and then more weeks for all the other paper work and additional wait time they want.

      I would like to get a revolver 357 with at least 6 rounds.

      I have a 1000.00$ dollars ready to go.

      Best Regards

      1. I have a 357 Ruger Blackhawk with packmeyer grips with the shoulder holster for $650.00 Reply via email if interested.

      2. I know someone who can sell a S&W 38 sw Rev.for $300.Can’t include ammo. Its a great gun.can’t miss at 15 feet. Its old. Legal to mail.

    15. I am a former Marine Sgt, attached to 1st Battalion/7 Marines. I trained for over 8 years and carried an m1911 lock and loaded and was trained in the use of Deadly Force. I received 4 Rifle expert awards for marksman ship. Dealt with 50 cals, grenade launchers, kabars, bayonets, laws you nameit . But here I stand in the Island of Puerto Rico stripped of all my rights and cannot get a permit to carry even a knife let alone a pistol or revolver or an AR15 or a shotgun. I can’t even get one for home defense to protect my family. And home envasions are big here like car jacking is. You see is not within the monetary means of the commoner to acquire a permit, I have to file that’s $200.00 wait 6 months to a year for an answer which may not come, hire a lawyer to acompany me to the courts to have a look over by the judge and a wiat for a conclusion to be drawn which adds high expenditures into the thousands and then I may not even get the permit. If I do I have to take a safety class, been there done that, then join a shooting range club, been there done that, which also cost alot of money plus fork out the cash for the weapon or weapons of my chose. There are no civil right here although it is a COMMONWEALTH OF THE USA and falls under Federal Jurisdiction. Violence is astronomical people are scared to come out at nite. Which force people to break the law and acquire a weapon through the black market, puttin at risk his or hers liberty and being fined, I thought the whole idea of our fore fathers was liberty the right to bear arms? The only people here that are armed to the tea are the deliquents, drug dealers thieves, rappest, gangs organized crime and the police who are all corrupt.

      So much for time served defending liberty and justice for all for which it stands in a pile
      of bullshit for all civilians and US citizens.

      You may ask well why would you want to live in Puerto Rico, I don’t but as a disabled Marine and with the amount of funds I receive each month I barely get buy. What’s wrong with this picture. “And we the people bla bla bla is nothing but a farce. And I bought into it.
      SEMPER FI to my former Marines and those serving.

      1. Move to the Philippines you will be much better off. The way things are going in America if Hillary get elected it will be just like Puerto Rico. Sorry to hear about you being disabled from your services, God be will you and God Save America.

    16. I’m looking for an auto rifle[ both semi and auto cpapable]. I’m liscensed in Florida to carry. Have extensive training as a combat paratrooper in Nam 65-66. Is this possible? Also will need the ammo if you want. A 9mm type would be prefered so my handguns can share ammo but not a dealbreaker. 239-682-6803

    17. I remember before all the gun control bull started , a person could walk into an Army Navy store and buy an M-1, M-14 or a .45 automatic extremely cheap I think the M-14s were maybe 75 bucks , no waiting period give the guy the money and walk out with your Army surplus firearm. There wasn’t people being gunned down in high schools, or roberys back then either . I think politcs have got so many rules that people are getting a little nuts. Lighten up Big Government lets get back to where big brother didn’t worry about the advrage man on the street or how much he was making . Gun control is like the war on drugs you dummies are wageing , All you managed to do is drive the prices up so much that everyone wants what they can’t have and the guys at the top (the cartels) don’t want things legalized, because it would put them out of business and save the taxpayer billions on a lostr cause you will never win .

      1. I would like to have that 45 what would you like for it I’m disable I can’t talk at all they cut out my tung and voice box to so I can’t yell for help at all my name is Bobby text me is the only way I can talk I will come to you text me please and let me know something about it thank you for your time and you have a bless day sir 904 402 0014

    18. I an a disabled veteran, I can’t believe how much trouble I’m getting trying to buy a firearm
      WHY? I have millitary training shot a M2 50cal
      fully auto, a mark 19 gernade fully auto, and carried a 9mm beretta,m-4 fully auto with 3 round burst. WHY am I having so much trouble

      1. From what I understand if the seller at a show is not an FFL dealer they do not have to do all that. It is considered a private sale and nothing further has to be done in Wisconsin, I don’t know if that is all states or just particular States.

    19. Hey, the writer of this article would make a great communist or socialist (democrat or republican). Just an outstanding supporter of gun control. I would say someone like this would be uninformed but that would be stupid on my part as this is obviously written by someone who hates the constitution and all it stands for. BATFE operative would be my guess.

      1. LOL … FYI Jeff Knox is definitely not a communist and is in fact a great supporter of the Constitution and the second amendment. You may disagree but calling him an ATF operative is a huge insult to the man.

    20. “A good form is like an abbreviated 4473. It informs the buyer of the legal requirements while it asks them disqualifying questions and collects identifying information. The seller keeps the part with the drivers license number and signature, the buyer gets a part with the sellers ID as a receipt, and the gun show checks receipts at the door. Nobody else gets a copy.”

      So now the seller has a key piece of your personal identification information and an easy to scan/copy version of your signature. You better hope they choose to not make use of it when stopped by the police, shopping online, etc.

      This is only one small step better than the 4473 form, and the whole GCA is one of many things we need our new legislature in 2010 to work on.

    21. To Mr. Krebs et al:

      Neither my brother Jeff nor I, nor does The Firearms Coalition as a body “support” the 1968 Gun Control Act. Jeff and I know more than most people about GCA ’68 and I can state categorically that the 1977 Cincinnati Revolt had precious little to do with it. That NRA members’ uprising did indeed lead to the reforms of the law embodied in the 1986 McClure-Volkmer Firearms Owners Protection Act which was written at Dad’s conference table with his guidance, but the Gun Control Act was not the primary motivation in Cincinnati.

      Complying with a law is not the same as opposing it politically.

      Violating a federal law with felony penalties as a protest is a risky and irresponsible, not to mention futile, form of protest. It’s risky and irresponsible because it can land you in jail leaving your family destitute; futile because, being a federal felony, you aren’t going to make it public. So the protest is the political equivalent of a single tree falling in a forest.

      Complying with the law does not imply agreement with its provisions.

      Chris Knox

    22. I would simply like to be able to purchase whatever gun I please…whenever I please…wherever I please…with 6 grandsons growing up nd living here in the country in California, it sucks that the laws prohibit me from buying, and teaching my Grandsons, how to hunt or just target shoot.

      So I had a beef 25years ago…so what…why does the Law think they can take control away from me because of one mistake…They want to change generations…It just isn’t right…at what point do they believe somebody has actually become responsible again?…according to them…never…and that my gun owner friends is wrong!
      Makes me want to leave this state…and move into another where I can actually own a gun to protect, hunt, or whatever I would like…Blessings

    23. All of the laws you cited are patently unconstitutional, read that ILLEGAL. Each person will have to decide how he will deal with that conundrum. For me, obeying unconstitutional laws is to become another sheep for the traitorous tyrants who passed them. Therefor, I will not obey them.

    24. I must agree with the above comment Repeal the 1968 Gun Control Act.

      Jeff Knox it was your father that lead the revolt at the NRA convention in 1978 over the NRA’s compromise on the 1968 GCA.

      Gun control doesn’t work and playing games with our rights is wrong.

    25. Dear Mr. Knox;

      Repeal the 1968 gun control act, quit supporting it. Your, “trying to meet them half way attitude” is sickening.


      Howard Krebs

      1. Well I don’t know about anybody else but I think our right to bear arms is slowly but surely being taken away from us and I believe that the right is an American citizen to bear arms if they take our guns away only criminals will have guns and then where are we I just think we need to reevaluate our Bill of Rights because slowly but surely it’s being taken away

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