In Praise of Private Sales During a Time of Panic

Private Purchasers at Gun Turn In event Courtesy Dean Weingarten

U.S.A.-( Headlines were screaming panic. The old man was prepared and working on the computer when the phone rang. As has become a necessity, the number on the phone I.D. was examined. An old friend, trusted and proven, was on the other end.

“Have you got any guns you are willing to part with?”

“Maybe. I haven’t done an inventory in a bit. Let me check.”

The FBI NICS background check lines were full. The system was overloaded. Store shelves were empty. Approvals defaulted to three days wait.

Some buyers were panicked. There were rumors of coming armored patrols in the streets.

Rumors of martial law, rumors of all gun sales to be shut down.

A close relative of the friend knew a good guy who was in panic mode. He had a family to protect. He had sold his previous guns years earlier, now he was desperate.

He was willing to make a 400-mile round trip to make a private sale.

“What have you got? Anything?”

Sorting through the eclectic collection brought fond memories.

Collectible. Not a common caliber. A spare. No rifling left, from corrosive ammo and hard usage 80 years ago. Projects needing to be finished.

Another phone call, in reply. A couple of pistols, a couple of rifles, a shotgun were offered at slightly more than market prices.

“He is a good guy… I don’t want to take advantage…”

The next day, the young family man drove away with a beat-up, but functional old FN 9mm. The old man had never fired it.

The cost was $50 more than it had been purchased for, in a line at a gun turn-in event, about a decade ago. The family man, in addition, got some good advice, a functioning fire check out in the desert, and a box of ammunition to supplement the 27 rounds the family man had in his possession.

The informal market and web of informal connections work that way. Three of the four participants had known each other for decades. They were all veterans. Three races, in the current political nomenclature, were involved.

They trusted each other and their judgment.

Attacking the private market in firearms assumes the ownership of firearms is evil in itself, that firearms are like a virus, deadly, with no redeeming value. The attacks assume no ordinary person can be trusted with a gun, or that people with evil intent can be prevented from obtaining guns by making ordinary people jump through numerous hoops and requirements in order to obtain guns. It assumes the government is benevolent, and always will be.

Reality does not work that way.

Violence is culturally driven, not driven by inanimate objects.

The gun culture esteems honesty, responsibility, and individual honor. Private sales of guns thrive and present no danger, except, perhaps, to incipient tyrants and violent criminals. They fill a gap created by over-regulation, paranoia, and ignorant fear of fellow citizens.

Being able to legally purchase firearms in private sales assures participants in the market that tyranny, while it may be waiting in the wings, has not arrived… yet.

Break the trust and not much happens. You simply don’t get listened to, or called back.

There are a few states where private sales have been effectively banned. If you have to ask a government agent for permission to buy or sell a gun, you live in a system at the edge of tyranny.

About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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Ansel Hazen

Mom might not be too happy but as far as I’m concerned keep your hands off the blueberry pie.

Green Mtn. Boy

@ Ansel

Add me to the blueberry fanatics.


Yuo two should meet my next door neighbour. He’s in his seventies, and his Grandpa started the blueberry farm over a hundred years ago. He still lives there, and his blueberries are so good I can non longer eat the compost they sell at the grocery store labelled “blueberries”. They have at least a dozen varieties on their twenty or so acres. Some are tiny little flavoir bombs that will blow you away with their intensity, others are huge and sweet, and everything in between. Nothing like hand picked on a sunny afternoon in August…… Ah dun bin ROOint.




Tionico —

I discovered the same thing about tomatoes, after I started growing my own. When you see them in the store you just chuckle because the difference is so radical that they are almost another variety of fruit altogether. Nothing like a Cherry tomato picked fresh of the vine in one hand, with a salt shaker in the other.


One of the nicer things about being an Arizona resident is the ability to carry concealed or open without a CCW. Being able to buy and sell personal firearms and ammo and accessories without any paperwork has always been legal between private individuals in most states, but here, we actually have folks on the roadside set up and selling guns and ammo and accessories and the flea markets are better than a lot of the guns shows I’ve attended in other states. This is how it should be in ALL states in this nation and I thank God I live… Read more »


Wyoming is pretty much the same as Arizona in all of these respects, including the California transplants.


You all have just reminded me of why we are such a great Nation. Under God. When all about you have lost their minds a few of us get a grip on the grippe and maintain our sense of humor, change magazines and press on. God Bless you all. Semper Fidelis


Home boys, and gals, at heart. The stuff of which America IS made, right?


I can do this and do it legally here in Arizona. I hesitate. Not because the “authorities” scorn at me but because being prepared for a crisis happens long before a crisis hits. Those of us who spent our lives in the military, at the bloody pointed end of the spear understand that when the drums roll those who are not long ago prepared are a liability and not an asset. All of my local gun shops in Kingman have been cleaned out. The less than scrupulous are hustling guns and ammo to the untrained and unsuspecting. Mass hysteria causes… Read more »


Your comment is right on target. As a member of the Silent Generation, a military veteran, retired LE, husband, father, grandfather, business owner and proud conservative Republican Trump supporter, I could not have made a more accurate comment. As for the final price. Considering the Socialist Democratic Bull***t, indigent vote-buying conditions in the current Bail-Out Bill, I am afraid the price will be so high, it will push this country into a recession that, due to culture change, will be harsher and probably more devastating than the Great Depression of the 1930s. People of that day were more resilient, accustomed… Read more »


@green — Nowadays, all you have to do is shut down cellphone service to get the millennials into full-on panic mode, where they then quickly go into meltdown. After an hour of no service, they have convinced themselves that the world is coming to an end. After a day of it, they’re sure of it. Complacency is today’s boogeyman, much more than it ever was in times past. Rely too much on any one thing, or put all your eggs into one basket, and you’ve just made your life ripe for a takedown. If only everyone would plan for the… Read more »


Shut down GPS mapping! No one has hard copy maps anymore (I do), and without GPS they will all be lost.


@Rattler —

And yet, they are.


For several years I hired college graduates, most of whom could not use a topo map and hand held compass to locate themselves or plot a location. They ALL had GPS units and I confiscated them until they had learned the basic map skills. Most young people don’t have basic skills and would be like a fish out of water should their “electronic devices” ever shut down.


AND knew how to WORK.


My parents were young newlyweds during the first years of the Great Depression, just starting their family. They hitchhiked across the country with a small child in tow and another one on the way, looking for work. I was the youngest of seven children, born right after WWII, but I was raised with the hardships of the GD and the War very much in the forefront. My parents lived that way their entire lives. We teased my Mom about keeping paper bags and washing take-out containers, about rationing her paper towel and “tinfoil” usage, but she was a product of… Read more »


@Cat — Thanks for sharing. I too, find myself rationing just about everything to minimize my exposure to the public as much as possible. It almost makes me almost sick to my stomach to know that I have to go my meds, my food and whatnot. If you picked anything up you won’t about it for two weeks or so. Perhaps it was on something someone handled just before you that you didn’t know about. Or someone who coughed who then rounded the corner to the next isle that now looks clear to you. And even then it’s a game… Read more »


@nrringlee – From adversity springs opportunity. Yes we have a bunch of new gun owners who don’t know what they are doing. For their sake as well as ours we need to educate them on the need to train and direct them to competent instructors and safe locations to shoot. There is definitely risk of increased accidents or hostilities, worsened considerably by being fuel for grabbers – so let’s do what it takes to make the best of the opportunity. Remember that private instructors and ranges are being hit by closures and social distancing more than those of us who… Read more »


Frankly, we all started out uneducated and untrained, but the drives we had for self preservation and recreation caused us to spin up and smarten up.


If it was someone I know then I’m okay with selling a gun or two. My brothers son in law sold a motorcycle and I guess he went shopping. After talking to my brother I showed him my FNP-40 DA/SA, decocker/safety. I didn’t even realize the kid had money. I didn’t shoot it much and not a big fan of the 40 either.
We have a friend at our gun club and we sell guns back and forth, but the gun grabbing Commies are trying their best to strip Florida of 2A.


Correct. And let me remind you that the gummint had done such a great job curtailing drug and sex slave traffic. They are so busy smelling their own farts and convincing each other it is really rose petals that they fail to see the real problem. We have a very small portion of our population who need to be in GPS bracelets. The rest of us, the vast majority get along just fine with little to no supervision. Focus on that pathological minority. Leave the rest of us to our pursuit of happiness, profit and peace.


We are beginning to see the same trend here in SC. Our state, especially the coastal areas, is being invaded by Northern Democrats who did not like it up north and moved here, according to them, because of the more relaxed and independent way of life, as well as, the much lower housing costs and tax rates. Only thing, not long after they get here, they begin complaining about everything and demanding that the government provide them with everything under the sun, almost wanting the government to hold the tissue for them to blow their noses. They want to live… Read more »


You mean like the Glock 17 gen 4 that I traded even Steven for an H&K USP .45 this weekend ? I’m happy with my trade guess I should have asked the govt if it was okay…oops


Great article. The truth never gets old.


Just so long as you don’t waste a pecan pie. MMmmmmmm Pecan pie.
I haven’t had a good slice of pecan pie since the last time I was in the deep south, and that was more than a decade ago.


I agree with you Knute. Haven’t had a good pecan pie in years. My wife does make a good Pennsylvania Dutch shoefly pie. Homemade crust.


My grandmother made a ‘Buttermilk’ pie which was similar to the ‘Shoe-fly’ pie although the topping was just a little different. And speaking of home made crust, anytime there was crust left over she would brush a milk & butter sauce over it then roll it while sprinkling cinnamon on it. Then after baking it with the pies, it was hard to resist with a glass of milk!

Oh ya!!!!!!!


I’ll go….. two whole rolls of TP! But the best Pecan Pie I ever had was in Georgia and it had JD black label in it. But Kahlua sounds good too.


@Knute Knute – ya-all come-on down ya hear. Any gentleman who likes guns and pecan pie is always welcome.

Sorry, not quite fluent in southern speak and certainly not in written form. Have gotten so used to manners and friendliness, that I just take it for granted. A trip to Maryland last year sure cured me of that. For the most part, them there city dwellers sure are a nasty bunch.

Green Mtn. Boy

Damn,now I’m hungry and a slice of peach would make a fine breakfast.


Oatmeal or chocolate chip cookies made the way mom made them.


Unfortunately I had to settle for Oreos & Little Debbies


Hey……let Little Debbie out of this ! You sexist! Just because she delivered the Oreos doesn’t mean you can take advantage of the situation.


Geez, people!!!! I just gained 20 pounds!! Enough, already.

Wild Bill

During Time of Panic … This from the US Army: “The U.S. Army is reaching out to gauge the interest of our retired officers, noncommissioned officers and Soldiers who would be willing to assist with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic response effort should their skills and expertise be required. If interested and you remain qualified to serve in any of the following health care specialties: 60F: Critical Care Officer; 60N: Anesthesiologist; 66F: Nurse Anesthetist; 66S: Critical Care Nurse; 66P: Nurse Practitioner; 66T: ER Nurse; 68V: Respiratory Specialist; 68W: Medic – we need to hear from you STAT! While this is targeted… Read more »


“If you want to protect your Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Arizona,
then you want to join the Arizona Citizens Defense League (AZCDL)”