When it comes to gun-friendly states, Georgia is considered to be at the top of the list, with the state’s lawmakers often passing bills that ultimately loosen the existing restrictions on firearms. The Georgia constitution provides the right to keep and bear arms. In April 2022, a Georgia firearm bill was passed that eliminated the need for government permits to carry firearms in public. Before this law was passed, an individual was required to get a license, fill out an application in probate court, and undergo a background check.
While it is typical for people to purchase firearms from licensed dealers, many are turning to private transactions to buy their guns, with private sellers banking on the opportunity to make some extra cash by selling in this manner. Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, you should familiarize yourself with the process and regulations governing how to sell a gun in Georgia to ensure that the sale or purchase process is seamless.
General Gun Sales Guidelines
Before you sell your gun, here are some quick gun sales regulations you should be aware of, including who you can sell your gun to and what you’re required to show before you sell your gun.
1. Is there a minimum age for who can own a gun?
Yes. At the federal level, gun control is governed by the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), which requires any citizen or legal resident to be at least 18 years old to purchase shotguns, rifles, or ammunition. The minimum purchase age is 21 years and older for other firearms, such as handguns.
Lawmakers in every state are permitted to implement age restrictions higher than the federal laws but never restrictions lower than the federal minimum. For example, state law can require the minimum age to be 25 years but not 16 years, below the federal minimum of 18 years and 21 years for shotguns and handguns, respectively.
2. Do you need a licensee to sell?
Although some states require a Federal Firearms License (FFL) for most firearm transfers, not all states require you to go through a licensed dealer. Moreover, under federal law, using an FFL is not required for private transactions unless your buyer resides in another state. Some licensees may charge you a fee for this service, and there may be others that do not offer the service at all. It is always best to check in with the licensees before you make the journey to see if they can conduct the transaction for you.
You can obtain an FFL as a gun owner after submitting an application and meeting the criteria regarding your mental health history and any prior convictions.
3. Which persons are restricted from purchasing or possessing firearms?
Federal law does not permit the shipping, transporting, possessing or receiving of guns by any person who:
4. Do you have to complete a background check?
FFLs are required to conduct a background check per the GCA. Potential customers must fill out a federal form known as the ATF Form 4473, which checks prior convictions and other red flags.
5. Do states require permits when you are purchasing a firearm?
Only 12 states require permits for handguns, with only 3 of those states requiring them for the purchase of rifles and shotguns. States like California even require citizens to pass a gun safety test before obtaining a permit. In contrast, a permit is not required when purchasing a firearm in states like Texas and Georgia. In these latter states, however, you will need to meet the federal requirements and submit to a background check even though no permit is required.
You can read more about gun laws in other states across the U.S. on Lawrina blog.
Why Sell a Firearm in a Private Sale?
There are many reasons one may choose to sell a firearm privately rather than through a gun shop. Below are some examples of when you might consider selling a firearm in a private sale:
- People making a one-off or an occasional firearm sale do not need to have an FFL. Under federal law, you are not required to have this license for one-off or occasional sales, although the application of this law varies from state to state.
- You can sell a firearm for a higher price than at a gun store. Once you purchase a gun from the store, it is classified as ‘used’ and the gun shop owner will likely want to buy it at a lower price so that he or she can profit from the resale. You will not have to worry about this with a private buyer.
- You may be able to trade a gun for a gun. You may find that you want a long pistol or handgun owned by another gun owner willing to trade it in for the firearm you are selling. Private owners are more likely to agree to such a trade than gun shop owners.
- Privately selling is a simple way to get rid of a gun you no longer want. If you find a buyer that meets all the federal and state laws, selling to this private buyer can be smoother than selling to a gun shop owner.
Although private gun sales make up less than 50% of all gun sales in the country, there are many benefits to selling privately, as outlined above.
What Are the Requirements to Purchase / Sell a Firearm in Georgia?
Below are specific regulations to make a purchase and sale deal over a firearm in Georgia, divided into some criteria.
Minimum age for purchasing or selling
- The buyer must be 18 years old to purchase rifles, shotguns, and ammunition.
- The buyer must be at least 21 years old to purchase handguns.
- The buyer must submit to a National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) if he or she is buying from a gun shop, but not if the buyer is purchasing online or from a gun show.
- The buyer must complete ATF Form 4473, prescribed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. This form is also referred to as a Firearms Transaction Record.
License and registration
- You do not need a weapon to carry a license to buy or carry a firearm in Georgia.
- You do not need a license for concealed carry.
- State law prohibits firearm registries; you do not need to register your firearm once you have purchased it.
While the requirements to purchase a gun in Georgia are clear, you may want to follow the following two simple steps to ensure that you know how to sell a gun in GA:
- Ask your buyer for identification to ensure that you sell to a Georgia resident.
- Use a bill of sale Georgia for the transfer. A Georgia gun bill of sale will clearly state the necessary details, such as the model and the serial number of the gun being purchased, the date of purchase, and the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the parties to the transaction.
A bill of sale protects you from future misunderstandings or conflicts, such as a situation in which another uses the gun you sold to commit a crime. In any instance, you can confirm through the bill of sale the period you owned the gun for, when your ownership ended, and who exactly you sold it to avoid being implicated in future misdeeds. Although a bill of sale does not require notarization, you may opt to notarize the bill of sale for added precaution.
Georgia Firearm Ownership Restrictions
Georgia gun laws largely follow federal regulations regarding ownership restrictions. Similar to federal law, persons under the following categories cannot purchase or possess a gun:
- A person convicted of a felony or misdemeanor punishable by a prison sentence of more than a year.
- A person who has a warrant out for his or her arrest for a felony or out-of-state misdemeanor.
- A person who unlawfully uses, or is addicted to, a controlled substance.
- A person with a mental health disorder or has been committed to a mental institution.
- A person who is considered an illegal alien.
- A person who has been discharged from the armed forces under dishonorable conditions.
- Anyone who has renounced citizenship.
- A person who is under a qualifying protective order.
- A person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
It would help if you were vigilant in ensuring that you sell your gun to an individual qualified to own a firearm in Georgia.
Private gun sales in Georgia have many benefits, and familiarizing yourself with the regulations that govern the process is the best way to ensure that the transfer is smooth and hassle-free.
Make it a priority to confirm that the person you sell your firearm to is eligible to buy and own a gun under Georgia state and federal laws. This will help protect you from liability in the case of any unfortunate future events. Although not required under Georgia gun law, you may wish to sell through a licensee to ensure that the transaction meets the legal requirements. If you find yourself in a situation in which doubts arise, you should seek professional legal advice before completing a sale.
The legal side of selling guns is quite complicated and ever-changing. If a person does not have a license to sell firearms, they can...