Selling a "Problem" Gun....Without Telling


March 11, 2003, 02:10 AM
I was reading the "worst gun you have ever owned" thread and started thinking (I know, I know). Have you ever had a gun that was pure "trash", and traded or sold it without telling the buyer of it's problems?

I'm kind of at a loss here. Why on earth would a gun owner, who may have gotten "stuck" with a bad firearm, want to pass on the problem gun to another gun owner? Seems a pretty rude thing to do. What if the next owner of the gun had to use it for protection and it wouldn't work?

Now, I've been on the short end of the stick a time or two when trading guns. Guess maybe we all have. But to pass my loss on to another, without telling them of the problem, seems down right criminal. If the new owner knows all about the gun's problems and takes it anyway, not your fault.

I think I would have a hard time sleeping if I hid from, or didn't tell, a new owner of problems that might make the gun useless when needed the most. Seems some folks will do anything to save a few bucks.

Just one man's thoughts.

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March 11, 2003, 02:19 AM
I sold a SW 3914 once because I could not get used to the trigger (my Wife either) we had already been spoiled by a trigger tuned 1911 and a sweet from the box HP but the gun was 100% functional
I have a problem child but I will either fix it to full mechanical reliability or cosmoline it and put it in deep storage

March 11, 2003, 03:08 AM

Not raised that way.
Personally not had a problem gun-per se. I have been asked about an unsafe, or poorly made firearm. Always have been up front and honest with owner, suggested the same. Destroy the firearm, or use for parts. One was rendered inoperable just for show for teaching.

Gunsmith recently had a customers' gun in that had been in a fire. This is an old pc with some colorful history. Being made inoperable, refinished, and will be placed in a decorative shadow box. For show-not use.

March 11, 2003, 03:32 AM
Almost all states I know, have "good faith" anti-lemon laws..

It's illegal to sell someone you know to be defective and not disclose it. Imagine if someone terrible happened (someone lost a hand or was killed) and in the investigation, it was found you KNEW something was wrong...

The lawsuit as well as the criminal negligence charges will come down on you like a MAC truck..

March 11, 2003, 03:51 AM
As Well It Should

March 11, 2003, 04:46 AM
If I sell or trade something that is defective I am forthright about it. I'll say something like " could never get it to work right"
or " It didn't like me and it was a PITA"

99% of the time the gunshow folks who are wheeling and dealing couldn't give a rats sphincter about the mechanical reliablity
of what is being traded, unfortunately I don't think my honest
revelations get passed on to the poor sucker down the line.

Kentucky Rifle
March 11, 2003, 09:35 AM
If I can't fix it or have it fixed, it goes in the bottom of my safe~never to see the light of day again. I've had insomnia since I was a kid. Certain things have made it worse. I would NOT sell a lemon firearm to someone. I'd always wonder if he/she ever NEEDED the gun and it didn't work properly. Nothing is worth that.


March 11, 2003, 11:16 AM

March 11, 2003, 11:42 AM
I've sold off 2 guns that were "problem" guns. Both times I told the new owner why I was selling them.

March 11, 2003, 11:47 AM
Well, if you read the "problem gun (" thread you know I sold a seriously defective gun without saying anything. I had every intention of disclosing all the bad stuff I knew about the gun, but this dealer gave clear evidence of his intent to rip me off before I could say anything. In fact, I was passing his table with a For Sale sign on the gun when he called me over, and immediately began talking about what junk I had. He also bragged quite a bit about his expertise in order to convince me that I could trust him when he said the gun was pretty much junk and not worth anything. So I just kept quiet and let him be the expert. He examined the gun carefully under good lighting. Major defects and general poor workmanship were plain to see. (Remember that I had bought it in the dark from someone who knew nothing, and I knew they knew nothing about guns.) After he told me what junk it was, he made me an offer ("I really couldn't give you any more than..."), and I accepted it. He paid me, and chortled with glee as I went my way. I looked back to see him laughing at me with his buddy.

Now tell me honestly, gentlemen, do you think I did wrong in this case? It seems to me I let a thief rip himself off.

What do you say?

March 11, 2003, 12:28 PM
when he said the gun was pretty much junk and not worth anything.

Looks like he knew whta he was buying.

I don't see any problem, since he was an "expert."

But if he asked how it shoots, it not right to lie.

March 11, 2003, 12:55 PM
That's why I didn't say anything. I never shot the thing - didn't dare! He didn't ask, either. He only asked two things:

Where did I get it?
What did I think it was worth?

I answered both truthfully. The second answer was, "I don't know." A friend of mine had pointed out that coversions of this kind are rare, so there was a possibility that the thing really was worth something to a collector.

Double Maduro
March 11, 2003, 05:07 PM
"Almost all states I know, have "good faith" anti-lemon laws.."

I believe that lemon laws only apply if the person selling comes to your home and sells you something, unsolicited.

Most states work on the principal of "buyer beware". Once the buyer has paid for the gun and left it is almost impossible to prove that a problem was a pre-existing condition and not caused by the new owner. It is even harder, if not impossible, to prove that the seller knew about the problem.

If you have any doubts about a weapon take it to a gunsmith first.

I don't even sell cars with known problems without writing them out and having the buyer sign that they know about them.

As always, I am not a lawyer nor do I pretend to be.

Double Maduro
March 11, 2003, 05:11 PM
To follow up on that, I usually take used firearms to my gunsmith and have them checked out before I fire them. Especially older or modified weapons.

March 11, 2003, 06:25 PM
i bought a supposedly new pistol from a well known distribter.the dang thing blew up in my hands after firing it 1 time(the second round,a live one,was wedged in the bulged chamber.poed i called the distributer and demanded a refund.well,they told me no way,its a used gun now.i told them of course it was used now but it could have seriously injured me(or killed me) when i bought it NEW from you and fired nada from them as they changed the story to no warrentty was implied yada yada yada and all the legal bs to cover their behinds.people peddling their junk at shows and big distrib do it to make a quick sale.why i now only buy from people i trust.

March 11, 2003, 06:40 PM
I'll only sell a gun I trust with my life. If a gun has problems, they are my problems to deal with. Fix it? Yes. Destroy it? Maybe. Sell it? Never!

I find it very disturbing to read here that some consider unloading a problem gun on an unsuspecting victim to be an acceptable solution. High road? For some, only when convenient.

March 11, 2003, 08:59 PM
:cool: I had a Lorcin 380 that I bought off a guy a while back. It didn't have the extractor, pin or spring in it.:confused: I ordered the stuff on the net and fixed it. I sold it to another guy and told him what I'd done. I don't think he's had any problems with it.

March 11, 2003, 09:06 PM
I sold my 442 S&W today. Nothing wrong with it; didn't get much money -- $225 but enough to be done with it and save for another compact M Beretta.:D I hated the trigger, the loudness, and the way it fired. Not really accurate. I would personally never sell someone a defective firearm. People depend on it for their life, it's just morally wrong to lie about something that important. Wouldn't want to take advantage of some young kid looking for a new firearm. I'm just not that low I guess...:) Thank God.;)

March 11, 2003, 09:13 PM
On the flip side, I bought a gun that shouldn't have been sold to the gun shop owner, who sold it to me. It was a gorgeous Lt Wt. Commander. Wouldn't feed an entire mag without a FTF, or even worse, firing full automatic! :uhoh:

End of the story is that the shop owner did the stand up thing and told me to return it, no questions asked. I then used the credit on the return to buy another handgun and accessories in his store. Quite a learning experience, however. geegee

March 11, 2003, 09:27 PM
larryw, ditto! A couple of years ago I screwed up and bought a S&W 357m revolver. Beautifull old gun at a price I thought was fair. I screwed up, later when handling it a little more, I realized you could push off the cocked hammer with very little pressure. I haven't had it repaired yet, but I know my fair deal is now going to cost me some money. I wouldn't think of passing on this gun and risk someone getting hurt. I also will never buy another one from this seller. The guy is an expert when it comes to firearms and I truly believe he did PASS one on! There are probably 6 or 7 guns in my safe right now that I have purchased from him in the past. This was the last one. I won't go into a lot of detail as to why I believe he knew, but he did! In the end his action will cost him money from my lack of future purchases. In the end, I will have a beautifull old Smith that is functionally fine. It won't be at the fair price I thought, but live and learn!

March 11, 2003, 10:40 PM
Larry, if you were talking about me, you might want to go back and read the post. Especially the part where I asked for comments. Care to make them directly?

March 11, 2003, 11:27 PM
Quartus. That's one of many examples I've read here.

Since you asked: In your case, the buyer being a self-proclaimed "expert" trying to rip you off is no excuse. Honor and integrity are not variable, nor are they dependant on the actions of the other party.

March 12, 2003, 11:52 AM
I see your point, Larry. And certainly I agree that his intent does not excuse me from the moral responsibility to be honest. OTOH, I did not deceive him. I DID consciously refrain from pointing out the obvious defects, which I would have done with an ordinary buyer. And they WERE obvious. Though not having much experience with guns at the time, I was still able to see (as soon as I got it into the light) that the gun was a cobbled together peice of junk, of questionable safety.

There certainly are cases where there is no moral obligation to reveal information. A POW is an obvious example. Or Corrie Ten Boom hiding Jews from the Nazis. Now the question is, is that the case here? (There's an obvious difference in that I was not protecting anyone from harm.)

After reading this thread, one thing is clear to me that I had not even thought of then: It's not just about the sale to the 'expert' dealer that I had to consider. He likely sold it to someone else, and unless I'm very much mistaken, sold it with a large dose of outright lying, perhaps to someone who did not have the experience to know better. Had I thought of that implication, I'd have destroyed the gun without hesitation.

I'm still not sure that I wronged the dealer, though. Your thoughts?

March 12, 2003, 03:22 PM
If you are buying a cheap gun you should assume that it has problems. Who ever bought a Lorcin expecting a great firearm? I think you should be up front with anyone buying a firearm, but I think it is ridiculous to expect certain firearms to be reliable. If I lay a Lorcin on a table at a gunshow, a buyer is getting it "as is". If you know a firearm is dangerous to shoot, you should definately let the buyer know. I consider a Lorcin dangerous to use, not to shoot (I would not trust my life on that firearm).

Navy joe
March 12, 2003, 03:56 PM
The only one that gave me problems, I sold it with no regrets. Chuck Daly 1911 commander clone. Sold to local pawn shop for 100 bucks, best deal I ever made. Forgot about it. Two years down the road(a month ago) it appears in their case for sale. 5,000 rds old, cracked bbl bushing, broke ambi safety, Chuck Daly, yours for only 495. About 30 bucks more than I bought it new. Apparently P.T. runs a pawn shop.

March 12, 2003, 03:58 PM
Well, I've been lucky enough not to have that proverbial POS but I have had a few mags that would not function 100%. I crushed em and threw em in the trash so nobody could use them again.

You can always throw your POS weapon in the deepest part of a lake.

March 12, 2003, 05:26 PM
Quartus, I think you nailed that one dead on.

I consider it a moral obligation to reveal the defects, regardless of the buyer. That said, even with this discolsure, I think you should have passed on selling the gun to the dealer.

My primary concern, like yours, isn't so much for the dealer, but the person he's probably already sold the gun to. And that's a serious problem because you have no control over who buys it or for what purpose.

I can hear the dealer now, "These guns are reliable and the person I bought if from didn't tell me about any problems. I'm sure its a fine defensive weapon."

This is why I stated that I would never sell a gun that I don't trust with my life, or more importantly, the lives of my family.


March 12, 2003, 05:47 PM
If I sell a car I tell people about every minor problem. I haven't sold any of my guns yet because I like them all and they all work good except for a Jennings 22 which I intend to put into a vise and crush. It was given to me by my brother and I wouldn't foist it on anyone becuase I think it's unsafe.

March 12, 2003, 06:14 PM
Larry, thanks for the civil discussion. Looking back, I really wish I had thought about the NEXT buyer, but it honestly didn't enter my head.

Hmmm. Young dumb head! :D

Ah, well, we hope to keep growing, eh?

March 12, 2003, 06:28 PM
For some unknown reason, I prefer honesty.

March 12, 2003, 06:31 PM
I once traded a screwed up Kimber for a very nice Springfield without telling.:evil:

March 12, 2003, 06:40 PM
Hk, what's your take on my situation?

March 12, 2003, 06:58 PM
I wouldn 't sell a gun or anything else I knew to beleived to be defective without disclosing what I thought to be the defects.

March 12, 2003, 07:30 PM

The guy was both a dealer and self-described expert, so he should have known what he was buying without any input from you. Nothing dishonest about letting the expert make his own evaluation.

Even had you told him the defects, it sounds like he would still sell it to some unsuspecting buyer later on.

March 12, 2003, 09:00 PM
I've had crap pushed at me right and left at pawn shops,
gun shows and through acquaintances. Normally when someone I don't know that well starts feeding me a hard sell, the red flags go up.

I avoid the too good to be true like the plague. Every piece of crap I've ever bought looked like a piece of crap and had a price to match.

I've never deliberately screwed someone over except for a used car dealer that thought he was putting it to me at the same time.

As far as guns go I've sold 2 and given away one always with full disclosure of "this is a piece of crap and I don't want it".

Maybe I should have demilled them and made a shadow box
but I figured if someone was willing to buy them knowing the
history who was I to stop them.

Is this short sighted? Maybe Was I just feeding the dishonest
gun dealer ammo to cheat unsuspecting customers? Quite possibly.

Live and learn.

March 12, 2003, 09:10 PM
except for a used car dealer

Hmmm. I think a case could be made here for a DUTY to take them to the cleaners!


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