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How many Guns Can a Non-FFL Sell

Discussion in 'Legal' started by BBW, Dec 8, 2012.

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  1. BBW

    BBW Member

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    Hi all,

    Thanks for your help in advance. I've searched the web on this but haven't gotten what feels like a complete answer.

    Here's the situation. A friend of mine passed away and I have offered to help his widow sell of his collection of approximately 50 guns. My plan is to just put them up for sale on gunbroker.com.

    I'm aware of the legalities around shipping the FFLs and all that from having sold some of my own guns in the past. But here's my question. I remember hearing once that there's a limit on how many guns a non-FFL (like me) can sell before they are considered to be in the business of dealing in firearms and an FFL is required.

    My question is this: were I, as a non-FFL, to sell fifty firearms in the space of a few months would I be breaking the law?

    Thanks,

    Ben
     
  2. Rio Laxas

    Rio Laxas Member

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    There is no limit. You just can't be in the business of selling firearms without a license. In other words, if you are acquiring firearms with the intention of turning around and selling them, you need a license. It is legal for an individual to liquidate a collection.
     
  3. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

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    the wife can liquidate them through the estate using ffls.just make sure you keep all records shipping etc for future use in case of a weapons trace by atf,or surrender copies to atf when it's complete.buy a bound book from brownells and use this for your documentation
     
  4. rule303

    rule303 Member

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    No problem with what you are describing, so long as you are not being paid for the service. That would most likely be defined as "engaged in business", and require an FFL. Just make sure to document everything, and follow all shipping regulations.
     
  5. Neo-Luddite

    Neo-Luddite Member

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    No hard limit I've ever heard of. It may take a while to dispense with a collection in this manner. You might do as well to get an auctioner to do a physical auction and thus sell the lot at once and eliminate the hastles for you and her. Not sure by you, but around here estate gun sales go pretty high as folks in person squabble over lesser things and local egos want to best each other and pay a solid price. Just a thought. You're being a loyal friend to help, but please give the live auction some thought and maybe ask around.
     
  6. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Member

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    How many guns can a non-FFL sell

    ... if a non-FFL can sell guns? Sorry, couldn't resist. :neener:

    No federal reg, as stated... your state or local regs may vary. Check 'em if you're not absolutely certain.
     
  7. BK

    BK Member

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    <deleted>

    As far as federal law is conserned, you can sell all of those firearms in any given amount of time, be that a day or a year.

    We had a thread on this recently: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=685977

    What the OP is intending on doing is liquidating a collection, not engaging in business, which requires a business license (FFL).
    Some states may limit the number of handguns one can sell in a year however:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2012
  8. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Member

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    Here in Ma we can sell 4 guns a year privately any after that need to got thru an FFL
     
  9. jfh

    jfh Member

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    Given the time commitment on your part, do consider simply helping the widow get the guns shipped to an auctioneer of choice--I found that, overall, it was probably as good a deal overall as if I had tried to sell them as you propose. (FWIW, I disposed of about thirty guns through my local auctioneer / auctionhouse. (K-bid.com)

    Jim H.
     
  10. medalguy

    medalguy Member

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    Well I clearly recall that Section 1234, subsection 56, paragraph (eek) specified a limit of 119 guns before a license was required. That work any better for you? :neener:

    BATFE is clearly unclear on this point so as long as you are not "engaged in the business fro financial gain" you're fine. I helped a friend's widow sell off quite a collection a couple of years back and I haven't held an FFL in over 20 years.
     
  11. mgkdrgn

    mgkdrgn Member

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    You are going to find that selling 50 guns on the auctions sites is going to be a LOT of work ... as in a full time job for a few months.

    Also, these are not your guns/collection.

    If you are taking any compensation, of any kind, for your efforts, you are now "in the business" and should have an FFL.

    Also, if there are any handguns in this collection, shipping them w/o an FFL is going to be expensive (as in FedEx or UPS orvernight ... say $60 - $75+ a pop). As a non-FFL you can't ship handguns via the Post Office.
     
  12. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    Getting some compensation for helping is not "in the business", buying and selling as a means to support oneself is

    Depending on the guns and where you live, you might also try other avenues - if there are shotguns, post them at your local trap/skeet club; handguns, you might try seeing if an indoor range has a bulletin board for ads
    Local newspapers, local sale-ad types of papers (Big Nickel or similar) can help move them faster

    A lot would depend on the guns, condition, values, etc.

    I recently sold a valuable and old S&W - on the S&W forum - target audience; use some of those as well and you have no fees like gunbroker
     
  13. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    Quite possibly not, but there is really no bright line test. I've not done any research to see if there are any good court decisions interpreting, applying or outlining standards for the definition of "engaged in the business of a Dealer" under the applicable statute (18 USC 921(a)(21)(C)):

    But note that in this case, the OP would not be making "sales... for the enhancement of his personal collection...." Nor would he necessarily be doing this as a hobby if he's compensated. Nor would he be selling his personal collection.

    This is a somewhat muddled situation. If the OP is compensated, it becomes even more muddled.
     
  14. Sniper66

    Sniper66 Member

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    Sell them yourself

    I agree with one poster that selling these all on an Auction site, unless you do it all the time, can be a lot of work. An acquaintance of mine is selling his collection of dozens of guns...I'm guessing around 100 guns. He doesn't need to do anything in particular to sell them. Your best bet would be to run an ad in a local publication and sell them yourself. If the guns are of good quality, they will sell easily. Where are you located? I'm in Kansas and have no trouble selling most guns.
     
  15. smalls

    smalls Member

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    He could just be setting up the sales, without taking possession of the firearms. Obviously the widow doesn't have a clue where to sell guns, so she contacted a friend who is a hobbiest. He could set up everything for her to sell the guns without even seeing the guns or any of the money. It would be her selling her newly inherited collection, with some assistance.

    His time and effort taking pictures, writing descriptions, and posting the auctions are worth some compensation.
     
  16. Bubbles

    Bubbles Member

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    OP can do this without keeping himself out of Club Fed, but he needs to understand that he can't handle either the guns OR the money. The money must be paid by the buyer directly to the widow. He can act as a "broker", which is why the ATF has stated that auctioneers who do estate sales don't need an FFL as long as the gun remains in the posession of the estate.

    Now, if the OP handles the money (as in, buyer pays him, he pays widow) that's a problem even if the widow ships the firearm directly to the buyer. ATF has held since at least the mid-70's that drop shippers need an FFL. So, even though they may never physically take posession of the firearm, handling the cash puts them squarely into dealer status.
     
  17. denster

    denster Member

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    Selling them on gunbroker will not be a problem. Recall that you are shipping them to an FFL and they are doing the transfer. Your name goes in their books as the person they acquired the gun from. Be aware that many FFL's will not accept a gun from a non FFL so be prepared to have a friendly local FFL do some of the shipping for you.
     
  18. HOME DEPOT GEORGE

    HOME DEPOT GEORGE Member

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    Here's another idea that will work-take them to a reputable gunshop and put them on consignment.I have done this many times and it saves a lot of work. The shop that I use takes 10% and they do all the work, you set the price and the shop puts them in the showcase and all you need to do is pick up the cash when they sell.
     
  19. BBW

    BBW Member

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    Thanks for all the replies. I really appreciate it. It sounds like I'm on solid ground. I wouldn't feel right asking her for any compensation for this so no worries on the front of whether I'll be in the business or not. And here in VT our gun laws are pretty lax so I'm not worried about state laws.

    I did fire off the question to a local attorney who specializes in firearms laws just to get confirmation but I expect she'll just confirm what I've heard here.

    Ben
     
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