Buying and Selling Firearms

I am often asked about the details around buying or selling firearms in Texas.  While there is a lot of uncertainty among native Texans, that is even more true among among the many people who have recently moved here from out-of-state, refugees from gun-unfriendly locations like California and New York.

Buying a gun:

There is no license required, and no waiting period.  You must be 21 (18 for long guns), have a TX driver’s license, and be able to pass a background check (Google that for details).  The process takes about 20 minutes, less if you already possess a TX License to Carry.  You can often get even better deals buying through an online retailer.  In that case, you have to have it shipped to a local gun dealer (FFL) for pick-up.  They will run the background check, and charge you a small fee.  Of course, you don’t get to handle the gun first, so know what you want before going this route.  Gun shows are a good way to handle a lot of guns in a low-pressure situation.  While their prices are not necessarily lower, they will often bargain near the end of the show, as they don’t want to pack them all up again.  Wherever you pick it up, it is legal to transport it to your vehicle, and in your vehicle.  Just keep it out of sight.  In your home, it does not have to be unloaded or locked up, except that you must ensure that children under 17 cannot get to it.  Get proper training before doing anything at all with a new gun.

Selling a gun:

In Texas, there is no gun registration, so selling a gun does not involve paperwork, fees, or background checks, as long as the sale is local, face-to-face, and between individuals.  The buyer must have a TX driver’s license, and be at least 21 (18 for long guns), or you could be in legal jeopardy.  I recommend you fill out a Firearm Bill of Sale for your protection (2 copies),  and complete the sale in a public place, like inside a gun range.  Many police depts have a designated area for private transactions.

People often find out that their first gun was not the best choice, so after awhile, they will buy another (with advice), and sell the first one.  Sometimes they will do that again, as their interests change (fun, home defense, carry).  A carry gun is seldom fun to shoot, and a home defense gun is seldom practical for carry.  You are allowed to have more than one, and a surprising number of people have more than 5.  Or 10.  Have fun with this.