Firearm Bill of Sale

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Firearm Bill of Sale

A Brief Introduction About the Firearm Bill of Sale Agreement

A firearm is considered to be a dangerous weapon in the eyes of the law that can be used in ways other than for self-defense. This is why it is advised that every time a private sale of a firearm is executed, a firearm bill of sale is made to serve as a record for the sale of a firearm and the location of the sale and other details. This bill of sale is evidence of transfer of ownership of the firearm by the seller to the buyer in exchange for a particular amount paid by the buyer to the seller.

What Is a Firearm?

To understand a firearm transfer, it is necessary to understand what a firearm is. A firearm is defined as a pistol, rifle, or other portable gun that can inflict damage by firing projectiles through a cartridge filled with ammunition. Usually, a firearm is a small weapon that can be concealed. Any part of such a weapon like a frame or a receiver also falls under the definition of a firearm.

Who Takes the Firearm Bill of Sale Agreement?

A firearm purchase form is a legal agreement between the person who is selling the firearm and the person who is buying it. A seller of a firearm must sell the firearm to a licensed buyer only. However, in the United States, as per the Gun Control Act, a person can sell a firearm to an unlicensed resident if the seller is not aware that the buyer is prohibited from owning a firearm or is unlicensed. This lack of information on the part of the seller can lead to a private sale of a firearm.

Why Do You Need Firearm Bill of Sale Agreement?

Even if it may not be mandated by the law, having a firearm agreement for a firearm exchange has many advantages:

  • It provides details about the firearm for future reference. It is especially helpful when a crime has been committed through the use of a certain type of firearm.
  • It contains the details of the exact amount for which the firearm has been sold, so should there be some dispute in the future, there will be a record to rely upon.
  • It proves that a transaction took place about a certain kind of firearm, giving protection against false claims of theft in the future.
  • It contains a guarantee from the seller about the firearm’s condition and protects the buyer from possessing a defective weapon.
  • It is a protection against the liability of fraud.
  • It contains all the personal details of the buyer and the seller that proves helpful when there is an investigation or theft or an illegal sale.

I have a firearm purchase form awards protection.

Contents of the Firearm Bill of Sale Agreement

A good firearm bill of sale must contain the following things:

  1. Buyer & the seller: The agreement must contain the names of both parties, their signatures, their addresses, their contact numbers, their government ID numbers, and the license number of the buyer.
  2. Firearm: The bill of sale should have express details about the firearm. The year, the make, model, caliber, the color, the accessories, if any, and most importantly, the serial number of the firearm.
  3. Transaction Details: The details of the sale, including the location, date, and amount of the money paid to the seller by the buyer, including the payment method.
  4. Condition: The condition of the firearm, whether it is being sold ‘as is’ by the buyer. If it is a second-hand firearm, more details about its condition should be mentioned.
  5. Certification: The seller must certify that he/she is the legal owner of the firearm that is being sold. The buyer must certify that he/she is a resident of the country the sale is taking place in, that he/she is not a convict, or been restrained or prohibited from owning a firearm.
  6. Kind of bill of sale: There are two kinds of bills of sale, absolute and conditional. The conditional bill of sale is when the sale is to happen on payment of certain dues or fulfillment of certain conditions. The agreement must mention when the delivery of the firearm is taking place.

Points to Consider While Drafting the Firearm Bill of Sale Agreement

While drafting an agreement for firearm transfer, one must keep in mind these key points:

  • The agreement must contain the time, amount, date, and form of payment to be made against the firearm.
  • It must contain the details of the buyer and the seller, along with the details of the firearm and its condition.
  • It must be clear, concise, and unambiguous, with definitions provided for vague and complex legal terms or words.
  • The bill of sale must mention the clear title of the seller and about the license of the buyer to purchase the firearm.
  • It must include an indemnity clause in favor of the buyer against any default on the part of the seller.
  • It must expressly state that the owner is being transferred to the buyer.
  • Must contain a clause about dispute resolution, should a dispute arise in the future.

Negotiation Strategy

In case of a firearm bill of sale, both sides must be satisfied with the agreement. The buyer must be satisfied with the condition of the firearm and the seller by the consideration he/she is getting from the firearm sale.

Benefits & Drawbacks of the Firearm Bill of Sale Agreement

Having a firearm bill of sale form has its pros and cons.


  • Awards protection against defective firearms to the buyer.
  • It is a record of the transaction for future reference.
  • It makes it easier for the investigating agencies to trace the firearm to the owner should the need arise in the future.
  • It is a clear document that gives rise to rights that can be enforced in the courts of law in case of default.
  • It is a protection of liability of fraud.


  • It is time-consuming.
  • Getting a bill of sale for the private sale of a firearm can incur additional drafting charges and lawyer fees.
  • It removes flexibility about the transaction on the side of both parties.

What Happens in Case of a Violation?

The violation can be on the part of the buyer or the seller. Violation can occur when the buyer purchases the firearm illegally, fails to pay the seller on time as agreed, is not licensed to own a firearm, etc. The violation can occur on the part of the seller when the seller provides a defective firearm to the buyer, lies about its condition or history, makes a misrepresentation of a fact, etc.

Violations of the bill of sale give rise to civil remedies in the court of law, and parties can sue each other. The buyer or the seller can demand damages if the agreed-upon terms aren’t carried out absolutely.

How to Sell a Firearm?

The procedures to sell a firearm vary from country to country. However, generally, contacting a pawn shop or a legal firearms dealer is the way to sell a firearm. The value of a firearm depends upon how much it is used except for vintage guns. When sold, it is best to execute a firearm bill of sale.

But then the questions arise like how to sell a firearm privately? How to transfer firearm ownership?. All private firearm sales must take place through licensed firearm dealers. Firearm ownership can be transferred to other people.

Here is a brief guide on how to transfer a firearm or sell it:

  • Lookup at the national laws in your country about firearm ownership.
  • Contact a licensed firearms dealer.
  • If firearm registration is required, get that done first.
  • Find out how your firearm is classified and the laws related to that classification for transfer.
  • If the procedure is unclear, take the help of the local police.
  • Once you find a buyer, check if he/she can legally own a firearm and is licensed.
  • Then, make a firearm agreement for transfer. You can contact a licensed third party to facilitate this transfer. File the appropriate paperwork with your local authorities.
  • If professional assistance is needed, contact a lawyer.

A firearm transfer form between family members needs to be executed even though many governments provide exemptions for transfers between family members and allow the transfer of firearms without the involvement of a licensed arms dealer. One must check the local laws before transferring or selling a firearm(1).

The benefits of having a firearm transfer form outweigh its drawbacks. Even if the law doesn’t require a bill of the sale every time a firearm is sold, it provides a legal cushion to the parties should something go wrong and protects a person against the liability of theft or fraud. It is also good for record-keeping and can be useful at the time of selling the firearm at a later date. Having well-drafted firearm sale agreements can bring in the much-needed regularization for firearm sales.