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Are you under a Stay At Home order? Have the gun shows in your area closed down due to the pandemic? Gun stores around the country are overrun with new purchasers and more questions than ever are arising on how to conduct a private sale as an alternative.

What is the law on conducting a private sale as an alternative?


First of all, whether it be at a gun show or informally, person-to-person private sales of your guns are perfectly legal in Ohio. You may sell firearms and ammunition without restriction. It is not a requirement to conduct a background check on the buyer of your firearm, nor is there a waiting period before the transfer can be made.

A caveat to this is that while you are free to sell your gun to another person without running a background check, if you have knowledge some other way that they are not legally allowed to buy the gun (for example, they are not old enough or you believe they have a felony conviction), you cannot legally make the transfer.

As long as you don’t have any reason to believe the person is disqualified and the person is also an Ohio resident, you can freely transfer or gift the firearm in this way. If the person is from another state, then of course you’ll have to utilize a Federal Firearms Licensee (“FFL”) to make the transfer.


I get a lot of questions from members about if there are documentation and registration requirements. Thankfully, in the State of Ohio there are no burdensome rules which require specific documentation or registration of private firearm sales.

This is why I always strongly recommend that you document the transaction for a number of reasons. Regardless of whether it’s a family member, friend, or perfect stranger, I believe it is good business practice to have some paperwork indicating the transfer has taken place.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy and it can be as formal or informal as you want, but it should contain, essentially, that one person is relinquishing ownership of the firearm on a specific date to another, and for what or how much consideration (for example, money, or a barter, or a gift). I also suggest that you always note the make, model, and the serial number of the firearm. Finally, ask for basic identification so you can verify the age of the recipient and the name of the party buying the firearm.


Finally, a word of caution: with the proliferation of online listing sites, where people can list firearms for sale, I have seen a rash of serious incidents occurring at face-to-face meetings to finalize the transaction. Many people have been set up, being robbed of the firearms they are selling or of the money they’re bringing with them to buy a gun. Make sure you are careful where and how you meet the seller or buyer. Conduct the transaction in a safe place and with others, if possible.

As always, for questions about legally conducting the private sales of a firearm or anything else, please contact U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.

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