With an estimated 300 million, and growing, number of firearms in America, it’s not really a surprise that second-hand gun markets are thriving. Apparently, according to this story from kmov.com, guns are even being sold privately at yard sales in St. Louis.
“Microwaves, TVs, firearms, what a deal, it’s kind of crazy isn’t it?” said St. Louis city Alderman Joe Vaccaro in the story of a yard sale where several firearms were openly for sale. “I just think it’s wild that you can do these things, it just doesn’t even make common sense.”
But private sales have been exempt from the NICS background check system since it was put in place, to allow for people to sell personal firearms or guns that were handed down to them for which they don’t have a use. Of course, some people try to take this too far, regularly buying and selling quantities of guns as private sales. But this is illegal, and falls under the purview of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
The story says folks in Missouri aren’t only selling used guns, but that they’re bartering for them as well.
“What about wanting to trade your wedding dress for guns? A simple Craigslist search revealed numerous people in the local area wanting to meet up to swap guns for items ranging from rims to jet skis, a Corvette, a kayak, a bicycle, and even dozens of decades old Playboy magazines.
“Almost every seller saying they’d take cash or would consider a fair trade for firearms.
“When News4 reached out (to) the seller of the wedding dress, she said she wanted ‘pistols and assault rifles’ in exchange for the white dress from her big day.”
“That was a new one. I have never seen a wedding dress trade for a firearm, but in fact, it would be perfectly legal,” said John Hamm of the ATF in the story.
As long as neither the buyer nor the seller is a felon and the both live in the same state, private sales are perfectly legal. If either party and/or the firearm has to cross state lines for the sale, it must be completed via a licensed firearms dealer that will perform a NICS check. The burden of making sure everything is on the up-and-up is on the seller by law.
In some states, like New Jersey, private sales of handguns are prohibited, because the purchase of handgun requires a permit, so check your local laws to be sure of what’s legal where you live.
It should also be mentioned you can’t actually sell firearms on Craigslist, but parties can arrange to meet for a sale.
The story says that one person who responded to inquiries about trading on Craigslist said he would have insisted on a background check, and a seller at the yard sale also wanted to check potential buyers.