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The legality of private gun sales

| Jul 28, 2020 | Weapons Charges

A person with guns to sell in Minnesota did not have many legal hurdles to jump until recently. This is because the sale of firearms in America was not heavily regulated for most of its history. But now, background checks and registration as a firearm dealer are common to gun sales as lawmakers continue to increase the regulations necessary to buy and sell firearms.

In 2016, President Barack Obama signed an executive order with the intent to combat weapons crimes. The federal laws made it necessary for all people in the firearms selling business to submit to a background check and become a licensed firearm dealer. A White House factsheet says that “quantity and frequency” of sales are the main determinants in identifying who is an official participant in the firearm selling business. However, the fact sheet made no mention of a specific number needed to earn a designation as a firearms dealer.

Private sales are probably legal without these background checks and registration if they take place on a one-time basis. However, unlicensed dealers have been prosecuted and convicted for selling as few as two firearms or making sales on less than a handful of occasions.

Many online marketplaces have banned gun sales altogether. Major platforms that have taken this stance include Facebook, eBay and Craigslist. Private gun owners should make sure they understand the policies of a particular marketplace before listing a firearm for sale.

Both state and federal lawmakers have pushed for more regulation of firearm sales in recent years. A violation of these regulations can result in substantial jail time or monetary fines. Individuals who want to remain on the right side of the law when selling a firearm from a private gun collection may benefit from speaking to an attorney familiar with gun control regulations in their state.

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