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What is a Firearm Bill of Sale?

A Firearm Bill of Sale documents the transfer of a pistol, rifle, shotgun, or another type of firearm from a seller to a buyer. 

A Firearm Bill of Sale is used to document the transaction as well as both parties’ personal information after the seller agrees to transfer ownership of a gun to the buyer.

When you sell a gun, having the correct documentation can protect you if there are any future legal or criminal difficulties with the sold weapon. The documents and methods necessary to sell a gun may change depending on the state.

Check your local regulations before purchasing or selling privately owned firearms. A bill of sale for a weapon (gun) acts as formal paperwork indicating a firearm was sold from one person to another on legal grounds fulfilling all the formalities.

It includes the buyer and seller’s contact information, information on the firearm(s), the method of payment utilized, and the parties’ signatures. 

While a bill of sale is not usually necessary in this sort of transaction, employing one confirms that the buyer is the new legitimate owner and the seller no longer has control of the handgun.

Who Should Issue a Bill of Sale for a Firearm?

In most jurisdictions, you are not obliged to utilize a Firearm Bill of Sale when privately selling or buying a gun. 

However, employing a Firearm Bill of Sale protects you by demonstrating that a transaction occurred, which means the other party cannot claim theft or that they never got the gun. It covers the following points:

  • The seller owned the pistol, and it was not stolen.
  • The seller wanted to lawfully transfer gun ownership to the buyer.
  • This firearm was transferred (i.e., year of manufacturing, model number, unique identification marks).
  • The vendor offered guarantees and assurances about the firearm’s condition or sold it “as is.”

You may be held legally accountable for anything related to the gun if you do not use this form. This includes any fees, infractions, fines, or criminal activity.

 If you wish to privately sell a gun to a friend, a Firearm Bill of Sale can act as a receipt between two unlicensed persons.

Dealers, such as pawn shops, who often acquire and sell weapons for profit, must get a Federal Firearms License (FFL) from the ATF.

What are the contents Included in a Firearm Bill of Sale?

A basic firearm bill of sale should include the following information:

  • Information on the people involved in the sale
  • Seller’s name
  • Buyer’s Name
  • Seller’s address
  • Buyer’s address
  • Information Regarding Firearms
  • Current Model Status/ Condition, such as if the gun needs repairs
  • Price and Sale Date 
  • Signatures of the Parties Involved


Whether it is mandatory to have a Firearm Bill of Sale?

Although most jurisdictions do not legally enforce it, it is often regarded as a prudent precaution. When selling or buying a gun in a private transaction, you will need documentation of transfer. 

The bill of sale is an excellent document to have on file since it details who participated in the transaction, how much the item was sold for (or transferred for), and the date the transaction occurred.

This information may be useful if you ever need to prove that you are the legitimate owner or that you are no longer accountable for the property. Keep in mind that certain states need additional steps to sell or exchange a handgun in a private sale.

These activities might involve running a criminal background check, getting a license to buy/own a firearm, and/or transferring the firearm through an FFL dealer.