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Don't Make These 9 Common Mistakes During Private Gun Sales in Delaware

Updated: Mar 4

All gun sales in Delaware must be accompanied by a background check – even a private gun sale in Delaware. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Before selling or transferring a firearm to anyone, you should know the rules, so you avoid liability should the buyer have an incident with the weapon. You can use the services of a licensed gun dealer to make the sale or transfer of a firearm to a private individual. This is called a “Person to Person Transfer” and we do these every day at X-Ring Supply, no appointment needed, for $30. Want to know what the requirements for buying a gun are in Delaware? Check out our blog post here.

By knowing what to do during a private gun sale, you can prevent yourself and the seller from breaking the law and possibly facing felony or misdemeanor charges.

1. Don't Forget the Background Check

Private gun sales in Delaware require a background check. A licensed gun dealer can do a background check for you. The seller and the buyer must appear at the gun dealer's shop at the same time. Bring the firearm with you, unloaded and in a box or case. The gun dealer will run a background check and help you complete the transaction. The background check is to ensure that you are not selling the weapon to someone prohibited from purchasing, owning or possessing a firearm based on state laws.

If you knowingly sell a firearm without a background check, you could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. Subsequent offenses are Class G felonies.

2. Know the Fees for a Background Check

The person buying or selling a gun in Delaware pays for the background check. Licensed dealers cannot charge over $30 (as of 2021) for each background check. This amount may change, so always check before setting up an appointment. Dealers are free to charge less if they so choose. The buyer can pay for the background check in a separate transaction, or the seller can pay it and include it in the cost of the firearm. X-Ring Supply charges $20 for person to person transfer.

3. Know the Exceptions to the Background Check Rules

Make sure you know when you do not need a background check when conducting a private sale of firearms in DE. The background check requirement does not apply to:

  • Firearms manufactured in or before 1898;

  • Some firearms manufactured for competitive shooting or hunting;

  • Transfers between legal guardians or family members;

  • Some replica firearms;

  • Transfers to someone with a valid concealed carry permit;

  • Transfers of a relic or curio to a licensed collector;

  • Transfers to law enforcement officers, whether retired or active; and

  • Transfers to authorized local or state representatives for purposes of the gun buyback program.

4. Don't Forget to Check the Buyer's Identification

If you are making a private sale to a person with a concealed carry permit, make sure the identity of the permit and the buyer's license match up. If either the license or the concealed carry permit looks forged, do not make the sale. You could be charged with a Class G felony.

Additionally, make sure the buyer is of age for the type of weapon you are selling. New for 2022, A buyer must be 18 to purchase a shotgun (including shotgun ammunition) and 21 to purchase a handgun or rifle (including handgun and rifle ammunition).

5. Don't Forget to Get a Bill of Sale

Make sure you write a bill of sale for the buyer and keep a copy for yourself. The bill of sale should accompany any private gun sales Delaware and should include the buyer's and seller's names, addresses, and a good phone number; the make, model and the serial number of the firearm; and the name and address of the licensed gun seller where the transaction took place.

6. Don't Incorrectly Gift Firearms to Family Members

When gifting firearms to family members, they should be immediate blood family members. You cannot gift a firearm to cousins, uncles/aunts, grandparents, stepparents, step-siblings, in-laws or adopted family members. If the family member is not an immediate blood relative, you must conduct the transaction at a licensed gun seller and obtain a background check, just as you would for Delaware private gun sales to a stranger.

If you do gift a family member a firearm, document it with a description of the weapon, including the serial number, name and address of yourself and the family member, and the date. Both parties should sign the document, just as you would with a bill of sale to a stranger.

While gifting a firearm to an immediate family member without a background check is legal, we recommend that the transaction take place at a licensed gun seller so that you can perform a background check. You can read all about gifting firearms to family members in our other blog post.

7. Firearms and Estates

The gun laws for estates in Delaware that contain firearms are complex. We have an article to help guide you through the process, but it is always best to have a probate attorney help you ensure that you do not illegally transfer a firearm if you are unsure of the process. Firearms that belonged to the decedent can be transferred to family members or sold. Even if the will names the person receiving the firearm, always check to ensure that you can simply transfer it or perform a background check. The rules for transferring a firearm through an estate include:

  • Immediate family members only – they must be blood relatives to the decedent.

  • The decedent and the person receiving the firearm (beneficiary) must be residents of the same state.

  • The beneficiary must be legally able to purchase and own a firearm.

Even if the person is a close blood relative, but lives in a different state, you must obtain a background check for family gun transfer Delaware. The executor of the estate should bring the firearm and a copy of the will or trust to a gun store with a valid Federal Firearms License to perform a background check. Remember, X-Ring Supply has helped sell firearms for dozens of estates, big and small, and offers the best rates and service.

8. Be Ready to Facilitate the Transaction Yourself

While you must complete the private guns sales DE transactions at a licensed gun dealer, you should have your own bill of sale and be ready to handle the transfer yourself, whether with cash or a check. We recommend not accepting a check unless you know the person.

9. Don't Forget to Check the Gun

Before you leave your house – make sure the gun is clear. If you are selling ammunition with the gun, keep it separate from the gun.

Come into the gun shop without the weapon and tell the sales clerk that you are there to do a person-to-person transfer and you would like to bring your firearm into the store for transfer. Bring the firearm into the store with their approval and make sure it is enclosed in a gun case or the box it came in. Hand the box containing the firearm directly to the sales clerk.

If you have a firearm to sell and need to conduct a background check, contact X-Ring Supply at (302)737-6575 to set up an appointment for a background check. We handle walk-in Person to person transfers, but calling ahead is appreciated. Make sure you check out our article about Buying/Selling/Transfering Guns In Delaware, Delaware Gun Laws, 12 Tips for Delaware Open Carry, Delaware Concealed carry application process and How to Properly Store Firearms in your Home.

Bonus TIP: Dont Fall for "Gun Buy Backs"

Many times sellers can get more fore their firearms by selling to a dealer or to an individual than if they were to sell their gun at a government sponsored gun buyback. These buy backs also often pay well below market value and in the form of giftcards instead of actual cash.

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