On an earlier post I mentioned that any gun owner worth his salt would make a bill of sale when transferring a firearm to a private seller. Some reacted quite harshly at the idea demanding to know if I was some sort of gun grabber/fascist/etc. My guess is that they don’t like the idea or have not though about it some.
Why a bill of sale? Basically you are looking to have some sort of documentation that proves you are no longer the owner of a firearm that might be involved in a crime later down in the timeline and for one specific reason: I do not want to give investigators a reason to check on me, but to send them down the line with a question answered fast and efficiently. This goes double if the firearm is a handgun bought from a FFL and you filled the dreaded form 4473.
Yes Virginia, sometimes Law Enforcement officers will trace the ownership of a gun from crime to manufacturing. As I heard it from former Taurus USA President Bob Morrison, any LEO organization investigating a crime can contact ATF to trace a firearm. ATF access the manufacturer’s database and in seconds knows where the gun was shipped to and the only thing they need to do is to contact the FFL who will go into the bound book and produce the name of the person who bought the firearm. If the name of the person does not match the name of the suspect or they do not have a name of the suspect, they may go ahead and drop by the address as it appears in the form and have a chat with the resident. If the resident is the person that appears in the 4473, there will be some questions asked until they are satisfied that person has nothing to do with the event or was not a contributing factor or is somebody whose character is less than stalwart or can be charged with a crime if they are really desperate to make progress or show a result.
I am particularly fond of mailing myself any possibly important document that needs to be time-stamped. Some call this “The poor man’s Copyright” as many songwriters have used to establish date of creation of a particular piece without having to go through the expense in time and money of registering the song by the usual means. Some advocate the use of registered mail and even leave it at a safe deposit box or mail it to your lawyer’s address with your name clearly in the envelope and instructions to your lawyer not to open and to be pout away in your file for possible future use. Any which way, it gets hard for any agency to say that the document in question is somehow suspicious if it bears marking of a federal institution. I will admit to certain amount of laziness and say I am satisfied with mailing the well-sealed envelope to myself. By the way, make some sort of notation on the outside of the envelope to know what the contents are inside.
In the unlikely event that you are visited by members of the badge, you can produce the sealed envelope and after demanding a receipt for it, you can turn the contents to the LEOs. And, of course you have a copy of the bill of sale tucked somewhere as back up till they end their investigation and return the document. I this age of digital everything, why not take that extra effort?
So, why give them a chance to screw with your life when a piece of paper can send them down the road in an expeditious matter and leave you alone?
Now, if you find this procedure an egregious assault against your rights as a citizen, just don’t buy a gun from somebody who requests a bill of sale. It is that simple.
I am wondering if it is also an egregious assault against your rights as a citizen to check if the firearm you are buying from private citizen is stolen or not.
Just a thought, you know?