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Questions on Private Handgun Sales in Arizona

March 3, 2009 Federal Firearms Laws, Firearms Transfers No Comments

Question:  Adult over 21 with no criminal back ground.  I recently purchased a hand gun through a private sale, face to face from a co-worker both residents of AZ, and over 21. With a third party witness.  Any problems with this.  Is a bill of sale required by law? Is registration of the firearm required by law?  In regards to the private sale of handguns, shotguns, or rifles in the State of AZ.  What is required by law for an adult over 21 years of age for the private sector purchase or transfer of firearms in regards to written documentation, if any?

Answer: It looks like you covered all your bases.  In Arizona it is perfectly legal to do a private sale of either a handgun or a long gun as long as the transaction is done face-to-face between two Arizona residents.  Actually the age minimum is 18 years of age for  a private transaction.  You must be 21 to buy a firearm from a federally licensed dealer.  There is no witness or bill of sale required, but both are a good idea.  A bill of sale provides a written record of the transaction.  I would recommend a bill of sale in ANY private transaction, whether or not it involves firearms.  The fact that you had someone witness the transaction is not bad, but not required either.

In Arizona, there is NO firearms registration.  Most people confuse the BATF 4473 form they complete when purchasing a firearm from a federally licensed dealer as ‘registration’.  Actually it is just a record of the transfer, much like the bill of sale that I would recommend for a private party transfer.  The BATF 4473 requires the purchaser to provide personal identifying information and certify that they are not a ‘prohibited possessor’ under federal law.  In Arizona, someone purchasing a handgun from a federally licensed dealer must also either present a valid CCW and photo ID, or undergo an instant background check through the NICS system.

You do not need to do anything else regarding your transaction.  I would only recommend that in the future you get a bill of sale to provide a written record of the transaction.

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