Gun/Firearm Bill of Sale (How to Fill & Use)

A Firearm Bill of Sale is an official document that approves and records a firearm transaction or any concealed weapon between two parties. Purchasing a personal firearm from a dealer or at a gun show will carry different liabilities. Sellers are advised to be careful not to trade with convicted felons. Legally documenting the transaction is important to both the Seller and the buyer.


Concealed Carry

Concealed carry is the practice of moving with a hidden weapon in public. In most states, if a person owns a concealed weapon, he/she is required to have a legal permit, while in others, they can possess a concealed weapon without a license. Concealed Carry is practiced mostly because of self-defence.

Getting a permit

One can get a concealed weapon in any state in the country, but a permit will be required. Getting a permit depends on the carrier’s ability to make clear and precise judgments. There are constitutional rights in most Midwest areas that allow one to own a concealed weapon without the need of a permit; however, in cities like New York, a citizen will be required to have one.

Federal firearms license (FFL)

A Federal Firearms License is a legal document given to owners of gun shops or gun businesses. This document allows them to transact, manufacture, import, or transport weapons in the United States. To get the document, gun business owners need to follow certain procedures like performing a background check on their customers to buy ammunition. In some cases, gun owners might want to sell their guns privately, if so, they do not require to have an FFL unless there are laws in the state that require them to have the document.

How to Sell a Firearm

Dealing with weapons can put one in a sensitive situation; therefore, a seller should familiarise himself/herself with how to go about it.

There are several steps that one needs to consider before selling a firearm.

Look up gun laws

It would be wise of a seller to be aware of the legalities involved when dealing with ammunition. It would help if you went through the local, state, and government laws. Some states strictly advocate for buyers to have permits, while others prefer sales to be carried out by genuine dealers. An example would be in California, where a private gun sale from an unauthorized dealer will be a misdemeanor.

Sell to a trusted person

When selling a gun, make sure the buyer can be trusted. This is why guns are not sold online like the way a shoe can be displayed up for sale. If need be, a dealer should sell to a trusted family member or friend. If this is impossible, the Seller should demand the buyer to provide proof of identity.

Perform a background check

If the buyer’s records do not convince a seller, he/she should perform a criminal background check. This reduces the Seller’s liability in case the buyer has been a criminal at any point in his life.

Negotiate the sale

After ensuring that the buyer has a clean record, the dealer will negotiate the sale. The two parties agree on the mode of payment. This might be through cash, cheques, instalments, or even the trade of guns.

Write a bill of sale

A Bill of Sale states the terms of the transaction. The document contains the names of the parties involved in the transaction, the amount to be paid, and a disclaimer from the buyer assuring the public that he/she can purchase the firearm. This document legally protects the Seller if the gun is used carelessly or causes harm.

Make the exchange

This is the final step. The seller hands over the gun while the buyer makes the payment.

How to Write the Firearm Bill of Sale

Writing a Bill of Sale requires attention to details to prevent ignorance that might lead to a lawsuit in a court of law. Here are the steps one needs to consider as a guide to help in the process

Filing date

Start by writing the date when the firearm Bill of Sale has been filed at the top of the page.

The parties

The second step is to include the parties involved, that is:

  • Buyer’s name: The person purchasing the firearm should be identified with his/her full names.
  • Buyer’s address: The legal address of the buyer should be provided as it appears on his/her State I.D. i.e the Driver’s License.
  • Seller’s name: Make sure to include the dealer’s name but if the firearm is being purchased from a Business Entity, i.e a gun shop, then use the entity’s name.
  • Seller’s address: The business address or the seller’s address is required as it appears in his/her State I.D.

For example, “This Bill of Sale is made between Charles McCray with a mailing address of 53 South Street, Boston 4563 and Greg McCarty with a mailing address of Lane 07, Boston 4563.”

Firearm detail

There are many types of firearms in terms of appearance and make. The only way to distinguish the preferred firearm is by having the background or foundational knowledge of the weapon. This prevents unnecessary accidents as it provides you with details on how to handle it.

Here are some of the details one requires to know:

  • Make: This is where you name the manufacturer of the firearm that is being purchased to aid in identification of the weapon.
  • Type: Identifying the type of firearm can be quite easy because it can be through a thorough visual inspection or from the manufacturer’s information. The gun-type may be a rifle, machine gun, sniper rifle, etc.
  • Calibre: The calibre is the diameter of the gun barrel of the firearm being purchased and it should be reported in millimetre (mm).
  • Serial number: A serial number is mandatory on a bill of sale. It is important for a firearm being purchased to have one because of clear identification that will be required by future reviewers of this document. It is usually located on the gun’s handle but it can also be found on the slide or trigger guard. If the gun being purchased has more than one serial number, report both making sure to mention the part these numbers are located.


When conducting a fire arm sale, there needs to be proof of purchase. This prevents any risks that come with incorrect payments. This documentation also helps future owners to know the worth of these firearms. The bill of sale should contain:

  • Payment Amount: The total amount required for this purchase should be indicated. This includes the original negotiating price even if the seller is accepting a trade as payment.
  • Payment Date: The date the client should submit the payment (deadline) can be the same as the document date. Make sure to select the checkbox that indicates the deadline of payment.
  • Payment options: The buyer can make payment in form of a cheque, credit card, money order, wire transfer or cash. It is advisable to avoid cash so as to establish as much of documentation as possible in the transaction of the firearm. However, if the firearm is being transacted for a fraction of its original price or in exchange for the buyer’s property, try and mention this information be selecting the appropriate checkbox in the document. The buyer should describe the nature of the property being accepted as payment.

No warranty

No warranty means that the seller will not be responsible for any damages the firearm might have after the purchase. All the risk will be assumed to the buyer after the purchase.


Last step is to finalize the firearm bill of sale document by including:

  • Buyer’s Signature: The buyer must sign this document to prove ownership and participation in this transaction
  • Buyer’s Signature date and Printed Name: To support the buyer’s act of signing, he/she needs to indicate the date the document was signed as well as his/her printed name.
  • Buyer’s Driver’s License and Issuing State: The buyer indicates his/her driver’s license as well as the state of the firearm making sure it is in good condition.
  • Seller’s Signature: The dealer completes the document by signing which will confirm release of the firearm to the new owner.
  • Seller’s Signature Date, and Printed Name: To support the seller’s act of signing, he/she will indicate the date the document was signed and his/her printed name.
  • Seller’s Driver’s License and Issuing State: The issuing State will have details like, the seller verifies that the firearm details are accurate, and that the firearm is in good condition.

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By state


Different states have different laws governing the sale/purchase of firearms. Some states strictly require registration of some firearms; some require registration of all firearms, while some do not necessarily require registration of firearms at all. Apart from this, matters dealing with conducting a background check also differ in different states.

Here is a breakdown of the different gun laws in different states:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you sell a gun without a serial number?

No, selling a gun without a serial number will be considered a crime. Most guns without serial numbers are used for criminal activities. This might end you in a court of law.

How do you write a Bill of Sale?

Start by writing the filing date, followed by details of the two parties involved that is the buyer and the Seller. Highlight both their names and addresses. Mention the firearm details in terms of the make, type/model, caliber, and serial number (SN) of the firearm. You will be required to write the payment amount, the date you made the payment, and the payment options are given. Finalize your document by signing and writing the date.

Is a Bill of Sale a legally binding document?

Yes, the document is simply a physical contract between the buyer and the Seller, as long as the guidelines required in the state are followed.

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