How Safe is it to Buy Firearms at an Auction?

Firearms enthusiasts have many opportunities to purchase a weapon of their choice: at a local dealer, gun shops and even auctions or gun shows.

How can you be sure that the firearm you are purchasing is safe and has a clear background? Can you be positive that you are legally purchasing a weapon at an auction? These questions may be plaguing the back of your mind, but rest assured — you are perfectly safe.

Live auctions are a fantastic way to find all types of firearms, and specialty auctioneers are often quite knowledgeable about the market in general and are avid collectors themselves. These tips will help you see how fun and easy it can be to get a great deal on guns at an auction.

Know Your Restrictions

There are federal and sometimes local restrictions on purchasing weapons and ammunition. These do change based on locality, so it is important to understand your specific requirements based on the type of firearm you would like to purchase.

In general, you must be 21 years or older to purchase a handgun and age 18 and up for shotguns, rifles and other long guns. There are also restrictions on sellers, so it is critical to only purchase from a licensed seller who is following the correct rules and standards. Some seller restrictions include the inability to sell to someone who is an illegal alien or using a controlled substance, received a dishonorable discharge from the military and more.

What to Know Before You Bid

Auctions offer an exciting and fast-paced environment for purchasing, but you can’t let your emotions get in the way of your bidding strategy.

Know how much you are planning to spend before you make your first bid, and have a good idea of what you would like to purchase. Don’t find yourself with buyer’s remorse after going way over your budget or purchasing something that wasn’t exactly what you wanted. Don’t be afraid to be picky, and write down your standards before heading to the auction itself! This will help you keep on track.

You could even bring an accountability buddy who can help talk you down if you’re in the heat of the moment and the bidding is hot and heavy. Know the approximate market value of the firearm you would like to purchase so you’re not overbidding for something you could purchase elsewhere for less.

Be Aware of Reserves

Have you seen a fantastic piece of weaponry sold for pennies on the dollar at auction and wonder who got that great deal? If you’re not at an absolute auction, the reality may be that the piece didn’t sell at all.

The auction house often has reserves, or a minimum bid, for each item. If that minimum isn’t met, then the auctioneer will announce the item as “sold” to a house number — effectively a “no sale”. It’s good to be aware of any reserves, but these are rarely published in advance.

Going to a firearm auction can be an entertaining and enjoyable way to spend the day. You may see unique pieces that wouldn’t be available at traveling gun shows or your local store. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be bidding safely at your next gun auction!

~ Firearm Daily

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