We often have people ask if there are any guidelines that they should follow when they are buying or selling a firearm. Today we are going to go through what those common practices might look like and steps you can take to protect yourself when buying or selling firearms privately.
Tips for the Buyer:
1. Really look at the pictures. What does the advertisement look like? Does it look like someone took a picture of the firearm or does it look like it’s they may have taken it off of a business’s website or off of the internet? Ask for specific shots of the firearm to verify it is legitimate and in their possession.
2. Does the price seem too good to be true for the firearm being sold? If so, it probably is, err on the side of caution.
If you decide that the advertisement is valid and the person you are corresponding with is local and you wish to meet up to complete the exchange, do so in a public area, don’t provide them with your address. Depending on where you live there may be a designated swap spot at your local police detachment that is specifically for online exchanges, call first to verify.
Trust your instincts when setting up a meeting, if you have any safety concerns don’t be afraid to cancel.
Tips for the Seller:
1. Never accept payment in the form of a cheque or a money order, these can be canceled or bounce. Instead, stick to cash, credit card, or e-transfer payments then you can confirm receipt of payment before handing over the item.
For both parties:
1. Ensure that the person you are dealing with has a valid Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) for the type of firearm which they are looking to obtain or sell, you can do this by calling into the Canadian Firearms Program’s (CFP) toll-free number 1-800-731-4000.
2. If you are buying or selling on Firearms Canada or any other online websites, check user ratings to see that the person you are corresponding with has a solid background and that you can trust them. Talk to people that they have had previous dealings with to reduce your risk.
3. Be cautious of vague initial inquiries that may be general and not specific to your firearm or watch for poor grammar or spelling, this could raise red flags that it may be a scam.
When a transaction is for a Non-Restricted firearm to another individual, besides verifying their PAL, nothing further is required. However, if it is a Restricted or Prohibited firearm, you must call into the CFP to initiate the transfer sequence. This can be done by calling their toll-free number. When doing so you will need the following information to initiate this transfer:
- Full Legal name of the person that the firearm is being transferred to,
- PAL number, and
- Purpose of acquiring firearm set out in section 28 of the Firearms Act which includes, but is not limited to
- target practice,
- target shooting competitions,
- or as a collector
In order to legally purchase, possess, or transport a Restricted firearm you must either have a Long Term Authorization to Transport or have that condition attached to your PAL. To obtain this you need to be a member of a CFP approved gun club or gun range and send proof of your membership into the Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) of your Province who will review the transfer to ensure that the transferee is acquiring the firearm for one of the permitted purposes mentioned above. The Silvercore Shooting club is a federal club that also includes 10 million in liability insurance throughout North America which satisfies this requirement (Silvercore Shooting Club).
Once the transfer has been completed, both parties will receive a confirmation notice by mail to advise that the transfer has been completed and the new registration certificate will be mailed to the new owner within the following weeks.