Can I Sell a Gun to Friends and Family Members in Texas?

Texas currently has more than one million residents who are active holders of concealed handgun permits. Though our state’s constitution guarantees every Texan the right to “keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the State,” ever-changing laws and regulations can make it difficult to understand exactly how to legally buy and sell firearms.

The Sale of Private Firearms

Who You Can (and Can’t) Sell To

Texas residents must be at least 18 years old to purchase rifles, shotguns, and ammunition, and residents must be 21 years old to purchase a handgun.

Texas Law Sec. 46.06. The Unlawful Transfer of Certain Weapons outlines restrictions regarding the private sale of guns and weapons. It states that a person commits an offense if they:

  • Knowingly sell to a person who intends to use the weapon unlawfully;
  • Knowingly sell to a person younger than 18 years old;
  • Knowingly sell to a person who is intoxicated;
  • Knowingly sell to a person who cannot legally own a firearm. For example, those with a felony conviction cannot own a firearm until five years after their release from jail or supervised release.

This is a brief list of the most common regulations. A full list of all restrictions can be found here.

Do I Need to Run a Background Check?

No, state law does not require private sellers to conduct universal background checks. However, sellers do still have a responsibility to conduct their sale in a legal manner, meaning they can’t sell to those who they know are ineligible. They also can’t sell a defaced firearm (a firearm with the serial number scratched off), or a restricted firearm (explosive weapon, machine gun, etc.).

Keeping a Record of the Sale

Though Texas law does not require you to keep formal paperwork documenting the change in ownership, we highly recommend that you do. Should the firearm be used in illegal activity, this bill of sale can help to prove that you are no longer the owner of the gun. A bill of sale should include:

  • The date of the transaction;
  • The firearm’s make, model, serial number, and color;
  • The name, address, phone number, and e-mail of the buyer;
  • A photo of the buyer’s Texas Driver’s License or License to Carry a Handgun.

As a former federal prosecutor, criminal court judge, and U.S. Marine Corps officer, Patrick McLainknows what you are up against and what it takes to win a fight. If you’re facing weapons charges, contact us online or at (214) 238-9392 to schedule a consultation with our accomplished Dallas federal criminal defense lawyers.