Selling of Guns Requires More Than Just Legal Documents

The outside of Tim Nelson’s gun shop, Intimidator Sports, located in Nedrow, N.Y. (c) 2018 Alexandra Jennerjahn

Click the play button above to learn why those who sell guns are just as involved with making sure guns are in safe hands.

Audio Transcript: Process of Selling Guns

By Alexandra Jennerjahn, NEDROW, N.Y. (NCC News) – Recent mass shootings have resulted in conversations about stricter gun laws; however, sellers seem to be just as involved in making sure guns are in safe hands.

“Honestly, I have no idea what you have to do to sell a gun. I’d like to think you have to have a license yourself to sell a gun,” Grace Charles, a resident of Syracuse, said. “Just as they’re trying to do more in-depth background checks on buyers of guns, they should do the same with sellers.”

Tim Nelson, owner of Intimidator Sports, a gun shop in Nedrow, verified Charles’ hopes.

“You have to get several licenses to sell firearms,” Nelson said. “From the initial start until the time you could open your door, it could be 16 to 18 months, and we have to pass the background check.”

Once a gun shop opens, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) do frequent inspections on the shops and their sellers.

“They check our records, make sure all my guns are inventoried, make sure I’m not missing any firearms, and they do sporadic random checks. They check all my log books to see where the guns are coming from. They check to see where they’re going,” Nelson said. “If we get a customer that’s delayed or denied, we have to keep them in a separate folder, and they’ll check them to make sure they’re all documented appropriately.”

The safety of this business relies on more than legal documents, though. It’s important that sellers are knowledgeable and alert.

Every time a buyer comes into a shop to make a purchase, sellers try to get a general feel for what the buyer wants to do with the gun. If the seller believes something doesn’t seem right, then regardless of what the ATF says, and even if the buyer is in good legal standing, the seller still has the right to deny the sale.

“[We have] basically three main customers. You got somebody who wants to go out and target shoot, you got somebody who wants personal defense, or somebody that’s hunting,” Nelson said.

If the buyer doesn’t fit into that category, it raises more questions as to why the buyer would need a gun.

“The more they talk, you can get a feel. So, yeah, I’ve denied several people,” Nelson said.

If a buyer gets denied, they can try to appeal the process, but it could take years for them to obtain a firearm.