How to Use Collector Sites when Buying Pistols
Depending on the state you’re in, buying and selling guns online may be illegal.
Federal gun rules
In the United States, laws are federal in nature. In other words, there’s a federal national government and then there are the state governments.
In the United States, gun sales are governed on the state level. There are federal rules for gun commerce but they’re fairly high level. When it comes to collecting guns and buying guns on a small-scale basis, you basically have to deal with state law.
This can be quite tricky because depending on the state you’re in, gun sales, regardless of whether they’re for investment purposes or not, can be quite restrictive. As you can well imagine, there is quite a bit of variation as far as state jurisprudence and local statutes are concerned when it comes to buying, possessing and using firearms of any kind. There’s a tremendous amount of focus on handguns because of recent school shootings, mass shootings and other tragedies.
Now, some states in the union are quite immune to this. They basically assume a fairly neutral stance. Other states, however, are more reactive and their rules for buying and selling guns can be so restrictive that you really can’t buy collector items.
Some states, on the other hand, have a two-level system. They are very restrictive when it comes to normal weapons for normal use. In other words, for example, if you’re looking to buy an AK-47 using the Internet in your state, you might be out of luck. It may well turn out that the restrictions for buying that kind of assault rifle are so problematic that you would be better off buying from a gun show if that’s allowed in your state.
However, some states, as restrictive as they may be regarding regular weapons are actually quite liberal when it comes to collector weapons. Sounds good so far, right? It might seem that you’ve gone on a break.
Well, here’s the problem. You have to pay attention to how your state defines “collectible” guns. This is an issue because many states put an age limit on the gun. In other words, if the gun is 50 years or older, then it qualifies as a collectible. Any younger than that, then it’s a regular weapon.
This is a serious problem because a lot of collectors run afoul of state law. They think that they are just buying a weapon that’s obviously old. Well, it turns out that due to the age of the specific weapon, they are actually not supposed to buy it online. This can lead to all sorts of fines and possible criminal penalties. Bad news.
Unfortunately, ignorance of the law is never an excuse. So, just because you’re clueless regarding the specific definition of collectible guns in your specific jurisdiction doesn’t mean that the judge will let you off. After all, ignorance of the law excuses no one.
So, make sure you’re up on your local statutes and if you are in doubt, buy only the oldest-looking gun you can find. In other words, a person doesn’t have to be some sort of rocket scientist to figure out that the gun is obviously old. So, look for antiques but other than that, you might be skating on thin slice. You might end up in legal hot water if you’re too eager to beef up your collection.