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Question about selling at a gun show:


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Just to be crystal clear up front, I'm specifically NOT trying to sell any guns here, trying to get advice on how to proceed.

My wife's uncle passed away, and his wife legally passed his gun collection down to us. We are keeping what we want, and are attempting to sell the rest. I sold some of them to our local shop, but the price that they're offering on two specific items is way too low - that's what they're able to offer, specifically based on their current inventory (a glut of these specific types of handguns). Just for reference, what they're offering is around 45% of the price I've seen these specific guns sell for privately. I understand they need to make money (and don't begrudge them that at all), but for the others they purchased from me, they gave me around 70% - 75% of what they're going to sell them for.

With the show coming up this weekend, I figured I'd go up and try to sell them - as near as I can tell, it would be pretty safe (from a legal perspective) for me as a seller; assuming the prospective buyer has a current TN carry permit, the state of TN has done a legal background check, and I can be assured as a seller that to the best of my knowledge (to meet the state's requirements for a private sale) the buyer is legally allowed (by the state) to purchase, correct?

Next question: according to a 2015 story, RK Gun Shows (whom the upcoming show is put on by) is no longer allowing private sales at their shows without a background check. Does the buyer having a current TN carry permit meet that requirement? If this doesn't meet that requirement, is there a way to have the check done at the show prior to the sale?

To be perfectly honest, I'm not interested in meeting up with someone in the parking lot just to avoid running afoul of RK Show's rule. I'd much rather do it safely (from both a personal and legal perspective) and keep it all above board. As a condition of the sale, I will be capturing the individual's personal information, including their HCP number / DL number (since they're the same thing in TN). For my (legal) peace of mind, I will not be selling to someone who doesn't have a permit, and I would have serious issues selling to someone who would have an issue with providing me that documentation for a private sale.

I just want to handle this all correctly, legally, and above-board - please let me know if I can clarify anything, I apologize for the length of this post - I just wanted to be as clear and specific as possible!

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Sign up for a benefactor membership here and sell them on TGO.


As for RK shows, if someone wants to buy your guns you will have to do the transaction in the parking lot instead of inside the show.  There is nothing illegal or shady with conducting the transaction in the parking lot.  Bottom line is do whatever makes you comfortable.  

Edited by KahrMan
  • Like 2
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I hadn't even thought of the membership idea (to be honest). I just checked, and for the same price as transferring at a store, I can join for a year... just need to find a buyer near enough to ETN to meet so I don't have to bother with shipping.

Good idea, I'll do that - thank you!

  • Like 3
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Welcome aboard, the trading post is a good, safe, secure place for buyers and sellers to virtually meet and coordinate the face to face.

As far a meeting someone in a parking lot; well known to me or known to a person I trust.

TGO members are special, I'll meet with them in dark alleys...

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2 hours ago, RShores said:


Next question: according to a 2015 story, RK Gun Shows (whom the upcoming show is put on by) is no longer allowing private sales at their shows without a background check.....

In that thread:

"Here is the reply I received from my email to RK.


Sorry to hear this but I believe you have been miss informed. The fairgrounds in Nashville is requiring this. It's not Rex. We will be doing business as usual everywhere but the fairgrounds. I will get you off and let Rex know.

RK Shows


- OS

Edited by Oh Shoot
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Further down in that same post though: 


Kehrli told Channel 4 he has changed his policy for shows in Tennessee and now requires background checks for all private sales. 

"We have six private sellers, But They are all required to go through a licensed dealer," Kehrli said. "So all firearms willhave background checks run on them." 

To be honest, I think it's a moot point... y'all have all been polite and helpful, and this seems like a community that I'd be willing to pay for the privilege of belonging to - assuming it doesn't turn out like Groucho Marx and the Friar's Club of Beverly Hills!

  • Like 1
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you have an unexpected inventory with really no rush to make a bad deal.  Join here and you will probably move the guns.  Even word of mouth may do so.  Hard to get a fair price at dealers as you have discovered.  HCP is generally a good screen, but not legally binding/absolute.  As long as you believe the buyer is able to do so legally, you are good to go.  To be on the safe side, unless you personally know the individual involved, I would make sure buyer is over 21.

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1 hour ago, gregintenn said:

Just warning you.....we're friendly, but we're a bunch of cheap so and so's when you go to sell something.

I think Greg means know fair market value range and price accordingly based on condition.

I'm in East TN and have gun money from time to time.

I also like chances R perspective, you're not desperate to sell, so who cares how long it will take to get the deal you want.

We also like to trade...my favorite.

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I have bought several guns at RK Gun Shows since 2015 all inside from non dealers with no background checks. One was from a fellow just walking the isles and the others had tables but were not dealers. I have talked to the outside sellers but never found anything that caught my eye, would not be afraid to buy from them.

I'm also in East TN and try to always have some money tucked away for the right guns when I find them.

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Great info already in this thread. And Welcome to TGO RShores!

I believe you'll find a very knowledgeable, fair, and accommodating group of buyers and sellers here on TGO. Most are willing to travel within reason.

I've met quite a few pretty darn awesome folks via these processes as well.

Please bear in mind that we are right in the middle of what many refer to as the "Trump Slump" and it's effect can be seen on everything gun related...Ammo pricing, Firearms, Training etc. But it's just part of "The Cycle" we in the gun community have seen for years. You may well be aware of all this, but I thought I'd toss it out nonetheless.

My point is even with fair pricing it may take a bit of time to sell an item..maybe not! But be patient, summer is generally slower, midterm elections always have some effect one way or another...but I've enjoyed and appreciate having access to this community and it's members.

TGO David has a "sticky" post in the classifieds that is well worth reading:



Again, Welcome and the best of good fortune to you.



  • Like 2
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I've bought and sold at gun shows (prior to the new law) and bought and sold here on TGO.  I prefer to go through TGO. I think you generally meet a higher caliber and more trustworthy person on TGO. All the people I've met have been great.

I'd suggest you get a benefactor account and list the firearms here. Your ad should state your requirements, a photo, and a price. Requirements might be... "must be TN resident and can legally buy a firearm. Must sign bill of sale."  You can look at other ads and figure out how to word this... I'm just going from memory. 

Personally, I would not buy from a newcomer nor would I sell to a newcomer with no history on this board.  Absolutely no offense meant and I'd consider an exception in a case like yours, but that's my rule of thumb.


Edited by jgradyc
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8 minutes ago, jgradyc said:

You have to do a background check if you buy from a private seller in a gun show now, right?  I thought that was a law passed about... what?... three years ago?

No.  There is no such law in the entire State of Tennessee.

  • Like 2
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10 hours ago, jgradyc said:

You have to do a background check if you buy from a private seller in a gun show now, right?  I thought that was a law passed about... what?... three years ago?

I think what you are referring to is that some guns shows require private sellers that buy a table from the show to preform background checks.  It only effected people who set up booths/tables at the show not the people just walking around.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As I understand TN law/rules, you cannot knowingly sell to a prohibited person, like underage or a felon, but you don't have to check.  I once bought a gun out of the trunk of a car, in a big parking lot.  We both got a chuckle from that! 

While you may choose to do more, it is less effort (and fewer requirements) than selling a car in the paper.  A good thing, generally, keeps the government in the dark.   

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