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Sammy “Shooter” Williams held his 29th annual gun auction on Saturday.

Over 700 bidders from 9 states bid live in addition to 475 online bidders from throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.

Shooter holds an Federal Firearms License (FFL) and as such, he can do any of the following:

  • Engage in the business of selling firearms
  • Possess firearms belonging to others
  • Buy and sell firearms, as a business
  • Hold oneself out as a dealer in guns
  • Make a living in dealing in guns
  • Repeatedly assist the same seller with the sale of their guns
  • Conduct a gun consignment auction, or take gun consignments

Without an FFL, Shooter would not be able to do any of those aforementioned actions, but rather would only be able to assist an owner to sell a gun at auction without taking possession, and not hold himself out as a gun dealer, nor facilitate a gun sale across state lines.

We wrote extensively about auctioneers selling guns at auction here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2010/01/17/a-guide-for-auctioneers-selling-guns/

Our story today regards one particular buyer at Shooter’s Saturday gun auction. Harry Johnson was the high bidder on a Glock 9mm handgun for $1,050. Harry approached the checkout area and was informed he would have to pay for the gun, and then fill out an ATF Form 4473 and a background check would be completed.

    Harry countered, “I’m not subject to a background check … ”
    Shooter’s staff replied, “Oh, yes you do, unless you are an FFL yourself.”
    Harry replied, ” … but I have a concealed carry permit.”

Every day in the United States, auctioneers sell guns at auction, and at nearly every one of those auctions, this issue of a “concealed carry permit” surfaces.

The discussion normally revolves around the concealed carry holder’s contention that he or she is entitled to any gun at auction without satisfying a background check (after filling out a ATF Form 4473)

Actually, a concealed carry permit does not strictly exempt any gun buyer from the requirement of completing a background check and the ATF Form 4473. On the contrary, in a few states a concealed carry permit may qualify as an alternative to the background check requirements, subject to the FFL’s discretion.

Every state in the United States has a policy regarding concealed carry of firearms. These laws are broken into basically 4 categories: “Shall-issue” states, “May-issue” states, “Unrestricted” states and “No-issue” states.

The Shall-issue states are required to issue a concealed carry permit to anyone who meets the requirements. The May-issue states have the option to issue or not, given the applicant’s completing the requirements. In an Unrestricted state, no permit is required; these states are commonly “Constitutional carry.” The No-issue states do not permit any concealed carry.

Also notable, states denote a concealed carry permit holder by different words or names: Some use:

    Concealed Handgun License/Permit (CHL/CHP)
    Concealed (Defensive/Deadly) Weapon Permit/License (CDWL/CWP/CWL)
    Concealed Carry Permit/License (CCP/CCL)
    License To Carry (Firearms) (LTC/LTCF)
    Carry of Concealed Deadly Weapon license (CCDW)
    Concealed Pistol License (CPL)

Yet, no matter what policy a state has enacted, a Federal Firearms Licensee may or may not use the concealed carry as an alternative to the background check requirements. Further, even if the concealed carry permit is used as an alternative to the background check requirements, an ATF Form 4473 is still utilized to record the transaction.

Back to Harry Johnson and his purchase of a Glock 9mm handgun … if Harry is himself a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) then no background check is required.

However, lacking an FFL himself, Harry is subject to a background check if Shooter Williams says he is, even if Shooter’s auction is being held in a state where there is a concealed carry law in effect, and that state has been granted an “alternative” status by the ATF.

And — maybe most importantly — the status of the buyer (FFL, concealed carry permit holder, or otherwise) does not alter the requirements for the auctioneer to hold an FFL (or not hold an FFL) when selling guns at auction.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. His Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/mbauctioneer. He serves as Adjunct Faculty at Columbus State Community College and is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.