Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default Question Concerning Keeping Bill of Sales/Receipts...

    This evening I stopped by a local gun store to sell a handgun I no longer wanted, and an older guy who appeared to be the manager handed me the bill of sale and told me in a very serious manner to hold onto it. As I grabbed it I made some stupid remark about how I go through guns like water (being picky), and that if I kept every single bill of sale for every single transaction I ever did in the past I'd have a giant phonebook on my hands. I don't really know why I said it, but it poured out of my mouth like diarrhea...

    So I crumpled up the receipt and shoved it into my pocket as I was getting ready to leave, but the guy jumps up and tells me that a friend of his recently got a visit from the ATF because he had a habit of going through lots of guns (like me). Apparently that was enough to get their attention. Then once the ATF showed up at his friend's house they asked for a copy of EVERY SINGLE bill of sale/receipt of EVERYTHING he currently owns AND sold in the past. I just kind of nodded and told him to have a good day. Now this manager guy seemed visibly irritated and serious when he said all this to me, so admittedly it got me a little spooked afterwards.

    So what's the truth behind this? Is this typical crazed fudd lore talk, or do I really have cause for concern for being an idiot by ripping up all my old bill of sales for guns I no longer own? A quick Google search brought me to the Giffords Law Center website. It reads to me like the burden of maintaining the bill of sale records is on the FFLs themselves (for a period of 20 years in PA). There's also a section which gets into "Private Sellers", but it doesn't specifically call out which party keeps the bill of sale for those transactions. I presume that since private sale (handgun) transfers have to be done at FFLs anyway, that they'd once again be the recordkeepers for the bill of sales?

    I don't know, I just don't see the point in all this. Once a gun leaves my hands through an official transfer at an FFL, it's the FFL and/or future buyers' problem at that point. I only keep personal bill of sale records for stuff I CURRENTLY own as proof of ownership, period. And if I'm in the wrong here and it does turn out to be important, what the hell can I do to fix this? I guess just make a list of all the FFLs I dealt with in the past so I can at least tell them where to go to trace everything? I don't know.

    Just to clarify, I'm not worried about the ATF doing something crazy like tossing me in jail for not having a bunch of stupid receipts saved up. What I AM worried about is confiscation and being stripped of my 2A rights while they spend months/years investigating every single gun I touched from all the FFLs I've been to in the past. That's the type of headache I'd like to avoid dealing with, esp. with these new red flag law proposals floating around.

  2. #2
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    York, Pennsylvania
    (York County)
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    Default Re: Question Concerning Keeping Bill of Sales/Receipts...

    I keep all paperwork, BOS, etc. for any gun I sell - to make sure I can prove "it's not mine" should it ever be necessary. Ditto any guns I bought via FFL: I keep the paperwork to match PSP's "it's not a registry" gun registry.

    But on long-guns I've bought "private party" - in full-compliance with the law, mind you - not so much.

    All those guns were lost in regrettable boating accidents anyway, so I have no interest in a piece of paper to 'prove' I own them since they're quite unfortunately rusting away at the bottom of the Susquehanna River.
    "End of Quote. Repeat the Line."

  3. #3
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    Brookville, Pennsylvania
    (Jefferson County)
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    Default Re: Question Concerning Keeping Bill of Sales/Receipts...

    The only time the ATF will show up at a private citizen's home is when they have done a trace on a found gun or gun found/seized from crime/arrest, and you're the last documented person to own the particular gun in the trail of it from origin. ...there may be others after you, like another dealer/private owner - but you just happen to be between two FFL's in the chain. Or a particular gun that you have bought from a FFL had previously been reported stolen, and things had traced to you.

    There is the rare chance that the ATF will follow up on a multi-purchase of handguns, but most of the time it is a local/state officer that will do that. If the ATF shows up, you're already on someone's radar.

    You are under NO obligation in PA to keep any receipt, nor even your copy of the SP4-113 Record of Sale form for "firearm" transfers. ....it just helps to have them because the PSP can be weeks/months behind on adding the transfer to the "database". You really don't want to lie to a federal officer, there are consequences for that. If you're questioned about a gun you no longer own, and that you have legally disposed of it - it is best for YOU legally is to contact a lawyer, or if there is no doubt you had legally disposed of the gun, give them the info of next owner after you.

    The ATF just doesn't show up to inspect your guns/paperwork as a private citizen.

    The local or State Police are more likely to show up than anything. ATF not so..
    RIP: SFN, 1861, twoeggsup, Lambo, jamesjo, JayBell, 32 Magnum, Pro2A, mrwildroot, dregan, Frenchy, Fragger, ungawa, Mtn Jack, Grapeshot, R.W.J., PennsyPlinker, Statkowski, Deanimator, roland

    Don't end up in my signature!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Question Concerning Keeping Bill of Sales/Receipts...

    Quote Originally Posted by knight0334 View Post
    The only time the ATF will show up at a private citizen's home is when they have done a trace on a found gun or gun found/seized from crime/arrest, and you're the last documented person to own the particular gun in the trail of it from origin. ...there may be others after you, like another dealer/private owner - but you just happen to be between two FFL's in the chain. Or a particular gun that you have bought from a FFL had previously been reported stolen, and things had traced to you.

    There is the rare chance that the ATF will follow up on a multi-purchase of handguns, but most of the time it is a local/state officer that will do that. If the ATF shows up, you're already on someone's radar.

    You are under NO obligation in PA to keep any receipt, nor even your copy of the SP4-113 Record of Sale form for "firearm" transfers. ....it just helps to have them because the PSP can be weeks/months behind on adding the transfer to the "database". You really don't want to lie to a federal officer, there are consequences for that. If you're questioned about a gun you no longer own, and that you have legally disposed of it - it is best for YOU legally is to contact a lawyer, or if there is no doubt you had legally disposed of the gun, give them the info of next owner after you.

    The ATF just doesn't show up to inspect your guns/paperwork as a private citizen.

    The local or State Police are more likely to show up than anything. ATF not so..
    Thank you. That definitely puts me a little at ease. Do you know whether they're legally allowed to confiscate all my guns while they're in the process of investigating how the gun ended up in the suspect's hands? Or would they need actual evidence linking me directly to the criminal in order to do that?

    Unfortunately since I can't hop into a time machine and retrieve all my old paperwork, I guess the next best thing I can do is save myself a list of all the FFLs I've dealt with in the past so they'll at least have some leads as to where they can trace how the gun ended up in the criminal's hands. I think that would at least help get them off my back.

    I guess going forward I'm going to have to be a little more picky about which guns I accept. It never really dawned on me that the more guns I sell, the higher my chances are with one of them ending up in the wrong hands somewhere down the line.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Question Concerning Keeping Bill of Sales/Receipts...

    Quote Originally Posted by mmmoose View Post
    Thank you. That definitely puts me a little at ease. Do you know whether they're legally allowed to confiscate all my guns while they're in the process of investigating how the gun ended up in the suspect's hands? Or would they need actual evidence linking me directly to the criminal in order to do that?

    Unfortunately since I can't hop into a time machine and retrieve all my old paperwork, I guess the next best thing I can do is save myself a list of all the FFLs I've dealt with in the past so they'll at least have some leads as to where they can trace how the gun ended up in the criminal's hands. I think that would at least help get them off my back.

    I guess going forward I'm going to have to be a little more picky about which guns I accept. It never really dawned on me that the more guns I sell, the higher my chances are with one of them ending up in the wrong hands somewhere down the line.
    To take any property they need a warrant, or have reasonable suspicion that it is illegal to possess. And since more than likely the guns will be inside out of plain view, and that you will likely be talking to them from your doorway as they are outside - I cant see how they would know what you had.

    You're overthinking something that just isn't going to happen. ...unless you really aren't one of the "good guys", and are in fact one of the folks that have a habit of supplying guns to folks who otherwise couldn't legally buy a gun. (NOT SAYING YOU ARE LIKE THAT, JUST MAKING AN EXAMPLE)


    I've probably owned close to 200 different guns in my life time. Bought most at gun dealers, but many privately. Also under the laws of PA, NC, WV, and FL when I lived in those places for varying numbers of months/years, respectively. Bought/sold handguns and long guns privately in FL(no paperwork required). Bought/sold long guns in NC and WV privately(no paperwork required). Bought/sold handguns and long guns in PA(paperwork only required on the "firearms").

    I presently own 50 guns, right on the money, having inheriting about 16-17 of them just recently. That leaves about close to 150 guns of that 200 mentioned above that I've sold/given away over the years. ....there is no ATF knocking at my door. And only once did I have a local PD visit after a multi-handgun purchase(I posted about that in some other thread).


    I couldn't even begin to remember to who all I've sold/given what.. I have an idea as to some or most, but not all. And I'm not sweating shit about anything.
    RIP: SFN, 1861, twoeggsup, Lambo, jamesjo, JayBell, 32 Magnum, Pro2A, mrwildroot, dregan, Frenchy, Fragger, ungawa, Mtn Jack, Grapeshot, R.W.J., PennsyPlinker, Statkowski, Deanimator, roland

    Don't end up in my signature!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Brookville, Pennsylvania
    (Jefferson County)
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    Default Re: Question Concerning Keeping Bill of Sales/Receipts...

    Now, I'm not saying that you shouldn't perform due diligence. It would be better for YOU if you did keep records, and an accurate kept record could help you stay out of trouble. But odds are that it wont ever be a thing to worry about.
    RIP: SFN, 1861, twoeggsup, Lambo, jamesjo, JayBell, 32 Magnum, Pro2A, mrwildroot, dregan, Frenchy, Fragger, ungawa, Mtn Jack, Grapeshot, R.W.J., PennsyPlinker, Statkowski, Deanimator, roland

    Don't end up in my signature!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    (Allegheny County)
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    Default Re: Question Concerning Keeping Bill of Sales/Receipts...

    Keep the paperwork for any handguns you carry.

    I had my edc consficated during a traffic stop and had to bring the paperwork to the station to get it back.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Glockin, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Question Concerning Keeping Bill of Sales/Receipts...

    Knight said it all, I'll just echo there's not a ton of truth to what the guy said explicit to your situation.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Question Concerning Keeping Bill of Sales/Receipts...

    what about guns passed legally from grand parent to parent to children?
    so much for their their incomplete so called "database" of bullshit.
    Derrion Albert was my Hero.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Levittown, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Question Concerning Keeping Bill of Sales/Receipts...

    I had my edc consficated during a traffic stop and had to bring the paperwork to the station to get it back.
    That is not legal. Being old, I have a number of guns obtained pre-1968, some bring-backs from WWII or given to me by my long-deceased father. Nothing in law says one needs to prove ownership. If law enforcement wants to enforce law, they need to follow the law and it has to prove you are not the owner.
    There are two kinds of guns. Those I have acquired, and those I hope to.

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