How to Transfer Gun Ownership in PA

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The process of transferring gun ownership in Pennsylvania is a straightforward process, but there is still a list of things you, as the gun owner, need to do to ensure the gun is legally transferred. It is important to keep in mind that not all gun requires a transfer of ownership, and not every person is eligible to own a firearm.


Transferring an eligible gun, to and eligible person, begins with you and the recipient visiting a licensed firearm dealership or sheriff’s office, where the recipient will undergo a background check. It is critical for you to avoid selling or giving a gun to someone who is not legally allowed to own a gun. At Federal Firearms in South Hills, we want to ensure your transfer goes smoothly, so we have put together some tips on how to complete a gun transfer legally.

What You Need to Know Before the Transfer

  • Before you get started, it is important to know that the sale of a handgun requires a background where the sale of a long gun does not. Although you can give away or sell long guns directly to the recipient, it is recommended that you still go through the transfer process so that you have a record of the sale.
  • Do not purchase a firearm for someone who is not allowed to own one. Crimes such as aggravated assault, stalking, murder, and unlawful restraint can cause someone to lose their right to own a firearm. Selling or giving a gun to someone who is prohibited from owning one is a felony. If you are unsure if they have a conviction or not, wait until the dealership performs the background check for the transfer. If the potential buyer fails the check, do not sell or give them the gun.
  • You should avoid purchasing a gun for someone who is under 18. Individuals under the age of 18 cannot own a gun, but they are able to use or carry a gun with the permission of a parent or grandparent if they are supervised. You can not sell or transfer a gun to someone who is underage. As a parent, you can transfer the gun to yourself, but the gun will belong to you and your minor child.
  • You can skip the transfer if you are immediately related. The standard transfer process is not required if you are transferring to your child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, or spouse. Knowingly giving a family member who is ineligible to own a gun could still result in you being charged with a felony.

How to Complete the Transfer Between Private Individuals

  • You and the recipient will need to visit a sheriff’s office or a licensed gun dealership to complete the sale and the transfer of ownership. Be sure to ask the dealership for the Federal Firearms License (FFL) to confirm that they are licensed. The current owner of the gun and the recipient of the gun need to be present to transfer the gun. Whether you are selling the gun or giving it away, you will need to complete a transfer of ownership. This also applies even if the sale occurred at a gun show.
  • Be sure to bring government-issued photo ID and complete all required forms. You can use a driver’s license or a government employee ID, but they must have a photo. The seller and buyer must both have a photo ID. As the seller, you will fill out Form 4473, known as the Firearms Transaction Record, as well as a record of sale form, whether you are giving it away or selling it. This form should be filled out together with the buyer at the dealership, who will then process and submit the form to the state.
  • Have a background check ran on the buyer. The buyer must pass a background check to complete the transfer. The background check will cost $2.00 plus any additional fees the dealership decides to charge for the processing.
  • Get the receipt of the transfer and give the gun to the recipient. Once the process is completed, you will receipt the receipt of the transfer, which should be kept in a safe place since it is proof that the proper laws of transferring the gun were followed. Once you have this receipt, you can hand over the unloaded gun to the recipient.

Dealer Transfer Services in South Hills

At Federal Firearms, we are licensed and qualified to complete a transfer of ownership for you. You can visit our Transfer Info page for more information and guidelines for completing a transfer with us. When searching for a “gunsmith near me,” be sure to choose Federal Firearms for all of your gunsmithing needs.

Our professional and experienced team is prepared to help you with all of your firearm related needs. Contact us today to learn more!

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