Letter Re: Making Low Profile Firearms Purchases

Thanks so much for your books, which have really opened my eyes. I began with “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It” and have just finished reading “Patriots” for the second time. The first time on Kindle, then I decided I really needed a hard copy as well. After much prayer, my husband has acknowledged the need to prepare as well.

We have just joined the NRA and we will be joining a local gun club next month, as well as looking for proper firearms training. We own a new .22 LR and a Winchester .308. In the area of security, I have two questions:

1.) Today my husband stopped by the gun store to inquire about pistol and shotgun prices. They quoted him on some used ones that sound reasonable for our tight budget. Is there any reason to avoid used guns from a reputable dealer?.

2.) Then he told the clerk that his wife asked him to check into an AR-15. The clerk’s response was “What would she need that for?” How do you go about purchasing such a weapon without looking like a loon? What should the response be to questions like that? Many thanks, – Janice in Virginia

JWR Replies: I recommend avoiding any un-necessary firearms purchase paper ptrails.We have no way of predicting how firearms laws might change in the future, so it is wise to not leave an audit trail. If your state law allows it, then I strongly recommend that all of your subsequent firearms purchases–most importantly handguns–be made from private parties who live in the same state, at gun shows or through auction services such as GunBroker.com, AuctionArms.com, or fixed-price sellers through GunsAmerica.com. Newspaper ads by private party sellers are also a possibility–and often some real bargains can be found–but of course your local selection will be much smaller.

Because all sales of modern (post-1898 manufacture) firearms bought from (or transferred through) a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder must be put on permanent record, a paper trail cannot be avoided. So again, your best alternative is to make only private party gun purchases, without an FFL in the loop.