NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – If you buy a hand gun from a gun shop in Tennessee, you need to pass a background check.
But if two private citizens buy and sell a gun, that transaction doesn’t require a background check-and it is legal.
News 2’s Andy Cordan was offered a chance to buy a gun on the street the other day from a man who first tried to pawn it.
It happened Monday about 5 p.m. when the man left the shop in South Nashville carrying a gun he later identified as a TEC-9, a semi-automatic pistol.
He put the gun in the bed of his pickup truck, and News 2 asked about it as he left the parking lot.
“It’s for sale if you want it,” he said, adding that if Andy wanted to buy it, he’d have to check if he’s legally able to buy it. “But if you are interested in it, I am trying to sell it.”
Nobody at the pawn shop would talk on camera, but they did confirm that before trying to sell the Tech 9 in the street, the man tried to sell the Tech 9 at the store.
A source in the store told news 2 the company has a policy that they don’t accept guns that can be made into fully automatic weapons.
Special agent Michael Knight with the ATF said private parties sell guns responsibly and legally every day.
“Individuals who don’t meet the criteria of any prohibitive categories potentially can sell a fire arm in the legal boundaries,” Knight explained.RELATED: Do I need a license to buy and sell firearms?
He continued, “We are concerned about violent crime. We work with Metro police and other agencies for the purpose of reducing fire arm violence. If it falls in that category, yes, we are concerned, but there is a fine light between the right for ownership of firearms and responsibility and we ask the public, when have legally owned firearms, to write down the Serial number and make and model and take a photograph and keep it with fire arms so if the weapon is stolen or sold they have a record of the firearm.”
News 2 looked into the background history of the man who allegedly tried to sell the Tech 9.
In Metro, since 2013, he has been charged 21 times, all with misdemeanors. Those charges include failures to appear, disorderly conduct, criminal trespass, probation violation, failure to be booked, and driving on revoked license.
News 2 also showed the transaction to the range master at the Nashville Armory where many guns are sold.
“I have mixed emotions. It is legal to make an occasional sale in the state, but I, personally-if I was going to sell a gun-I would want to make sure I was selling to someone who could legally possess it, and if I was buying a gun, I would want to know the gun was legal for me to buy,” Leroy Farris explained.
The ATF recommends that all third-party sales go through a federal firearm licensee, or FFL. They conduct background checks and complete necessary paperwork.
The ATF also says if private citizens choose not to go this route, they should be diligent to make sure the gun can be legally sold and the buyer can legally buy it.