May 19, 2013

Garage sale gun buys up

Police caution sellers against sales to felons, other liabilities.

by Caitlin Huston

LOGANSPORT — As guns are increasingly being sold by private sellers, police warn sellers to check out the background of the buyers.

Though it’s legal for private citizens to sell guns to buyers over the age of 18, police say sellers should still take the precaution of conducting a criminal background check to prevent any legal liability.

Sellers could face legal issues if they sell to a convicted felon or if the gun ends up becoming part of a crime.

To take a handgun out in the public, the buyer also has to have a gun permit.

Detective Dale Campbell with the Cass County Sheriff’s Department said buyers often go to garage sales to look for good deals on guns.

“It happens all the time,” Campbell said.

An assault rifle was recently reported sold at a Logansport garage sale May 4.

While secondhand sales are legal, Lt. Carl Swan with the Logansport Police Department said the sellers should conduct a background check, both for the benefit of the seller and the buyer, so neither ends up with a stolen gun.

“You could buy one and have it taken away from you,” said Police Chief Mike Clark.  

The background check is also necessary so that the seller can be certain they’re not selling to a convicted felon, Clark said.

“You’re taking a chance of someone unstable buying it,” Clark said.

Other regulations state that a gun cannot be sold to someone who is a drug abuser, alcohol abuser or is mentally incompetent.

Campbell recommended that the seller and buyer go to a gun dealer, so that the dealer can enter the record in their FFL book and do a background check for a small fee.

Buyers should also take precautions when handling guns at a garage sale, Swan said.

“Always assume it’s loaded,” Swan said.

Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or

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