Two people, two pistols, they want to trade

This is a question for one of our Texas based legal representatives. I am trying to point a workmate of mine in the right direction.

My friend Casey is getting divorced, poor guy, and there are two pistols in the fray, with extenuating circumstances with one of the pistols.

Pistol 1 is a Glock. I do not know which one. Casey bought it for his wife a few years back for her birthday. Casey filed out all the paperwork for the background check.

Pistl 2 is a Hellcat. Same year Casey bought the Glock for her, she bought this one for him for his birthday. She filled out the paperwork for the background check.

OKAY…before we go any further, I know Texas does not have a gun registry, so anyone wishing to throw comments my direction about that can keep them to themselves. I have been on the wrong side of that already with a little .380 I gave to my ex-wife when she left more than 20 years ago. She got into a jam for cash and pawned it. The pawn shop sold it. It was used for a crime and recovered at the crime scene. Albuquerque PD showed up at my door wanting to know why my pistol ended up in the hands of a criminal. Incidentally, the initial purchase of that weapon was back in '86, in Clovis, NM. The gun shop closed down and all the paper records disappeared. NM did not have a gun registry back then and I do not think they have one now. The serial number of that weapon had to be in an electronic database with my name on it even after it was sold to the pawn shop and then resold. The pawn shop in question is in San Antonio. I am not in San Antonio.

SO, please refrain from any comments concerning Texas and a gun registry.

Back to the question at hand. Pistol 2, the Hellcat, was lost earlier this year when they took a long weekend to see relatives in San Marcos. While packing up to come home, Casey placed the weapon, which was in a case with a couple magazines, on the toolbox in the bed of his pickup, then helped load things into the bed. The pistol was forgotten on the toolbox. They get on the road and he remembered the pistol on the toolbox. It was gone. They backtracked all the way to the relative’s house but did not find it. He filed a report with San Marcos PD and has been chastised to no end for negligence with a firearm. San Marcos PD has chastised him and our local law enforcement has chastised him.

Fast forward a few months and Casey and his wife are legally separated. Irreconcilable differences. She moved back in with her folks and he is still living here. She left the Glock with him since he did the paperwork. Yesterday, she got a call from the San Marcos PD saying someone turned the lost Hellcat in. It had not been fired. It was “FOUND” and the concerned citizen who “FOUND” it just wanted to do the right thing. After some hoops to jump through, she will get the pistol back because she did the paperwork.

After they get the Hellcat back, they want to trade so that she has the Glock and he has the Hellcat, and that any other question about those two pistols goes to the correct person.

What do Casey and his soon to be ex-wife need to do to be able to accomplish that?

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Sounds like the $1.00 bill of sale thing. Go to an FFL, consign both guns then buy it for buck? I don’t know but maybe???


It’s Texas and private treaty “sales” are not yet regulated at state or Federal level, so just exchange the weapons remembering that the paper work will still show who filled out the original 4473. Don’t trust your former spouse? Get something in writing. "To Whom it May Concern, on such and such a date I gave so and so who is known to me to be a resident of Texas and not prohibited from owning a firearm, a Glock…yadda yadda yadda. Maybe even do it before a notary if it makes you feel better…To reiterate, doesn’t change the info on the 4473 and therefore ATF’s tracing center would direct an inquiring agency back to that person…and so it goes…


My friend has already looked at this route and it is feasible. The FFL he contacted made mention of a fee for transfer documentation. I think the FFL is just trying to make an extra buck or ten on Casey’s problem, but I cannot verify that.

@Keystonecop, This sounds like the way Casey is going to go with it. He contacted a lawyer who said almost the same thing with the addition of “for a small fee we could prepare the paperwork for you.” It may be worth the small fee in this case as the soon to be ex is a piece of work.

Thanks for the input.

I just re-read your post. This is why I was tracked down after my ex pawned her little .380.

As a redirect of that story, the .380 in question, a Taurus PT58, is the SECOND weapon I lost because of my ex. I told her when she left if she ever got strapped to the point of needing to pawn it, I would give her the original amount we paid for it back in "86, $400. She got $50 when she pawned it.

The first weapon I lost because of her was a Beretta M-9 I had before I met her. I sold it to buy a ring. STUPID.

She’s gone, both weapons are gone, the ring is gone…


The “small” lawyer fee could be the same or likely more as doing the transfer through an FFL. If the person the gun is going to is sketchy it might be better going through the FFL. That way the gun might be more easily traced to the new owner instead of the old one. Though I’d also get some paperwork from the FFL saying the transfer was done as extra proof for my own files.


Going the FFL route might be the cheapest and still completely legal.

Private party transfers in hostile Kalifornia cost only $10 IIRC. And then, there’s the usual background checks ($25?).
I leave the FFL with peace of mind that everything’s above board.

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The fee for the transfer is usually pretty nominal. This is also the most sure way of relieving any legal burden. Show your official receipt. Plus, it will relieve you of any obligation concerning the possibility of selling your firearm to a prohibited person.

Having a notary witness doesn’t really help as much as you might think. I had a family member who had gotten dragged into an investigation, from being in the same car as the subject of the investigation.

The subject made a confession witnessed by 2 people, on video and a written notarized confession, in front of a notary. But then decided to recant. The confession was thrown out.

Edit: spelling


ATF recovers all paper records from FFLs when they close their doors. its not a registry perse, but they do end up with the information in the end if the 4473 was filled out before 10 years before the business closes.

14.1.3 Discontinuance of the business. If the firearms business is discontinued and there is no
successor, within 30 days of business’ discontinuance, the FFL must ship the records to the ATF Out-ofBusiness Records Center or to any office in the ATF division in which the business was located. If the
FFL was granted a variance to use a computerized recordkeeping system, the FFL must provide a
complete printout of the acquisition and disposition records as stipulated in the variance approval

NFA Handbook - Chapter 14 (

its also wise any time you sell or transfer a firearm to both copy driver licenses and make a bill of sale signed by both parties. it covers your ass in the end

edit number 2 lol

most FFLs charge for doing transfers because they have to spend the time putting your pistols on and off of their books, while they make nothing off of it for their time. $20-30 is the typical transfer fees, but the original serial trace will always come back to the original purchaser.

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the fact that APD first ‘showed up’ and second ‘found your residence’ must mean that incident was a long friggin’ time ago! Now they can’t find the barn even if the building was on fire and the arsonist was giving them directions over the phone. Sorry for your past ‘Troubles’ Brother but an honest and sincere Thank you for the Post. Very timely for me. I have (2) handguns I don’t want anymore. BOTH registered to me. I’d like to turn them into cash for a choice piece that won’t last long on the market in today’s climate but now decided to keep them. If you get any more info on your friend and Ex I would appreciate an update. I don’t trust anybody anymore when it involves Guns (especially my own). :face_with_monocle:


I have done a couple legal face to face sales in the past with people I felt comfortable selling to. But I sold my last pistol on consignment through the local gun shop. They took a small cut of the money but I get the peace of mind knowing there is a solid paper trail showing I sold it and I didn’t have to spend time finding a buyer.

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