OPD: Gun Sales on Facebook Trading Posts Legal

OPD: Gun Sales on Facebook Trading Posts Legal

By Geena Martinez

NewsWest 9

ODESSA - Facebook isn't just for finding friends these days. Thousands of people use it to buy and sell goods online, even items like guns.

If you're not careful, you could be breaking the law.

Facebook pages like West Texas Man Cave and the Ector County and Midland County Trading Posts have taken off over the last few years.

With the scroll of a mouse, people can find everything from used furniture to baked goods in their area.

A concerned NewsWest 9 viewer sent in a photo of what appears to be a high powered firearm for sale. The caption reads "Best offer takes it."

NewsWest 9 asked Odessa Police if this is this legal.

"It is legal, however, we advise you use caution whenever you're buying and selling online," Cpl. Steve LeSueur with the Odessa Police Department, said.

OPD said online trading posts have become a hot spot for hot items.

Law enforcement agencies are constantly monitoring these pages for stolen goods.

"If a person buys it and then they receive it and then it's later determined that it was stolen, then that property will be seized," LeSueur said. "They could potentially be charged with being in possession of a stolen firearm or stolen property depending on what it is."

The risk doesn't just apply to buyers but sellers too.

If you don't do some digging, you could be selling to a convicted felon or someone else who isn't legally allowed to own a gun.

Gun retailers, like the folks at Gun Sport in Odessa, are required to hold a federal firearms license. Potential buyers are required to fill out a document with their information.

"We in turn call the National Instant Criminal Check system which is a division of the FBI to either get you approved, delayed or denied," Ben Farris, manager of Gun Sport, LTD. in Odessa, said. "If we cant get a hold of them, we can't sell a gun."

Officials said the majority of people buying and selling items on these trading posts are legitimate but they offer some tips on how to stay in the clear if you choose to buy guns online.

"When it comes down to purchasing a firearm individually like off the streets or at a gun show, ideally what you'd need is a bill of sale," Connor Smith, with Gun Sport, LTD., said. "So if anything was to happen to that firearm and if it was to come back on you, you can prove it like, 'hey, I sold this firearm on this to this person, here's his contact information.'"

OPD said checking out the background of either the buyer or seller is also a good way to go.

"Try to by something from a reputable source especially something as important as a firearm," LeSueur said, "It's always better to be safe than sorry."