How to Sell a Gun in Puerto Rico

If you're contemplating selling a gun privately in Puerto Rico, it's vital to understand the territory's nuanced gun regulations. Since Puerto Rico is a United States territory, it operates under both federal and local laws regarding firearms transactions. This includes private sales as well. Just as across other U.S. jurisdictions, the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution secures gun ownership rights in Puerto Rico.

Written by:
Isaiah Miller
June 14, 2023
minutes read
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State Laws for Private Sales in Puerto Rico

The legal landscape of private gun sales in Puerto Rico changed with the enactment of the Weapons Act of 2020, Act No. 168. This law liberalized certain aspects of firearms legislation in the territory, aligning it more closely with the model followed by the U.S. mainland. Key changes include:

  • The necessity for Puerto Rico residents desiring to own firearms is to procure a firearm license from the Puerto Rico Police Department.
  • A requirement for all firearms in Puerto Rico to be registered. This includes firearms acquired through private sales.
  • The introduction of "Concealed Carry Permits" in Puerto Rico, allowed law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons.
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Federal Laws on Firearms

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In addition to local laws, federal gun laws also govern firearm transactions in Puerto Rico. As an unincorporated U.S. territory, Puerto Rico must adhere to U.S. federal laws regarding firearms, along with any additional regulations specific to the territory. Federal laws mandate background checks for all firearm sales conducted by federally licensed firearms dealers.

However, private individuals, unlike federal dealers, aren't obligated to conduct background checks when selling a handgun or any other firearms. This is often referred to as the "gun show loophole."

Federal Disqualification Categories for Firearm Ownership

Federal law outlines several categories of disqualification for firearm ownership, including but not limited to:

  • Conviction of a felony or misdemeanor where the crime has a maximum imprisonment term exceeding one year.
  • Existence of a felony or out-of-state misdemeanor warrant.
  • Individuals on felony pre-trial release.
  • Individuals with misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence restraining/stalking/protection orders or with mental health adjudication or commitment.
  • Dishonorable discharge from the armed forces.
  • Renouncement of U.S. citizenship.
  • Unlawful use of, or addiction to, a controlled substance (including marijuana).
  • Being an illegal alien.


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Private Sale in Puerto Rico

The process for private gun sales in Puerto Rico stipulates that both the buyer and the seller must have a valid firearms license. Unique to some jurisdictions in the United States, the transfer of ownership of a firearm in Puerto Rico must be reported to the Puerto Rico Police Department, regardless of whether it's a private sale.

Licensing Process

Acquiring a gun license in Puerto Rico involves a rigorous process. Applicants must complete a notarized license application using form PR-329, Application for Weapons License. The requirements include:

  • Proof of social security number.
  • Proof of date of birth and legal presence in the territory.
  • A copy of their driver's license or non-passport identification.
  • A recent headshot photo.
  • A certificate of a negative criminal record no more than 30 days old.
  • A $200 check.
  • Fingerprints taken by the Police Bureau.

The applicant must be at least 21 years old and must not meet the definition of a prohibited person under Section 922(g) of the Gun Control Act of 1968. Once approved, the license holder may only purchase ammunition of the firearm's caliber. The license must be renewed every five years by submitting a sworn statement and paying a $100 fee. Notably, after Hurricane Maria in 2017, applications for gun licenses rose by 70%.


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Tips to Sell Safely and Get the Best Price

To ensure a successful sale, make sure your firearm is in good working condition, clean, and well-maintained. Provide an accurate description of the firearm, including its make, model, caliber, and accessories. Prepare a comprehensive bill of sale and include relevant documentation, such as receipts and warranty information. Finally, complete the sale and transfer ownership in a legally compliant manner by adhering to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

Cleaning and Maintenance:

It's a good idea to ensure your firearm is in good working condition and properly cleaned before selling it. This can also increase the firearm's value.

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Accurate Description:

When preparing your firearm for a private sale, you should aim to provide an accurate description of the firearm. This includes information about the make, model, caliber, and any accessories that come with the firearm. An accurate description will help ensure a smooth transaction with your ultimate buyer.


Prepare a complete bill of sale that protects both parties in case of disputes, including the following information: sale date, buyer and seller information, and firearm details (such as make, model, and serial number). Additionally, be sure to include any relevant paperwork, such as purchase receipts and warranty information.

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Bill of Sale

A bill of sale is recommended for private sales to document the transaction and protect the seller if the firearm is later used in a crime or reported stolen.

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Completing the Sale and Transferring Firearm Ownership:

Once you've found a legal buyer, complete the sale and transfer ownership of the firearm in a legal and compliant manner. Be sure to follow all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, including background checks and any necessary permits or licenses.


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Using Cash for Arms to Sell Your Guns

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Using Cash for Arms is a safe and secure option for selling your firearm. By choosing a reputable buyer, you can ensure a smooth and legal transaction while getting the best market value for your firearm.

General Questions & Answers

Can you get a gun license in Puerto Rico?

Yes, you can get a gun license in Puerto Rico. Licenses are available to any citizen or legal resident of the United States that is at least 21 years old. 

Are background checks required for private gun sales in Puerto Rico?

Yes, Puerto Rico requires background checks for all firearm sales, including private sales. This is part of a comprehensive set of regulations that Puerto Rico has in place for firearms.

Is it legal to sell guns in Puerto Rico?

Yes, it is legal to sell a gun in Puerto Rico, but the buyer must possess a valid weapon license.

Can you buy a gun in Puerto Rico without a license?

No, it is not possible to purchase a gun in Puerto Rico without a valid weapon license.

How much is a handgun permit in Puerto Rico?

The entire application process now costs around $400 — down from $2,000 with the previous law.

Can someone from out of state sell a gun in Puerto Rico?

A private individual from another state cannot sell a firearm directly to a resident of Puerto Rico without going through a licensed dealer. This involves having the firearm shipped to a licensed dealer in the buyer's state, where the buyer must go through a background check before taking possession of the firearm.

Moreover, Puerto Rico itself has additional regulations and licensing requirements that are more stringent than most U.S. states. All gun owners and transactions are required to be registered with the Puerto Rico Police Department, and this includes a comprehensive background check.

Is a permit required to purchase a handgun in Puerto Rico? 

No, a permit is not required to purchase a gun in Puerto Rico. However, a concealed carry permit or a gunsmith license is required in order to acquire, buy, transport, sell, donate, loan, transfer, have, possess, guard, carry, use, and drive with weapons, firearms, ammunition, and any permitted firearm accessories.

What documents I need to buy a gun in Puerto Rico?

Purchasing a firearm in Puerto Rico typically involves a more extensive process. 

First, a potential buyer must obtain a Weapons License, also known as a Licencia de Armas, issued by the Puerto Rico Police Department. This license permits the holder to buy and possess firearms. Alongside this, the individual must provide a sworn statement, asserting that they neither suffer from mental illness nor misuse drugs or alcohol. Additionally, proof of successful completion of a gun safety course is mandatory. Beyond these requirements, the buyer must also pay the requisite fee for the application. Another key component of this process is a thorough background check, which includes fingerprinting and an in-depth investigation carried out by the Puerto Rico Police Department. It's important to note that these background checks occur at the time of application and periodically afterward as part of ongoing compliance.

Are Puerto Rico gun laws strict?

Yes, Puerto Rico's gun laws are relatively strict compared to those in the mainland United States. Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States, and its gun laws are governed by local legislation as well as federal laws.

Does Puerto Rico have a gun registry?

Yes, Puerto Rico does have a gun registry. Any acquisition, purchase, sale, donation, assignment, or transfer of ownership of a firearm and ammunition must be conducted by an individual holding a gunsmith license. Furthermore, these transactions are required to be registered in the Electronic Registry of the Puerto Rico Police Bureau.

Does Puerto Rico allow private gun sales?

Yes, licenses are available to any citizen or legal resident of the United States who is at least 21 years old and meets all the requirements for obtaining one.

Who can't own a gun in Puerto Rico?

Not be addicted to controlled substances or a habitual drunkard. Not have been declared mentally incapacitated by a court with jurisdiction. Not have been dishonorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces or the Bureau of the Puerto Rico Police.



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By choosing a reputable buyer like Cash for Arms, you can ensure a safe and secure sale of your firearm, protecting yourself from potential legal complications.


Given the intricate nature of firearms law and the legal consequences of non-compliance, it is advisable to inform yourself thoroughly about all pertinent state and federal laws before proceeding with any firearm transaction.


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