This is a question many newcomers to the industry ask. Whether it’s a rifle, shotgun or pistol, firearms hold their value well when compared to other items. A typical 9mm handgun may fetch several hundred bucks, making it a great find for people in the buy-sell storage auction business. But are you legally allowed to keep firearms found in storage auctions?
Firearm laws vary from state to state, so what’s kosher in one state may not be in another. However, you’ll likely find that most self-storage facilities require the winning bidder to check any firearms he or she discovers at the front office. The facility will then send these firearms to the local police department, where they are cross-referenced to see if they were used in a crime. This process may take several days, or it can take weeks, depending on the police department and how much work they backlogged at the time.
Assuming the firearm has NOT been used in a crime, and it’s a legal type of firearm for state residents, the police department should return it to the self-storage facility, at which point you can pick it up. I recommend calling the storage facility once a week for an update on the firearm. They should tell you whether or not the police department has cleared and returned it. If they haven’t received it, keep pestering them until they provide you a clear answer. Leaving the firearm at the storage facility may result in them keeping it, which is something you don’t want to see happen.
But once you’ve acquired a firearm, trying to sell it can be a bit tricky. The online payment processor PayPal, for instance, prohibits the buying and selling of firearms using its service. Also, the Untied States Parcel Service (USPS) will not ship firearms. So even if you accept payment via an acceptable method (e.g. cash or check), you’ll have to ship it using a difference carrier. You can check the terms and conditions of different shipping carriers, but FedEx and UPS should be willing to ship a firearm.
To recap, you’ll want to contact the self-storage facility for more information on their firearm policy. In some cases, you can keep them, but in others you’ll have to turn them over the police department first.