Firearms Excluded from Self Storage Auctions

You might have noticed online storage auction unit listings on StorageTresaures that say “gun is not part of the sale” or “firearms excluded from the sale.” It is only natural to wonder why certain items are not for sale at storage unit auctions. After all, you have always heard that you must take the entire abandoned storage unit’s contents when you buy storage units, and leaving things behind could cause you to lose your cleaning deposit or your bidding privileges. So, why do operators often exclude items from the storage unit auction?

The short answer is that it’s the law, but it gets a little more complicated than that. Self storage operators are bound by many different sets of rules. Not only do they have to abide by each state’s self storage lien laws, but the procedures of motor vehicle departments also dictate their options. They must also follow specific federal laws, such as the Federal Firearms Regulations.

Federal Firearms Regulations

The sale of firearms is governed by the Federal Firearms Regulations and individual state Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms statutes. The federal regulations for firearms say that it is okay to sell the occasional gun without a Federal Firearms Dealer’s license. There is also a long list of conditions for a private, unlicensed firearm sale that makes this daunting for any seller. For example, below is a list of persons who are not eligible to purchase firearms under (Title 18, United States Code 922(g)(1)-(9), (n)).

  1. Convicted of a felony (or equivalent)
  2. Fugitive from justice
  3. Unlawful user or addicted to a controlled substance
  4. Adjudicated mentally defective or involuntarily committed to treatment
  5. Illegal alien
  6. Dishonorable discharge from the US Armed Forces
  7. Renounced United States citizenship
  8. Active protection order (restraining order, injunction for protection, etc.)
  9. Convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence
  10. Under indictment or information for a felony

The Federal Firearms Regulations reference guide is 237 pages long. There are rules regarding who can or cannot buy a firearm, but there are also rules regarding illegal weapons without a dealer’s license. For example, unlicensed people cannot sell assault rifles or modified shotguns.

State Regulations

Additionally, some states have added even more qualifications for the sale of a firearm. For example, in California, a gun cannot be sold by a private individual or a licensed dealer without a background check. The code below means the private sale of firearms is not allowed in California.

“Cal. Penal Code § 28050: When neither party is a licensed dealer, the firearm must be transferred through a licensed California dealer, who is required to conduct a background check.”

Most states require the purchaser of a firearm to be either 18 or 21, depending on the type of gun. The buyer must also be a state resident where the sale occurs and cannot move the gun over state lines.

If you want to know more about your state’s regulations of firearms sales, we have a great resource which covers private gun laws by state.

Other Considerations

There are also other considerations regarding weapons that are against the law to sell without a dealer’s license. For example, private citizens cannot sell assault rifles or modified shotguns. It is also illegal to sell other weapons such as nun chucks, brass knuckles, or switchblade knives.

It should be clarified that facility managers do not withhold guns to keep for themselves or to profit from them. Managers turn firearms over to local law enforcement authorities for proper use or disposal. 

Interested in learning more around online storage auction unit laws? Check out our blog article which goes in-depth on laws to consider for your resale business.


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