I just heard this story from a good friend who lives in a very rural part of Texas and recently sold a gun through a local classified paper. He asked me to pass it on to you guys.
Before I get to the story, let me give you a little background and context about my friend.
His usual method in the past for Private Gun Sales was when he would get a call from an interested party, he would screen the person first, asking general questions, mostly to do with age and planned use. He would then arrange the initial meeting in town at a public place with a large parking lot, say a home improvement store or Wal-Mart, something like that. Before leaving for the meet, He would give his wife all the pertinent particulars including the name of the buyer, phone number and meet location. After the transaction, he would record all pertinent info in his record book for future reference if needed. He sold many guns like this over the years with ZERO problems.
Well, this particular story starts out like the rest with one exception: It happened at a time when my friend had just had knee surgery and was confined to staying around the house and definitely not driving, thus, his usual MO of meeting the prospective buyer in the next big town (about 25 miles away) was out of the question. Well, he knew he could not make the mistake and just give a total stranger his address and say “Come on Over!” Unthinkable. His solution: Have his better half drive him up to a local gas station, about 5 minutes away from their home, to meet the buyer. OK, so that happens. My friend’s wife drives him to the local Gas Station and in 15 minutes the sale is done. Easy-Peezy, No problems.
That evening, after dark my friend, with the help of some very big and vocal dogs on his property, noticed a vehicle he did not recognize that kept coming down his clearly marked dead-end road, stopping near his driveway for a minute and then turning around in the cul-de-sac. Living on a dead-end road for 35 years, he was used to the OCCASIONAL car turning around, mostly due to folks getting lost or looking at property that was for sale nearby. But this car did the same thing 3 times in the span of an hour and a half. Since it was dark, he could not make out the driver. My buddy was no dummy. He recognized when somebody was up to no good and casing a house.
Knowing local law enforcement, he placed a call into the non-emergency line and told them the situation. Two hours later his phone rang. It was one of the local deputies he knew. “Hey we stopped this car that kept going down your road, and this guy claims he bought a gun off of you and needed to speak with you again about it?” My friend’s radar immediately pricked up. “Talk to me about it?” my friend asked the deputy. “He had my phone number if he wanted to ask a question and my phone has not rang all day!” “Plus, he was driving a different car than the one at the gun sale or else I would have recognized the car and went out to meet with him!”
Right away the Deputy saw what was going on. He told my friend he would call him back later. About an hour later the deputy called and he said after a little deeper questioning the buyer had told the deputy that “he had forgotten he had your phone number in his phone” and “The car he used for the meet broke down and he was using his girlfriends car”. Best the Deputy could tell from the guy’s long-winded story was after my friend and his wife had left the meet, the buyer went into the gas station and started asking if anybody knew where my friend lived because he had to “ask him something really important”. Somebody (my friend never found out who) gave the stranger directions to my friend’s house and even drew him a map! Stupid!
The deputy went on to tell my friend the buyer consented to a vehicle search which turned up nothing, the same with a warrant check as well. The deputy also calmed my friends fears that the guy was a felon by looking at his arrest history, which only included some Class C speeding tickets.
The deputy recommended to my friend basically my friends standard MO he had used for years, but not this time: To NEVER meet a stranger anywhere close to where you live when you do a transaction like this unless you completely trust the person you are selling too. It is a common MO among criminals, especially when they think you may have a lot of guns in your home, to case the house and then try either a home invasion or burglary.
My friend explained to the deputy he typically DOES meet people exactly like he described but recent surgery had forced him to meet the buyer local this one time.
Besides the obvious lesson here I would also add that when a STRANGER ask for personal information about ANYBODY you know, the best course of action is to always decline giving out any intel.
Besides, Being “overly” talkative and chatty is never a good character trait for the security minded CO. We will discuss more about this later as it pertains to your legal rights as well.
Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!