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View Full Version : Gifting a firearm


jimpeel
November 25, 2008, 02:56 AM
The 4473 used to have a place for whether the firearm purchase was for a gift. That has apparently been removed. So here is the dilemma.

I have a co-worker who is disabled and confined to a wheelchair. I had mentioned that I thought she would be good at shooting as when one loses one faculty the rest tend to be enhanced somewhat. Shooting is also one of the few sports available to the disabled.

She will be leaving for Florida forever in about a month and I wanted to get her a going away present.

Her favorite color is pink and we have this .22 cal kid gun at Wal-Mart that is pink. I told her that if she wanted to possibly try out shooting as a sport, and if she is willing to procure an instructor in FL to teach her shooting, that I would gift her that firearm.

Here's the problem:

If I buy it and give it to her she is not on the 4473 as the recipient.

I really want her to be the person detailed on the 4473, not me. That way, if the firearm is lost or stolen and recovered she will get it back.

If I buy it and give it to her at the counter, which is not my preferred method of delivery to her; would that be a straw purchase?

If she fills out the forms, and wheels through the hoops, and I pay the bill; would that be a straw purchase?

If I give her the money at the counter, and she purchases it; would that be a straw purchase?

Things used to be so simple before the "easy access to firearms" came along.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

J

rsgraebert
November 25, 2008, 10:38 AM
It is my understanding (as a NON lawyer, of course) that a "straw purchase" is only applicable if there is some underlying reason that the individual receiving the firearm somehow cannot obtain the firearm on their own. For example, if I were to purchase a pistol and give it to a friend of mine who assaulted an officer in his younger days, that would be a straw purchase. But if I purchase the same pistol and hand it off to my girlfriend who has never even gotten a speeding ticket, it's all clear.

The face-to-face rules should apply at all times. That basically means that if I am aware of anything that would prevent someone from legally owning a firearm, I cannot sell or gift a gun to them. Otherwise, it's just like going to a gun show to sell a gun - all you know is that the individual has cash in his hand and a driver's license from your state.

This assumption is based on the fact that there is no intrinsic difference between buying a gun and handing it off in an hour, or buying a gun and handing it off three years later after it's been in my safe.

Edit: A thought occurs. Is there any reason she can't just go with you and make the purchase? Then she's on the form. You can give her the money before you go in the shop if you're worried about that part, but it shouldn't be an issue anyway. If she clears the NICS check, it's hers.

johnwilliamson062
November 25, 2008, 11:19 AM
If you pay for it but she goes with you and fills out the 4473 I am sure that that is ok. The place you run into problems is when they think you are the one who is going to end up with the firearm. If it is a little .22 and you just mention what you are doing right when you pull up to the counter I am sure the sales person will not give you any trouble. If they do tell them they can run a background on you also if they like.

I also understand the law as that as long as she could own a firearm, and you are not trying to evade registration or break a law by running the 4473 on you, it is ok to purchase it and give it to her. You can always call the ATF and ask.

Al Norris
November 25, 2008, 12:18 PM
If I buy it and give it to her at the counter, which is not my preferred method of delivery to her; would that be a straw purchase?
Yes. You bought the firearm and immediately gave it to another. You lied on question #1 of the 4473, committing a felony.
If she fills out the forms, and wheels through the hoops, and I pay the bill; would that be a straw purchase?
Yes. She did not purchase the forearm, you did.
If I give her the money at the counter, and she purchases it; would that be a straw purchase?
Yes. For the same reason immediately above.

Normally, the dealer (an FFL) will refuse the sale in any of the three conditions above. Add to this, that there is a form that the dealer will fill out and fax immediately to the ATF on any suspected straw purchases.
It is my understanding (as a NON lawyer, of course) that a "straw purchase" is only applicable if there is some underlying reason that the individual receiving the firearm somehow cannot obtain the firearm on their own.
The law makes no such distinction. In 1995, the ATF changed its rules as to what is considered a straw purchase.

To quote the information at th NSSF website: (http://nssf.org/media/FactSheets/Straw_Purchase.cfm) A straw purchase is when a buyer uses an intermediary (the "straw man") to purchase a firearm(s) from a licensed firearms dealer. The purpose is to hide the true identity of the actual purchaser of the firearm(s). Straw purchases are a felony violation of the Gun Control Act of 1968 for both the straw purchaser (who can be charged with lying on Federal Form 4473) and the actual possessor.

The ATF has a cartoon dealing with this subject: http://www.atf.gov/firearms/ffrrg/theater/toon4.html

The simplest and easiest thing to do is to go buy the gun, take it home, put a ribbon on it and then gift the firearm to her.

rsgraebert
November 25, 2008, 02:20 PM
Antipitas,

At what point can an individual resell or gift a firearm then? I see folks selling guns face-to-face all the time, which they may or may not have purchased for that purpose alone. To enumerate my confusion:

1. Am I allowed to purchase a firearm for the sole purpose of reselling it to a private party, face-to-face?

2. If so, at what point is the sale no longer a straw sale? What criteria must be met?

3. If (as the above poster is asking) I wish to give a firearm to someone I know, what defines the straw purchase? Putting a bow on it won't change the court's mind - there has to be a clearer definition.


Based on the NSSF quote you provided, it looks to me like it would be the burden of the prosecutor to demonstrate that the final recipient had intent to hide their identity or otherwise circumvent the system. We all hear the stories of the BATFE going above and beyond the call of duty to make people's lives miserable, but it doesn't sound like the intent could be demonstrated based on the OP's circumstance regardless of where and how the purchase was made and ownership was transferred.

wpcexpert
November 25, 2008, 09:18 PM
Quote:
If she fills out the forms, and wheels through the hoops, and I pay the bill; would that be a straw purchase?

Yes. She did not purchase the forearm, you did.


Quote:
If I give her the money at the counter, and she purchases it; would that be a straw purchase?

Yes. For the same reason immediately above.


Wait a minute: In the first example, the money is comming out of his pocket but going to her and her name is on all the paperwork. In the second example, he could just give her the money in the car and then take her in to buy the rifle.

straw purchase is when a buyer uses an intermediary (the "straw man") to purchase a firearm(s) from a licensed firearms dealer. The purpose is to hide the true identity of the actual purchaser of the firearm(s).

No one would be trying to hide anything. Her name is on the paperwork and they are both there in plane sight. And she wouldn't be "Using an intermediary" she wasn't the one who initiated the "gift". He was basically just funding her legal purchase.

jimpeel
November 26, 2008, 01:51 AM
This is starting to get complicated. It sounds like I have no way at all of gifting her the firearm as my intent upon purchase is the immediate relinquishment of it to her even if I take it home and tie a bow on it.

I guess I will have to call the Denver ATF office and get a clear answer on how this is done.

Why did they remove the portion of the 4473 that spoke to gifting of a firearm?

Like I said before; buying a firearm used to be so simple before the "easy access to firearms" came along.

Ricky B
November 26, 2008, 03:00 AM
From the Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide 2005 (9/05), Part IV, Section B, General Information, 15 (Straw Purchases):

Where a person purchases a firearm with the intent of making a gift of the firearm to another person, the person making the purchase is indeed the true purchaser. There is no straw purchaser in these instances. In the above example, if Mr. Jones had bought a firearm with his own money to give to Mr. Smith as a birthday present, Mr. Jones could lawfully have completed Form 4473. The use of gift certificates would also not fall within the category of straw purchases. The person redeeming the gift certificate would be the actual purchaser of the firearm and would be properly reflected as such in the dealer's records.

Here's the link:

http://www.atf.gov/pub/fire-explo_pub/2005/p53004/gen_info.pdf

Whether this is still valid, I don't know. But it would be a good starting point when calling BATFE.

JohnKSa
November 26, 2008, 04:59 AM
This is starting to get complicated. It sounds like I have no way at all of gifting her the firearm as my intent upon purchase is the immediate relinquishment of it to her even if I take it home and tie a bow on it.That's not correct.

Gifting is perfectly legal, but if you try to do some sort of transaction/handoff at the gun counter in front of the clerk I can guarantee you that it's going to be a real mess. Best case they refuse to sell to you, worst case they call the cops.

If you want it to be a gift then do just like you do any other gift. Buy it, take it home & wrap it and then give it to the recipient.

Watch the cartoon and quit trying to make it make sense. It doesn't have to make sense, it's the BATF. It's not complicated even if it's not logical.

alloy
November 26, 2008, 06:47 AM
give her the money outside/away from the store and let HER buy it, or buy it and then give it to her outside/away from the store. either way...as a gift.
no need to involve the sales persons.

my concept of a straw purchase, would be if she gave YOU the money and then you bought her the gun for her. or if you bought it knowing she was gonna give you the money once you had the gun in hand. ie buying for someone else. not as a gift.

hey mister. wanna get me a six-pack?

hogdogs
November 26, 2008, 10:38 AM
So I cannot go buy a rifle to give to my best friend? As a Christmas present? Wrapped in gift wrap? I thought this was a legal purchase...
Brent

Al Norris
November 26, 2008, 12:19 PM
You folks are making this way too hard.

Go to the store and buy the firearm. Take it home and wrap it up (if you really want, though it's not at all necessary) then give it to whomever it is going to.

The intent is that you are the person who is buying the gun for your own lawful purposes. One of those lawful purposes is that you are going to gift the firearm.

That's it. No fuss, no muss.

hogdogs
November 26, 2008, 12:24 PM
PHEW!!!! Thanks Al! That is what I had always understood! I have a notion to buy something for my daughter... Not sure what though. I done "officially" gave her my savage bolt which is the only firearm she has shot. But I just can't seem to decide on a rifle or pistol or model of either. And at this point she doesn't know enuff to really need to pick one with the right feel. So being a surprise is not a wasted buy.
Brent

homefires
November 26, 2008, 07:37 PM
Thank You Antipitas!

Hkmp5sd
November 26, 2008, 08:43 PM
1. Am I allowed to purchase a firearm for the sole purpose of reselling it to a private party, face-to-face?

No. That is a straw purchase. At the time of the purchase, you knew you were not buying the gun for yourself (or to gift).



2. If so, at what point is the sale no longer a straw sale? What criteria must be met?


Your intent is the deciding factor. You could buy a gun from a FFL at a gun show planning to take it home and add it to your collection. Half way around the room, you could bump into someone that offers to swap you for another gun plus give you $100. That would be perfectly legal. You did not lie on the 4473 because at the time you filled it out, you were truly buying the gun for yourself.

jimpeel
November 26, 2008, 09:52 PM
Thanks, guys. I appreciate your input. It sounds like I need to buy it and take it home and then present it to her when she leaves.

The only other thing is that we both work at Wal-Mart, the firearm is at our Wal-Mart and would be purchased at our Wal-Mart; but I don't think that will be a problem. I would like to give it to her at her going away at the store but that is not an option as only managers can transport a firearm through the store. I guess I could give her the empty box at the going away and then fill it up outside.

Then again, she could say that she is not interested in shooting and she doesn't like sports of any kind whatsoever. :( Still waiting on her to get back for the answer.