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Old February 11, 2013, 01:22 PM   #11
Frank Ettin
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Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 6,530
Quote:
Originally Posted by btmj
My Dad knew a coin/stamp collector who got in trouble for the very same thing.... He was a "collector" who supported his family by buying and selling coins and stamps. There were a lot of issues with the IRS, and he chose to fight them. It did not turn out well for him.
In any case, one doesn't need a federal license to be a dealer in coins/stamps. One does need a federal license to be a dealer in guns. A collector of most types of "collectibles" who deals in such could have tax problems. Dealing in guns without the proper license will get one into other serious legal trouble.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_iowa
Saying that selling guns at a profit makes you a dealer is not the case. If you are doing it as a livelihood that's a different thing.
Really? What is the difference? Where is the line drawn? Do you have any clue what you are talking about?

"Engaged in the business" is defined at 18 USC 921(a)(21)(C), emphasis added:
Quote:
(21) The term “engaged in the business” means—

(A)...

(B) ...

(C) as applied to a dealer in firearms, as defined in section 921 (a)(11)(A), a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms;...
The operative concepts are (1) devoting time, attention and labor; (2) doing so regularly as a trade or business; (3) the repetitive purchase and resale of guns; and (4) intending to make money.

"Livelihood" simply means:
Quote:
1: means of support or subsistence
Nothing in the statutory definition of "engaged in the business" requires that it be one's only business or means of support. It could be a side business, a secondary business or one of several ways you have of bringing money into the household. What matters is that you're doing it regularly to make money. You don't even necessarily need to make a profit to be "engaged in business." People go into business all the time and wind up not making money. It's not that they're not engaged in business; it's just that they're not very good at it.

But an occasional sale is not being "engaged in the business." Where is the the line between an occasional sale and the repetitive purchase and resale? That's not clear from the statutes. Let's see what some courts have said:
  • The Third Circuit, in upholding a conviction of dealing in firearms without a license noted (U.S. v. Tyson, 653 F.3d 192 (3rd Cir., 2011), at 200-201, emphasis added):
    Quote:
    ...By the statute's terms, then, a defendant engages in the business of dealing in firearms when his principal motivation is economic (i.e., “obtaining livelihood” and “profit”) and he pursues this objective through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms. Palmieri, 21 F.3d at 1268 (stating that “economic interests” are the “principal purpose,” and “repetitiveness” is “the modus operandi ”). Although the quantity and frequency of sales are obviously a central concern, so also are (1) the location of the sales, (2) the conditions under which the sales occurred, (3) the defendant's behavior before, during, and after the sales, (4) the price charged for the weapons and the characteristics of the firearms sold, and (5) the intent of the seller at the time of the sales. Id. (explaining that “the finder of fact must examine the intent of the actor and all circumstances surrounding the acts alleged to constitute engaging in business”). As is often the case in such analyses, the importance of any one of these considerations is subject to the idiosyncratic nature of the fact pattern presented...
  • And the Fifth Circuit noted (United States v. Brenner (5th. Cir., 2012, No. 11-50432, slip opinion), at 5-6, emphasis added):
    Quote:
    ...the jury must examine all circumstances surrounding the transaction, without the aid of a "bright-line rule". United States v. Palmieri, 21 F.3d 1265, 1269 (3d Cir.), vacated on other grounds, 513 U.S. 957 (1994). Relevant circumstances include: "the quantity and frequency of sales"; the "location of the sales"; "conditions under which the sales occurred"; "defendant's behavior before, during, and after the sales"; "the price charged"; "the characteristics of the firearms sold"; and, "the intent of the seller at the time of the sales". Tyson, 653 F.3d at 201.
  • The Sixth Circuit noted (United States v. Gray (6th Cir., 2012, No. 11-1305, slip opinion), at 8):
    Quote:
    ...However, "a defendant need not deal in firearms as his primary business for conviction." United States v. Manthey, 92 F. App'x 291, 297 (6th Cir. 2004)....
  • And in upholding Gray's conviction the Sixth Circuit also noted (Gray, at 8-9):
    Quote:
    ...We have previously held that evidence was sufficient to support a conviction under § 922(a)(1)(A) where it showed (1) that the defendant frequented flea markets and gun shows where he displayed and sold guns; (2) that the defendant offered to sell guns to confidential informants on multiple occasions and actually sold them three different guns on two different occasions; (3) and...that the defendant bought and sold guns for profit. See United States v. Orum, 106 F. App'x 972, 974 (6th Cir. 2004)...
  • In affirming a conviction of dealing in firearms without a license, the Ninth Circuit stated (U.S. v. Breier, 813 F.2d 212 (C.A.9 (Cal.), 1987), at 213-214, emphasis added):
    Quote:
    ...Courts have fashioned their own definitions of the term. For example, we have previously stated "that where transactions of sale, purchase or exchange of firearms are regularly entered into in expectation of profit, the conduct amounts to engaging in business." United States v. Van Buren, 593 F.2d 125, 126 (9th Cir.1979) (per curiam). In United States v. Wilmoth, 636 F.2d 123 (5th Cir. Unit A 1981), the Fifth Circuit stated that to prove the status of the accused as one engaged in the business of dealing in firearms, "the Government must show a greater degree of activity than the occasional sale of a hobbyist." Id. at 125. "It is enough to prove that the accused has guns on hand or is ready and able to procure them for the purpose of selling them from time to time to such persons as might be accepted as customers." Id.; accord United States v. Carter, 801 F.2d 78, 82 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 107 S.Ct. 657, 93 L.Ed.2d 712 (1986); United States v. Burgos, 720 F.2d 1520, 1527 n. 8 (11th Cir.1983)....

Also, it's worthwhile to note that profits are taxable as short term or long term capital gains. But if one isn't engaged in a business some deductions ordinarily allowable as business expenses would not be allowable.
__________________
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper
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