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Old December 1, 2009, 09:11 PM   #1
garybusey
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Avoiding a "Straw Sale"

I am aware of the straw purchasing laws, in that It is illegal to purchase a firearm for someone who cannot legally do so. But how long must I wait to avoid any type of persecution for selling my currently owned firearm private party? It seems as though at gun shows the sellers only responsibility is to not sell to someone they KNOW cannot own a firearm, but it is not their job to find out. So my final question is this: If I just bought a new rifle, but unexpected expenses have come up, is there anything to worry about when selling private party? I am paranoid about this whole straw purchase thing, as I have bought the rifle in the past few months.
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Old December 1, 2009, 09:31 PM   #2
M4Sherman
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You can resell a rifle anytime you wish you just may not Purchase with the intent to resell to someone who can not legally own
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Old December 2, 2009, 12:48 PM   #3
NavyLT
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Straw purchase and providing a firearm to a prohibited person are two completely separate acts that may occur separately from each other, by themselves, or together.

Straw purchase is buying a firearm with someone else's money and then providing them with the firearm in return for their money. It is completely inmaterial whether the person who finally receives the firearm is a prohibited person or not.

If you KNOWINGLY or have reasonable cause to believe that the person you are giving/selling/transferring a firearm to is a prohibited person, then you have committed a completely separate felony from a straw purchase regardless of whether that act occurred in conjunction with a straw purchase or not.

Transferring/selling/giving a rifle that you purchased with your own money without intention of receiving compensation from a particular person at the time of purchase is not a straw purchase irregardless of the time frame.
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Old December 2, 2009, 05:13 PM   #4
divil
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NavyLT is right. It's a common misconception that a straw purchase means the recipient must be prohibited from owning the gun. Even if they could have bought the gun themselves, it's still a straw purchase.

The actual crime is lying in answer to the question "Are you the actual buyer of this firearm?" on the federal form.

If you answered "yes" to that truthfully, you have nothing to worry about regarding straw purchase.

Quote:
It seems as though at gun shows the sellers only responsibility is to not sell to someone they KNOW cannot own a firearm, but it is not their job to find out
If they're a private seller, of course. In which case is has nothing to do with the fact that it's at a gun show. The law at gun shows is no different that in any other situation.
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Old December 3, 2009, 10:25 PM   #5
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Mixing up a couple of different things

Strawman purchase is you buying a gun for someone else, with their money.
You buying a gun for someone else with your money, and giving it to them is a gift, and is legal.
You buying a gun for someone you know cannot legally own one is a crime.

And the one that comes closest to what you are asking about, buying a gun, and selling it later, would be "engaging in the business of dealing in firearms" without a FFL (Federal Firearms License). There is no clear cut definiton for this one, and in rare cases, people have been prosecuted for a single gun (but usually unsecessfully). The key is the intent. If you buy a gun with the intent of selling it you may be "engaging in the business". However, with a single gun, or even a few, this is a very difficult thing to proove in court, and generally ignored by the authorities. However, if you do this 30 times a year, and make income from it, that is something else entirely.

You could have a collection of a hundred guns, and sell them all and not be "engaging in the business"

If you bought a new rifle at a gun show, and on the way home your truck blows its engine, and you need to sell the rifle, there's no legal reason not to sell the rifle. If it won't hit the broad side of a barn, and you are so tickked you sell it the next day, same thing. But, if you buy a gun, with the intent of selling it to make a profit, as a means of earning income, without a license, you are breaking the law.

You can sell a gun for a profit, its still allowed. But doing so as a means of earning money isn't. Buy, sell, trade all you want, even make some money, but don't be doing it as a "business" without getting the legal required licenses
(and paying the taxes!)
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Old December 3, 2009, 11:07 PM   #6
divil
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Quote:
However, if you do this 30 times a year, and make income from it, that is something else entirely.
OP, presumably you will sell the gun at cost or at a loss. It seems that the only possible source of information to be used against you would be the buyer. Who else could accuse you? So it might be worth getting written proof of the sale price from the buyer. That way no one accuse you of intending to engage in illegal trading.
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Old December 4, 2009, 12:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
That way no one accuse you of intending to engage in illegal trading.
You don't have to sell at cost or for a loss. There's no problem in making money on a gun sale, the problem is when you make it into a business.

Buying a gun and later selling it for a profit is fine.

Buying several guns and selling them all at a profit can get you into trouble. The more guns involved and the closer the purchases are to the sales the easier it will be to prosecute you and the more likely you are to eventually attract attention.
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Old December 4, 2009, 06:45 AM   #8
blume357
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Here's a nit picking question...

could not a 'straw purchase' only be when you first buy the gun through an FFL and not from a private individual because with a private sale you don't have to fill out a government form were you have to state the purchase is for yourself?

Or could the gov. technically prove you did a straw purchase even with a private sale? And if so, how?
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Old December 4, 2009, 09:38 AM   #9
divil
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Quote:
could not a 'straw purchase' only be when you first buy the gun through an FFL
I believe so. Leaving aside the issue of whether the recipient is allowed to receive a firearm or not (since it's already been established that that's s separate issue) I don't think there is any law against acquiring a firearm on someone else's behalf. At least, I couldn't find anything like that in the Gun Control Act.

Of course, I'm not a lawyer or a cop so please don't take this as advice
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Old December 4, 2009, 11:05 AM   #10
fastforty
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When did the straw purchase law come into effect (year)?
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Old December 4, 2009, 11:32 AM   #11
divil
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I'm open to correction, but I don't believe there is any one law that applies to this.

There are three parts to it, as I understand it:

1. You can't buy from a FFL without filling out the form
2. The FFL can't transfer the firearm to you if you answer "no" to that question "Are you the actual buyer of the firearm"
3. You can't lie on the form.

These three points combine to make it impossible to buy a gun from a FFL on someone else's behalf without someone breaking the law somewhere along the line.

If I am right about this, then:

1. If you take someone else's money and lie on the form, you're guilty of (a) conspiracy to commit a crime and (b) lying to an FFL on a government form - you're guilty of those 2 even before you actually transfer the firearm to someone else!
2. Straw purchases don't apply to private sales since there is no form to lie on

As I said, this is just my take on it from the reading I've done of the 1968 GCA and the ATF website. Don't take this as gospel and certainly don't take it as legal advice.
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Old December 4, 2009, 11:45 AM   #12
divil
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Just found this: http://permanent.access.gpo.gov/lps4...005/p53004.pdf

(Emphasis added by me)

Quote:
...the straw purchaser
violates Federal law by making
false statements on Form 4473
to the
licensee with respect to the identity of
the actual purchaser of the firearm, as
well as the actual purchaser's residence
address and date of birth. The actual
purchaser who utilized the straw purchaser
to acquire a firearm has unlawfully
aided and abetted or caused the
making of the false statements
. The
licensee selling the firearm under these
circumstances also violates Federal law
if the licensee is aware of the false
statements on the form.
And, as noted before:

Quote:
It is immaterial
that the actual purchaser and the straw
purchaser are residents of the State in
which the licensee's business premises
is located, are not prohibited from receiving
or possessing firearms, and
could have lawfully purchased firearms

from the licensee
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Old June 15, 2010, 05:43 PM   #13
ukamono
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This is great information. I do have one scenario that is unclear to me.

A private sale scenario for a long gun (aka: rifle):

The buyer lives 100mi away from the seller but in the same state. The buyer has made clear, in electronic correspondence, that he wants to use a close relative, who lives closer to the buyer, as the individual to fill out the bill-of-sale, show proof of legal state residence(NC), and pay the seller on his behalf. The buyer (not the relative) offered to fax copies of his NCDL and CCW.

The seller has his reservations b/c this may fall under a "straw purchase" situation.

Questions:
- does this falls under the realm of a straw-purchase?
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Old June 15, 2010, 06:09 PM   #14
vranasaurus
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There is no set length of time you must hold on to a firearm before selling it. However the length of time you own it before selling it would certainly be used as evidence of your intent when you purchased the firearm.

If you own a gun for a year before selling it that length of time would tend to show you intended to purchase it for yourself.

If however you purchased a gun and then sold it 24 hours later that would tend to show you did not intend to purchase it for yourself.
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Old June 15, 2010, 06:12 PM   #15
NavyLT
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Quote:
- does this falls under the realm of a straw-purchase?
Nope. Straw purchase only applies to firearms purchased from FFLs. If you have no reason to believe the person you hand the gun to is prohibited from possessing the gun, and you have no reason to believe that the reason they are obtaining the gun from you is specifically to commit a crime with it or to provide it to a prohibited person, then you have fulfilled your duty. Assuming there is no reason to not believe that everyone is same state residents.
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Old June 15, 2010, 06:22 PM   #16
ukamono
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Quote:
Nope. Straw purchase only applies to firearms purchased from FFLs.
Thanks for your prompt reply. I understand what you commented.

I know of people whose Gun Permit requests have been put on hold pending a check by the Sheriff department that they are not acquiring permits to buy handguns for the purpose of straw-purchases or acting as a firearms dealer. But I guess the check would be for those firearms bought from FFLs (where the Federal forms were filled) and not for those private purchases.
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Old June 17, 2010, 06:20 AM   #17
blume357
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I don't know how a Sherrifs dept could do that....

how would they check with all the FFL's in their state to see if the person applying is buying multi guns?
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Old June 17, 2010, 07:53 AM   #18
NavyLT
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The FFL's would tell them, via the multiple handgun purchase report which they must submit to both local LEO and the BATFE - if they buy two or more handguns from the same FFL within a 5 consecutive business day period.
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Old June 17, 2010, 07:54 PM   #19
johnwilliamson062
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You can buy and sell to benefit your firearms collection though, correct?
Say I see a Rem 870 Express for $50 at a garage sale. I don't want it but know I can sell it for more or trade it for something better down the line, so I buy it. Maybe I will loan it to a buddy on a hunting trip or take it as a back-up gun sometime in between. Is this operating as a dealer?

I bought a gun FTF and took it out shooting. Someone offered me double what I payed at the range. I nearly sold it only a few hours after purchasing it. I was shooting it pretty well so held onto it, but I came real close.
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Old June 17, 2010, 10:39 PM   #20
JohnKSa
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Quote:
You can buy and sell to benefit your firearms collection though, correct?
Sure.

You should worry about whether or not you're beginning to look like a business to the BATF about the same time you start to worry about not declaring your profits on your income tax form.

Selling a gun now and then for a profit is not going to be an issue.

Things that will get you immediate attention are things like buying several low cost pistols at once from the same dealer and then not being able to come up with them when the BATF drops by to talk a couple of days after the sale.

Or walking in with a guy who picks out a gun then turns to you to fill out the paperwork and gives you the money for the purchase after the sale.
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