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Old July 21, 2010, 07:47 PM   #1
mickm
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Alien Resident Gun Ownership in NH

I moved to NH from the UK around 9 months ago when I married my girlfriend who is a US citizen. I am a legal resident alien holding a green card and am in the process of buying a rifle. However, I am encountering a few problems which in the short term don't seem easily solved.

Last weekend I went to my local range for a Smith & Wesson open day and after firing several rifles and pistols I ordered a M&P AR15 MOE from a local firearms dealer and paid a small deposit. Since then it has become apparent that I have to prove residency in NH for the last 90 days and it seems that only a utility bill will suffice. Unfortunately, all the bills are in my wife's name apart from one where we switched to Dish Network a few weeks ago. I have a driver's license, bank statement, pay stubs, medical insurance card, car registration, notarized letter from town clerk, marriage certificate, several letters and documents from the immigration service along with my green card and authorization for employment all of which show evidence of residency stretching back to the start of 2010. This, from what I've been told is insufficient to present to the gun shop in order that I can pick up the rifle when it arrives in the next week. Is there any other way I can show residency that the dealer might accept...? Failing that, I'm going to have to send my wife to the shop to get the gun for me but to be honest, I didn't really want ther to have any dealing with it... she might not be too happy with the price...
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Old July 21, 2010, 08:38 PM   #2
wally626
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At this point you can not have your wife buy the gun. That would be a straw purchase and get you both in trouble. You'll have to ask the store what they would accept, but utility bills showing your home address are the standard proof.
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Old July 21, 2010, 09:02 PM   #3
mickm
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Not sure what a "straw purchase" is but if it is a problem then no doubt the dealer will add that to the list of hurdles to clear. I don't understand why my wife couldn't purchase the gun... after all, if I can't buy it then it goes back into stock at which point it may be purchased by anyone else. If that happens to be my wife, then so be it. It is perfectly legal for her to sell the gun to me as according to NH law a private sale may be made without a licensed dealer as long as "the buyer holds a concealed carry license OR the buyer is known to the seller". There's nothing to stop her remaining the owner anyway as there is no registration of guns in NH.

The link below shows some info that I found during my research but it doesn't really answer all my questions...

http://freestateblogs.net/nhgunfaq
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Old July 21, 2010, 11:46 PM   #4
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A "straw purchase" is when someone who is legally able to buy a gun does so with the intent of giving or reselling it to someone who is NOT legally able to buy it. So technically, if someone decided to take notice of it, you could be in legal trouble.
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Old July 22, 2010, 06:45 AM   #5
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the straw purchase thing is illogical in your situation but it

is just part of the B.S. we all have to deal with..... so, drop the wife part of the equation...

unless you can get your deposit back and then just send her to a different store to buy her own rifle.

there has got to be a way.... I'd say a notarized letter of some sort should work.... heck, have never figured out what a utility bill is worth anyway... I could fake one of those in about 10 minutes of computer work.

talk direct to the owner manager of the store and tell them the deal and ask them what they need.

what about a letter saying you have lived at the same residence for a certain amount of time then signed by several neighbors or friends and then notarized?
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Old July 22, 2010, 07:11 AM   #6
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Don't fret it. The "utility bill" requirement isn't in the law, that's just their preferred method to document the 90 days. Unfortunately, some chain stores insist that you use only their preferred method, and the sale won't happen, Walmart and Big5 come to mind as real sticklers to their procedure.
But, if they can't file the paperwork due to their rules, they should give you the deposit back. And in regards to your wife buying it, legitimate presents are specifically exempt from the straw purchase rule. So have her buy you one for Xmas.
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Old July 22, 2010, 08:45 AM   #7
divil
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There is absolutely no law against getting the wife to buy the gun, then you using it whenever you please.

Straw purchases are usually misunderstood; there is no law against buying a gun, then transferring it to someone else*.

A straw purchase is where you lie in answer to the question "are you the actual buyer of the firearm" on form 4473. If you answer "no", the FFL cannot sell you the gun. If you answer "yes" but you are acting as an agent on someone else's behalf, then that is a straw purchase. You are guilty of a straw purchase the moment you lie on the form - technically, the transfer never even has to take place. The actual crime is the fact that you furnished an FFL with false information.

However, for you to take your wife's property and use it, with her permission whenever you want...I cannot for the life of me imagine how you could get in trouble for that!

I am not a lawyer, but my guess is that some kind of money/paper trail would be necessary to prove that someone made a purchase on someone else's behalf...for example, on the day you buy a gun and transfer it to a 3rd party, you also lodge a check for the same amount, from that 3rd party, into your account, proving that they paid for the gun - then you're goosed.

*The conditions under federal law are: (1) you both must be residents of the same state and (b) the transferer must not have any reason to believe that the transferee is a prohibited person. Just because you cannot buy a gun does not make you a prohibited person.
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Old July 22, 2010, 09:30 AM   #8
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Just a couple of items since reviewing the GCA again.
Utility bill IS listed as an "example" in the law!

It also indicates the 90 days before one buys a gun has to be continuous. NICS will check with ICE to verify that the alien HAS NOT left the USA in the preceeding 90 days.

ATF Rul. 2004-1
The regulation
states that "[e]xamples of acceptable
documentation include utility bills or a
lease agreement which show that the
transferee has resided in the State
continuously for at least 90 days prior
to the transfer of the firearm.
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Old July 22, 2010, 09:40 AM   #9
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A few more examples of acceptable documentation.

(B13) May aliens legally in the
United States buy firearms?
....
Examples of qualifying documentation
to prove residency include:
utility bills, lease agreements, credit
card statements, and pay stubs from
the purchaser’s place of employment,
if such documents include residential
addresses.
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Old July 22, 2010, 09:55 AM   #10
divil
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n7qvu, that first section of the GCA posted above refers to non-immigrant aliens. The OP is not a non-immigrant alien if he has a 'green card'.

A non-immigrant alien is someone who is admitted to the country on a temporary basis under a visa of some kind - for example, me (business visa)

OP, I tried using bank statements the first time, and I was denied, but I never found out if that was because of the bank statements or because they just have a tendency to deny aliens on their first attempt anyway. By the time I tried again it was much later and I had utility bills and it worked out OK. So if you do get denied, try again a few weeks later.

Do you have a lease agreement in your name? Check out the CFR 478.124

This states that a lease agreement is suitable. You could print this regulation and show it to the dealer.

People, including dealers, may mistakenly believe that you've got to have documentation to prove residence for the last 90 days immediately preceding the sale; however, that should only apply to non-immigrant aliens:

http://www.atf.gov/regulations-rulin...ng-2004-1.html :
Quote:
ATF interprets these provisions to mean a nonimmigrant alien must reside in the State continuously for 90 days immediately preceding the NICS check. If this temporal requirement is not imposed, the purpose of the 90 continuous days requirement will be defeated.
Note, this is not actually the law; this a restriction the ATF imposes on non-immigrants of their own accord - notice how little sense that last sentence makes! But they do seem to be saying that is applies only to non-immigrants.

I hope it works out for you - I feel your pain, I have to jump through even more hoops every time I buy a gun.

Last edited by divil; July 22, 2010 at 10:21 AM.
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Old July 22, 2010, 10:59 AM   #11
docpadds
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Drivers license as ID, Green card to show your A number, bank statements going back 90+ (more the merrier). Thats all i would need to transfer that gun.

From the 4473 form "utility bills, current bank statements, rent receipts, mortgage payments, lease agreements, personal property tax bills, documents issued by Federal State or local government agencies, first class mail issued by government agency, insurance policies or bill with current address or major credit card bill"

Its all spelled out there. You said you had a set of statements, so that should be enough.

I do know how tough it can be though, i was a Permanent Resident up until last December, being a citizen has lots of up sides, less paperwork being one of them.
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Old July 23, 2010, 04:05 PM   #12
mickm
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Thanks for the advice... most illuminating. It would seem that I have more than enough evidence as long as the dealer correctly interprets the regulations...? That said, I can't find the wording on the 4473 as quoted above...? I'm trying to find a good copy of this form as it seems it is no longer available as a simple PDF on the ATF site and has been replaced by an e-Form requiring installation and setup

Thanks again...

Last edited by mickm; July 23, 2010 at 04:34 PM.
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Old July 23, 2010, 05:21 PM   #13
mickm
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Okay... I found it. Here's the link for anyone else who may need this information to show to the FFL dealer to avoid any confusion...

http://www.atf.gov/forms/download/atf-f-4473.pdf

The pertinent section, as given by docpadds, is on page 5 under the heading "Question 20.c. Documentation For All Aliens".

And I just got the call to say my rifle has arrived...
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Old July 24, 2010, 11:00 AM   #14
mickm
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AAAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHH......!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The frustration...!!!

As you may have gathered, I went to collect my rifle and was turned away. The reason was that I (apparently) couldn't show 90 continuous days of residency in NH. Despite having multiple eligible documents going back to October 2009, because no single series of documents covered the 90 consecutive days prior to the sale, the dealer couldn't accept any of them. They argued that only a utility bill would meet this requirement as that was the only thing that would show I hadn't left the country... ***...!!? How does a utility bill show that...? My passport shows that but that's not acceptable. I have government issued documents that cover more than a 90 day period but (apparently), they don't prove that I didn't leave my address between the different postage dates... although a monthly bill does...!!? I asked what "government documents would prove that...?" but they didn't have an answer. I work in MA, so does that mean by leaving the state 5 days a week I no longer qualify...?

It seems that utility bills are king and nothing else will do, despite the ATF listing a whole load more things. It is all down to interpretation and if the dealer doesn't have the greatest understanding of the English language then their interpretation will always err on the side of caution, even if it means them losing a sale. I think the ATF should fully clarify the situation, i.e. if I have eligible documentation showing that I was resident 90 days ago and I have documentation showing that I am resident now then aren't the 90 days in between a given...? If not, what increments are allowable for say, government documents...? I realise they are just trying to cover themselves but it seems a ridiculous situation. Correct me if I'm wrong but what I find odd is that if I were a non-immigrant alien, without a green card I could buy a rifle merely by being in possession of a hunter's permit...? NUTS...!!!

Not at all happy...!!!

Last edited by mickm; July 24, 2010 at 11:46 AM.
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Old July 24, 2010, 11:16 AM   #15
divil
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Fairly typical response unfortunately. The dealer is of course wrong.

You are not required to prove that you have not left the country; the background check will reveal that (if it's relevant, which I don't think it is if you have a green card). Anyway the immigration records that NICS have access to will show it instantly.

The dealer might be confusing you with a non-immigrant alien; generally people over here have no idea that there are 2 different classes of resident alien and they tend to have a hard time wrapping their heads around it. Just the other day I had to explain it to a friend of mine who is a citizen but can't buy a handgun because he's still technically resident in another state, where he lived until recently - he was a little peeved to hear that I could buy one though!

What the utility bills prove is that you have lived in that state for 90 days. For non-immigrant aliens, they insist on utility bills because utility bills show 90 days of residency immediately preceding the transfer; but I don't believe that is necessary in your case, based on the stuff I quoted previously.

Sorry it hasn't worked out. Unfortunately, my guess is that if your wife now goes in to try to complete the transfer, they will probably think that is illegal too (also incorrect IMO). Might be worth asking them if they will allow that though?
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Old July 24, 2010, 11:44 AM   #16
mickm
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The good news is that my wife will be purchasing a rifle for me...

The bad news is that she will probably use it to murder me when she discovers how much I spent...

Out of interest, as a NH resident and US citizen, what will she need to take to the dealer tomorrow...?
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Old July 24, 2010, 12:06 PM   #17
Edward429451
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(Homer Simpson voice)...90 days?! But I'm mad now....
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Old July 24, 2010, 04:31 PM   #18
mickm
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haha... mint...!!!
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Old July 24, 2010, 05:12 PM   #19
BerettaCougar
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Quote:
Out of interest, as a NH resident and US citizen, what will she need to take to the dealer tomorrow...?
Call the shop ahead and ask all that is required.
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Old July 24, 2010, 05:28 PM   #20
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I suppose it would be poor form to suggest that your wife sight in the new rifle on the shop owner's forehead.

Anyone who would insist that a utility bill is a more valid form of proof that you haven't been out of the country than your passport doesn't have the IQ to be allowed to be a firearms dealer. In the words of Bugs Bunny: "Eh ... What a maroon."
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Old July 26, 2010, 12:31 PM   #21
blume357
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If there was anyway to get your deposit money back,

I assume you did... then I would not buy anything from these folks and send your wife somewhere else.

I would confront these folks for a short period of time and point out how their requirements just don't meet any reasonable logic and are pretty much B.S.
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Old July 27, 2010, 07:53 PM   #22
mickm
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Well... I finally got the rifle on Sunday. And when I say "I", I obviously mean "my wife". I would have gone elsewhere but I had a similar experience a few months previous at another local gun dealer so I figured the ATF paranoia was widespread. Also, I was given a great deal, a S&W M&P AR-15 5.56mm MOE for $825.

Anyway, it all worked out in the end and by Sunday evening I walked away from the range, 60 rounds lighter and much calmer...

Thanks to everyone for their helpful advice and comments.
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Old July 28, 2010, 02:50 AM   #23
maestro pistolero
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Enjoy your rifle and your freedom.
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Old July 28, 2010, 06:33 AM   #24
divil
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Congrats mate, glad to hear it worked out for ya.
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Old July 28, 2010, 07:53 AM   #25
blume357
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Here's a thought in reference to the stupid straw purchase laws and spouses

How can my giving my wife money to go and buy me a gun (which I can legally own) and then her coming home and giving it to me be a straw purchase in most states? If community property laws apply then we both own the gun regardless of who bought it anyway and the money I gave her was 'half' hers in the first place.....
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