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Old December 4, 2011, 08:22 PM   #1
Chaz88
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HELP! ATF Says it is not legal for shooting club to buy guns.

My college shooting club has recently formed and while the administration has not out right blocked progress they do seam to be passively obstructing us with more foot dragging and scrutiny than is warranted or given to other clubs.

The most resent problem came up when we wanted to buy rifles and shotguns for club use. The administration did not bother to research the law but called the ATF. The ATF told them it would be against the law to let anyone use the guns unless they had gone through a background check first.

My understanding of the relevant law does not support what the ATF said. I am looking for some well reasoned explanations from some of TFL's legal experts to help refute what the ATF told them and clarify the issue for the college administration.

Thank you, Chaz
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Seams like once we the people give what, at the time, seams like a reasonable inch and "they" take the unreasonable mile we can only get that mile back one inch at a time.

No spelun and grammar is not my specialty. So please don't hurt my sensitive little feelings by teasing me about it.
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Old December 4, 2011, 08:24 PM   #2
TheGoldenState
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Now that's a club I'd love to join. Interesting.


It would help to know where you are located.
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Old December 4, 2011, 08:43 PM   #3
Chaz88
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Located in Iowa. They did not mention if they contacted state officials, just the ATF. I think the ATF gave them the answer they are looking for and they did not search any further. But the issue is not closed yet so I am looking for "ammunition" to help our side of it.

I am not an expert but I have never read anything in state or federal law that would support what the ATF said. If I called the ATF three times and asked the question of three different people I think I would get three different answers, so I am not buying what one person at the ATF said. As I understand the issue, as long as we do not have reason to believe someone is a prohibited person we can let them use the guns. Side note: Everyone in the club has signed waivers releasing the college and the club from liability for accidents and such.
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Seams like once we the people give what, at the time, seams like a reasonable inch and "they" take the unreasonable mile we can only get that mile back one inch at a time.

No spelun and grammar is not my specialty. So please don't hurt my sensitive little feelings by teasing me about it.
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Old December 4, 2011, 09:21 PM   #4
JohnKSa
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Clearly there are hundreds of ranges across the U.S. that allow customers to rent and use guns without first undergoing a background check. That said, those guns are to be used only on the premises and under the supervision of the owner of the guns. Actually, the guns probably are the property of an FFL holder whose designees (employees) supervise the use of the guns.
Quote:
...buy rifles and shotguns for club use.
The problem is that there must be some entity who actually owns the firearms. If the club doesn't have an FFL, then some flesh & blood person(s) will have to fill out the 4473 and undergo the background check to acquire the firearms.

Can you explain how the club was planning to handle the purchase & use by club members?

1. Who would own the guns?
2. Where would the guns be stored?
3. How would the guns be checked out?
4. Where would the guns be used by those who check them out?
5. Would the legal owners of the guns supervise their use?

Here's one legal way it could be done, in my opinion.
Club official purchases firearm via the standard process and stores it at his home.

Club member desires to use firearm and goes to club official. Club official accompanies firearm and club member to range where club member uses firearm under the supervision of club official. No transfer takes place so there's no issue.
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Old December 4, 2011, 09:25 PM   #5
rshanneck2002
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Really?

In Iowa no less., i am somewhat surprised by this. I always heard that Iowa was a big hunting state and i would think that they would support a shooting club. Now Northwestern in chi-town that would not surprise me at all. ATF yeah you will get different answers depending how and who you talk too., there was a time when they were on the honest gun owners side, im not so sure anymore. Seen them screw up way to many times in the last 10 yrs or so.,the last being the fast&furious screwup and then the FBI has to come in a take care of the last and greatest mess the created. I think your college is really looking for a loophole though,they just see it as a major headache for them. But in corn country im sure surprised.
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Old December 4, 2011, 09:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
If the club doesn't have an FFL, then some flesh & blood person(s)
Didn't know a "club" could have a FFL, it has to be an individual
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Old December 4, 2011, 10:00 PM   #7
dogtown tom
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Quote:
Chaz88 My college shooting club has recently formed and while the administration has not out right blocked progress they do seam to be passively obstructing us with more foot dragging and scrutiny than is warranted or given to other clubs.

The most resent problem came up when we wanted to buy rifles and shotguns for club use. The administration did not bother to research the law but called the ATF. The ATF told them it would be against the law to let anyone use the guns unless they had gone through a background check first.

My understanding of the relevant law does not support what the ATF said. I am looking for some well reasoned explanations from some of TFL's legal experts to help refute what the ATF told them and clarify the issue for the college administration.

Thank you, Chaz
Often, people will ask a question of ATF in a manner that gets them the response they want.

Odds are, your college asked "uh, can our gun club buy guns and shoot them?"

ATF's CORRECT response was most likely "All firearm purchases from a licensed dealer require a 4473 and NICS background check"

What your college heard was "you have to have a background check to shoot guns".

Most certainly, a corporation, company, association, partnership or other business entity may acquire firearms from a licensed dealer.....says so right on the Form 4473:http://www.atf.gov/forms/download/atf-f-4473-1.pdf
The Form 4473 instructions address this on Page 3 of 6, Section A

As always, ATF verbal opinions are worth the paper they are written on.....a knowledgeable Industry Operations Investigator will most commonly just refer you to the applicable citation from the US Code.
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Old December 4, 2011, 10:31 PM   #8
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The question asked in the title of your post doesn't seem to match up with the body of your post. The title is "HELP! ATF Says it is not legal for shooting club to buy guns." That, of course, is patently incorrect, but for a club to buy firearms the club would have to be a corporation.

However, in the body of your post, you seem to be concerned not with whether or not the club can buy firearms, but rather with whether or not members can use firearms without having gone through a background check. And the answer is that of course they can. There is no law of which I am aware requiring a background check before someone can shoot a firearm. While some over-zealous BATFE suit may think that any time you allow a different person to pick up a firearm a "transfer" has taken place, the fact is that commercial ranges rent guns to perfect strangers all the time. I shoot regularly at such a range, and I'm friendly with the owner. I've known him for almost twenty years, and in all the times I've been hanging around the counter at the range shop, I have NEVER seen him call in a background check because someone wanted to rent a handgun.

What he WON'T do is rent to someone whom he suspects of being a prohibited person. A couple of years ago, for example, three "yoots" came in, fully bedecked in jeans that hung down perilously close to their knees, lots of tats, and other hints as to their possible affiliation. They wanted to rent and shoot some Glocks (naturally). As first timers, they were all asked to fill out a form. One of the questions is, "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?"

So one of the yoots got to that question, turned to his companion, and asked (within all our hearing), "Yo! Was dat armed robbery thing I did a felony?" (Not an exact quote, but pretty close.) At that point the proprietor reached over and took the paper away from the guy. He asked if the kid had been in prison, and the kid said yes. So my friend informed him that (a) he wasn't renting any guns, today or any other day; (b) he wasn't shooting any guns his friends rented, today or any other day; (c) if his friends wanted to shoot, he could go down the road for a cup of coffee at McDonalds and come back in an hour when they were done; and (d) that he really needed to understand that if he EVER touched a firearm he was breaking the law and could go back to prison.

The young gentlemen were decidedly unhappy. It appeared they were getting ready to give the owner some serious lip when they looked around and saw maybe four of us regulars, all wearing 1911s on our belts, in addition to the owner and his assistant who were open carrying behind the counter. They ultimately decided that the two who hadn't done hard time would shoot, and their friend would go have a cup of coffee.

So what was my point? Oh, yeah. Background checks are not required. It's only illegal to allow someone to handle or shoot a firearm if you know or have reason to believe they are a prohibited person.
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Old December 4, 2011, 11:14 PM   #9
JohnKSa
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Quote:
Didn't know a "club" could have a FFL, it has to be an individual.
So, what individual has the FFL that Wal-Mart uses to sell guns?
Quote:
While some over-zealous BATFE suit may think that any time you allow a different person to pick up a firearm a "transfer" has taken place, the fact is that commercial ranges rent guns to perfect strangers all the time.
The OP hasn't specified yet whether the guns are only to be used on the premises (or even if his club has a premises) or whether they're allowed to be checked out by members and used elsewhere.

Commercial ranges don't let you take the gun home for a trip to another range tomorrow. It's not quite the same thing (assuming that's what the OP is discussing).
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Old December 4, 2011, 11:36 PM   #10
Casimer
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There's a sub-forum on targettalk.org for Youth Shooting Programs that gets a lot of coaches and directors/managers for JROTC, CMP, 4-H and other clubs.

Someone there will likely know what's required for clubs to purchase guns.
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Old December 5, 2011, 12:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
So, what individual has the FFL that Wal-Mart uses to sell guns?
Hillary.
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Old December 5, 2011, 08:01 AM   #12
Chaz88
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My title was a bit off target. Sorry.

The guns would be purchased by club officials and checked out for members to use during club events. Club events are held at a couple of different ranges. We have a safe on campus, for people that live on campus, to store personal firearms. The guns would be stored in the safe and access is limited. Even personal firearms must be checked out through club officials.

We have talked to other private colleges nearby, that have had clubs for many years, and this is how they operate and have had no problems. Some of the public colleges even have their own on campus ranges.
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Seams like once we the people give what, at the time, seams like a reasonable inch and "they" take the unreasonable mile we can only get that mile back one inch at a time.

No spelun and grammar is not my specialty. So please don't hurt my sensitive little feelings by teasing me about it.
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Old December 5, 2011, 08:32 AM   #13
Fleet
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Hmmm....see how the JROTC and ROTC get away with doing the same thing for their rifle teams?
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Old December 5, 2011, 09:46 AM   #14
oneounceload
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Quote:
So, what individual has the FFL that Wal-Mart uses to sell guns?
My understanding was that it was the store manager. We had a drug store chain where I used to live that sold guns. the FFL had the store manager's name on it, same with the KMart at that time
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Old December 5, 2011, 10:16 AM   #15
Jeff F
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Quote:
So, what individual has the FFL that Wal-Mart uses to sell guns?
Its my understanding that each store that sells guns has its own licensee and its usually the manager of the store or the manager of the sporting goods department.
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Old December 5, 2011, 10:46 AM   #16
dogtown tom
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Quote:
oneounceload
Quote:
Quote:
So, what individual has the FFL that Wal-Mart uses to sell guns?
My understanding was that it was the store manager. We had a drug store chain where I used to live that sold guns. the FFL had the store manager's name on it, same with the KMart at that time
Nope.
An FFL can be issued to a sole proprietor, a partnership, a corporation, etc. Those issued to corporations do not have the store managers name shown as the licensee....because a corporation is its own legal entity. ATF requires the name of "responsible persons" on the app....but that has to do with who controls business policy and management authority of the licensee.
Every FFL has a space for the "licensee/responsible person" to sign and show their title....this may have been where you saw the managers name on the FFL.

In short, you won't see "WalMart #112321 Bubba J. Citizen" shown as the licensee. In my files I have these:

Bud's- no individual's name on license
Impact- no individual's name on license
SigSauer- no individual's name on license
Glock- no individual's name on license
S&W- no individual's name on license
Classic Arms- no individual's name on license
AIM- no individual's name on license
Southern Ohio guns- no individual's name on license
CDNN- no individual's name on license
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Old December 5, 2011, 11:58 AM   #17
ltc444
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Do you have an ROTC program? If so, you might want to contact the PMS for assistance.

My university, Central Mo State now Central State, Had an active shooting range and shooting program open to all students and faculity. The indoor range was on campus. It was also used by the students enrolled in the Criminal Justice Administration programs as well.

Our PMS Col Don Fox and the ROTC Staff ran the range.

Since you appear to be having ADMIN Problems, you may wish to enlist the aid of professors and administrators who are interested in shooting. These "Faculity Advisors" will know which buttons to push and can facilitate overcoming the obsticals you are encountering.

Good luck and safe shooting.
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Old December 5, 2011, 03:59 PM   #18
Chaz88
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Quote:
Do you have an ROTC program? If so, you might want to contact the PMS for assistance.
It is a small private school with no ROTC.

Quote:
Since you appear to be having ADMIN Problems, you may wish to enlist the aid of professors and administrators who are interested in shooting. These "Faculity Advisors" will know which buttons to push and can facilitate overcoming the obsticals you are encountering.
We have a faculty adviser that is actively involved in helping the club and working things through the administration. He is as frustrated with the administration as I am. So far the administrators have not been aiding us much, they are the hurdles we are trying to overcome.
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Seams like once we the people give what, at the time, seams like a reasonable inch and "they" take the unreasonable mile we can only get that mile back one inch at a time.

No spelun and grammar is not my specialty. So please don't hurt my sensitive little feelings by teasing me about it.
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Old December 5, 2011, 06:29 PM   #19
ltc444
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Is there a DCM affiliated club in the vicinity. Maybe you could work a deal with them.

In AZ the State club has an active junior shooters program. I would check wtih your state organization and see if they could help.
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