The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Conference Center > Law and Civil Rights

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old March 15, 2012, 02:52 AM   #1
mjbek11
Junior Member
 
Join Date: March 15, 2012
Posts: 12
Definition of straw purchase in Minnesota?

I recently purchased a weapon on gunboker.com for my self to use for target and a more comfortable gun for my wife to use as my 9mm intimidates her a little bit. i went to my local gun range (of which i am a member) and asked if they would do the FFL transfer. No problem i was told. had it shipped and went to pick it up when it arrived. my exact words were "I finally have gotten my wife interested in shooting so I purchased this gun to keep her intrested because she is a little afraid of mine she is going to be so excited". was told by the range that this is a straw purchase and they will not be able to transfer it to me? My wife would meet all the the criteria to be able to purchase herself (i dont even think she has had a speeding ticket in 10 years) I am liscensed and have the right to purchase in this state. I am buying it as much for myself as for her (sick of paying for 9mm ammo to practice shooting). I cant foursee ever passing ownership to her. I would never purchase a weapon for anyone including family. is the range right not to transfer it to me? already paid for to a different company +shipping and they want to send it back?
mjbek11 is offline  
Old March 15, 2012, 03:05 AM   #2
Fetish636
Member
 
Join Date: March 13, 2012
Location: Circle Pines, MN
Posts: 18
Yes you cant buy a gun for someone else that is illegal, But i think it is a little much but you did say you bought it for your wife to shoot, Huge NoNo it is actually a chargeable offense if someone was anal enough to do that, I Know ATF would that is what they do lol, the shop is going a little over board on legality's i think. Sucks to hear but that company is going by the books they have that right......
Fetish636 is offline  
Old March 15, 2012, 03:08 AM   #3
Fetish636
Member
 
Join Date: March 13, 2012
Location: Circle Pines, MN
Posts: 18
In the context of United States federal gun laws, a straw purchase is defined as any purchase from a dealer holding a Federal Firearms License where the buyer conducting the transaction is acting as a proxy for another person. The law does not distinguish between someone who is purchasing on behalf of a person who legally cannot purchase or possess a firearm, and one who is not.

Beginning in 1975, ATF officials apparently reached a judgment that a dealer who sells to a legitimate purchaser may nonetheless be subject to prosecution or license revocation if he knows that that individual intends to transfer the firearm to a nonresident or other unqualified purchaser. This position was never published in the Federal Register and is indeed contrary to indications which Bureau officials had given Congress, that such sales were not in violation of existing law. Rather than informing dealers of this distinction, ATF agents set out to produce mass arrests upon these "straw purchase" sale charges, sending out undercover agents to entice dealers into transfers of this type.[citation needed]

In the United States, straw purchases are a felony violation of the Gun Control Act of 1968 for both the straw purchaser (who can also be charged with lying on Federal Form 4473) and the ultimate possessor. One of the questions on Form 4473 is “I am the buyer of this firearm” and the purchaser must answer honestly yes or no, by checking the appropriate box in ink. However, purchase of a firearm as a bona fide gift for someone who can legally own such a firearm is permitted.[1]

Many gun shops have jointly participated in programs (such as: “Don’t Lie For The Other Guy”) to deter such purchases.[2]
Fetish636 is offline  
Old March 15, 2012, 03:28 AM   #4
mjbek11
Junior Member
 
Join Date: March 15, 2012
Posts: 12
Thank you for your replies so far. as i stated this purchase is as much for me (if not more) and i would never transfer ownership. can you not legally purchase a firearm and gift it to sombody, especially a spouse, that would qualify to purchase on their own?
mjbek11 is offline  
Old March 15, 2012, 05:16 AM   #5
Sport45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 25, 1999
Location: Too close to Houston
Posts: 4,068
Quote:
Thank you for your replies so far. as i stated this purchase is as much for me (if not more) and i would never transfer ownership.
If that's the case, why mention the wife to the counterman at all? You are free to let anyone shoot your guns in your presence. I don't know the laws in your state as far as possession goes so I can't comment on that.

If it's a gun you are buying for yourself I see no problem. When you tell the FFL holder you are buying it for someone else to shoot it muddies the water. As far as he's concerned you are saying that you are buying it for someone else to possess and that is a big no-no.

There is no need to explain your purchase to the guy doing the transfer. Why you buy the gun is your business as long as it is legal.
__________________
Proud member of the NRA and Texas State Rifle Association. Registered and active voter.

Last edited by Sport45; March 15, 2012 at 08:27 PM.
Sport45 is offline  
Old March 15, 2012, 05:28 AM   #6
Frank Ettin
Staff
 
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 6,696
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjbek11
....can you not legally purchase a firearm and gift it to sombody,...
Under federal law at least, you certainly can.

You might want to refer the dealer to the ATF publication Federal Firearms Regulation Reference Guide, 2005 which states on page 165 (emphasis added):
Quote:
15. STRAW PURCHASES

Questions have arisen concerning the lawfulness of firearms purchases from licensees by persons who use a "straw purchaser" (another person) to acquire the firearms. Specifically, the actual buyer uses the straw purchaser to execute the Form 4473 purporting to show that the straw purchaser is the actual purchaser of the firearm. In some instances, a straw purchaser is used because the actual purchaser is prohibited from acquiring the firearm. That is to say, the actual purchaser is a felon or is within one of the other prohibited categories of persons who may not lawfully acquire firearms or is a resident of a State other than that in which the licensee's business premises is located. Because of his or her disability, the person uses a straw purchaser who is not prohibited from purchasing a firearm from the licensee. In other instances, neither the straw purchaser nor the actual purchaser is prohibited from acquiring the firearm.

In both instances, 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. 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...

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....
Frank Ettin is offline  
Old March 15, 2012, 07:18 AM   #7
Don P
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 17, 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 4,792
At times we are our own worst enemies. Here is the perfect example of that. In simple conversation a statement is made and the proverbial hits the fan and the transfer is denied. An innocent statement in general conversation has created a nightmare.
__________________
NRA Life Member, NRA Range Safety Officer, IDPA Safety Officer
As you are, I once was, As I am, You will be.
Don P is offline  
Old March 15, 2012, 07:34 AM   #8
jhenry
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 27, 2006
Location: Ozarks
Posts: 1,813
What the OP did is certainly NOT a straw purchase in Minnesota or anywhere else in the US. Many folks will argue that it is, they are wrong. You will even have FFLs argue the point, they are wrong as well. I believe the definition is right on the back of the 4473 even. Buying the firearm as a gift for a person who would otherwise be able to purchase it themselves and legally possess it IS NOT a straw purchase under federal law.
__________________
"A Liberal is someone who doesn't care what you do, as long as it's mandatory". - Charles Krauthammer
jhenry is offline  
Old March 15, 2012, 07:51 AM   #9
Uncle Buck
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 21, 2009
Location: West Central Missouri
Posts: 2,561
I can not get the 4473 to come up on my computer, but I thought there was a small paragraph on the back side of the form in which it stated the purchaser could give the gun as a gift and still remain legal.
__________________
Inside Every Bright Idea Is The 50% Probability Of A Disaster Waiting To Happen.
Uncle Buck is offline  
Old March 15, 2012, 08:10 AM   #10
solidgun
Member
 
Join Date: October 20, 2008
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 46
Since it is your wife, I don't see how they can prosecute you and coerce your wife to testify against you. The firearm purchased is your joint property unless it is auto/sbr/aow so I think the FFL is being anal and pushing the issue if they are taking actions to prevent you from completing the transfer. It can fall under the straw purchase according to the letter of the law, but as they cannot prove that it is no longer your property, I don't see how you are going to be prosecuted.
solidgun is offline  
Old March 15, 2012, 10:20 AM   #11
Don H
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 8, 2000
Location: SLC,Utah
Posts: 2,705
From the instructions on the back of the 4473:
Quote:
For purposes of this form, you are the actual buyer if you are purchasing the firearm for yourself or otherwise acquiring the firearm for yourself (for example, redeeming the firearm from pawn/retrieving it from consignment). You are also the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm as a legitimate gift for a third party.
ACTUAL BUYER EXAMPLES: Mr. Smith asks Mr. Jones to purchase a firearm for
Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith gives Mr. Jones the money for the firearm. Mr. Jones is NOT
the actual buyer of the firearm and must answer “no “ to question 12a. The
licensee may not transfer the firearm to Mr. Jones. However, if Mr. Brown goes to
buy a firearm with his own money to give to Mr. Black as a present, Mr. Brown is
the actual buyer of the firearm and should answer “yes” to question 12a.
Don H is offline  
Old March 15, 2012, 12:35 PM   #12
Young.Gun.612
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 28, 2010
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 400
Sounds like the FFL isn't fully aware of what does and does not constitute a straw purchase. And if you said exactly what you said in the first post, it definitely isn't even close to a straw purchase since you're saying it'd yours and your wife is simply going to use it.
Young.Gun.612 is offline  
Old March 15, 2012, 12:57 PM   #13
Salmoneye
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 31, 2011
Location: Vermont
Posts: 1,346
If you are retaining posession and simply letting someone else fire your gun in your presence, then 'straw purchase' has nothing to do with the equation whatsoever, and the FFL needs a refresher on the laws (both FED and MN)...
Salmoneye is offline  
Old March 16, 2012, 09:50 AM   #14
divil
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 11, 2009
Posts: 402
Quote:
Yes you cant buy a gun for someone else that is illegal,
Completely untrue. You certainly can buy a gun as a gift for someone else, as Don H and others have pointed out.

OP, do a search for previous threads on gifts and straw purchases - this has been discussed many times before. Even if it wasn't for your wife it would be perfectly legal.
divil is offline  
Old March 19, 2012, 02:34 AM   #15
Fetish636
Member
 
Join Date: March 13, 2012
Location: Circle Pines, MN
Posts: 18
I was not referring to a "Gift"
Fetish636 is offline  
Old March 19, 2012, 07:57 AM   #16
ScottRiqui
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 27, 2010
Location: Norfolk, VA
Posts: 2,905
Whether it's a formal gift, an informal gift, or simply a gun that both he and his wife will be shooting doesn't matter - the OP did nothing wrong, and the gun store had no reason to delay the transfer, unless they just happened to know for a fact that the wife was a prohibited person.

The straw purchase rules were never meant to prevent someone from buying a gun and making it available to his/her spouse. Simply put, the gun store clerk gooned this one away.
ScottRiqui is offline  
Old March 19, 2012, 12:36 PM   #17
Tom Servo
Staff
 
Join Date: September 27, 2008
Location: Foothills of the Appalachians
Posts: 10,317
Quote:
already paid for to a different company +shipping and they want to send it back?
Have you spoken to the owner or a manager yet? Several of us on this thread, myself included, can clear the situation up if he's willing to listen.
__________________
In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
--Albert Camus
Tom Servo is offline  
Old March 19, 2012, 12:53 PM   #18
Pahoo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 16, 2006
Location: IOWA
Posts: 5,579
Loose lips; sink ships !!

Quote:
At times we are our own worst enemies.
All too often, in more ways than one. Most of the time, you can say something , that just goes by. The FFL did not and really, can't fault him as he is just following his CYA procedure for whatever reason.
When it comes to guns, we have to follow the letter of the law, rather than the spirit of the law.


Be Safe !!!
__________________
'Fundamental truths' are easy to recognize because they are verified daily through simple observation and thus, require no testing.
Pahoo is offline  
Old March 19, 2012, 01:50 PM   #19
mjbek11
Junior Member
 
Join Date: March 15, 2012
Posts: 12
Thanks for all the info

I got another FFL in my area to do the transfer for me. When I told them the story behind what happened they said that the gun range had no idea what they were doing. They also stated that if I had come into them and said straight out I was buying it as a gift for my wife they would have zero problem with doing the transfer. I will be talking to my ranges owner the next time I am there and informing him of the lack of education his employees have. All of your replies were very helpful and i appreciate you taking the time to help. Best of luck in all of your en devours.
mjbek11 is offline  
Old March 19, 2012, 02:06 PM   #20
mayosligo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 16, 2006
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Posts: 301
Crazy. Sounds like the person at the range was not properly informed
mayosligo is offline  
Old March 19, 2012, 03:04 PM   #21
brickeyee
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 29, 2004
Posts: 3,342
FFL is just being stupid.

The gift 'instructions' are right on the back of the 4473. and this would be a gift if you gave her the gun.

A 'straw purchase' is lying on question 11 a) on the front of the 4473.

Nothing more.

It does not involve a prohibited person.

Even gifting a gun to a prohibited person is illegal, but would still not be a straw purchase unless they gave you the money for the gun (before or after you purchased it.

It is astounding how many folks seem to sign the form without actually READING it (and that includes the instructions).

I have a bridge for sale for you all.
brickeyee is offline  
Old March 19, 2012, 04:39 PM   #22
Rifleman1776
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 25, 2010
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 3,309
The shop is being a jerk. You bought it, it is yours. Your wife will shoot it. Nothing illegal.
But, if the shop reports this, there is a possibility the prosecutor is as big a jerk as the shop owner. Right, wrong, legal, illegal doesn't figure into the equation. What ATF and the prosecutor want to do to you is all that matters.
Sorry. I have a friend who learned that the hard way. The Feds have hundreds of lawyers and unlimited resources. You might be lucky enough to hire one lawyer, for a while, until you are broke.
Bring wife in and have her buy in her own name. Or switch dealers to handle your business.
Rifleman1776 is offline  
Old March 20, 2012, 11:42 AM   #23
patrickmn
Member
 
Join Date: December 29, 2005
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 86
If the husband paid for the gun and the store told him he can't have it because it is for his wife, so his wife does the paperwork, would that not be the definition of a straw purchase?
What would the ATF think if the wife did the paperwork on the gun her husband bought?
What would the ATF think if they found out an FFL holder was encouraging their customers to break the law?
__________________
Patrick
patrickmn is offline  
Old March 20, 2012, 12:06 PM   #24
Frank Ettin
Staff
 
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 6,696
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickmn
...would that not be the definition of a straw purchase?...
No. I suggest that you carefully re-read this entire thread.

A straw purchase is fully defined in post 6 and also explained in posts 11 and 21.
Frank Ettin is offline  
Old March 20, 2012, 01:30 PM   #25
patrickmn
Member
 
Join Date: December 29, 2005
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 86
It says Brown can buy a gun for Black as a gift and that Brown could do the paperwork because Brown is the person making the purchase. In this case, the husband has already bought and paid for the gun as a gift to his wife. The ATF rule from your post 6 says the husband could lawfully complete the paperwork because he is the purchaser. The question is, does the ATF rule that says the husband could do the paperwork also allow the wife to do the paperwork, since it is a gift to her?

From reading the information from the ATF and the form 4473, I thought the person paying for the gun always has to be the one doing the paperwork.
__________________
Patrick
patrickmn is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:27 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.13308 seconds with 9 queries