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Old April 18, 2012, 07:54 AM   #1
rifleman8
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handgun transfer

I have been really wanting to buy a handgun so I can start shooting steel competitions and maybe IDPA. Problem is, I'm not 21 until September. So, I was on the ATF website and they stated that a non FFL person can transfer a weapon to another person who lives within the same state. Does this apply to handguns? And to those under 21? If so, are there any accompanying forms that need to be filled and filed? I was going to contact the ATF to get the lowdown on this, but I know people on here are quite knowledgeable so maybe I won't need to. Basically, if this is legal, I want to know the correct way to do it so neither I nor the person who is transferring it will get in any kind of trouble.
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Old April 18, 2012, 08:14 AM   #2
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Contact the ATF to verify, anyway, or at least verify advice you get here on the appropriate federal and state websites.

That said, I was at the LGS yesterday, and they had copies of an ATF notice on the wall that said federal law prohibits the sale of handguns to persons under 18.

Your state may have tighter restrictions.

But verify for yourself. It is a potential felony if you get it wrong.
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Old April 18, 2012, 08:18 AM   #3
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Mleake is right. Fed law prohibits sale of a handgun to anyone under 18 and also prohibits an FFL sale to anyone under 21. That means that Fed law allows a private sale to someone between the ages of 18 and 21. State law, however, may be another thing. I can't answer for PA - you'll have to research that.
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Old April 18, 2012, 10:54 AM   #4
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The ATF will give you the runaround, and you will likely get contradictory advice.

An FFL cannot transfer a handgun to anyone under the age of 21. That's a restriction on them, not on you. You can legally own one at 18, though there might be some state-level restrictions on where you can have it. You might have some trouble buying ammo as well, but again, there's no law against having it.

It is perfectly legal for someone to purchase it, then give it to you as a gift.
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Old April 18, 2012, 11:15 AM   #5
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Servo
...You can legally own one at 18, though there might be some state-level restrictions on where you can have it...
It's going to come down to what the Pennsylvania law is. I have a vague recollection that Pennsylvania is one of those States with some restrictions on private party transfers, but I'm not completely sure.

The OP will need to look into Pennsylvania law on the question.
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Old April 18, 2012, 11:21 AM   #6
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State Law counts more than the ATF when it comes to 18-21 year olds.

The ATF states that a Federaly licensed Firearms dealer (FFL) cannot SELL to anyone under 21, that is all it states.

It does not say that a person 18-21 cannot PURCHASE a firearm (yes, includes a pistol). It also does NOT say that a person under 21 cannot inheirit, OWN, or possess a firearm (including a pistol). Those all come under your state laws.

If it is legal in your STATE for a person to own, possess, and purchase Face to Face, go that way...but understand you state law first. (PA has no restrictions that I know of)
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Old April 18, 2012, 11:26 AM   #7
Fishing_Cabin
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OP,

The relivant statute is: 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111: Sale or transfer of firearms
http://reference.pafoa.org/statutes/...r-of-firearms/

Quote:
Are you the actual buyer of the firearm(s), as defined under 18 Pa.C.S. § 6102 (relating to definitions), listed on this application/record of sale? Warning: You are not the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person, unless you are legitimately acquiring the firearm as a gift for any of the following individuals who are legally eligible to own a firearm:

(1) spouse
(2) parent
(3) child
(4) grandparent; or
(5) grandchild.

......

(c) Duty of other persons.--Any person who is not a licensed importer, manufacturer or dealer and who desires to sell or transfer a firearm to another unlicensed person shall do so only upon the place of business of a licensed importer, manufacturer, dealer or county sheriff's office, the latter of whom shall follow the procedure set forth in this section as if he were the seller of the firearm. The provisions of this section shall not apply to transfers between spouses or to transfers between a parent and child or to transfers between grandparent and grandchild.
A FFL is bound by the federal laws dealing with age to purchase. Going by what is in bold, it seems that if you want to own a handgun in PA it will have to be gifted to you by a parent. After you are 21 you can purchase from any other legal way.

Also, keep in mind question 11a on the 4473.

Quote:
Question 11a. Actual Transferee/Buyer: For purposes of this form, you are the actual transferee/buyer if you are purchasing the firearm for yourself or otherwise acquiring the firearm for yourself (e.g., redeeming the firearm from pawn/retrieving it from consignment, firearm raffle winner). You are the actual transferee/buyer if you are legitimately purchasing the firearm as a gift for a third party.

ACTUAL TRANSFEREE/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 TRANSFEREE/BUYER of the firearm and must answer "NO" to question 11a. 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 transferee/buyer of the firearm and should answer "YES" to question 11a. However, you may not transfer a firearm to any person you know or have reasonable cause to believe is prohibited under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), (n), or (x).
Please note: EXCEPTION: If you are picking up a repaired firearm(s) for another person, you are not required to answer 11a., and may proceed to question 11b
Just FYI, feel free to research it yourself.

Have a chipper day!

Last edited by Fishing_Cabin; April 18, 2012 at 12:54 PM.
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Old April 18, 2012, 01:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishing_Cabin View Post
OP,

The relivant statute is: 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111: Sale or transfer of firearms...
Thanks for that. I thought there was a wrinkle or two in Pennsylvania.
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Old April 19, 2012, 12:26 PM   #9
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Thanks Fishing Cabin, I figured there was a hitch somewhere. Basically, for me to be 20 and own a handgun, it must be a gift from a parent. I'm a little confused as to the "Actual Buyer/Transferee" section. If I'm understanding correctly, according to this, "You are the actual transferee/buyer if you are legitimately purchasing the firearm as a gift for a third party," a parent would be the actual buyer if they were to gift it to me.

However, I'm confused as to the actual ownership. I thought that handguns were registered to the owner by serial number. 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111.4 states that,
Quote:
"Notwithstanding any section of this chapter to the contrary, nothing in this chapter shall be construed to allow any government or law enforcement agency or any agent thereof to create, maintain or operate any registry of firearm ownership within this Commonwealth. For the purposes of this section only, the term "firearm" shall include any weapon that is designed to or may readily be converted to expel any projectile by the action of an explosive or the frame or receiver of any such weapon."
So maybe I'm completely wrong? I wouldn't want a parent to gift me the firearm but still have it registered as theirs. Really, I don't know anything about handgun purchasing.

I can't stand legal jargon, it confuses the heck out of me. Is this something the local PD would be knowledgeable in? Maybe a trip there would help clear things up.
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Old April 19, 2012, 12:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishing_Cabin
. . . .A FFL is bound by the federal laws dealing with age to purchase.
To be slightly hair-splitting, and just a little more precise, an FFL is bound by both state and federal laws dealing with age of purchase. It's just that no states (AFAIK) have an age requirement above that mandated by federal law (21). That means that complying with federal law is also compliance with state law.

Note also that state law may contain other requirements with which the FFL (or even a private seller) must comply before selling a handgun to a potential purchaser, such as verifying that the purchaser has a purchase permit, or waiting an allotted number of days before transferring the pistol to the purchaser. You'll need to check your state laws for these.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rifleman8
. . . .I'm a little confused as to the "Actual Buyer/Transferee" section. If I'm understanding correctly, according to this, "You are the actual transferee/buyer if you are legitimately purchasing the firearm as a gift for a third party," a parent would be the actual buyer if they were to gift it to me.
There is nothing under federal law to prevent one non-prohibited person from purchasing a firearm as a gift for another non-prohibited. IOW, if Al (fictitious, but not a prohibited peson) goes down to Frank Fletcher's Famous FFL shop (fictitious, but I like the alliteration) and sees a pistol that he thinks would make a great gift for Bob (also fictitious, also non-prohibited). Alfred can buy it, mark himself as the actual purchaser, and go give it to Bob. I'm sure that Bob will be very happy. However, if Bob gave Al some money and asked Al to go pick up that nice gun from FF's FFFL shop, then Al would not be the "actual purchaser" within the meaning of the relevant laws, and cannot make the purchase. If he does so, he has: (a) engaged in a straw purchase; and (2) would have to lie on the 4473 where it asks if Al is the actual purchaser. These are big no-nos, as in felony-type no-nos.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rifleman8
However, I'm confused as to the actual ownership. I thought that handguns were registered to the owner by serial number.
Nope. There's no federal firearm registry. I haven't done a survey, but I would also guess that in most states, there's no registry. Certain jurisdictions do have registration requirements, though. DC, NY, CA, IL come to mind. I'm afraid that I don't know what PA does on this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rifleman8
. . . .Is this something the local PD would be knowledgeable in? Maybe a trip there would help clear things up.
Perhaps yes, perhaps no. If you're going to go visit them, be sure that you do so before taking action to purchase a handgun. I would also suggest reviewing your local and state laws and, if it still doesn't make sense, find a local attorney with some experience in firearms laws and go get a short consult on the matter.
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Old April 19, 2012, 01:36 PM   #11
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Spats, I hope you forgive my mistake of not including that a FFL needs to adhere to state laws also.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rifleman8
However, I'm confused as to the actual ownership. I thought that handguns were registered to the owner by serial number.
The below may also be of some help for you since it explains it with out some of the legal wording.

From http://www.pafoa.org/law also please note,

Quote:
Do I have to register my firearms in Pennsylvania?

No, in fact in Pennsylvania it is actually illegal for any government or police agency to keep a registry of firearms per 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111.4 (Registration of firearms). If you legally possess bring your firearms into the Pennsylvania or come into possession of the firearms legally, no further action is required.

It should be noted however that all transfers of handguns in Pennsylvania are required to go through the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) and as such the Pennsylvania State Police keep a "Sales Database" of all handguns purchased within the Commonwealth. While almost any casual observer can see that this database clearly violates the spirit of 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111.4 (Registration of firearms), in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed with the Pennsylvania State Police that because the database is not a complete record of all handgun ownership (as people bringing handguns into the state do not have to register them), it does not.
The statute 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111: Sale or transfer of firearms, list the exceptions of gifting to a child, grandchild, spouse, or similar.

If you want to go speak with someone in law enforcement, I will recommend that you go to the sheriff's office for the county you live in, and speak to the person there who deals with firearm issues. Most Police departments do not handle the permiting process, though there are exceptions. Speaking with a lawyer who is experienced with this area of law is a good thing as well. Also feel free to research this yourself.
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Old April 19, 2012, 01:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishing_Cabin
Spats, I hope you forgive my mistake of not including that a FFL needs to adhere to state laws also.
I hope you didn't think I was "calling you out," FC, because I wasn't. Yours was just one of those posts that made me think, "well, he's right, but there's this one tiny wrinkle that I just have to add."
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Old April 19, 2012, 02:02 PM   #13
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Not at all Spats...I do my best to read, and reread my post here when trying to point people in a direction for facts. Sometimes my mind decides to take a vacation for a few and I miss something.

No worries mate, G'day
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Old April 19, 2012, 09:43 PM   #14
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Fishing Cabin, I read through the PA statutes you linked, and the only reference to age that I could find prohibited transfer to or possession by a person under 18. I did not find a reference to a requirement for age 21, but it's possible I just missed it.

If you found a specific requirement that the OP wait until he is 21, could you provide the exact subsection and paragraph?

(Not calling you out, I just failed to find it.)
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Old April 20, 2012, 06:18 AM   #15
Fishing_Cabin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLeake
If you found a specific requirement that the OP wait until he is 21, could you provide the exact subsection and paragraph?
From what I gathered it dealt with in

Quote:
(c) Duty of other persons.--Any person who is not a licensed importer, manufacturer or dealer and who desires to sell or transfer a firearm to another unlicensed person shall do so only upon the place of business of a licensed importer, manufacturer, dealer or county sheriff's office, the latter of whom shall follow the procedure set forth in this section as if he were the seller of the firearm. The provisions of this section shall not apply to transfers between spouses or to transfers between a parent and child or to transfers between grandparent and grandchild.
From what is listed under the above, in bold, requires a person to "transfer a firearm only upon the place of business of a licensed importer, manufacturer, dealer or county sheriff's office." Since a dealer/importer/manfacturer are covered under the FFL system, it seems logical that they fall under the ATF age requirements. Perhaps there may be a way to do a transfer or sale through an importer/dealer/manufacturer in Pa for someone under 21, but if so, I am at a loss to find a reference for that. As to the procedure of the county sheriffs office, I have been unable to find something concrete to cite for that also.

As I mentioned earlier it seems a person 18 and up, gifted a handgun it seems to be exempted by the same paragraph.

Perhaps others may know of another way that I could not readliy cite. If so, I would be glad to make note of them myself.

Last edited by Fishing_Cabin; April 20, 2012 at 06:33 AM.
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Old April 20, 2012, 07:43 AM   #16
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I figured I had missed something, and what I had missed was the requirement for FFL transfer as though seller. Thanks for the clarification. I believe you nailed it.
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Old April 20, 2012, 09:05 AM   #17
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OK. Now I want to make sure that I understand PA law on this. I've dug through the statutes, but I'd like to run this past y'all. FC, I'm depending on you to correct me if I'm wrong, but if I understand this correctly. In very broad strokes:
1) Persons between 18 and 20 may possess firearms, both handguns and long guns
2) All firearms transfers must go through a licensed dealer (or the sherriff's office), who must act as if he or she was the actual seller, excepting spousal and parental and grandparental transfers
3) The dealer may not transfer a handgun to anyone under the age of 21.

Does that sound about right?

Edited to add: The above assumes that all persons involved are non-prohibited persons.
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Old April 20, 2012, 11:39 AM   #18
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Do you live with or close to your Mom or Dad? No reason to complicate a simple issue.
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Old April 20, 2012, 02:51 PM   #19
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Spats, thats what I see in the law. The unique issue with PA law is the requirement in section (c) for a private purchase to be through a FFL, or sheriffs office, with the noted exceptions.

Pa did a good job to put most everything in to writing it seems, with some minor exceptions. Its just not always clear on the first read.

MLeake, no problem at all.

I hope everyone here has a wonderful day!
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Old April 22, 2012, 09:40 PM   #20
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Quote:
Do you live with or close to your Mom or Dad? No reason to complicate a simple issue.
I currently live with my parents. I don't mean to complicate anything, I just want to make sure I don't do or cause anyone to do anything illegal.
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Old April 22, 2012, 10:16 PM   #21
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The problem is that PA -- by law -- does not have a "registry." However -- the PA State Police DO maintain a database of firearms sales through FFLs. So if your parents purchase a handgun and give it to you, their purchase (Mom or Dad, only one will be the actual purchaser) will be entered into the PA State Police database.

There is NOTHING illegal about your parental unit then giving the handgun to you, and the transfer does not have to go through an FFL or be reported to the State Police.

The problem is, even though the sales database is not a complete registry and is KNOWN not to be a complete registry -- and the courts in PA have ruled that it is NOT a "registry" in violation of the state law specifically because of the fact that it is NOT a complete registry ... nonetheless, many PA police departments like to behave as if the database IS a complete registry. If they have any excuse to interact with you on an official basis, many of them WILL take your pistol and run the serial number, and if it doesn't sow up as your name they may confiscate the firearm. This is illegal, of course, but it happens regularly.

However, if the firearm is a gift from your father, the last name will be the same, the first name may even be the same, and you're living at home so the address will be the same. So there shouldn't be a problem.
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Old April 23, 2012, 12:33 PM   #22
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Quote:
The problem is, even though the sales database is not a complete registry and is KNOWN not to be a complete registry -- and the courts in PA have ruled that it is NOT a "registry" in violation of the state law specifically because of the fact that it is NOT a complete registry
So...because it's not a complete registry, it's not a registry? The mind reels. Do you know the name of the case? PAFOA mentions a state supreme court ruling but doesn't give citation.
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Old April 23, 2012, 12:46 PM   #23
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Tom,

I think the case is titled ACSL et. al. v. Tom Ridge, or is listed as such on the ACSL website. I am unsure if this is the exact case that PAFOA is speaking of, but its the only one I have found.

Allegheny County Sportsmen’s League's website has some discussion on it.
Link: http://www.acslpa.org/html/gun_registration1.html

Hope this helps

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Old April 23, 2012, 01:21 PM   #24
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A quick Westlaw search using the information provided by Fishing_Cabin turned up: ALLEGHENY SPORTSMEN'S LEAGUE, Kim Stolfer, et al. v. Tom RIDGE, et al., cited as: Allegheny Sportsmen's League v. Ridge, 790 A.2d 350 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2002) aff'd sub nom. Allegheny County Sportsmen's League v. Rendell, 580 Pa. 149, 860 A.2d 10 (2004).

I didn't read the case in depth, but my very cursury review shows that the PA Supreme Court looked at it this way: The statute in question prohibits the creation of a registry of firearm ownership. A firearms ownership registry would encompass all firearms, including both handguns and long guns, and would have to include every transfer. What the PA did was create a registry of sorts, but it's a registry of the sales of handguns. That's different, and not prohibited by the statute at issue.
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Old April 23, 2012, 01:24 PM   #25
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That looks like it, all right. I can't find the text of the actual decision, but it looks like the petition was denied because the ACSL couldn't prove damages.

Would the issue perhaps be ripe for another lawsuit at this point? Corbett seems marginally better on 2nd Amendment issues than Ridge was.
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