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Old September 13, 2012, 11:56 AM   #1
Peptobismol9
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Is it a straw purchase?

I was going to make an account on Centerfiresystems to buy an AMD-65 but realized my mother already had one. Not having my own bank account I simply put the money in her account, so I don't have to change any info and purchased the gun. It got to the FFL, who I had discussed this with late last week. There was never a misunderstanding as to who was going to buy the firearm and I was told that it would be fine to transfer it in my name. When I went to get the gun today I was told, that because It shipped in her name, but I was attempting to do the transfer, a straw purchase would occur if I did the 4473. I don't see the problem? It was my money, and It was my intent to buy the gun FOR ME. Nobody is acting as a proxy in my opinion because at the most, her name is only listed as the shipping info. But here I am sick to my stomach because I dread the idea that I may have almost broke the law there.
Any explanations?

Cleared it up with everyone and I have been told that I am not guilty of any crime. Everything was only precautionary. Remove this post if you would like.

Last edited by Peptobismol9; September 13, 2012 at 12:09 PM.
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Old September 13, 2012, 12:11 PM   #2
jasmith85
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I don't see how that would be a straw purchase. In fact I have done something very similar before. A friend of mine used his account to buy a gun on gunbroker for me and it was shipped in his name but the FFL we used had no problem selling it to me instead of him since he was there to verify it was actually my purchase.
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Old September 13, 2012, 12:14 PM   #3
Peptobismol9
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That is what I was thinking. The guy actually went to the back and called the ATF. They gave the all clear. I have got to admit, I was shaking in the knees a bit. I could feel myself go pale when he said "straw purchase".
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Old September 13, 2012, 12:28 PM   #4
Brian Pfleuger
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No way it's a straw purchase.

Your money, your gun.

The 4473 doesn't ask for the name on the bank account or the name on the shipping label.

It asks if you are the actual purchaser. The answer is yes.
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Old September 13, 2012, 01:29 PM   #5
Peptobismol9
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Thanks for the replies. I feel much better not expecting to join the orange jumpsuit gang. I do my very best to abide by the law and do not play with fire when it comes to things like this, so "disturbed" doesn't even begin to describe how I felt when the idea that I may have committed a crime arose. Especially one where the accuser has my name and location written down in a notepad.
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Old September 15, 2012, 01:45 PM   #6
natman
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It's not a straw purchase. As long as the name on the 4473 is the actual buyer of the gun, it doesn't matter how the gun was paid for.
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Old September 15, 2012, 05:06 PM   #7
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Suppose I was going to buy you a Birthday gun. I take you to the store and hand the clerk my credit card and you fill out the 4477. This sounds like the same type deal and is entirely legal. Actually if you buy someone a Birthday gun and you fill out the 4477 it is a violation. No Birthday gun surprise allowed.
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Old September 15, 2012, 05:28 PM   #8
Don H
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shotgun693
Actually if you buy someone a Birthday gun and you fill out the 4477 it is a violation. No Birthday gun surprise allowed.
That is incorrect. From the instruction on the 4473 (emphasis mine):
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
.
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Old September 15, 2012, 05:32 PM   #9
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Don H, did you read the post where the OP and FFL contacted the ATF, and the ATF gave them the all clear?
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Old September 15, 2012, 07:27 PM   #10
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MLeake, sure did. I was responding to another poster.
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Old September 15, 2012, 08:22 PM   #11
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Oops, sorry. You are correct about bona fide gifts being legal, too.
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Old September 15, 2012, 10:48 PM   #12
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Shows you how often I buy guns. Used to be illegal.
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Old September 16, 2012, 06:34 AM   #13
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Straw purchase or not, the FFL probably wanted to make sure he was transferring the gun to the right person. He'd be in a real pickle if mom comes in later and asks to pick up her gun...
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Old September 16, 2012, 08:47 AM   #14
Rifleman1776
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I love these posts with all the amatuer legal experts.
I've fallen into the trap myself. Not poining finger, just sayin' ....
BTW, I also love the term "my money". It didn't have yer name on it. The money was from someone else's account. Whose money?
If the deal had gone sour, how do you think that bit of information would have been used as evidence?
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Old September 16, 2012, 10:52 AM   #15
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The money paid and the name on the shipping label do not constitute purchasing a firearm. That is done when you complete and sign the 4473 and it is approved. If you are the actual purchaser of the firearm then it is a legal purchase. Lets say Bob was approached by Jim who offered him a couple of hundred dollars over the purchase price to buy him a firearm. Bob goes and makes the purchase and gives the firearm to Jim. He has committed a crime because he answered and signed the 4473 that he was the purchaser of the firearm.
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Old September 16, 2012, 03:21 PM   #16
Shotgun693
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One of several problems with guns laws is that they constantly change. I gave an answer based on the law when I ran a little gun business. Now it's changed. If you're not currently 'in the business' how would you know? Of course IMO, we could throw out about 75% of gun laws and be better off.
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Old September 16, 2012, 03:29 PM   #17
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You can know by going to the ATF website which is pretty explicit about what a straw purchase is.
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Old September 16, 2012, 04:22 PM   #18
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shotgun693
One of several problems with guns laws is that they constantly change. I gave an answer based on the law when I ran a little gun business....
The laws, at least with regard to straw purchases, haven't really changed, at least in quite a few years. Here's what the ATF said in 2005, and it's still current Federal Firearms Regulation Reference Guide, 2005, at 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 from the licensee.

An example of an illegal straw purchase is as follows: Mr. Smith asks Mr. Jones to purchase a firearm for Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith gives Mr. Jones the money for the firearm. If Mr. Jones fills out Form 4473, he violates the law by falsely stating that he is the actual buyer of the firearm. Mr. Smith also violates the law because he has unlawfully aided and abetted or caused the making of false statements on the form.

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. The use of gift certificates would also not fall within the category of straw purchases. The person redeeming the gift certificate would be the actual purchaser of the firearm and would be properly reflected as such in the dealer's records.
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Old September 16, 2012, 06:36 PM   #19
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This thread is apropos to a debate I'm having with a friend regarding the legality (or lack of) concerning the purchase of a firearm for a "family member". Specifically, is it "legal" to use, say a son's, money to purchase a firearm for him in the guise that it is a "gift"? I don't think so (wish I am wrong).
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Old September 16, 2012, 06:56 PM   #20
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgludwig
...Specifically, is it "legal" to use, say a son's, money to purchase a firearm for him in the guise that it is a "gift"? I don't think so...
I'm afraid that you are correct. That would be an illegal straw purchase.
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Old September 17, 2012, 07:17 PM   #21
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I do not blame the FFL for checkign with the ATF. He was just keeping his rear covered.
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Old September 18, 2012, 11:55 AM   #22
Shotgun693
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Quote:
Here's what the ATF said in 2005
Woooooo, since way back then. I haven't sold guns since the early 80's. Oh yeah, a lot has changed.
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Old September 21, 2012, 10:57 AM   #23
dgludwig
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by dgludwig
...Specifically, is it "legal" to use, say a son's, money to purchase a firearm for him in the guise that it is a "gift"? I don't think so...

I'm afraid that you are correct. That would be an illegal straw purchase.
Okay, and not to quibble, but after informing my friend of your answer, he posed this question "What if the family member buyer purchased the gun with his own money but was partially reimbursed by family member receipient for the 'gift'?" In other words, if I were to pay $500.00 for a firearm and gave it to my dad for Fathers Day and he, thinking I was too generous, gave me $250.00 as partial compensation towards the purchase of the gun (so that, in the end, in this scenario I would have paid for half of the purchase price and he the other half) would this still constitute a straw purchase? And would it make a difference if we both knew in advance that he would end up paying for half the total price of the firearm?
Thanks for any opinion as to this question.
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Old September 21, 2012, 11:12 AM   #24
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgludwig
Okay, and not to quibble, but after informing my friend of your answer, he posed this question "What if the family member buyer purchased the gun with his own money but was partially reimbursed by family member receipient for the 'gift'?" .... (so that, in the end, in this scenario I would have paid for half of the purchase price and he the other half) would this still constitute a straw purchase? And would it make a difference if we both knew in advance that he would end up paying for half the total price of the firearm?...
Let's not get into these "wink-wink/nudge-nudge" scenarios. There's no good answer to this sort of question.

We've basically outlined federal law on the question, at some point, a person will need to decide for himself or consult a lawyer for actual legal advice.

I think we're done here.
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