The Firing Line Forums

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old February 25, 2013, 09:44 PM   #1
Pointshoot
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 23, 2004
Posts: 233
Straw purchases/sales: time factor ?

A friend asked me about this & I'm curious too, - obviously if someone bought a firearm from a gunshop and then stepped out the door and sold it to someone else, he may very well have a serious legal problem regarding a 'straw purchase'. That is, buying a gun for someone else. On the other hand, if he bought a gun and sold it to someone 5 years later, its obviously not such a straw purchase.
Is a straw purchase defined by some measure of time ? A week, a month, a year. . . or what ? I did a search and didnt find this answered. Thanks

P.S. - I actually stopped selling any of my guns years ago. Almost all of the guns I traded in or sold, were models I later became interested in again - or the value of them went way up. I hate buying a gun for a lot more money than I paid the first time around. So I just keep them. I suppose some guys buy and sell so many that keeping all of them isnt practical.
Pointshoot is offline  
Old February 25, 2013, 09:50 PM   #2
Tom Servo
Staff
 
Join Date: September 27, 2008
Location: Foothills of the Appalachians
Posts: 10,322
Quote:
if someone bought a firearm from a gunshop and then stepped out the door and sold it to someone else, he may very well have a serious legal problem regarding a 'straw purchase'.
Actually, that's not a straw purchase. He bought it and resold it.

Let's say you're the guy buying and I'm the guy in the parking lot. If I give you the money to buy the gun on my behalf, and you lie on question 11a, then that's a straw purchase. The essential component is the fact that it's a proxy buy.

While the behavior described in your post could certainly risk serious scrutiny, it would not be a straw purchase under the law. Even if it was only for 30 seconds, you were the actual buyer.
__________________
In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
--Albert Camus
Tom Servo is offline  
Old February 25, 2013, 11:05 PM   #3
Pointshoot
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 23, 2004
Posts: 233
Thanks Tom !
Pointshoot is offline  
Old February 25, 2013, 11:14 PM   #4
ScottRiqui
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 27, 2010
Location: Norfolk, VA
Posts: 2,905
Tom's answer is right on. I would also add that the "serious scrutiny" he mentioned in his post wouldn't just be from the aspect of a potential straw purchase.

If a private individual (i.e. not a dealer) shows a pattern of frequently buying and then quickly re-selling firearms, they'll probably also be looking at him for dealing in firearms without a license.

There's no hard-and-fast rule for how many guns is "too many", how quick is "too quickly", and how often is "too often", but like pornography, judges know it when they see it.
ScottRiqui is offline  
Old February 26, 2013, 04:50 AM   #5
vranasaurus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 16, 2008
Posts: 1,175
The problem for the seller is that the quick turn around time will be used as evidence of intent. Now other factors such as does he have a relationship with the buyer come into play. If you buy a gun and then 30 seconds later sell it to your good friend it appears as if that was your intent from the outset.

Proving what was going in in someone's mind is most commonly done through their actions. If you point a gun at someone and pull the trigger it certainly appears that you intended to kill them.
vranasaurus is offline  
Old February 26, 2013, 06:22 AM   #6
Aguila Blanca
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 25, 2008
Location: CONUS
Posts: 6,383
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pointshoot
Is a straw purchase defined by some measure of time ?
No.
Aguila Blanca is offline  
Old February 26, 2013, 03:18 PM   #7
johnwilliamson062
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 16, 2008
Posts: 6,810
I knew a guy who bought a gun, went directly to the range, and someone there bought it from him. He was LEO with discount and they offered him more than he paid. He had no intention of selling it when he bought it. Not a straw buy.
__________________
$0 of an NRA membership goes to legislative action or court battles. Not a dime. Only money contributed to the NRA-ILA or NRA-PVF. You could just donate to the Second Amendment Foundation
First Shotgun Thread First Rifle Thread First Pistol Thread
johnwilliamson062 is offline  
Old February 26, 2013, 03:27 PM   #8
Frank Ettin
Staff
 
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 6,700
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pointshoot
...Is a straw purchase defined by some measure of time ?...
No, although timing can be a factor in establishing intent.

So perhaps we can have a common understanding of what a straw purchase is:

The actual offense is violation of 18 USC 922(a)(6), making a false statement on the 4473 (specifically about who is the actual buyer), and has nothing to do with the ultimate recipient being a prohibited person.

See the ATF publication 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...
So, if --
  1. X says to Y, "Here's the money; buy that gun and then we'll do the transfer to me [when I get back to town, or whenever else].", or

  2. X says to Y, "Buy that gun and hold it for me; I'll buy from you when I get my next paycheck."
or anything similar, if Y then buys the gun, he is not the actual buyer. He is buying the gun as the agent of X, on his behalf; and X is legally the actual buyer. If Y claims on the 4473 that he is the actual buyer, he has lied and violated 18 USC 922(a)(6). His subsequently transferring the gun to X in full compliance with the law, does not erase his prior criminal act of lying on the 4473.

Some more examples --
  • If X takes his own money, buys the gun and gives the gun to someone else as a gift, free and clear without reimbursement of any kind, X is the actual purchaser; and it is not a straw purchase.

  • If X takes his money and buys the gun honestly intending to keep it for himself and later sells it to another person, X is the actual purchaser; and it is not a straw purchase.

  • If X takes his money and buys the gun intending to take it to the gun show next week to see if he might be able to sell it to someone at a profit, X is the actual purchaser; and it's not a straw purchase. He may, however have other problems if he manages to sell the gun at the gun show, and the transfer there isn't handled properly. He might also have problems if he does this sort of thing too frequently, and the ATF decides he's acting as a dealer without the necessary license.

  • If X takes his money and buys the gun with the understanding that he is going to transfer the gun to Y and that Y is going to reimburse him for it, X is not the actual purchaser. He is advancing X the money and buying the gun for and on behalf of Y, as Y's agent. So this would be an illegal straw purchase.

Whether or not a transaction is an unlawful straw purpose will often be a question of intent. But prosecutors in various situations can convince juries of intent, often from circumstantial evidence. A slip of the tongue, posting something on the Internet, tracks left by money transfers, timing, etc., have all, in one way or another, and in various contexts, helped convince a jury of intent.
__________________
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper
Frank Ettin 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 12:21 PM.


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 0.07985 seconds with 7 queries