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Old July 19, 2013, 01:29 PM   #1
603Country
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Selling a rifle to someone with a legal 'history'

I have a neighbor that has expressed interest in buying a rifle from me. If the price is right, I'd be Ok with selling it. But...he may have some history of legal problems from back when he was younger. We live in Texas, if that's of any interest in this. What's the cut-off on whether or not I can sell him a gun or not? If he has misdemeanor on his record, then I'm assuming (right or wrong) that I can sell him the rifle. If he has a felony conviction, then it's my understanding that I can not sell him the rifle.

Give me some guidance on this please. And how do I verify that he does not have a legal history that would not allow him to buy a gun? I don't want to get him in trouble, but more than that I don't want to get myself in trouble. Thanks.
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Old July 19, 2013, 01:50 PM   #2
Spats McGee
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Under federal law, your neighbor is a prohibited person if he has a felony, a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence, or any other conviction punishable by a year or more incarceration. That's "punisable," so it doesn't really matter what kind of sentence he received, only what the permissible punishment could have been.

Under 18 USC 922, you are prohibited from transferring a firearm to him if you "know or have reasonable cause to believe" that he is a prohibited person. How do you proceed? You ask him about his legal history. Either he'll confirm that he is prohibited, or dispel any notion that he is.

Proceed with caution.
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Old July 19, 2013, 01:57 PM   #3
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Dito on the above!!!!

When in doubt- back out!!!
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Old July 19, 2013, 02:11 PM   #4
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If you want to be sure, find a local FFL that is willing to do a NICS check for the private party transfer. ATF issued procedures to FFLs earlier this year about how to conduct checks for private transfers.

If your neighbor resists the NICS check, then I'd say don't do it.
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Old July 19, 2013, 02:29 PM   #5
Spats McGee
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DaveTrig makes a good point: Given that you appear to already have an inkling that he has some "legal history," doing the transfer through an FFL would force it to go through NICS. It may cost a little more, but would provide you (as the seller) with both peace of mind and a possible legal defense, should you ever need it.
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Old July 19, 2013, 02:57 PM   #6
Dirty Dan
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Selling a rifle to someone with a legal history

Spats & Madmo hit the high points already. A convicted felon cannot possess or purchase a modern firearm, in the State of Texas, nor can they obtain a concealed handgun license..The prohibition includes acts of family violence, as well. In really rare cases, a convicted felon can petition a court for restoration of rights, which includes weapons rights, but I understand it is a long and expensive procedure..Good luck with that one...If you have the slightest doubt, back out of the transaction, period! Like the guys said, better not sold, than guilty of making a firearm available to a felon..
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Old July 19, 2013, 04:13 PM   #7
603Country
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I'll back away from this deal. As for using an FFL transfer, I was already planning on that approach, if we went as far as an agreement.

Thanks very much for the feedback. It is appreciated.
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Old July 19, 2013, 06:35 PM   #8
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
As for using an FFL transfer, I was already planning on that approach, if we went as far as an agreement.
If that's the case, I don't know why you wouldn't give it a try. Ask him if he's prohibited. If he says no, go through the FFL. If he's clear, he's clear. No sense in denying him the sale and you the money for no good reason.
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Old July 19, 2013, 09:08 PM   #9
ClydeFrog
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Don't do it...

Id be leery of selling any firearm to anyone with a known criminal history if it involves violent crime or serious character flaws.

Everyone has a story(I was arrested in 2012, pled not guilty & had all charges dismissed).
It may be legal to sell a weapon to your neighbor or family member but if they have problems with anger or drugs/alcohol, do you really want to fuel on that fire?

CF
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Old July 19, 2013, 10:10 PM   #10
Aguila Blanca
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Some histories go back farther than others. I read a news article just yesterday or the day before about a guy who is a 20+ year Army veteran, who was recently denied on a firearms purchase because of a misdemeanor drug conviction when he was 18 years old -- 42 YEARS ago.

That's a "history," no question about it. It's in the records, and somebody dredged it up. Should it be a disqualifier, after he was allowed to bear arms for a full military career defending the dimwits who process this stuff? Hmmm ...
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Old July 19, 2013, 10:32 PM   #11
ripnbst
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Selling a rifle to someone with a legal 'history'

Do the transfer through the FFL and if he passes then he passes. End of dilemma.
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Old July 19, 2013, 10:53 PM   #12
TXAZ
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You've already publicly confessed...

Unless there's a compelling reason to do so, I would, as others have noted, to proceed with great caution.

A major reason is, you're already admitted (above) on the Internet that you suspect there's an issue (your 'confession' here, is easily retrievable by a prosecutor, the FBI or NSA, and dozens of other TLA's)

**Maybe** through an FFL, but I'm thinking not.
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Old July 20, 2013, 12:01 AM   #13
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I don't care if he wants to give you a million bucks I wouldn't bet my future, my livelihood and my guns on your neighbor not being a felon. Be frank with him that you know he has some kind of history and that you would be more comfortable having an FFL doing the transfer and background check.
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Old July 20, 2013, 10:06 AM   #14
603Country
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I've got 3 other guys looking at buying the rifle, and I think they'll do my price. Whoever it is, we'll go through an FFL transfer. I didn't used to worry much about that sort of thing, but that was decades ago and the world has changed now. Thanks for clearing up my thinking.

If nobody will pay the price and go through the FFL paperwork, I guess I'll just keep it. That, of course, will send my wife into a spasm and questions about ONE MORE D___ GUN.
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Old July 20, 2013, 10:25 AM   #15
ClydeFrog
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Post #10...

I read post #10 & it reminded me of a police officer in AK who was busted by the CBP(US Border Patrol) for being an illegal alien!
The cop was in his early 50s & had worked in Alaska for years.
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Old July 20, 2013, 10:44 AM   #16
Frank Ettin
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Note that the penalty for selling, or even just loaning, a gun to someone you "know or have reasonable cause to believe" is a prohibited person is up to five years in federal prison and/or a fine (and a bonus of a lifetime loss of gun rights).

Note also that the "reasonable cause to believe" is a real wild card.
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Old July 20, 2013, 11:11 AM   #17
603Country
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The guy that I was concerned about, has (per his mother in law) bought another rifle. If he's in violation of anything, it isn't my problem. Now I've got two guys that want the rifle. The first one that's Ok with doing the FFL gets the rifle and the good deal.

You guys have put the fear of feds in my and I'll do this sale by the book. I sure don't need to generate problems where there are presently no problems at all. Only problem I've got today is that another D___ cow has come through the fence and is munching on my hay field. I hate fixing fence. I hate cows, come to think of it, unless they're in the form of steak, ribs, or burgers. Or roasts or fajitas.
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Old July 20, 2013, 01:26 PM   #18
shaunpain
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When looking at the definition of "reasonable cause to believe", it says that it is legally "a fact or circumstance that justifies a reasonable suspicion. Absent that and any response when he's asked to the contrary, I think you're pretty much good to go. You are, of course, quite able to have an FFL do a NICS check for you, but you are certainly not legally required to do so. If it were my neighbor and I thought they were good folk, and when I asked if they would be prohibited from buying the rifle and they said "no", that would be good enough for me.
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Old July 20, 2013, 01:59 PM   #19
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaunpain
When looking at the definition of "reasonable cause to believe", it says that it is legally "a fact or circumstance that justifies a reasonable suspicion. Absent that and any response when he's asked to the contrary, I think you're pretty much good to go....
Of course, what constitutes facts or circumstances which justify a reasonable suspicion will be decided based on an objective, reasonable persons standard. The seller's personal beliefs will be subject to being second guessed by a prosecutor, and, if unlucky, by a trial jury.

Here the OP might be hard pressed to convince a prosecutor or jury that the fact or circumstances did not justify a reason suspicion since the OP wrote:
Quote:
...he may have some history of legal problems from back when he was younger...
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaunpain
...If it were my neighbor and I thought they were good folk, and when I asked if they would be prohibited from buying the rifle and they said "no", that would be good enough for me. ...
But it very well would not be good enough for a jury since, by hypothesis, you would have known (as the OP says he knows) that the neighbor has, "...some history of legal problems...."

A buyer's self declaration that he is not prohibited is, in light of a concurrent knowledge of past legal problems, essentially a legal conclusion which the buyer might very well not be qualified to draw.
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Old July 20, 2013, 03:35 PM   #20
Aguila Blanca
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Overall, I agree with Frank. A jury might not buy into, "But he's my neighbor and I figured he wouldn't lie to me."

However, the OP in this instance indicated that he intends to transact any sale through an FFL, so in that case I don't see any justification to pull the plug on the sale. If the buyer doesn't get denied, the seller has certainly done his due diligence. I fail to see how anyone could argue that he even might have reason to believe that a buyer who passes a NICS check is a prohibited person.
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Old July 20, 2013, 05:16 PM   #21
603Country
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The guy that's going to buy it isn't the fellow that I worried about. This guy has his CHL and I'll take that to mean that he's not a felonious perv. And we've already agreed upon an FFL transaction location.

As for that first guy (that I worried about), he apparently bought an AR15 from somebody or some business. I guess that he's either in violation of the law (which I can neither confirm nor deny, because I don't know) or he is legally allowed to buy a firearm. Not my place to worry about that situation.
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