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Old March 3, 2018, 05:15 PM   #1
TXAZ
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Can a foreigner on a legal work visa rent & shoot at a gun range legally?

Went to the gun range with a lawfully admitted foreigner here on a legit H1B work visa. There was a question if the gun range could legally rent him a gun, or give him possession of it and / or let him shoot it at the range.

I found this on the ATF site: Can an legal immigrant rent a guy for lawful sporting purpose

That implies to this (non-lawyer) that he can rent and shoot a gun at a range legally.
I also understand that the business has the right to not do business with someone they don't want to.

So to avoid a strange situation in the future anyone have a definitive answer?

Thanks in advance.
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Old March 3, 2018, 05:44 PM   #2
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Link doesn't work for me. Here in NY they cannot shoot a handgun. Also, a long gun could only be used at the range and not taken off premises.
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Old March 3, 2018, 05:44 PM   #3
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Shops always can use their discretion. But yes they can. Imagine you went overseas to hunt and your gun didn't show up. In some areas you might be out of luck but here you can rent or buy one and get on to the hunt. But many things legal in the U.S. might not be legal elsewhere.

I thought I read somewhere on here about a guy from Canada who hunted and lived in the U.S. for many years and then went back to Canada and the paperwork was more intense to import than selling those guns and buying the same guns again in Canada.

Also State law vs. Federal law might come in to play.
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Old March 3, 2018, 06:38 PM   #4
TXAZ
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Originally Posted by NoSecondBest View Post
Link doesn't work for me. Here in NY they cannot shoot a handgun. Also, a long gun could only be used at the range and not taken off premises.
Here's the text of the link:

Can an alien who enters the United States on a nonimmigrant alien visa rent a firearm for lawful hunting or sporting purposes while in the United States?

A nonimmigrant alien that possess a valid hunting license from a State within the United States or falls within any of the other exceptions or exemptions that allow nonimmigrant aliens to possess firearms may rent firearms to hunt or to use at a shooting range.

[18 U.S.C. 922(a)(5) and (9), 922(g)(5)(B) and 922(y); 27 CFR 478.99(a) and (c)(5)]
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Old March 3, 2018, 06:42 PM   #5
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What are the "other exceptions or exemptions" referenced in the linked text?
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Old March 3, 2018, 07:12 PM   #6
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXAZ
Went to the gun range with a lawfully admitted foreigner here on a legit H1B work visa. There was a question if the gun range could legally rent him a gun, or give him possession of it and / or let him shoot it at the range....
In general, and unless he qualifies for one of the specific exceptions, the answer is "no."

Let's look at current federal law, see 18 USC 922(g)(5):
Quote:
(g) It shall be unlawful for any person—
(1) …

(2) …

(3) …

(4) …

(5) who, being an alien—
(A) is illegally or unlawfully in the United States; or

(B) except as provided in subsection (y)(2), has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa (as that term is defined in section 101(a)(26) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 (a)(26)));
(6) …

(7) …

(8) …

(9) …
to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.
and 18 USC 922(y):
Quote:
(y) Provisions Relating to Aliens Admitted Under Nonimmigrant Visas.—
(1) Definitions.— In this subsection—
(A) the term “alien” has the same meaning as in section 101(a)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 (a)(3)); and

(B) the term “nonimmigrant visa” has the same meaning as in section 101(a)(26) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 (a)(26)).
(2) Exceptions.— Subsections (d)(5)(B), (g)(5)(B), and (s)(3)(B)(v)(II) do not apply to any alien who has been lawfully admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa, if that alien is—
(A) admitted to the United States for lawful hunting or sporting purposes or is in possession of a hunting license or permit lawfully issued in the United States;

(B) an official representative of a foreign government who is—
(i) accredited to the United States Government or the Government’s mission to an international organization having its headquarters in the United States; or

(ii) en route to or from another country to which that alien is accredited;
(C) an official of a foreign government or a distinguished foreign visitor who has been so designated by the Department of State; or

(D) a foreign law enforcement officer of a friendly foreign government entering the United States on official law enforcement business.
The statutes I cited generally prohibit possession of guns or ammunition by aliens present in the United States on a non-immigrant visa. An alien lawfully in the United States on an immigrant visa is not a prohibited person under federal law; and an alien lawfully present in the United States on a non-immigrant visa can come within an exception to the prohibition by getting and maintaining a hunting license.
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Old March 3, 2018, 07:58 PM   #7
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Note the requirement that he have a hunting license.
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Old March 3, 2018, 10:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
lawful hunting OR sporting purposes OR is in possession of a hunting license OR permit lawfully issued in the United States
Hunting license is generally the fastest cheap way to definitively meet the standard, but there are other ways.
It seems unloading a mag from a machine gun in Vegas meets the sporting purpose standard.
I know, that is just their POLICY and not federal law, but they and quite a few others in Vegas have been doing it and advertising publicly for some time without being hassled by ATFE. Outside that market I would call ahead and see what the range wants as it will be an abnormal request in most areas.
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Old March 4, 2018, 12:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwilliamson062
....I know, that is just their POLICY and not federal law, but they and quite a few others in Vegas have been doing it and advertising publicly for some time without being hassled by ATFE. Outside that market I would call ahead and see what the range wants as it will be an abnormal request in most areas.
Nonetheless, the federal statutes say what they say; and even if the Justice Department has apparently not been vigorously pursuing prosecution, it doesn't mean that the policy can't or won't change. Nor did the current, apparent lack of enforcement stop federal prosecutors from bringing charges against a couple of guys from Saudi Arabia for renting guns in San Diego County.
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Old March 4, 2018, 07:59 PM   #10
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It would depend on the state. In Illinois he could not without a FOID card which he would not have unless applied for. Not sure if he would get one though.

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Old March 5, 2018, 02:31 PM   #11
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Yep, we could sell a handgun to a legal alien but not to a guy from Oklahoma. Go figure.
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Old March 5, 2018, 03:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete2
Yep, we could sell a handgun to a legal alien but not to a guy from Oklahoma....
Not in accordance with federal law, unless:
  1. The legal alien is a resident of Texas as "state or residence" is define in 27 CFR 478.11; and

  2. The legal alien has immigrant status: or

  3. The legal alien meets one of the exceptions set out in 18 USC 922(y).
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Old March 6, 2018, 12:01 AM   #13
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Quote:
Nor did the current, apparent lack of enforcement stop federal prosecutors from bringing charges against a couple of guys from Saudi Arabia for renting guns in San Diego County.
You are right, although i think it is worth noting that investigation was launched by someone reporting possible terrorist activity. Neither those renting or the FFL seem to have had any idea the rental might be illegal.
Also interesting the FFL was not charged or, it seems license threatened, even though they must have committed a crime in knowingly making the transfer if it was an illegal transfer.
I could not find an update on how that case ended up in court. One article claimed the two men plead guilty without any sentencing details. It was a 2015 event, so it very well may not have made it to court yet. The last federal criminal case I was involved with took about three years to make it to court.

Uncertain if "sporting purposes" here is the same as in GCA '68 concerning import.
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Old March 6, 2018, 02:06 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwilliamson062
... i think it is worth noting that investigation was launched by someone reporting possible terrorist activity....
Why?

Folks who commit crimes or are suspected of committing crimes get caught in all sorts of way -- often serendipitously.

David Haig wound up being charged with illegal manufacture of ammunition as a result of evidence discovered in the course of the investigation of Paddock's rampage shooting in Las Vegas. Evidence leading to the prosecution of Bruce Abramski was discovered while investigating his possible involvement in another crime. Randall Burchard (U.S. v. Burchard, 580 F.3d 341 (6th Cir., 2009)) was prosecuted and convicted of being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm based in part on evidence discovered during the course of an investigation started by Burchard's complaining that a woman he had picked up had stolen some money from him.

These are all examples of someone getting caught because of happenstance -- a confluence of events leading to discovery of inculpatory evidence. And the prisons are full of folks who didn't expect to get caught.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwilliamson062
...the FFL was not charged or, it seems license threatened,....
Probably because it was the FFL who promptly called federal authorities.
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Old March 6, 2018, 10:52 AM   #15
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That's what I said, we could sell a handgun to a legal alien but not a citizen of Oklahoma.
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Old March 6, 2018, 11:14 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete2 View Post
That's what I said, we could sell a handgun to a legal alien but not a citizen of Oklahoma.
Why not to a guy from Oklahoma? There shouldn't be a problem if he is not prohibited.

-TL

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Old March 6, 2018, 11:52 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete2
That's what I said, we could sell a handgun to a legal alien but not a citizen of Oklahoma.
Yes you said that, and I explained in post 12 why your statement wasn't accurate. When discussing legal matters accuracy and precision count.

Among other things, as I pointed out, the legal alien must be a resident of Texas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tangolima
Quote:
Originally Posted by pete2 View Post
That's what I said, we could sell a handgun to a legal alien but not a citizen of Oklahoma.
Why not to a guy from Oklahoma? There shouldn't be a problem if he is not prohibited....
Because under federal law a transfer of a handgun from a resident of one State to a resident of another must go through an FFL in the transferee's State or residence.

Now let's have no more of these off topic posts.
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Old March 6, 2018, 12:58 PM   #18
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A friend who worked in a gun store was once offered a substantial sum by an Arab dip to sell him a gun "off the books." He declined.
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Old March 8, 2018, 04:48 PM   #19
johnwilliamson062
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Quote:
Probably because it was the FFL who promptly called federal authorities.
They did not call because they thought renting the gun was illegal. They didn't report the students were illegally in possession of a firearm. They were as ignorant of the law as the students. They reported they thought the students were training for a terrorist attack.

If one sells someone Rohypnol under the assumption they intend to use it as treatment for insomnia, then suspects they intend to use it to facilitate a sexual assault and call the police to inform them of the possible crime, do you think they would overlook ones illegal drug sale?
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Old March 8, 2018, 07:43 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwilliamson062
They did not call because they thought renting the gun was illegal. They didn't report the students were illegally in possession of a firearm. They were as ignorant of the law as the students. They reported they thought the students were training for a terrorist attack....
First, you're assuming facts not in evidence. All the article says about what the FFL did and why is:
Quote:
....The gun range owner got suspicious when he saw them videotaping parts of their time there and contacted federal authorities....
So everything you wrote is guesswork on your part.

But in any case, it doesn't matter, because, among other things:
  1. The prosecutor has pretty much complete discretion as to whether or how to prosecute a case.

  2. Often prosecutors will decide not to pursue a matter if they conclude that it would not be a good use of the limited resources available.

  3. In this case, the FFL would most likely be a useful prosecution witness.

  4. In any case, you're merely guessing about the FFL. The article doesn't tell us anything about what happened between the federal authorities and the FFL. Did they make a deal? Did the FFL get better educated in the law? Did the U. S. Attorney conclude that any better understanding of the law the FFL acquired during the process together with the FFL's cooperation and testimony served the government's interests better than prosecuting the FFL would have?

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwilliamson062
...If one sells someone Rohypnol under the assumption they intend to use it as treatment for insomnia, then suspects they intend to use it to facilitate a sexual assault and call the police to inform them of the possible crime, do you think they would overlook ones illegal drug sale?
Beats me.

And of course you don't know either.

The thing is that whether a drug dealer might be prosecuted in connection with a particular transaction will depend on a variety of factors. Again, prosecutors have pretty much complete discretion as to whether or not to prosecute; and they can and have foreborn when it might be in the government's best interest to do so.
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Old April 4, 2018, 05:41 PM   #21
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I'm not an attorney nor did I read this whole thread....BUT, I work for a large French company here in Arkansas and we have tons of French nationals here. One of the first things they do (male and female) is to go to a local gun range and rent/shoot to their hearts content. Some also purchase handguns....but this is Arkansas.....

Jerry
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Old April 4, 2018, 08:06 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunya53
I'm not an attorney....
I am an attorney (but I'm not your attorney)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunya53
...nor did I read this whole thread...
It's generally a good idea to read the whole thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunya53
...but this is Arkansas.....
It has nothing to do with you're being in Arkansas. It's a matter of federal law. See posts 6 and 9.
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Old April 5, 2018, 06:30 AM   #23
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I'm in Florida.
When the snow birds from Canada and UK arrive the first place the head is the range.
To my knowledge no range has said no to renting them guns.
They love sending pictures back home of themselves with AR's.

AFS
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Old April 5, 2018, 08:39 AM   #24
Nunya53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Ettin
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunya53
I'm not an attorney....
I am an attorney (but I'm not your attorney)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunya53
...nor did I read this whole thread...
It's generally a good idea to read the whole thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunya53
...but this is Arkansas.....
It has nothing to do with you're being in Arkansas. It's a matter of federal law. See posts 6 and 9.
Thanks Frank...this actually made me smile

Jerry
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Old April 5, 2018, 10:42 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirForceShooter
I'm in Florida.
When the snow birds from Canada and UK arrive the first place the head is the range.
To my knowledge no range has said no to renting them guns....
The OP asks specifically about aliens present in the U. S. on certain types of nonimmigrant visas.

The statutes I cited prohibit possession of guns or ammunition by aliens present in the United States on a non-immigrant visa. However, there is a program under which a foreign national from one of a number of participating countries my enter the United States for a limited period of time without a visa. And I believe that Canadian citizens may also visit the U. S. without a visa.

ATF (see Q5 and Q6) has decided that lawfully entering the United States as a non-immigrant when permitted without a visa is not the same as entering with a non-immigrant visa, and therefore such a non-resident alien in not subject to the 18 USC 922(g)(5) prohibition. It looks like this ATF interpretation was made around 2012.

The Visa Waiver Program applies to visitor from most European countries, several Asian countries, and one South American country. It doesn't include any Middle Eastern or African countries. The requirements for a visa are waived only for visits for business or pleasure not to exceed 90 days.

And again, I've mentioned prosecutorial discretion. The Federal Government may choose not to vigorously pursue prosecution of some offenses. That doesn't necessarily mean that a federal prosecutor might not decide to pursue prosecution of a particular violation, nor does it mean that a policy not to vigorously pursue prosecution of certain offenses can't be changed without notice at any time.
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