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Old May 30, 2017, 12:48 AM   #1
steve4102
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Straw Purchase?

Again, sorry.

Is there actual Federal law making it illegal to purchase a firearm on behalf of another? Or is the official violation, lying on a federal Form (4473)?

The reason I ask, is there is a new bill (no text yet) being proposed in the Senate that would make "straw" purchases illegal.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-...nate-bill/1185

Quote:
A bipartisan bill was filed in the U.S. Senate last week to establish straw purchasing as its own class of federal crime.

Senators entered S.1185, the Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act of 2017, intending to increase public safety by punishing and deterring firearms trafficking. Backed by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, the bill would make straw purchasing a crime of its own, a move its sponsors argue is needed.

“I have often heard from law enforcement that current law does not do enough to deter gun traffickers,” Leahy said in a statement. “In Vermont and across the nation, we have seen the relationship between trafficked firearms and the drug trade. Closing these loopholes will help keep firearms out of the hands of those who seek to do us harm and will make our neighborhoods safer.”

Straw purchases are illegal and are often extensively prosecuted by the federal government already with both the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the National Shooting Sports Foundation — the trade association for the gun industry — partnering to educate gun retailers about the law. Typically, those charged are indicted for making a false statement on the firearm transaction record or presenting false identification during the purchase, both of which are violations of existing gun laws.
Is it a violation of Federal Law to purchase a firearm for another (Abramski) in a Face-to-Face transaction where no 4473 or Federal form was used, or is the crime strictly tied to the Federal form?
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Old May 30, 2017, 01:40 AM   #2
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Quote:
Is it a violation of Federal Law to purchase a firearm for another (Abramski) in a Face-to-Face transaction where no 4473 or Federal form was used, or is the crime strictly tied to the Federal form?
Currently the crime of committing a straw purchase is actually the crime of lying on the 4473 form when answering the question of whether or not you are the actual purchaser. If you're buying the firearm for someone else it MUST be a gift (no money or services or goods will come your way to pay you back), otherwise you are not the actual purchaser. Other than that specific exception, the gun must be for you or you will be committing a crime when you answer "Yes".

When performing a transaction between two private parties who are residents of the same state there is no 4473 and therefore it is not possible to commit the crime of a straw purchase. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean there are NO crimes which could be committed.

For example, you could legally buy a gun from a non-FFL who is also a resident of your state on behalf of a third party. You could take the third party's money and buy the gun and deliver the gun to that person legally. BUT, if you know or have reason to believe that person is a prohibited person then you have committed a crime. NOT the crime of a straw purchase, but the crime of delivering a firearm to a prohibited person.

Although the text of this bill is not yet available, it appears that Leahy has introduced similar bills in the past (see the link below) with Collins as a cosponsor. It seems likely that this is a repeat.

https://www.leahy.senate.gov/press/-...ms-trafficking
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Old May 30, 2017, 09:35 AM   #3
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Thank you JohnKSa for posting the link to Senator Leahy's web page. I did go to the link and read the article there. I was a little surprised at his statement:

Quote:
Currently, there is no law that explicitly makes straw purchasing a crime, and it is only unlawful to traffic a firearm if the transferor had actual knowledge that the firearm would be used in connection with a crime.
but maybe I am taking his statement out of context or (much more likely) I'm not understanding the subtleties and intricacies of the law. I'm not being sarcastic here. The article was dated 2.11.16 so it's over a year old.

I posted the quote just for discussion purposes. I am aware of the question you have to answer at the dealer about if the gun is for your own use.
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Old May 30, 2017, 01:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaleA
...(much more likely) I'm not understanding the subtleties and intricacies of the law.
Said subtleties and intricacies are discussed in great detail by Frank Ettin, one of our resident legal eagles, in THIS linked TFL thread. I pitched in a little too.

IMHO in the most technical and literal sense, the quote that "...no law that explicitly makes straw purchasing a crime..." IS TRUE, but the key word is "explicitly." In Abramski v. United States—discussed in the linked thread and several others—the SCOTUS made it quite clear that straw purchasing IS a crime, albeit implicitly so.
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Last edited by carguychris; May 30, 2017 at 01:51 PM. Reason: typo, reword
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Old May 30, 2017, 01:50 PM   #5
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaleA
Thank you JohnKSa for posting the link to Senator Leahy's web page. I did go to the link and read the article there. I was a little surprised at his statement:

Quote:
Currently, there is no law that explicitly makes straw purchasing a crime, and it is only unlawful to traffic a firearm if the transferor had actual knowledge that the firearm would be used in connection with a crime.
.....
I find the Senator's statement misleading. There are other possible crimes in addition to lying on a 4473. For example:
  • It's a crime (with a couple of narrow exceptions) to "transfer, sell, trade, give, transport, or deliver" a gun to someone you know or have "reasonable cause to believe" doesn't live in the same State as you do (18 USC 922(a)(5)).

  • It's a crime to "sell or otherwise dispose of" a gun to anyone "knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person" is prohibited from possessing a gun (18 USC 922(d).

  • And if one sells or gives a gun to someone with the knowledge that the transferee intends to use the gun to commit a crime, the transferee has criminal liability for aiding and abetting the crime, or as an accessory, or as a conspirator, depending on circumstances.

It will be interesting to see the proposed text to see how they define "trafficking."
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Old May 30, 2017, 02:01 PM   #6
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Thank you Carguychris.

Edited to add:
Thank you Frank Ettin.

Last edited by DaleA; May 30, 2017 at 02:30 PM. Reason: I didn't see Frank Ettin post because slow typing
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Old June 1, 2017, 04:40 AM   #7
steve4102
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The text of the bill has been published.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-...bill/1185/text

So, help me out here.

Quote:
) Violation.—It shall be unlawful for any person (other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed collector, or licensed dealer) to knowingly purchase, or attempt or conspire to purchase, any firearm in or otherwise affecting interstate or foreign commerce—

“(1) from a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed collector, or licensed dealer for, on behalf of, or at the request or demand of any other person, known or unknown; or

“(2) from any person who is not a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed collector, or licensed dealer for, on behalf of, or at the request or demand of any other person, known or unknown, knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such other person—...
Part (1), it will be a violation (straw purchase) to purchase a firearm from an FFL on behalf of another. Yes?

Part (2), it will be a violation to purchase a firearm from a non-FFL or face-to face on behalf of a prohibited person. Yes? Does this mean that a Face-to-face transaction on behalf of another is not a violation as long as the final recipient is NOT a prohibited person??

Last edited by steve4102; June 1, 2017 at 04:49 AM.
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Old June 1, 2017, 06:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
) Violation.—It shall be unlawful for any person (other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed collector, or licensed dealer) to knowingly purchase, or attempt or conspire to purchase, any firearm in or otherwise affecting interstate or foreign commerce—

“(1) from a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed collector, or licensed dealer for, on behalf of, or at the request or demand of any other person, known or unknown; or
Being of a somewhat literal and pedantic bent, I have to ask:

If my wife or daughter requests a Kel-Tec .380 pistol for Christmas and I buy it for her as a gift -- would I be in violation of this proposed law?
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Old June 1, 2017, 06:51 AM   #9
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Won't happen. From the sponsoring senator, to the presidents unlikelyness to sign it, won't happen.
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Old June 1, 2017, 07:08 AM   #10
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Aquila, this has crossed my mind. I live in a state that requires no documentation on private sales. So if I got them one, I could give it to them. But technically I would be buying it for someone else.

If the other person is legal to own a gun, and government keeps their nose out of private sales, than I am not going to worry about it, if the time ever comes, or just have them go in, if it works out.
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Old June 1, 2017, 07:34 AM   #11
steve4102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca
Being of a somewhat literal and pedantic bent, I have to ask:

If my wife or daughter requests a Kel-Tec .380 pistol for Christmas and I buy it for her as a gift -- would I be in violation of this proposed law?
No.

Quote:
“(d) Exceptions.—Subsection (b)(1) shall not apply to any firearm that is lawfully purchased by a person—

“(1) to be given as a bona fide gift to a recipient who provided no service or tangible thing of value to acquire the firearm;

“(2) to be given to a bona fide winner of an organized raffle, contest, or auction conducted in accordance with law and sponsored by a national, State, or local organization or association;

“(3) to be given as a bona fide gratuity to a hunting guide;

“(4) to be given as a bona fide bonus to an employee as the result of lawful services performed in the course of an employment relationship; or

“(5) to be given as a bona fide commemorative award or honorarium,

unless the purchaser knows or has reasonable cause to believe the recipient of the firearm is prohibited by Federal law from possessing, receiving, selling, shipping, transporting, transferring, or otherwise disposing of the firearm.
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Old June 1, 2017, 08:34 AM   #12
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http://www.dailyherald.com/article/2...ews/170419171/

updated: 4/14/2017 4:48 PM
Mount Prospect woman gets probation for illegal gun sales

Barbara Vitello

A Mount Prospect woman pleaded guilty to selling guns illegally and was sentenced to probation.

Simone Mousheh, 23, pleaded guilty Thursday to the illegal transfer of firearms in exchange for 12 months probation and 15 days in the Cook County sheriff's work alternative program, according to court records. S.W.A.P. allows judges to sentence nonviolent offenders to manual labor in lieu of jail time.

She was also ordered to pay $679 in fines.

According to published reports, Mousheh purchased a .40-caliber gun legally then reported it stolen. Police recovered the gun from a Chicago juvenile.

During a six-month period, authorities said, Mousheh purchased four weapons for $600 each and sold two to a Hoffman Estates man with Chicago gang ties.
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Old June 1, 2017, 03:02 PM   #13
Frank Ettin
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I think it's a poorly thought out bill and really doesn't add anything meaningful to existing law. It also muddies the issue of legally buying a gun as a gift for someone as alluded to by Aguila Blanca (although it appears to recognize a gift as an exception).

As far as not adding anything to existing law --
  • Right now, if someone buys a gun on behalf of a person he knows or has reasonable cause to believe is a prohibited person, and then gives or sells the gun to that person, he violates 18 USC 922(d). He also is aiding and abetting the possession of a gun by a prohibited person and has criminal liability under 18 USC 2.

  • Right now, if someone buys a gun for someone else knowing he intends to commit a crime, he can have criminal liability for aiding and abetting, or as an accessory, or as a conspirator.

  • It looks like the main substantive change is the adding of a forfeiture provision.
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Old June 2, 2017, 03:10 AM   #14
Hal
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Quote:
Simone Mousheh, 23, pleaded guilty Thursday to the illegal transfer of firearms in exchange for 12 months probation and 15 days in the Cook County sheriff's work alternative program, according to court records. S.W.A.P. allows judges to sentence nonviolent offenders to manual labor in lieu of jail time.
Sounds like the woman was charged under county jurisdiction & not state or federal law.

Quote:
It looks like the main substantive change is the adding of a forfeiture provision.
Yeah,,I noticed that too. Sounds like the BATF wants to drive new Crossovers just like the DEA does huh?
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Old June 2, 2017, 07:15 AM   #15
steve4102
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Frank, isn't the main provision making it a crime to purchase a firearm on behalf of another? As of right now, the only crime is lying on a federal form, this would add the act as well as the perjury??
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Old June 2, 2017, 10:46 AM   #16
carguychris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve4102
Frank, isn't the main provision making it a crime to purchase a firearm on behalf of another? As of right now, the only crime is lying on a federal form, this would add the act as well as the perjury??
I'm not Frank, but if the crime is lying on the form BECAUSE you purchased a firearm on behalf of another, what difference does it ultimately make?
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