Misleading PA website: guntransfer.org


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Dave Markowitz
May 1, 2008, 09:48 PM
This morning, I caught a commercial on WMMR promoting an apparently-new website, www.guntransfer.org. I thought to myself, "Cool, someone is running an ad for FFL transfer services on 'MMR!" Such services are often used by gunnies purchasing firearms from out-of-state, since such transfers must go through a licensee per Federal law. When I checked it after getting into the office I was disgusted to find that it's a site to promote transfer of guns through licensed dealers, as opposed to private party sales. The whois data shows the registrant for the domain as Commonwealth Media Services, which is a state entity.

What I find troubling about it is that it promotes transfers through FFLs, and makes it seem that any face-to-face private sale is illegal in PA. That is not the case. Private transfers of rifles and shotguns between PA residents is perfectly legal, only handgun sales, NFA transfers, and transactions with out of state residents must go through an FFL. The only reference to private rifle/shotgun sales being actually legal is buried on the Q&A page.

What makes this misleading is that in Pennsylvania, only "firearms" must be transferred through an FFL, per 18 Pa. Con. Stat. Sec. 6111. In PA, the definition of a firearm is this:

Any pistol or revolver with a barrel length less than 15 inches, any shotgun with a barrel length less than 18 inches or any rifle with a barrel length less than 16 inches, or any pistol, revolver, rifle or shotgun with an overall length of less than 26 inches. The barrel length of a firearm shall be determined by measuring from the muzzle of the barrel to the face of the closed action, bolt or cylinder, whichever is applicable.

See 18 Pa. Consolidated Statutes Sec. 6102.

The statutory definition of firearms specifically does not include most guns which do not fall under the restrictions of the Federal National Firearms Act of 1934. In other words, the vast majority of rifles and shotguns in private possession are not "firearms" for the purpose of this law. For example, the hypothetical hunting rifle and shotgun described on guntransfer.org's Home page generally do not meet the legal definition of a "firearm" in Pennsylvania.

So why the dissimulation?

Guntransfer.org clearly reflects the Philly-centric antigun bias. By fooling people into thinking that private party transfers of any gun are illegal in PA, they are looking to create a paper trail. All gun transfers which go through a licensed dealer first require the transferee to pass a background check conducted in Harrisburg by the Pennsylvania State Police. As you may be aware, a few years ago they were sued for creating an illegal registry of gun owners. As it turned out, the State Police won their case when the court ruled that the records which they were compiling did not meet the statutory definition of an illegal database. Nevertheless, it is still a de facto database of gun owners in Pennsylvania. And we know that historically, gun registration has lead to confiscation in Germany, Britain, and closer to home in New York and New Jersey.

This stinks on ice and they need to be called on it. I plan to voice my displeasure with our "leaders" and hope you will, too.

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mekender
May 1, 2008, 10:43 PM
the Q&A section on that site is actually accurate... if not a tad misleading... they refer to "firearms" throughout it... and one of the questions does say...

"do these laws apply if i want to sell or transfer a long gun"

the problem will arise that i would imagine that most non gunnies wouldnt know that "firearms" refers to handguns and NFA stuff and not long guns...

so sure they could clarify, but its not too bad... especially since they do not appear to be advertising a service for profit...

geekWithA.45
May 1, 2008, 11:59 PM
I was on the fence as to whether this site was deceptive or innocently imprecise, until I realized that all the arguments that the site wasn't deceptive were technical and lawyerly: close scrutiny reveals that they aren't factually incorrect, but a layman will easily draw the wrong conclusions.

The reality is that they very easily could have avoided their deception by using the word "handgun" instead of "gun" as appropriate, and they chose not to.

MikeB
May 7, 2008, 07:58 AM
They are wrong on one of the other FAQ questions.

What if a friend wants to give me a handgun free of charge?

Whether you are selling or giving a handgun to another person, the current owner and the future owner must still go to a licensed firearms dealer to complete the transaction. The background check must be run on the new owner of the handgun. Both persons must be Pennsylvania residents.

You can loan or give a firearm legally to someone that has a LTCF.


6115. Loans on, or Lending or Giving Firearms Prohibited.

(a) Offense defined.—No person shall make any loan secured by mortgage, deposit or pledge of a firearm, nor, except as pro*vided in subsection (b), shall any person lend or give a firearm to another or otherwise deliver a firearm contrary to the provisions of this subchapter.

(b) Exception.—

(1) Subsection (a) shall not apply if any of the following apply:

(i) The person who receives the firearm is licensed to carry a firearm under section 6109 (relating to licenses).

(ii) The person who receives the firearm is exempt from licensing.

(iii) The person who receives the firearm is engaged in a hunter safety program certified by the Pennsylvania Game Commission or a firearm training program or competition sanctioned or approved by the National Rifle Association

(iv) The person who receives the firearm meets all of the following

(A) Is under 18 years of age.

(B) Pursuant to section 6110.1 (relating to possession of firearm by minor) is under the supervision, guidance and instruc*tion (if a responsible individual who.

(I) is ‘21 years of age or older; and

(II) is not prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm tinder section 6105 (relating to persons not to possess, use, man*ufacture, control, sell or transfer firearms)

(v) The person who receives the firearm is lawfully hunting or trapping and is in compliance with the provisions of Title 34 (relating to game)

(vi) A bank or other chartered lending institution is able to adequately secure firearms in its possession.

(2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the transfer of a firearm under 20 Pa CS. Ch. 21 (relating to inter*state succession) or by bequest if the individual receiving the firearm is not precluded from owning or possessing a firearm under section 6105

(3) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the loaning or giving of a firearm to another in one’s dwelling or place of business if the firearm is retained within the dwelling or place of business.

(Repealed and added by L 1995, Spec. Sess 1, Act 17(8), eff 10/11/95)

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