Legality of "flipping" guns?


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jos2f
December 30, 2008, 05:21 PM
Hey guys, first post so go easy on me :cool:

I've run across some deals on legal firearms that made me think to myself "hmm, I know I could make $50, 100, even 200 if I bought it at the price it's being sold for and resold it." These are private individual transactions, not through gun stores.

I ran across a guy on a local Craigslist-esque site saying that the BATF has been monitoring guys who are buying off the site and then reselling at higher price.

Would this sort of buying low/selling high be considered dealing, thus requiring a FFL license and requiring registration of the sold guns?

Also, what would the legality be to buy a gun with the intent to trade it for something of greater value?

Thanks!

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cassandrasdaddy
December 30, 2008, 05:22 PM
need to be a ffl

N003k
December 30, 2008, 05:27 PM
I've always taken the law to mean if you're making profit off the selling of firearms on a regular basis, then you're considered a dealer, and need to be licensed. I'd imagine buying a firearm just to sell it is considered to be dealing and thus you need to be licensed also.

WardenWolf
December 30, 2008, 05:49 PM
It's not illegal to sell a gun from your personal connection, but if you regularly do flipping it can either be considered a straw purchase or an illegal transfer. Any firearm you buy should be held onto for a few months at least, and used at least once. That way you can always say you needed the money or decided you wanted something different.

jos2f
December 30, 2008, 05:59 PM
Thanks for the answers guys.

Mike's thinking seems to make a lot of sense, as it's not illegal (to my knowledge) to sell a gun from your own collection when you're tired of it or need money etc.

nalioth
December 30, 2008, 06:01 PM
It's not illegal to sell a gun from your personal connection, but if you regularly do flipping it can either be considered a straw purchase or an illegal transfer. Any firearm you buy should be held onto for a few months at least, and used at least once. That way you can always say you needed the money or decided you wanted something different. The above is entirely the personal opinion of Mike the Wolf. He is playing CYA to a deep level.

If you go to the gun shop and buy a gun, and your neighbor Fred just won the lotto and comes up to you outside, and offers you 10x what you just paid for your new gun, neither "straw purchase" or "illegal transfer" (does apply in california / other nanny states) apply.

You buy the same new toy, and arrive home to find your water heater exploded, flooding your basement. Requiring a fix, you give your new toy to the contractor who helps you clean up as part of his payment. Neither 'straw purchase' or 'illegal transfer' applies here, either.

To get stung by "straw purchase", it must be proven you intended to buy a gun for another person. To get stung by 'illegal transfer' (in the free states), it must be proven you knew that the person was prohibited from purchasing firearms and dealt with him anyway.

The answer to the OP has already been given: If you are making a regular income from the process, you are a "dealer" whether you are licensed as such or not. You'll need an FFL if you are doing so.

WardenWolf
December 30, 2008, 06:05 PM
And there's nothing wrong with covering your bases. Fact is, if it happens ONCE, it's not going to get any real attention. If it happens more than that, the ATF is going to start paying attention.

Duke of Doubt
December 30, 2008, 06:11 PM
Intent may be inferred, or even presumed based on facts determined to exist.

I might reasonably snap up a half-dozen cop trade-in Berettas, simply because they are a great deal and I planned to keep them all, and then find a month later that they have gone up in local value, and so sell most of them to raise money for other purchases. My true intent may have been entirely innocent and lacking in commercial profit motive. But it would appear so obviously either a straw purchase or for-profit behavior that I just wouldn't do it. Remember, it's all up to the jury, most of whom are NOT gun collectors, and to whom six handguns and a couple hundred rounds of ammunition would probably constitute an "arsenal."

Federal enforcement in this area has been incredibly lax for a long time. It was not always so. It may not be so for long. Don't push the envelope.

Treo
December 30, 2008, 06:32 PM
Not sure how legal it is but if you drop one on your foot it's going to hurt:D

On a serious note, I'm W/ mike CYA I'd ask Naiolith 1. where he went to law school 2. Is he admitted to the bar in YOUR state and 3. Is his legally specialty is 2A before I'd take his advice as gospel.

Of course you may want to consult some one who can answer all 3 questions before you take MY advice as well

Bubba613
December 30, 2008, 06:33 PM
I've always taken the law to mean if you're making profit off the selling of firearms on a regular basis, then you're considered a dealer, and need to be licensed. I'd imagine buying a firearm just to sell it is considered to be dealing and thus you need to be licensed also.

What he said.

nalioth
December 30, 2008, 07:01 PM
On a serious note, I'm W/ mike CYA I'd ask Naiolith 1. where he went to law school 2. Is he admitted to the bar in YOUR state and 3. Is his legally specialty is 2A before I'd take his advice as gospel. Free advice is worth every penny you paid for it. :neener:

CoRoMo
December 30, 2008, 07:10 PM
This just seems to me, to be more junk law that makes me shake my head.:cuss:
Over my Christmas visit to my Dad's, we talked about this very thing.

What if you see a gun that you know would be a good investment?? Guns can be wonderful investments. You can't buy it because your intent is to sale it for a profit later??

Jim K
December 30, 2008, 07:11 PM
Imagine the following exchange:

Cop: We know that gun you sold Joe was used by him to kill his wife. Where did you get the gun?

Mike: I got it from Pete, he buys and sells guns all the time.

Cop: Is Pete a dealer?

Mike: Heck, no, he doesn't bother with licenses and stuff, he just wants to make money and doesn't care who he sells to.

Cop: (on phone) Hello, BATFE? I have one for you.

Jim

Treo
December 30, 2008, 07:47 PM
Imagine the following exchange:

Cop: We know that gun you sold Joe was used by him to kill his wife. Where did you get the gun?

Mike: Officer I have nothing further to say W/out my attorney present. If there's nothing else I can help you with, good day.

OFFICER: ........

w_houle
December 30, 2008, 07:53 PM
Okay, let's see if we can get a high water mark for this:
Cars and guns always seem to make a good analogy, and yet again here we are! In Kansas, a motor vehicle dealer is defined as any individual or business actively engages in buying, selling or exchanging basically everything with a license plate; and that by actively engaging, they mean five or more a year.

So does anyone know how many guns constitute "Actively selling"?

deadin
December 30, 2008, 07:55 PM
An occasional “flip” is perfectly legal (providing there aren’t any State laws against it.) It’s just a matter of frequency and volume before you might draw the attention of the BATFE. There is no set “number” of guns or “how often” you can do this before it’s “dealing”, so you just have to take your chances. The rub is if someone in authority decides you are dealing, then you have to go to court and convince a judge that you aren’t.
Is it really worth it?

jos2f
December 30, 2008, 07:59 PM
At the risk of hijacking my own thread...

If I decided to sell multiple guns a year and had my FFL, would I have to make sure the people I sold the gun to register with the state before leaving with my gun?

Also, would an FFL license require that every single sale I make has to be a registered sale?

I'm just thinking, is the FFL dealer license the only difference between the guys with a table at a gun show and the guys in the back of the building with a backpack?

Duke of Doubt
December 30, 2008, 08:15 PM
Actually, if I were a betting man or, more realistically, a criminal defense attorney with knowledge and experience in firearms and tax matters, I'd predict the next likely focus (low hanging fruit) for enforcement action would be alleged abuse of C&R licenses.

But what do I know?

Jim K
December 30, 2008, 08:23 PM
Jos2F, if you had a dealer's FFL, you would have to comply with all federal, state and local laws or you would not have it for long.

If you are talking about an 03 (C&R) FFL you can sell occasionally but not as a business, about the same thing as if you had no license.

The exact number of guns an unlicensed person or a C&R license holder can sell (to a non-licensee) without being considered a dealer is deliberately kept vague by BATFE.

They feel that it is not the number of guns in itself, but the type of sale and the buyer(s). It is one thing to sell five handguns over a period of two years to five different people, all honest folks; it is another to sell five handguns at the same time to an MS-13 member.

Treo, that sounds good; you would get your attorney, but I doubt you would just walk away. If you provided the murder weapon, you could well be charged with being an accessory before the fact. And you would be surprised by how many "smart" people waive their rights and talk their heads off trying to prove to the cops that they didn't do anything wrong (just like the folks here sound off about their "rights" and what the law says).

Jim

jmr40
December 30, 2008, 08:44 PM
I guess it may depend on where you live. I see some of the same people with a table at every gunshow around here. All are private sales. No yellow sheets. I do not go to a lot of flea markets but I see the same thing there when I do. Never heard of anyone getting in any trouble.

I probably buy, sell, or trade around a dozen guns a year. I've made a quick $50-$100 a few times but just hope to break even. Never tried to make money, but It has allowed me to own and shoot a lot of different guns.

Duke of Doubt
December 30, 2008, 08:56 PM
I go a little out of my way to make my disposal deals a trade or series of trades with an FFL, even if I am pretty sure HE (legally) has a (lawful) buyer or buyers in mind. An advantageous and complex trade, maybe, but not a lot of cash coming my way in any event. The few times I've sold guns for cash, and it's pretty uncommon, I try to dispose of larger numbers of cheaper guns directly to an FFL as an explicit partial collection disposal, with it stated in front of a witness that I am getting out of a certain area, and without anyone else mentioned as a possible purchaser. That way, there is no legitimate question of a straw purchase, and a very much reduced risk of any sort of "doing business" problem. In the current enforcement climate, that is probably, and has been called, quite conservative. But as I say, it wasn't always this way, and may very well change. Take care.

Treo
December 30, 2008, 09:17 PM
Treo, that sounds good; you would get your attorney, but I doubt you would just walk away.

I may not walk away but I'm not going to start a conversation W/ a cop that just connected my name to a murder investigation. Starting said conversation seems like the quickest way to MAKE SURE I don't walk away.


If you provided the murder weapon, you could well be charged with being an accessory before the fact.

Which is why I wouldn't say a word W/out my attorney

And you would be surprised by how many "smart" people waive their rights and talk their heads off trying to prove to the cops that they didn't do anything wrong

No, actually I wouldn't

If you page through some of my previous posts you'll find I'm one of the most vocal advocates on this board in regard to not talking to the police W/out a lawyer present. It's very likely that I would make no statement period until subpeonaed by a court of law.

45Badger
December 30, 2008, 09:17 PM
Lots of opinions here. Anybody here been personally contacted by BATFE on this issue? There are quite a few active (my wife says compulsive:cool:)buyer/seller/swapper/collector types on this and other boards. To my knowledge, most of us are non-licensees. As long as I (we) comply with applicable state and federal regs on transfers, it's no big deal.

I'll be sure to post when I get a call from BATFE:D

TCB in TN
December 30, 2008, 09:28 PM
I "met" a couple of the guys the BATF busted. They were running adds, for buying guns cheap, and turning around and advertising the same guns on the same online classified page. They were (as near as i can tell) illegal gun dealers. Didn't care what they bought or who they sold to.

goon
December 30, 2008, 09:46 PM
So does anyone know how many guns constitute "Actively selling"?

Something tells me that you probably won't find yourself "actively selling" by accident.

JohnBT
December 30, 2008, 10:29 PM
"They were running adds, for buying guns cheap, and turning around and advertising the same guns on the same online classified page."

I wonder if they were the same guys who always had a bunch of rifles for sale with ads that said something like "Like new, only fired once."

What the heck was that all about. Once? They couldn't even argue that a gun shot a bad group and they were unloading it.

John

Bubba613
December 30, 2008, 10:40 PM
Lots of opinions here. Anybody here been personally contacted by BATFE on this issue?
No, but one of my customers was. And this was the result of a long investigation including close examination of my records. They had a list of every gun he had purchased from local dealers. Many of them were subsequently used in crimes. That wasn't his fault btw.
The agent (who refused to give his card) told him he needed an FFL and could not sell any guns to private persons for a year.
He basically told BATFE to take a hike, that if he were doing something illegal they wouldn't be having this conversation, they would be hauling his butt to jail.
He's right btw.

If I decided to sell multiple guns a year and had my FFL, would I have to make sure the people I sold the gun to register with the state before leaving with my gun?

Also, would an FFL license require that every single sale I make has to be a registered sale?

I'm just thinking, is the FFL dealer license the only difference between the guys with a table at a gun show and the guys in the back of the building with a backpack?
Since I take it you are in TN I can tell you, as a TN dealer, that there is no "registration with the state" here. So I am not sure of the question.
As for "unlicensed sales" it depends on how the FFL is held. Mine is a corporation. So there are guns that the company owns and guns I own. If I come across something I want personally I have to fill out a 4473 etc etc and log it out to me. If I want to sell one of my own personal guns, it doesn't have to cross corporate books.
Other people hold the FFL as individuals. In that case I think they must hold any gun they take personally for some period of time (like a year) before reselling it.
I pity the guy who takes store guns and resells them privately. I would bet ATF takes a real dim view of that.

WardenWolf
December 30, 2008, 11:07 PM
As an FFL, you MUST log and perform background checks on all transfers. Period. No more giving or receiving gifts from friends or relatives, and you're subject to warrantless searches from ATF agents at any time. Effectively it means EVERYTHING you have or do will be tracked.

Bubba613
December 30, 2008, 11:11 PM
As an FFL, you MUST log and perform background checks on all transfers. Period. No more giving or receiving gifts from friends or relatives, and you're subject to warrantless searches from ATF agents at any time. Effectively it means EVERYTHING you have or do will be tracked.

Absolutely untrue. Sorry.

WardenWolf
December 30, 2008, 11:12 PM
Oh really? Have you done your research? People with an FFL license can have the address listed on the FFL form searched. And while you can effectively give something for 0 profit, it must still be logged and a background check conducted. If you have something that isn't logged, you're screwed.

Bubba613
December 30, 2008, 11:15 PM
I'm an FFL so yes.

CoRoMo
December 31, 2008, 09:47 AM
They were running adds, for buying guns cheap, and turning around and advertising the same guns on the same online classified page.

Such a case would be easy for the BATF to zero in on, but what I've referred to is investing in a few guns that will skyrocket in price.

I recently read a post on THR from a member who bought MAC10 in the early 90's for market price. After Clinton passed his AWB, that gun was worth right at double what he purchased it for, so he sold it for an awesome profit. After the '04 sunset, the prices dropped back to near the pre-AWB price, so he bought a couple more. He's simply making a good investment, and I don't think that is quite the same thing as the described illegal dealers.

logical
December 31, 2008, 10:10 AM
It's an unfortunately poorly written law that doesn't say how many is too many. It is left to either side to prove actual intent. It's generally easier to prove what is true than what is not true. If you want to be completely on the right side of the law, and are not an FFL, don't buy a gun with the intent of reselling it. If you just can't stop yourself..than at least limit it to once in a blue moon and be extra cautious about the sale. If you want to make a living selling guns, get a license. If you are actively seeking guns to buy and resell, you know and they will know you are crossing the line.

To be fair, I've had deals come up on forums that I jumped at with intent of reselling but one was a gun I already had that included a bunch of accessories I wanted. Bought the package, kept the accessories, sold the gun....but in my state even FTF sales are pretty regulated and any buyer either has a gov issued purchase permit or a CPL (CCW). Another was a 3 gun package and I only really wanted two of them. One the other side, I had a chance to buy a new Colt AR last month at an easy $500 under what I knew I could get on Gunbroker the next day. I walked away, there would have been no explaining that one away.

redneck2
December 31, 2008, 10:12 AM
If you have something that isn't logged, you're screwed.

This is correct. I worked for a local dealer. We were super careful about logging EVERYTHING in. If we had an unannounced audit by BATF and something wasn't on the books, you could get whacked for selling illegally under the table. Particularly true of of trade-ins and repairs. Everything got tagged before the sales guy walked away from the counter.

I asked the dealer specifically about selling privately . It's a real gray area. The strictest interpretation is that you can sell off your private collection once. There were some guys in Warsaw, IN that were doing exactly what you're talking about. Local dealers were getting miffed that they had to jump thru hoops and these guys weren't. Somebody turned him in, and he got whacked.

I also knew a licensed dealer in Bristol, IN. The thought he'd beat the BATF and sell stuff under the table. Ended up selling to a felon that used the pistol to kill a cop. He's now doing 10-20 in prison. Since he was in his mid 60's when convicted, he will never see the outside again.

Bottom line is that if the BATF thinks you're a dealer, you'd better have an FFL. If you have enough money to fight it, go have fun. You may want to consider if making a few bucks is worth it.

subknave
December 31, 2008, 10:14 AM
Like many other rules the BATF operates under I do not think there is any set number of guns you have to buy and sell to be a "dealer". One agent could take that to mean you bought a gun and sold it 2 days later another to mean you sold more than 10 this year. It is similar with the Machinegun definition. One persons "easily made to fire more than one shot" could be modifications that require only hand tools, and another persons "well if he had a milling machine and lathe and knew how to use them and had the proper knowledge downloaded from the internet he could have converted this into a machinegun so he had a machine gun"

It depends on what they think they can make a jury believe. I personnally buy and sell a lot (>20) of guns in a year but I have a C&R FFL so I buy and sell older firearms and most of my reasons for selling involve financing another acquisition. I do not buy and sell on the same day and am very careful to whom I sell, If they won't let me write down their drivers license information I don't sell to a private individual and mostly I trade with dealers then I put the info and the serial number of the gun in a logbook.

A lot of licensed dealers will sell a hundred guns a week or more. Some licensed Pawnshops may only do 5 or 6 a week so it really varies.

devildog66
December 31, 2008, 10:17 AM
As always, caveat emptor. Actually, "exigo caveo". There that oughta do it...

Bubba613
December 31, 2008, 10:19 AM
Actually I think in this case it's "Caveat Vendor"

45Badger
December 31, 2008, 12:00 PM
One the other side, I had a chance to buy a new Colt AR last month at an easy $500 under what I knew I could get on Gunbroker the next day. I walked away, there would have been no explaining that one away.

Please contact me on any furture deals that your tummy can't handle. I'll be happy to 'splain all of my legal actions.

logical
December 31, 2008, 01:16 PM
Please contact me on any furture deals that your tummy can't handle. I'll be happy to 'splain all of my legal actions.

Get yer own ...and my tummy's just fine.

green country shooter
December 31, 2008, 09:42 PM
There is no number. One is enough. "Regularly" does not enter into it. That's the law. You may read the law if you wish. Buying one gun with the intention of reselling is a federal felony if you do not have a license.

I suspect what some of those above are saying is you are not likely to be caught if you are only selling a few. It is not very high road to say it's ok to commit a felony if you won't get caught.

Federal law is enforced with no sense of proportion or fairness or equity. Or sense of humor for that matter.

18 usc 922 (a)(1)(A)

It shall be unlawful for any person except...a licensed dealer to engage in the business of ...dealing in firearms.

There are several court cases on what that means, all of which disagree. Do you want to be the test case for your federal district?

Bubba613
December 31, 2008, 10:00 PM
I don't think buying and selling one gun is ever called "engaging in business." How many is engaging in business? I don't know. But it has to be a pattern.

IndianaDon
December 31, 2008, 10:38 PM
I look at this in relation to the ATF requirement for being a genuine "Dealer", as opposed to a breakfast table dealer/hobbyist. If you apply for an FFL, you are supposed to be seriously engaged in this as a business, i.e.: your bread & butter depends on it. I haven't heard too many stories of FFL hobbyists being hassled, but I'm sure some have been---for not selling enough guns. As has been mentioned, this is a grey area---what constitutes "enough" sales to justify an FFL, and what constitutes "too many" sales for a hobbyist. I think that as long as you aren't approaching a profit that might be considered a livable income, you have little to worry about, as long as you keep good records and do everything "by the book".

jbech123
December 31, 2008, 11:48 PM
When talking of buying and selling, do we mean outside an ffl? I get bored of stuff/think something seems like a good idea in theory, then I get it and it is not as useful as I thought. In the last year I bought and sold ~10 guns, mostly off gunbroker, and all went through an ffl at a local shop here. My honest intent was not to resell any of them. Reality tells me however that next year will be more experimenting with different things and some I won't like and will get rid of. Case in point, I've had a recent itch for a 454 casull that is semi compact. Also seemed cool that I could shoot 45 colt out of it. However they are a bit pricey, I could go with a freedom arms 4.5" barrel at well over a grand, or even a ruger alaskan would be in the neighbothood of $700+. So I've been on the fence about it, and recently came across an absolutely smokin' deal on a freedom arms. I took the deal(through an ffl of course), knowing that if I get bored or the novelty of the recoil of a 4.5" 454 wears off, I can certainly get more out of it than I paid.
Now I'm already thinking, would a 25-06 fill the niche between my 243 and 308? hmmmm, if I could only find a deal so that if it turns out there is no real gap to fill there, can I get my money back, or better yet make a few bucks. So I can see both sides of the argument, but the fact is, I'm not flipping guns to try to make a profit. I know, however, that I will buy and sell a few a year out of shear boredom/wanting to try new things, so knowing that, it is in the back of my mind to look for guns that are undervalued, especially in this economy - if a guy has cash and is not looking for an AR/semi auto, there are some good deals to be had.

Sunray
January 1, 2009, 02:15 AM
I'd guess that buying with the intent of trading isn't exactly the same as buying with the intent of reselling. As long as ATF rules are followed. Mind you, the ATF makes their own laws by regulation.

coyotehitman
January 1, 2009, 02:39 AM
It boils down to intent and whether it is legal will be seen through the eyes of another and something you may have to prove later. Will you make enough "flipping" to cover your legal expenses if you have to prove your intent in court?

evan price
January 1, 2009, 12:42 PM
This is a simple question. 18 U.S.C. 923 says:

(a) No person shall engage in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in firearms, or importing or manufacturing ammunition, until he has filed an application with and received a license to do so from the Attorney General. The application shall be in such form and contain only that information necessary to determine eligibility for licensing as the Attorney General shall by regulation prescribe and shall include a photograph and fingerprints of the applicant. Each applicant shall pay a fee for obtaining such a license, a separate fee being required for each place in which the applicant is to do business... (emphasis mine)

Pretty cut and dried. The legal term is Mens Rea, which means INTENT.

If your intent is to resell guns and not to add them to your collection personally, even one such sale is a violation of 18 U.S.C. 923 and a federal felony. BATFE is not known for their forgiving nature and easygoing demeanors.

As a matter of fact their 8-08 release in which they claim that "Manufacturing" firearms is now anyone who installs drop-in parts or provides final finishing for resale, is now a manufacturer and requires a manufacturing FFL shows just how serious they are.

Art Eatman
January 1, 2009, 12:47 PM
1. BATFE regs are stickied on this forum's main page.

2. I have seen cites here on the Internet about non-FFL people having gunshow tables who resold a trade-in for profit at the same show--and the BATFE got on them for "dealing" without a license. (One instance in Virginia, IIRC.) They were seen to be going beyond selling from the personal collection.

So I dunno. When in any gray area of the law where terms are subject to varying interpretations by different enforcement people, silence is your best friend.

subknave
January 1, 2009, 01:14 PM
Mind you, the ATF makes their own laws by regulation.

Thats part of the problem of not running afoul of them. A change can come about or "reinterpretation" by the current attorney general and now something that wasn't illegal now is. A good example is that importing of barrels with parts kits used to be fine then they reinterpreted the regs and you couldn't import barrels anymore. Another example is that in some cases a firearm is the receiver but it seems in other cases it can be a part or parts. An example is the definition of manufacturing was making a receiver now it appears to be refinishing or installing parts. An ever tightening circle like fish in a net.

wuchak
January 1, 2009, 01:22 PM
If they are a good deal buy them for your collection. Shoot them. Decide you don't like them. Sell them.

If you buy 20 K31 Swiss Rifles online so you can pick the best and sell the rest off in a few years once prices have gone up you are a collector, not a dealer. I think the length of time between purchase and sale would be a deciding factor. If you are buying and reselling immediately you are dealing. If you are buying, trying, keeping some, and then selling others a month or two later then you are collecting.

Jim K
January 1, 2009, 01:34 PM
Subknave, a C&R license holder is in the category of a non-licensee if he 1) buys and sells non-C&R guns or 2) sells any gun to a non-licensee.

The C&R license was meant to facilitate transfers of collector guns between and among licensed collectors, not to provide guns to non-licensees without any checks.

Jim

jos2f
January 1, 2009, 01:36 PM
Lot of good information here, thanks guys. Seems unwise to buy any gun with sole purpose of reselling it.

Even still, no wise man passes up on a good deal for a gun for his personal collection ;)

22lr
January 1, 2009, 01:49 PM
Buy the gun, run a box of shells though it and go sell it. Just say you decided you didnt like it. Honestly who cares.

subknave
January 1, 2009, 01:49 PM
The C&R license was meant to facilitate transfers of collector guns between and among licensed collectors, not to provide guns to non-licensees without any checks.

You are entirely correct. Anytime I buy a non C&R firearm I still have to fill out the forms etc. If I sell anything to a nonlicensee that is C&R their drivers license information has to go into my log book and any acquisitions obtained through my license have to be logged as well. If it isn't C&R it is just like any other person. That is why I rarely sell to individuals without it going through an FFL. As a matter of fact I would rather sell to someone out of state so it has to go through an FFL than sell to an individual face to face. I think I have maybe sold <5 guns FTF in the last 3 years and 2 were to relatives.

jbech123
January 2, 2009, 12:10 PM
Honestly who cares.
Well the point of the whole thread is whether ATF cares. Believe me if they care about something you are doing...you will care pretty quickly as well.

leadcounsel
January 2, 2009, 04:10 PM
The trick is to define dealing in firearms, which is vague. But just ask yourself if it passes the 'reasonable' test. Can you reasonbly say you are not making a routine profit in buying and selling firearms.

There are several factors:
1) Frequency
2) Time between purchase and sale
3) Price - is there a suspcious price such as 5 or 10 time the actual value (straw purchase) or a lot less than the actual value (stolen), meaning some evidence of illegit transfers
4) Type of firearm - grandpas pump .410 vs. repeated AK47s that you couldn't legitimately say you bought but just didn't care for.
5) Amount of time devoted to this 'hobby' or 'business.'

goon
January 3, 2009, 02:26 AM
Well the point of the whole thread is whether ATF cares. Believe me if they care about something you are doing...you will care pretty quickly as well.

I've had some interaction with the ATF.
The ones I've talked with seemed like pretty decent, regular people.
They are not going to care about a guy making a few bucks on a gun deal once or twice in his life.
There really isn't any way that you could even come to their attention for an occasional deal where you make $50 or so on a gun - at least not unless you all the sudden got a guilty conscience and sent in a signed confession detailing how you bought a used Ruger 10/22 last month and sold it for exactly $62 more than you paid for it. Even then, whoever read your confession would probably think to himself "What a waste of my time", then toss your confession in the trash.

Look at it from their point of view - it is to going to be worth their time to come and track down one guy who bought one gun and later sold it for few more bucks than he paid for it?

What they are going to care about is the guy who buys a dozen guns and then sells them to people who shouldn't have them from the trunk of his car. Eventually, something will catch up with that guy to get the ATF's attention.
But for you, me, or the OP, the ATF probably couldn't care less.

FWIW, I know this because I probably did manage to break a federal gun law once. I called the ATF and asked for advice as soon as I realized it. The guy I spoke to in the Pittsburgh field office told me "Yep, that was probably illegal. Don't worry about it though - just don't do it again."

sharpetop
January 4, 2009, 04:56 PM
My take as a former business owner is this. If I had an employee who made over $600 a year, I was required to either take out taxes or issue a 1099 at the end of the year.

I don't know the legalities of "flipping guns", but I'll wager if you go over a certain dollar amount of profit, the IRS wants their cut.

Corey
January 5, 2009, 02:07 PM
I used to know an ATF inspector and talked with him regularly. I asked about this and he said they basically look at the individual circumstances and make a determination. In other words, they take it on a case by case basis and use some common sense. What he told me is that as a rule of thumb if you own the guns for more than a year and you have shot them, it doesn't matter how many you sell, but there can be exceptions. For example, a guy they see at three different gunshows with a table full of 1st and 2nd Generation Colt SAA's will be viewed differently than the guy a three different gun shows with a table full of Glocks.

I went to a gun show a couple of years ago where three people were arrested by ATF for dealing without a license. All three had previously been warned by ATF that they needed FFLs as ATF considered them dealers. They chose to ignore the warnings and continue selling guns and paid for it. In their cases what they were doing was rather blatant and ATF still chose to give a warning first.

My own opinion is that if you feel you are getting away with something or skirting the law, then you probably shouldn't do it. And if someone from ATF says don't do that anymore then you thank them for the warning and comply with it.

tinygnat219
January 5, 2009, 02:13 PM
It depends on your local laws. In VA for example, I could purchase a firearm and then gift it to my son, or swap it with someone outside the store as long as they were a legal resident. I have done swaps a couple of times with members of this board for another firearm, or for straight up cash.

I don't think the ATF would really take issue with one or two such deals. 10 or more, and I think that's when they start taking issue.

nalioth
January 5, 2009, 03:14 PM
I could purchase a firearm and then gift it to my son, or swap it with someone outside the store as long as they were a legal resident. Neither 'gifting' nor 'swapping' is "dealing".

"Dealing" involves money.

mgregg85
January 5, 2009, 03:16 PM
Technically you need a liscense but I've always found that the guns I've sold didn't fit my hand right.

Colonel
January 5, 2009, 07:34 PM
I believe the law says that if you are "engaged in the business" of selling firearms, then you must have an FFL.

If you're doing it to make a profit, I (and probably a judge) would say that's "engaged in the business."

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