Buying on Gunbroker for resale: illegal?


February 22, 2013, 02:20 AM
I have a hypothetical situation for all the legal eagles out there...

Say by buddy ones a legitimate gun shop and has a FFL along with proper state licensing. He is looking for a certain type of gun that appears on the auction sites from time to time. He offers me a bounty on that gun for me to scour the internet and find it. The offer is what I paid + a percentage of what he sells it for.

I plan on fronting the money to the seller and my buddy is sending the FFL paperwork so a legal transfer takes place.

In essence, I am doing all the internet work searching for this gun. I am paying the seller for it. By buddy (the shop owner) is receiving it and selling to his customer. I get my money back + a percentage.

The gun is never transferred to me and my name never appears on ATF paperwork since it going to my buddy - the FFL and shop owner.

I am sure I could do this a few times. However, the ATF considers a person a "dealer in firearms" if they "sell" guns many times and if they are "making a living" - or however they phrase it.

So, I would be making a profit, but more as a "broker" since I am not actually selling the gun to an actual person - who is the one on the 4473. Nor am I on a 4473 as a buyer.

Is it legal? :confused:

I read the entire sticky on this subject.

If anybody who is a dealer or works for the ATF can shed light on this please respond.

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February 22, 2013, 02:55 AM
Sounds like you are never taking actual possession of the gun.

February 22, 2013, 02:57 AM
"Sounds like you are never taking actual possession of the gun."


Frank Ettin
February 22, 2013, 03:19 AM
I have no idea and don't plan to do the research necessary to even try to figure it out. The ATF might consider you to be engaged in the business of dealing in firearms because you're repetitively buying and selling firearms for profit. Or the ATF might not because you're doing so as the agent of an FFL. I just don't know.

Now for a dose of reality:

This is a lousy place to come for legal advice regarding what sounds like a real life, serious legal matter.

There aren't too many real lawyers here (I'm one). Anyway, a lawyer is not going to want to give real legal advice over the Internet. That's not how we do business.

There are a lot of anonymous people here who might or might not know much about the subject. Some folks who don't know what they're talking about will nonetheless be delighted to give you a whole bunch of information, much or all of which is likely to be wrong. (But I'm retired and don't want to work any more.)

The anonymous folks who will give you advice here won't be around to help if their advice gets you into trouble.

What you discuss with your lawyer is confidential. What gets discussed here is not.

The best thing to do is spend some money and talk to a qualified lawyer.

One thing I might do is talk with you and the FFL and work out exactly how you want to work things. I'd then use that as the basis for a letter to the ATF asking for a formal opinion on your plan. Asking for a formal advisory opinion is a common thing in business law.

A lawyer would also help you understand and work out possible tax issues.

You should want to take this seriously because the possible consequences of violating federal firearms law can be very serious, and include a lifetime loss of gun rights.

February 22, 2013, 03:39 AM
Mr. Ettin,

That is some darn good advice that I just got over the internet for free. :D

To stay straight, having a lawyer (I know some experts) talk to my buddy (the FFL) would be a great idea as well. That way they can work out any details that would end up getting us in a bind.

Not sure if somehow becoming an employee of the dealer would work, which is another option. Maybe as a consultant - which would allow me to more easily file taxes.

Basically he doesn't want to spend all his days on the internet and then after countless emails and wasted time - to finally get his gun.

The idea of getting a "formal advisory opinion" also sounds very smart.

After all the fees to a lawyer, it would still be worth it to me.

Just hunting for guns on auction sites can make this potential "job" very enjoyable.

Of course all of my profits will go toward advancing MY collection. :scrutiny:

February 22, 2013, 04:43 AM
IMHO/IANAL, but it seems to me that just sending your FFL buddy the URL of the weapon should be all he needs. A small finder's fee sent your way later would cover your needs.

Once you start getting involved in the transaction, while I think it's legal, you still might manage to get BATFE on your case unless you're an employee of the FFL. I'm not sure that a "consultant" situation would carry any weight....

Just IMHO, even though you never even see the weapon (presuming you don't go to the store and have a look later :)), your name on the paperwork may constitute possession for BATFE's nefarious activities.

Frank's advice is probably the best - find a lawyer nearby who's into firearms laws, or willing to learn.

Still, a good way to keep busy!


February 22, 2013, 04:54 AM

February 22, 2013, 08:00 AM

Put your question in writing.

February 22, 2013, 08:10 AM
Your not take possession of the gun. And its going to a legit FFL. ATF could say its a grey are because its firearms. But that is just like buying on eBay, and selling the item to your uncle and make 10 bucks profit.

To me its legal because you never touch the gun, and its going to the FFL to be transfered.

On suggestion, in this and age there are snitches and people will turn other people in for passing glass. With questions like this, I would tread very lightly. Remember what's on the internet never goes away, even when the website is taken down, all info is on a server.

dogtown tom
February 22, 2013, 02:59 PM
Whether the OP actually touches the firearm has nothing to do with "being engaged in the business of dealing in firearms".

Dealers "drop ship" all the time. Meaning the dealer never has actual possession of the firearm.

As my dad used to tell me "if you ask me if its wrong to do probably is".

Frank Ettin
February 22, 2013, 03:11 PM
...To me its legal because you never touch the gun, and its going to the FFL to be transfered....Another dose of reality: what it is to you doesn't matter. Your personal opinion on whether or not it's legal is 100% meaningless.

What matters is what it is to the ATF, what it is to a federal prosecutor, what it is to a federal grand jury and what it is to a judge. That is why lawyers study and research statutes, cases and other authoritative sources to try to figure out what the people whose opinions will actually matter are likely to think about something.

I left this open to see if something useful might pop up. But now I'm going to cut this off before we spend more time going down paths that are unlikely to be helpful.

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