Shipping rifles to Alaska???


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larry_minn
May 6, 2013, 01:12 AM
Relative was given guns from his dad decades ago. Father has been storing them as son moving around in AK. (and has guns he wants with him up there/ set at his folks in CO)
With CO new laws he is concerned. (the giving was done decades ago, written down, signed....)
So my question is. My understanding is you can mail/ship guns to yourself in country. COULD I (as his unpaid agent) box up his rifles, ship HIS RIFLES to him???
Or would they have to go to FFL in AK? (some are really not worth shipping/ FFL fees....) I was hoping to put 2-3 rifles in each package.. :)

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WardenWolf
May 6, 2013, 01:27 AM
They would have to go through an FFL. Period. End of story.

Also, I recommend the rifles be in a padded soft case inside their box. Shippers can be real monkeys, and occasionally you'll run into an anti-gun employee who deliberately damages guns (my shotgun's choke suffered damage during shipping that could only be intentional).

dogtown tom
May 6, 2013, 10:58 AM
larry_minn
....So my question is.....COULD I (as his unpaid agent) box up his rifles, ship HIS RIFLES to him???
Paid or unpaid, an "agent" has no more leeway under Federal law than anyone else........so, NO you cannot ship a firearm interstate directly to another person.

Ownership of the firearms does not matter, possession does.

Or would they have to go to FFL in AK? (some are really not worth shipping/ FFL fees....) I was hoping to put 2-3 rifles in each package..
Yep

Frank Ettin
May 6, 2013, 12:41 PM
Relative was given guns from his dad decades ago. Father has been storing them...Father has possession and would be transferring possession to someone else. It's therefore an interstate transfer and must, under federal law, go through an FFL.

Transfer is about possession, not ownership.

Some definitions of "transfer" (emphasis added):

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/transfer:...Transfer encompasses the sale and every other method, direct or indirect, of (1) disposing of property or an interest therein or possession thereof;...

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/transferred:2. Law To make over the possession or legal title of; convey.

http://law.yourdictionary.com/transfer:Any and every method of removing something from one person or place to another; specifically, the handing over of possession or control of assets or title. ...


Let's look at the statutes:

18 USC 922(a)(3), which provides in pertinent part (emphasis added) as follows:(a) It shall be unlawful—
...

(3) for any person, ... to transport into or receive in the State where he resides ...any firearm purchased or otherwise obtained by such person outside that State,...


And 18 USC 922(a)(5), which provides in pertinent part (emphasis added) as follows:(a) It shall be unlawful—
...

(5) for any person ... to transfer, sell, trade, give, transport, or deliver any firearm to any person ...who the transferor knows or has reasonable cause to believe does not reside in ... the State in which the transferor resides..;

...some are really not worth shipping/ FFL fees...Violation of the federal interstate transfer laws can get the transferor and transferee up to five years in federal prison and/or a fine (plus a bonus of a lifetime loss of gun rights). I can't imagine any shipping or FFL fees being more expensive than that.

ngnrd
May 6, 2013, 01:21 PM
Of course, if the son flew back to Colorado for a visit, he could then take possession and make the shipment to himself back in Alaska.

Cosmoline
May 6, 2013, 02:00 PM
Yeah he should just do it himself on a visit. That's how I've dealt with the issue before. CAVEAT--that's assuming he didn't transfer possession.

smalls
May 6, 2013, 02:14 PM
Of course, if the son flew back to Colorado for a visit, he could then take possession and make the shipment to himself back in Alaska.

No, he may not. That would mean he took (illegal) possession BEFORE a legal transfer was done.

larry_minn
May 6, 2013, 02:18 PM
Of course, if the son flew back to Colorado for a visit, he could then take possession and make the shipment to himself back in Alaska.

Thats what I suggested. That with savings in FFL fees, him being able to take many back in checked bags... it would pay for his trip. There are some screwy dynamics going on. (like most families) and I want to keep FIL from getting into trouble.
I hinted yrs ago when he was down to take a couple back. He didn't want to bother.
I "knew" I couldn't ship them to him except thru FFL. From everything I had read. Just thought it couldn't hurt to ask if anyone knew of exception. (that I could check out) I would NOT try to slip them "under radar"
I know they are son's as I recall first time I visited/saw gun cabinet he said "These were my guns, I gave them to my son....."But he wouldn't mind you looking at them."

Cosmoline
May 6, 2013, 02:18 PM
Did he transfer them to his father in CO? If so that would be correct. But it sounded like he was just storing them in Colorado.

Here's an example. If I go to Oregon and ship arms to myself from Alaska, I pick them up and stick them in the attic of my parent's house for my own use down there. Several years later I decide to send them back so I reverse the process. It is my understanding that no transfer took place to anyone but me. Though I do make that extra clear by locking them up and keeping the key. It is in effect a gratuitous lease of a little spot of attic space with no physical access to the firearms themselves by anyone but me. That's distinct from, say, tossing your firearms in your dad's gun closet without any clear understanding of what that meant. Is my method enough? I hope so, but I don't know.

The real question here, and this may be something to clear up from the BATFE, is how they view the law of bailment in the context of firearm transfers. There's an often confusing legal zone between something like a storage unit, which is typically not a bailment, and say storing your unlocked, unsecured firearm at an FFL which almost certainly would be a transfer of legal possession. It gets fuzzier when you're talking about family arrangements.

larry_minn
May 6, 2013, 02:29 PM
smalls???? For some reason it won't let me quote you. Ok now it works.

[I][Of course, if the son flew back to Colorado for a visit, he could then take possession and make the shipment to himself back in Alaska
/I]


No, he may not. That would mean he took (illegal) possession BEFORE a legal transfer was done.



Why would that be wrong? Son owns guns, he has owned them for decades, while he was still CO resident. (is my understanding)
I stored a gun there for a while myself. Was flying half dozen times a yr easy. So rather then deal with airport I just left pistol, ammo, holster,etc in CO at FILs. (with his permission) I took it back home as his (adult) grandkids were poking thru house when grandparents not home... I had it locked in case, gun cable lock thru barrel.... but hand grinder can remove anything.
My wife left her rifle there for over 20 yrs. (in military) She brought it home. (as transfer was done while she was CO resident) Maybe MI has state laws that require this? Mn and CO do not (that I am aware of)

Frank Ettin
May 6, 2013, 03:11 PM
Did he transfer them to his father in CO?...Of course he did. There would have been no formalities required. The father now has possession. Transfer is about possession, not ownership.

If one wants to store guns with someone, he should assure that whoever he stores them with does not have access to them, e. g., in a locked case to which the other person doesn't have a key. That's why ATF advises that when you ship your guns to yourself in care of someone else the person receiving them should be instructed not to open the package.

...I pick them up and stick them in the attic of my parent's house for my own use down there. Several years later I decide to send them back so I reverse the process. It is my understanding that no transfer took place to anyone but me... On what do you base your belief? As noted in the definitions of "transfer", a change is possession, not necessarily ownership, is a transfer. And as used in 18 USC 922(a)(5) "transfer" includes a change in possession even if not a change in ownership.

Possession (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/possession) means:1 a : the act of having or taking into control...

...Though I do make that extra clear by locking them up and keeping the key. It is in effect a gratuitous lease of a little spot of attic space with no physical access to the firearms themselves by anyone but me...And that (locking them up so only you have access) can makes all the difference. You should understand that details count.

...Son owns guns,..So what? See above. "Transfer" is about possession, not necessarily ownership.

smalls
May 6, 2013, 03:41 PM
Why would that be wrong? Son owns guns, he has owned them for decades, while he was still CO resident. (is my understanding)

Because (as has been mentioned multiple times in this thread) : So what? See above. "Transfer" is about possession, not necessarily ownership

Cosmoline
May 6, 2013, 07:51 PM
On what do you base your belief?

The lack of any bailment of the firearms and the lack of physical access to the firearms. Unless there's a bailment possession has not changed. Though in hind sight is would seem wise to make things abundantly clear and put it in writing.

I don't know what this guy did with his firearms specifically, and we're getting the information third hand, but if his dad has the guns mixed up in his own stuff and could take them out and shoot them then I think we have bailment at the very least and transfer of possession. As you say the details count, and we don't have the details.

Frank Ettin
May 6, 2013, 08:36 PM
The lack of any bailment of the firearms and the lack of physical access to the firearms...In your situation, as you described it, your guns were locked up so no one but you had physical access. So I'd agree that there was no transfer.

...Unless there's a bailment possession has not changed...Or access gives possession, and that is a factor from which bailment may be inferred.

...I don't know what this guy did with his firearms specifically, and we're getting the information third hand, but if his dad has the guns mixed up in his own stuff and could take them out and shoot them then I think we have bailment at the very least and transfer of possession. As you say the details count, and we don't have the details. And since we have no reason to conclude that the father did not have access to, and thus possession of, the guns, I would not assume that he did not. This downside of a mistake in that direction, i. e., incurring unnecessary FFL fees, is much less serious than of a mistake in the other direction, i. e., becoming eligible for up to 5 years in a federal slammer.

Ed Ames
May 7, 2013, 12:50 AM
BATFE actually discusses basically this point in their FAQ on what to do with NFA items if you move to a state that doesn't allow NFA items.

Q: If an individual is changing his or her State of residence and the individual’s application to transport the NFA firearm cannot be approved because of a prohibition in the new State, what options does a lawful possessor have?
NFA firearms may be left in a safe deposit box in his or her former State of residence. Also, the firearm could be left or stored in the former State of residence at the house of a friend or relative in a locked room or container to which only the registered owner has a key. ...

http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/national-firearms-act-firearms.html

If keeping the guns in a locked room or container to which only the owner has the key is good enough for BATFE on machine guns, it seems likely they would accept the same standard for non-NFA items.

I have no idea how that applies to the original question of shipping, but when it comes to storing guns out of state in someone else's home that seems to be BATFE recommended practice/kosher so long as those storing the guns do not have access to them.

General Geoff
May 7, 2013, 01:19 AM
Interesting theoretical. If person A puts his gun collection into a locked safe in person B's house before moving out-of-state, could person B legally ship the entire locked safe to person A later, without violating federal law?

If so, it could be argued that a hard-sided case with a lock is the same as a safe, and as long as only the owner has the key to it (and it hasn't been picked or broken open), it would be legal for anyone to ship said hard-sided case to the original owner, across state lines. Again, theoretically speaking.

dogtown tom
May 7, 2013, 11:26 AM
General Geoff Interesting theoretical. If person A puts his gun collection into a locked safe in person B's house before moving out-of-state, could person B legally ship the entire locked safe to person A later, without violating federal law?
Absolutely not.
That would still be an interstate shipment of firearms and subject to the same regulations as any other shipment.

If so, it could be argued that a hard-sided case with a lock is the same as a safe, and as long as only the owner has the key to it (and it hasn't been picked or broken open), it would be legal for anyone to ship said hard-sided case to the original owner, across state lines. Again, theoretically speaking.
You could argue that, but you would lose.;)

General Geoff
May 7, 2013, 11:49 AM
That would still be an interstate shipment of firearms and subject to the same regulations as any other shipment.

How is a locked container any different from a sealed shipping package?

Basically what I'm getting at is that if person A puts a rifle into a shipping container, seals it, addresses it to himself, and puts postage on it, then that shipping package could sit for months or years and still be given to a courier by any party, and be shipped legally across state lines to person A. What you're saying is that only person A is allowed to put it in a shipping container, regardless of access to the firearm? What's so special about a cardboard box with name and address on it?

Ed Ames
May 7, 2013, 11:50 AM
So under Dogtown's theory, it works like this...

You can drive your cased/locked rifle to another state, leave it at a friend's house in that state, and return home to your own state. As long as you retain the keys to the case, no transfer has taken place.

You can then get on an airplane, fly back to your friend's place, pack the cased rifle up in a box and ship it via UPS to yourself care of a hotel in Alaska where you plan to stay. No transfer has taken place.

But the hotel cannot ship the unopened box back to you in your home state. You would need to go to the hotel and send it to yourself.

smalls
May 7, 2013, 12:34 PM
You can drive your cased/locked rifle to another state, leave it at a friend's house in that state, and return home to your own state. As long as you retain the keys to the case, no transfer has taken place.

No, because you can't leave it under your friend's possession without a transfer.

Whether he knows it's a firearm or not is irrelevant. Just like being in possession of stolen goods, you don't really need to know they're stolen to get pinched.

I know a lot of us are either broke or just cheap, but with very few exceptions you are NOT going to get around FFL fees. Legally, anyway.

Ed Ames
May 7, 2013, 12:39 PM
No, because...

The BATFE specifically disagrees with you. They say the friend does not have possession because they do not have the key/access and therefore it is not a transfer.

smalls
May 7, 2013, 12:43 PM
Citation, please?

Something tells me the BATFE doesn't want people just leaving guns wherever the hell they please, locks or no locks.

Ed Ames
May 7, 2013, 12:44 PM
See post #15 of this thread.

smalls
May 7, 2013, 12:48 PM
Right, but that gun started in State A, and cannot be brought to State B.

We're now talking about taking the gun from State B to State A, and leaving it.

Minor difference, but still a difference. And I'm not convinced it'll fly.

Ed Ames
May 7, 2013, 01:06 PM
The theory behind why it flies is what matters. It comes back to what the lawyers call bailment.

I can rent a safe deposit box in another state and store guns there. They are not transferred to the bank simply because they are stored by a bank, because the bank has no access. Same is true for a friend's house. If I forklift my gun safe into a friend's garage I am not transferring those guns in a legal sense...unless I also give them the combo to the safe.

That's why you can legally ship a gun to yourself at the hotel in Alaska. The actual recipient (some employee of the hotel) is not the legal recipient and does not have access to the gun.

Frank Ettin
May 7, 2013, 01:07 PM
Remember that ATF has said that you could ship a gun to yourself, and if it's received by someone else, that person can not open the package.

But with respect to all this cute business about getting someone else to ship a gun directly to you, you are betting FFL fees against 5 years in federal prison (plus lifetime loss of gun rights).

BSA1
May 7, 2013, 03:02 PM
Let me see if I understand this correctly.

I am currently working out of state. If the job works out I plan on selling our home and moving my family to join me. Since it is not wise to have guns in the house while it is on the market and not wise for me to have the guns with me do to my temporary living arrangements I plan on storing them with a relative in my home state until we get moved and settled in our new place.

So because my relative has possession of my legally owned firearms I cannot return back to my former home state and simply take them back with me. Instead I will have to have them shipped to a FFL in the state I am currently living?

smalls
May 7, 2013, 03:08 PM
So because my relative has possession of my legally owned firearms I cannot return back to my former home state and simply take them back with me. Instead I will have to have them shipped to a FFL in the state I am currently living?

Well, I guess I've been corrected. So as long as those guns are locked up, your relative is technically not in possession of them, as long as they don't have the key or combo.

I'm still not 100% convinced, though. The BATFE is giving a lot if trust to those family members that they won't either have the key/combo, or won't cut the locks. The BATFE just doesn't seem like the kind of agency that trusts many people.

Frank Ettin
May 7, 2013, 03:21 PM
...I plan on storing them with a relative in my home state until we get moved and settled in our new place...If you are truly storing them and want to do so in a way that avoids risk of violating the federal interstate gun transfer laws, you need to store or pack them in a way that your relative does not have access to them, e. g., a locked cabinet to which he doesn't have a key or combinations, locked cases to which he doesn't have keys, packed in securely sealed crates, etc.

Frank Ettin
May 7, 2013, 03:31 PM
...The BATFE is giving a lot if trust to those family members that they won't either have the key/combo, or won't cut the locks... It's not so much a matter of trust, but rather the realities of pursuing a charge related to a violation of the federal interstate transfer laws.

If the evidence is that the guns were locked up or in sealed containers, it becomes the burden of the prosecutor to prove that the person having custody of the stored property had keys or was otherwise given access by the person storing the property.

BSA1
May 7, 2013, 07:04 PM
I find this too be simply absurd.

To follow the logic what difference would it make if a relative kept my guns for one day, one week, one month or one year? He had possession of them.

Likewise nobody has discussed loaning the gun. If I were to loan him a gun say for hunting season then a FFL transfer would be required since he was in possession of it.

Of course this is what the anti's want to see happen.

Any case law on this matter?

Frank Ettin
May 7, 2013, 08:11 PM
I find this too be simply absurd...Whether you find it absurd is irrelevant.

...Any case law on this matter?...I haven't seen any, so it looks like for now we'll need to rely on the plain language of the statutes. Are you volunteering to be a test case?

...Likewise nobody has discussed loaning the gun. If I were to loan him a gun say for hunting season then a FFL transfer would be required since he was in possession of it...Well, possibly not actually.

Let's look at the applicable statutes again:

18 USC 922(a)(3), which provides in pertinent part (emphasis added) as follows:(a) It shall be unlawful—
...

(3) for any person, ... to transport into or receive in the State where he resides ...any firearm purchased or otherwise obtained by such person outside that State,...


And 18 USC 922(a)(5), which provides in pertinent part (emphasis added) as follows:(a) It shall be unlawful—
...

(5) for any person ... to transfer, sell, trade, give, transport, or deliver any firearm to any person ...who the transferor knows or has reasonable cause to believe does not reside in ... the State in which the transferor resides; except that this paragraph shall not apply to

(A) the transfer, transportation, or delivery of a firearm made to carry out a bequest ..., and

(B) the loan or rental of a firearm to any person for temporary use for lawful sporting purposes;..

You may go to another State where (under 18 USC 922(a)(5)) a friend may loan you a gun to, for example, go target shooting or hunting with him, or an outfitter may rent you a gun for a guided hunt. Of course if you were to take the gun back to your home State with you, you would be violating 18 USC 922(a)(3), which has no "loan" exception.

BSA1
May 7, 2013, 11:20 PM
Will I volunteer to be a test case?

In the absence of previous court decision(s) sure will, when and if we decide to move.

This regulation has apparently not passed any type of judicial review. What is happening here, at least on THR, is the BATF is intimidating gun owners with a uninforcable rule that I can think of several challenges too.

Laws will not be changed until men of conviction and courage challenge them.

Frank Ettin
May 7, 2013, 11:42 PM
...What is happening here, at least on THR, is the BATF is intimidating gun owners with a uninforcable rule that I can think of several challenges too....Nope. What's happening is that people who want to accomplish their purposes without making a "federal case" of things are making prudent decisions based on the plain language of some statutes.

Will I volunteer to be a test case?

In the absence of previous court decision(s) sure will, when and if we decide to move....Good for you. You're willing to risk 5 years in prison. Now you just have to wait for someone who has a few million dollars he's willing to put up to fund litigation to clarify this question.

BSA1
May 8, 2013, 09:16 AM
Frank,

5 million dollars huh? Dang there is always a catch somewhere. ;-)

Frank Ettin
May 8, 2013, 12:22 PM
5 million dollars huh? Dang there is always a catch somewhere.Litigating a major case up through argument and decision in the U. S. Supreme Court will usually cost in excess of $1 Million.

Cosmoline
May 8, 2013, 02:04 PM
Forget about the BATF for a moment. Yes their regs are intrusive and absurd. There are much more immediate and realistic concerns. I've never heard of the feds busting someone for leaving a rifle with their dad, but I do know of cases where "dad" or the relative/friend in question decides that the rifle is his now. Or where some third party sells it off or tosses it. That sort of thing happens every day and causes a lot of strife. It's happened in my own family, where certain people decide that loans were pre-death gifts when a grandparent passes away.

And that isn't even getting into the safety issues.

When it comes to firearms, locked cases are a minimum for your own iron. That keeps confusion to a minimum and also helps to clarify the transfer issue.

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