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Buying gun by shipping it to yourself???

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Preacherman, Dec 22, 2002.

  1. Preacherman

    Preacherman Well-Known Member

    Hi, all. I've got a wierd question here, raised by a colleague today as we were discussing guns we'd bought.

    As you know, Federal law requires that any interstate firearms purchase must be sent by the seller to a FFL-holder near the buyer. The FFL-holder then does the background check on the buyer, and if he/she passes, delivers the gun.

    My colleague said that he'd got around this by using the ability - granted in Federal law - to ship your own guns to yourself. He says that on three occasions, while travelling out-of-state, he'd found guns for sale, privately, and wanted them. He shipped them to his own home address, from an address in the state he was in, but with his name as the shipper.

    He claims that this gets around the FFL requirement. I hold that it doesn't, that he's acting illegally, and will face a stiff penalty if caught.

    Any input from the family out there?
  2. TheBluesMan

    TheBluesMan Senior Member

    He is acting illegally. (According to what is arguably an illegal federal law, anyway.)

    Count #1: Purchasing and taking delivery of a firearm from a private seller outside your state of residence is illegal.
    Count #2: Selling a firearm to an individual that does not hold residence in your state is illegal. A gift may not be illegal, though. (Gonna have to do some research now...)
    Count #3: Shipping a firearm to yourself from one state to another is not illegal. However, since the firearm was illegally purchased, I would wager that he would face stiff penalties for doing this as well. (Interstate transport of illegal firearms and all that)

    The chance of him getting caught are very low, I would think. The seller could be in much more serious trouble if caught.
  3. Schmit

    Schmit Well-Known Member

    Hmmm, that is tough.

    Private sales are OK w/o FFL involvement. Lets say I'm up at Scotts place in NC. He has a (insert hand gun here) and I offer to buy it. I'll not restricted in my State from buying a handgun nor in his. I buy it, but don't want to drive down with it. So I ship it to myself.

    Same thing but with a Long gun.

    Have I broken the law?

    Now, I wouldn't make a practice of it mind you. I think that would be a factor in determining if any laws are being broken. If someone is constantly doing it and doing it from afar (i.e. buying arms via the net but having them shipped directly to you from the seller using you as the shipper and receiver). That, IMO, would get you jammed up big time.
  4. tyme

    tyme Well-Known Member

    TBM, I think it's legal, federally, to sell long guns to non-residents.
  5. TheBluesMan

    TheBluesMan Senior Member

    Ah! That may be so.

    In Ohio, we can not sell handguns to non-residents without going through an FFL in the buyer's home state; and can only sell long guns to residents of our own state and five adjoining states.
  6. Zander

    Zander member

    I know of only one federal provision for shipping a firearm to yourself.

    You own it, you're going hunting in another state, you ship it, you take possession of it at the delivery address.

    Sure would like to be proven incorrect.
  7. Byron Quick

    Byron Quick Moderator In Memoriam

    Does federal law address private transfer of handguns between individuals?

    In Georgia, as far a I know, the private sale of a handgun to an out of state resident is legal. That is, you come to Georgia and I sell to you.
  8. dog3

    dog3 Well-Known Member

    "Count #1: Purchasing and taking delivery of a firearm from a private seller outside your state of residence is illegal. "


    Since when?

    Can someone quote me chapter and verse on this Federal Law. (it would have to be federal)
  9. motorep

    motorep Well-Known Member

    I think the problem is finding a shipper. I've done it, shipped inherited stuff from one state to another. I was the owner, shipping to myself. The only question on the bill of lading was something like "is there anything dangerous in your shipment". Nope ( just guns and some fishing gear).
  10. Ian

    Ian Well-Known Member

    Zander - Here's a clipping from the ATF's FAQ (http://www.atf.treas.gov/firearms/faq/faq2.htm#b10) about shipping to yourself (emphasis mine):
    I use this exemption on a regular basis to ship my guns from my home to school and vice versa every spring and fall.


    Here are a couple more FAQ bits from the same page.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2002
  11. Zander

    Zander member

    Thanks, Ian...good stuff.

    Opens up other possibilities. :cool:
  12. jrhines

    jrhines Well-Known Member

    18 USC 922(a)(3) and (5), 922(b)(3), CFR 178.29
    "A person may sell a firearm to an unlicensed resident of his or her State, if the buyer is not prohibited by law from receiving or possessing a firearm, or to a licensee in any State."
    The buyer and the seller in the aforementioned transaction are playing with fire. I don't think any judge would be at all intrested in parsing the language beyond "If you don't live there, you can't buy it".
    Stupid law, drives prices up, safety down...

    (Ref "Green Book", 2000, that is the 2000 edition of the Fed Firearms Regs Ref Guide, page 135)

    Seneca, MD
  13. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Member In Memoriam

    If you legally acquire it, you can do whatever else is legal with it. There's a great milsurp store in Nashville, and buying a gun there and shipping it home sure beats having it in the baggage compartment, IMO.
  14. Kharn

    Kharn Well-Known Member

    If the seller's and the buyer's driver's licenses do not say the same state an FFL needs to be involved.

  15. El Tejon

    El Tejon Well-Known Member

    It depends (you knew I was going to say that!).

    Which state is his domicile and where is he buying these alleged firearms? As DaBluesMan sez, the modifications to the `68 SSA via the `86 FOPA only apply to adjacent states (e.g., Ohio, Michigun, Kentuc and PRI for me) and only to Title I shoulder weapons (if legal in buyer's state, ad naseum, et al).

    Ship weapons to where you're going to be? Sure. I send shoulder weapons to Tejas and Arizona as I do not drive around in a big, ol' white truck and run Yankee tourists off the road so I don't like the hassle (especially post-9/11). Any weapons I buy in Tejas or Arizona when I'm down I have them send to my designated Class 1 or 3 FFL. I just happen to have signed paper from them around when I go shopping down yonder.:D
  16. M1911

    M1911 Well-Known Member

    Actually, it is relatively simple. Assuming that you are not an FFL nor C&R FFL, in terms of federal law only, you can buy a long gun from an FFL in any state. You can buy a handgun from an FFL in your state of residence. You can buy a handgun or long gun from a private party in your state.

    You cannot buy a handgun from an FFL outside of your state, nor can you buy any gun from a private party outside of your state. If you want to buy a handgun from an FFL outside of your state, the FFL must transfer the gun to an FFL in your state of residence. You can take possession of the handgun from the FFL in your state. If you want to buy a long gun or handgun from a private party who resides in a different state, the guns must be transferred through an FFL -- a long gun could be transferred through an FFL in any state, a handgun must be transferred through an FFL in the buyers state of residence.

    Note that all State laws must be followed and some of the transactions described above may violate your state laws (for example, I believe CA requires all transactions to go through an FFL -- no private transactions allowed).
  17. Hkmp5sd

    Hkmp5sd Well-Known Member

    I agree with this being illegal and playing with fire. The HOW you get the gun home isn't the question. You buy it and take possession from a private party outside your state of residence, you are in violation.

    Just pay the FFL transfer fees and save on the lawyer, trial, punishment, felony conviction fees.
  18. BudS

    BudS Active Member


    I was told by a friend who runs a shop in a neighboring state that I couldn't buy directly from him, but he suggested that a resident of the state COULD, then sell to me. If the buyer shot the pistol, even only once, couldn't that be seen as a sale of a used pistol between private citizens?
  19. Gray Peterson

    Gray Peterson Well-Known Member

    It doesn't matter

    Both Used and New Pistol sales of that type are regulated.
  20. Hkmp5sd

    Hkmp5sd Well-Known Member

    Private citizens cannot sell firearms to private citizens in another state. However,
    this is the definition of a straw purchase, even if all parties involved live in the same state, and can get everyone involved some jail time.

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