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Getting gun from one state to another.

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Thursday45, Apr 16, 2013.

  1. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

    Note: Unlawful interstate transfer of a gun is punishable under federal law by up to five years in federal prison and/or a fine (plus a bonus of a lifetime loss of gun rights).

    Okay, first I'll lay out the whole federal law story on interstate transfers of firearms (not including the rules for those with Curio and Relic licenses and the subject of dual residency):

    • Under federal law, any transfer (with a few, narrow exceptions, e. g., by bequest under a will) from a resident of one State to a resident of another must be through an FFL. The transfer must comply with all the requirements of the State in which the transfer is being done as well as all federal formalities (e. g., completion of a 4473, etc.).

    • In the case of handguns, it must be an FFL in the transferee's State of residence. You may obtain a handgun in a State other than your State of residence, BUT it must be shipped by the transferor to an FFL in your State of residence to transfer the handgun to you.

    • In the case of long guns, it may be any FFL as long as (1) the long gun is legal in the transferee's State of residence; and (2) the transfer complies with the laws of the State in which it takes place; and (3) the transfer complies with the law of the transferee's State of residence.C] In connection with the transfer of a long gun, some FFLs will not want to handle the transfer to a resident of another State, because they may be uncertain about the laws of that State. And if the transferee resides in some States (e. g., California), the laws of the State may be such that an out-of-state FFL will not be able to conduct a transfer that complies.

    • There are no exceptions under the applicable federal laws for gifts, whether between relatives or otherwise, nor is there any exception for transactions between relatives.

    • The relevant federal laws may be found at: 18 USC 922(a)(3); 18 USC 922(a)(5); and 18 USC 922(b)(3).

    • Here's what the statutes say:

    So --

    See 18 USC 922(a)(5) (as quoted in full above) which provides in pertinent part as follows (emphasis added):

    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 together, or an outfitter may rent you a gun for a guided hunt. But 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, thus becoming eligible for five years in federal prison and a lifetime loss of gun rights. Since there is no loan" exception in 18 USC 922(a)(3), a load of a firearm may not cross state lines to the borrower's State of residence.

    Yes, but that didn't happen.

    Not it one trip immediately (or nearly) followed the other. He would arguably continue to be a Washington resident until settled in Montana. But here he's been a resident of Montana for seven years.

    Possession means:

    For the last seven years the gun has been in the control (custody, possession) of first the father and upon the fathers death (since it wasn't bequeathed to anyone else by a will), the mother.

    Giving the gun to the OP is thus a transfer. Since he is a resident of one State and the mother, who has control of the gun, is a resident of another, that transfer is an interstate transfer and thus subject to the federal law outlined above. So it must be transferred to the OP through an FFL.

    No. The crime in this case would be the unlawful interstate transfer of a gun, which would occur when you now took possession of the gun from your mother (if not done through an FFL as required under federal law).

    On one hand, you could spend some money and do it right. On the other hand, you and your mother can risk five years in a federal prison (and lifetime loss of gun rights).
  2. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Well-Known Member

    Thursday45 asks:

    ..and Frank Ettin responds with:

    Frank, I read his question to be asking "what if" he had taken the gun back six years ago, and whether or not the SOL would have started "ticking" then. I believe it would have, as that would have been when he took possession of, and transported across state lines, a handgun (as you mention, assuming he had not gone through the proper FFL-related procedures.)
  3. Thursday45

    Thursday45 Well-Known Member

    Yup, I think it would have ran out. Reading USC 3282, unless in cases of capital crimes, some sex crimes and some tax crimes, the federal statute of limitations for federal crimes is 5 years. However, I have to assume that there would be a federal statute against possessing said firearm. It's neither here nor there as its hypothetical but thought it was interesting.
  4. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

    But he didn't, and everyone in the world with Internet access knows it.
  5. MasterSergeantA

    MasterSergeantA Well-Known Member

    Then the most legal way to go about it would be to have your mother take it to a dealer who will ship it to a dealer you have identified in Montana. That dealer will then legally transfer it to you via a 4473. You will incur some cost from each dealer (most likely) and the cost of shipping. But that will be much less than it would cost to buy a new pistol and if you find the 'right' dealers, they might not charge you anything (they aren't required to, but neither one is making any money from a "sale".) The dealers can communicate via phone and get FFL copies as needed. They do it all the time.
  6. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Well-Known Member

    OK, similar question related to the ongoing debate here. I THINK I know the answer, based on what Frank Ettin and Sam1911 have posted.

    I'm a resident of South Carolina. I have a brother who is a resident of Virginia. I bought him a pistol as a gift and presented it to him, whereupon we went to a local gun shop in his town and filled out a Form 4473 as required so it would all be nice and legal.

    Afterwards, he wants me to store the pistol for him. Since my place of employment is in Virginia, I keep it where I rent in Virginia. I don't take it to South Carolina when I go home to my wife and kids.

    I had never considered the ramifications of storing the pistol at my home in SC until reading through this string; however, I HAD believed that the way I've been doing this is legal. Namely, the pistol stays in Virginia (where I'm employed) while I'm storing it for my brother...I'm not transporting it across state lines.

    Now I'm not sure I've been doing this legally. I maintain EMPLOYMENT in Virginia, but I'm not a "corporation or other business entity" and I don't "maintain a place of business" in Virginia.

    Right now I don't have that "gut feeling" that I've been doing this legally. And, in my experience, gut feelings are not to be ignored...

  7. Thursday45

    Thursday45 Well-Known Member

    I don't know about your situation and hopefully someone will come along to help you but I have a question. Did you buy the gun in SC and then personally take it to Vriginia or did you buy the gun in Virginia? Or did you buy it in SC and then had it shipped to Virginia? The reason I ask is I wonder if it would be legal to have the guns brought out here to my FFL and then transferred therefore not having to go through mail.
  8. Keb

    Keb Well-Known Member

    Are you inheriting the gun from your Dad's estate?

    If so, I am pretty sure that is all spelled out by BATF, and I doubt there is any BGC required if you just physically transport it.
    I would study this for you, but supper is on.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2013
  9. Deltaboy

    Deltaboy Well-Known Member

    Yep that is what you need to do. KEEP THE Feds out of your business.
  10. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

    The easiest way to keep things absolutely kosher would be for him to lock the gun in a small case, or even a gun rug or with a trigger lock, for which he, and not you have the key of combination. That way you don't actually have access to the gun.

    No, he really isn't. The OP said in post 10 that the guns weren't mentioned in this late father's will. If something isn't specifically bequeathed in a will it passes either to the residuary legatee, if one is specified in the will, or under the Washington State intestate (without a will) succession law. In the later case, the guns most likely become the property of the OP's mother.

    Wrong. In that case both the OP and his mother would be violating federal and thus become entitled to up to five years in federal prison and/or a fine plus a lifetime loss of gun rights.

    Again a really lousy idea. Committing federal crimes is never a good idea nor is it a good way to "keep the feds out of it."
  11. Thursday45

    Thursday45 Well-Known Member

    I can't remember, did anyone touch on whether my mother, who now possesses the firearms, could bring them to me in MT and then we go to an FFL here and have them transferred? Do they have to be shipped if they go through an FFL in my state? The way the read the law is 1) I can't go and get the guns in WA 2) they have to be transferred to me by a FFL but it doesnt say how the guns have to arrive at the FFL 3) there are regulations against transporting firearms across state lines but its not prohibited. So she can legally bring the guns to MT, once they are legally here in MT would it be legal to have an FFL transfer them to me?
  12. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

    The question didn't come up, but it would be perfectly legal to do it that way.

    The only caveat is that some FFLs, as a matter of business practice, don't want to do it that way. That's the prerogative of the FFL.

    So the thing to do is, before hand, scout out some FFLs who are convenient to you, preferably ones with whom you've done business. Discuss what you want to do and see if an FFL is agreeable. Work out the details before hand. That way you can avoid unpleasant surprises and unnecessary complications.
  13. Thursday45

    Thursday45 Well-Known Member

    Well that's how I'll do it then. As chance would have it she's actually coming out next month to see the grand kids. Hopefully my LGS is up for it. They didn't seem to worried about it when I talked to them. Their opinion was no transfer was needed but if I wanted to put my mind at ease about it they'd do all of them for $15. That was when we were talking about having them shipped though.
  14. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

    If your LGS has any questions show them this thread. Sam and I have laid it all out pretty well.
  15. Thursday45

    Thursday45 Well-Known Member

    Spoke with ATF this morning, my plan to have my mother transport them here and then transfer the firearms is perfectly legal so long as she abides by all the federal laws while transporting across statel lines and they go through the FFL when they get here. He did suggest I still send them FFL to FFL though. Didn't say why, just that it was easier. Doesnt sound easier to me. Sounds like a nightmare. My local FFL is going to call me back if they will be okay with it.
  16. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

    Not sure why ATF has this bug about going FFL to FFL. As noted, it would be perfectly legal for your mother to hand carry the guns to your FFL for transfer to you. It would also be legal for her to do the shipping (UPS or FedEx for the handgun although USPS would be okay for long guns -- following carrier rules, of course) to the FFL.

    However, as noted, some FFLs are very particular about how they receive guns for transfer. Some, for their own reasons, don't like "walk-ins"; and some, for their own reasons, want guns for transfer shipped by another FFL.
  17. Thursday45

    Thursday45 Well-Known Member

    Well thanks Frank and everyone else for your help on this. Looks like all has been straightened out. One of my LGS's called back and said they would do it and that they would rather do it this way as they don't want that many packages coming in.

    Another of my LGS that said no said that they just recently got a letter form the ATF "strongly encouraging" only FFL to FFL transfers. Hopefully I can get this done before said letter and "encouragement" reaches the LGS that ok'd it.
  18. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Hmmm... interesting. "Strongly encouraging..." eh? :)

    Well we've got a lot of FFLs here as members at THR. I'd be curious if any of them would say they got such a letter -- and if they'd be so kind as to post it?

    Remember, a gun dealer doesn't have to make any sale, or transfer, that s/he doesn't want to do. And the ATF is a great "boogeyman" to point to as to why any number of things are discouraged or illegal, as most folks have NO idea what federal law really is, and have never even seen an official document from the BATFE.

    Then, considering how many dealers really don't have these things 100% straightened out themselves? I mean, they're just guys and gals like you and me, and unless they've had their lawyer read through the entire book with them while they took notes...there's a lot of detail that gets lost and confused and misinterpreted. And after all, if some dealer in Podunk, MT says "aww, I'd just go ahead and bring 'em with me..." it's no skin off HIS nose on the vanishingly rare chance you might get busted. He's not a lawyer, and he's not YOUR lawyer. All he has to do is keep HIMSELF out of trouble.

    And an awful lot of FFL dealers have a horrendous time just doing THAT!

    (One of, if not THE, oldest gun shop in my county just got his license yanked for (apparent) problems with following the law.)
  19. Thursday45

    Thursday45 Well-Known Member

    Yea the thought crossed my mind that they were just using/blaming the ATF to defend their business practice. They said that they "had" to be done FFL to FFL. When I asked if that was law or their business practice they said it wasn't law and explained the letter and that they didn't want private transfers on their books because of it.
  20. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Well-Known Member

    Yes, I bought the gun and took possession of it, which made it mine. As the legal owner, I took the gun to my brother in Virginia and we both went to a LGS and did a transfer through an FFL there. It is perfectly legal to do it this way.

    OK, piece of cake then. I'll make sure a trigger lock gets put on it and he is the only one with the keys. Actually, come to think of it, the gun comes with a lock. Two, in fact. One is for an integral locking device in the grip of the pistol and the other is a padlock which fits around the frame to prevent installing a cylinder in the pistol. (It's a Ruger Single-Six Convertable .22).



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