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Legally, what is the difference between a straw buyer and a person who gifts a gun?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Croyance, Dec 9, 2005.

  1. Croyance

    Croyance Participating Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    This is purely theoretical, since I (unfortunately) am neither in a financial situation to give a gun as a gift or know people who would give me one as a present.
    But the basic underlying act is the same: purchasing a gun and then giving another person possession/ownership.
    Legally is there a difference? Is there a spot on the form when purchasing for an FFL to mark this? If so, what if the buyer decides later that (s)he wants to give the gun to another person?
    Is there really any difference between this and a private sale between two individuals?
  2. ZenMasterJG

    ZenMasterJG Member

    May 20, 2005
    Hiding between server racks, quietly sobbing.
    If I understand correctly, a straw purchase is when you buy a gun for someone who cannot legally purchase one themselves. If you have no reason to believe that there is anything that would prevent someone from buying a gun, then the buy is probably O.K. Buying a gun for someone who cannot own one for any reason (they commited a felony, etc) would be a straw purchase. I believe its also a straw purchase if someone else pays you to buy the gun or gives you the money to buy it.
  3. S_O_Laban

    S_O_Laban Active Member

    Jan 1, 2003
    near Independence MO
    I'm not sure I can anwser your question completly but I think the rub comes in when you consider the buyer's intent. If he buys to own then decides to gift =okay. If he buys with intent to give = not okay. A mighty fine line that's hard to enforce or prove if you ask me.
  4. only1asterisk

    only1asterisk member

    Jun 13, 2003
    One's legal, one's not.

    Seriously, it's a matter of intent.

  5. jsalcedo

    jsalcedo Senior Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    The key question is on the 4473.

    If it is your money and your decision to buy it there is no straw purchase.

    If you decide to give the gun away as a present to a non-restriced person
    after the transaction that is your business.

    A straw purchase is when Joe Crackhead with a criminal record gives money to a straw purchaser for the sole purpose of avoiding the NICS check and any other laws and regulations restricting him from a legal gun transaction.
  6. SteelyDan

    SteelyDan Participating Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    My understanding, too, is that it's an "intent" and "facts and circumstances" kind of thing. Which means that there will necessarily be some gray areas. As a general rule, I think it's perfectly acceptable to buy a gun as a gift for another person, unless there is some coertion or you have some reason to believe that person cannot legally possess a gun or might use it in a crime.
  7. Phantom Warrior

    Phantom Warrior Participating Member

    Mar 7, 2003
    That's the most definable criteria. If someone else gives you the money and you buy it for them it is illegal, even if the person you are buying for can legally posess a handgun.

    It's very gray if you buy a gun and then sell it to someone right after you buy it. I asked that question in the context of buying and then selling to an 18-21 year old and no one could give me a straight answer.

    Short answer, the government sucks.
  8. Ryder

    Ryder Senior Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    Don't ask me

    My youngest kid is 18 now. I was thinking of buying him pistol as a gift for Christmas. That's something he can't legally do for himself over the counter. He can buy used (private sale), but not new. Makes no sense to me whatsoever.
  9. Lupinus

    Lupinus Senior Member

    Oct 6, 2005
    Upstate SC
    What if you wanted to buy a handgun for someone under 21 as a gift? For instance if my mother walked into the gun shop and bought me a handgun (I'm 20) and then gave it to me, I wonder if that is legal or not? Wonder if it would still count as a gift if I were to be with her to pick it out since she knows squat about guns....it be nice if the goverment didn't overcomplicate matters.
  10. redneck2

    redneck2 Mentor

    Dec 25, 2002
    Northern Indiana
    Whole idea behind "straw" purchase was getting guns for people that can't have them legally. Bypass the NICS

    IIRC, you can personally transfer a personal firearm to someone who can legally own one (in Indiana). If you knowingly sell to someone that can't legally own (a minor or felon), then you're guilty of a felony.

    In some states, a person between 18-21 can own a handgun but can't buy one. I think you could legally be given one as a gift, at least by a family member. There are different laws (Again in Indiana) for familty members.
  11. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

    Jan 1, 2003
    SouthEast PA
    I would also imagine that state transfer laws would color the distinction.

    For example, the NJ statute has no provision for transfer of arms among family members, even spouses.

    PA, OTOH, does have provisions for transfers of handguns between spouses and parents/children. Some states decline to regulate transfers between eligible people entirely, and others, like PA decline to regulate transfers of certain categories, such as longarms.
  12. TarpleyG

    TarpleyG Senior Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    North Carolina
    I think in FL, you can own a handgun at 18 but cannot buy it yourself, carry it, or buy ammo for it (how stupid is that?). Check the state's website for confirmation.

  13. HankB

    HankB Mentor

    Mar 29, 2003
    Central Texas
    If a kid saves up and uses his money to purchase a firearm, but Dad has to fill out and sign the paperwork, I suppose that's technically a "straw purchase" . . . but things like this happen all the time.

    I've never heard of someone being prosecuted for a "straw purchase" unless 1) the firearm is handed over to someone who's not allowed to have guns, such as a convicted felon; 2) the ultimate purchaser commits some crime; or 3) the BATmen have put together a phony "sting" where Agent Schmuckatelli buys a gun, walks outside, gives it to someone else, and then they both go in and arrest the dealer.
  14. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Senior Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    I think within the family, it depends on if the kid can legally possess the firearm or not. If not, then the firearm shoudl remain in the ownership of the parent and then the kid can use it (legally of course). Once the kid can legally possess the firearm personally, then the ownership can be official. :)

    Personally, the only thing my Dad ever gave me was a BB gun. All the guns growing up belonged to my Dad except for one .22 rifle that my older brother bought with his own money. I didn't buy any guns of my own until after I got out of college in my mid-20's. (I am a long way from that now.) :)
  15. BigFatKen

    BigFatKen Active Member

    Dec 5, 2005
    Auburn, AL
    Parent buying pistol for < 21 LEO

    I read most new police officers have to have Mom buy their weapon for them. Isn't that nuts?
  16. eastwood44mag

    eastwood44mag Participating Member

    Oct 25, 2005
    Scary/moronic comes to mind more.
  17. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 20, 2002
    Well, you need to be 21 years old to be a LEO in Ohio, so I don't know why that would ever be the case here. I suspect that is also true in most states.

  18. rock jock

    rock jock Senior Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    In the moment
    I went to my local gunshop yesterday. It was filled with people buying firearms as Christmas presents. No problem at all. In fact, my wife bought a Kimber for me several years ago for Christmas. However, I had to find the buyer on the Internet, give her explicit instructions on payment and transfer through a local FFL, etc. Now, I just buy a gun and let her know later that she gave me a gun for Christmas, birthday, Groundhog Day, Arbor Day........:D
  19. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Senior Member

    Apr 14, 2005
    Minneapolis, MN, USA
    It's not quite that simple. If you purchase a handgun with the intent to immediately resell it to someone else, you may violate the law, even if that someone else could legally have purchased it himself. In other words, if you bought it for the express purpose of transferring it to another known individual, you have arguably violated the law. It doesn't matter whether the money changes hands before or after you make the purchase, or whether the other individual is legally able to purchase or possess the firearm.

    For example, lt's assume we have two buddies named Bob and Dave. Both are upstanding citizens, 30 years old, no criminal records and otherwise able to purchase and possess firearms. Dave, however, believes that gun confiscation may come someday and doesn't want any paperwork that would show what, if any, firearms he has. Dave also wants a new Glock. So Dave says to Bob, "buy that Glock and sell it to me." Bob agrees to, and purchases the Glock for $550. Bob fills out the 4473, undergoes the NICS and gets printed. He walks out with the new Glock, drives to Dave's house, and gives him the gun. Dave gives Bob $550. They crack open some Buds and sit down to watch the game.

    Illegal straw purchase? I think so.
  20. txgho1911

    txgho1911 Active Member

    Mar 21, 2004
    One is legal and the other not

    If you want a new as in "NEW" handgun it will have a paper trail. No legal way around it intentionaly. As soon as my significant other gifts me with a new arm I will have one paperfree to me but not to my house. My dad could give me one also but that would be FTF and probably illegal as far as interstate commerce goes. If I ask my rich nieghbor to give me a gun and he does!! Well that usualy doesn't happen. If I am to busy to wait out the waiting period imposed on me for another "delayed" nics responce I will just have to give up that purchase and find another one closer to home.

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