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Misleading PA website: guntransfer.org

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Dave Markowitz, May 1, 2008.

  1. Dave Markowitz

    Dave Markowitz Mentor

    Dec 24, 2002
    Plymouth Meeting, PA
    This morning, I caught a commercial on WMMR promoting an apparently-new website, www.guntransfer.org. I thought to myself, "Cool, someone is running an ad for FFL transfer services on 'MMR!" Such services are often used by gunnies purchasing firearms from out-of-state, since such transfers must go through a licensee per Federal law. When I checked it after getting into the office I was disgusted to find that it's a site to promote transfer of guns through licensed dealers, as opposed to private party sales. The whois data shows the registrant for the domain as Commonwealth Media Services, which is a state entity.

    What I find troubling about it is that it promotes transfers through FFLs, and makes it seem that any face-to-face private sale is illegal in PA. That is not the case. Private transfers of rifles and shotguns between PA residents is perfectly legal, only handgun sales, NFA transfers, and transactions with out of state residents must go through an FFL. The only reference to private rifle/shotgun sales being actually legal is buried on the Q&A page.

    What makes this misleading is that in Pennsylvania, only "firearms" must be transferred through an FFL, per 18 Pa. Con. Stat. Sec. 6111. In PA, the definition of a firearm is this:

    See 18 Pa. Consolidated Statutes Sec. 6102.

    The statutory definition of firearms specifically does not include most guns which do not fall under the restrictions of the Federal National Firearms Act of 1934. In other words, the vast majority of rifles and shotguns in private possession are not "firearms" for the purpose of this law. For example, the hypothetical hunting rifle and shotgun described on guntransfer.org's Home page generally do not meet the legal definition of a "firearm" in Pennsylvania.

    So why the dissimulation?

    Guntransfer.org clearly reflects the Philly-centric antigun bias. By fooling people into thinking that private party transfers of any gun are illegal in PA, they are looking to create a paper trail. All gun transfers which go through a licensed dealer first require the transferee to pass a background check conducted in Harrisburg by the Pennsylvania State Police. As you may be aware, a few years ago they were sued for creating an illegal registry of gun owners. As it turned out, the State Police won their case when the court ruled that the records which they were compiling did not meet the statutory definition of an illegal database. Nevertheless, it is still a de facto database of gun owners in Pennsylvania. And we know that historically, gun registration has lead to confiscation in Germany, Britain, and closer to home in New York and New Jersey.

    This stinks on ice and they need to be called on it. I plan to voice my displeasure with our "leaders" and hope you will, too.
  2. mekender

    mekender Participating Member

    Oct 15, 2007
    the Q&A section on that site is actually accurate... if not a tad misleading... they refer to "firearms" throughout it... and one of the questions does say...

    "do these laws apply if i want to sell or transfer a long gun"

    the problem will arise that i would imagine that most non gunnies wouldnt know that "firearms" refers to handguns and NFA stuff and not long guns...

    so sure they could clarify, but its not too bad... especially since they do not appear to be advertising a service for profit...
  3. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

    Jan 1, 2003
    SouthEast PA
    I was on the fence as to whether this site was deceptive or innocently imprecise, until I realized that all the arguments that the site wasn't deceptive were technical and lawyerly: close scrutiny reveals that they aren't factually incorrect, but a layman will easily draw the wrong conclusions.

    The reality is that they very easily could have avoided their deception by using the word "handgun" instead of "gun" as appropriate, and they chose not to.
  4. MikeB

    MikeB Member

    Dec 30, 2003
    Northeast PA
    They are wrong on one of the other FAQ questions.

    You can loan or give a firearm legally to someone that has a LTCF.


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