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Old April 17, 2014, 09:19 AM   #1
Jlr2267
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Gun Sale Question(s) - S. Carolina

I was contacted about a gun posted on Armslist, and told the buyer I would ship to his FFL for $X. I had originally advertised as a face-to-face local sale only. The buyer now says "his friend" will come by, look at the gun, and give me my cash price.

1. Would this sale violate any federal laws? Pretty sure this would not be a straw purchase, since there is no federal form involved...??

2. I never ask the guy where he resided, but assumed it was out-of-state since we were discussing a possible shipment to his FFL. So if the actual buyer does, in fact, reside out of state, and I sell "his friend" the gun, knowing he is buying it for the other guy, am I violating the law? I would not sell to "his friend" if he did not have a valid state D/L.

I'm thoroughly confused by this scenario, and feeling uneasy about the whole transaction.

Any input appreciated.
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Old April 17, 2014, 09:51 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jlr2267 View Post
I was contacted about a gun posted on Armslist, and told the buyer I would ship to his FFL for $X. I had originally advertised as a face-to-face local sale only. The buyer now says "his friend" will come by, look at the gun, and give me my cash price.

I'm thoroughly confused by this scenario, and feeling uneasy about the whole transaction.
If you feel uneasy about the transaction then don't make the sale. Tell the buyer you will ship to his FFL or no sale.

.
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Old April 17, 2014, 09:59 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midwest View Post
If you feel uneasy about the transaction then don't make the sale. Tell the buyer you will ship to his FFL or no sale.

.
I won't. But I'd like to know if it's legal, for future reference.
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Old April 17, 2014, 10:17 AM   #4
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IMHO, if it sends up red flags, there's a reason. I agree with Midwest: FFL or no sale. If the friend wants to pick up the firearm, tell him the friend can meet you at an FFL to make the transfer.

CAVEAT: I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. I'm probably not licensed in your jurisdiction. If you want honest-to-God legal advice, you should go pay for some.

For future reference, you are correct in thinking that it's not a straw purchase, because there's no FFL or 4473 involved. BATFE has taken the position that a straw purchase involves lying on the 4473.

With that said, I think it would be legal to sell to his friend, but it's enough of a gray area that I'd be very uncomfortable with it. Here's why:
Quote:
(a) It shall be unlawful-- . . . . .
(5) for any person (other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector) to transfer, sell, trade, give, transport, or deliver any firearm to any person (other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector) who the transferor knows or has reasonable cause to believe does not reside in (or if the person is a corporation or other business entity, does not maintain a place of business 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 of a firearm to, or an acquisition by intestate succession of a firearm by, a person who is permitted to acquire or possess a firearm under the laws of the State of his residence, and (B) the loan or rental of a firearm to any person for temporary use for lawful sporting purposes;

18 U.S.C.A. 922 (West)
While you would technically be transferring physical possession of the firearm to "his friend," a particularly zealous BATFE agent might see it as tranferring the firearm to the buyer indirectly, with you having reasonable cause to believe that the buyer does not reside in your state.
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Old April 17, 2014, 10:36 AM   #5
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If the final recipient of the firearm is a prohibited person - even only because they are not a same state resident - you could be charged with conspiring with the "middle man" in order to provide a firearm to a prohibited person.
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Old April 17, 2014, 10:36 AM   #6
Jlr2267
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spats McGee View Post
IMHO, if it sends up red flags, there's a reason. I agree with Midwest: FFL or no sale. If the friend wants to pick up the firearm, tell him the friend can meet you at an FFL to make the transfer.

CAVEAT: I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. I'm probably not licensed in your jurisdiction. If you want honest-to-God legal advice, you should go pay for some.

For future reference, you are correct in thinking that it's not a straw purchase, because there's no FFL or 4473 involved. BATFE has taken the position that a straw purchase involves lying on the 4473.

With that said, I think it would be legal to sell to his friend, but it's enough of a gray area that I'd be very uncomfortable with it. Here's why:

While you would technically be transferring physical possession of the firearm to "his friend," a particularly zealous BATFE agent might see it as tranferring the firearm to the buyer indirectly, with you having reasonable cause to believe that the buyer does not reside in your state.
Thank you for taking the time to give such a clear and concise response. I agree that it could be seen as an indirect transfer to an out-of-state buyer, since I believe he *may not* be a same-state resident.

I will stick to FFL or no deal.

Again, thank you.

Last edited by Jlr2267; April 17, 2014 at 10:56 AM.
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Old April 17, 2014, 10:41 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Spats McGee View Post
IMHO, if it sends up red flags, there's a reason. I agree with Midwest: FFL or no sale. If the friend wants to pick up the firearm, tell him the friend can meet you at an FFL to make the transfer.
Ummm.... like Bruce Abramski did?

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Governm...cted-Policeman

If the jury finds that the seller had reason to believe that the final recipient of the firearm was prohibited by being an out of state resident, and he delivers the gun to the FFL with reason to believe that the "middle man" is going to commit a straw purchase - than the seller can be charged with conspiracy. Simply passing it through the FFL does little to clear the seller.

In fact, it wouldn't even matter if the final recipient was legal to receive the firearm or not - the act of delivering the firearm to the FFL for the sole purpose of enabling a straw purchase would be the crime.
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Old April 17, 2014, 10:47 AM   #8
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Umm, not exactly. In the Abramski case, Abramski got money from his father (in-law), and went down and purchased the G19 from an FFL, stating on the 4473 that he was the "actual purchaser." If the OP goes to an FFL, it is the friend who will have to fill out the 4473, not the OP. Abramski is a "straw purchase" (lying on the 4473/buying with someone else's $) case.

The "middle man" issue is still a little sticky, but Abramski is factually distinguishable from the OP's scenario.
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Old April 17, 2014, 11:13 AM   #9
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It is entirely possible he just lives in a different part of the state, and picking it up in person would require a long drive. It is also possible he does not want to buy a gun without someone looking it over first; maybe offer to let his friend see the gun before shipping.

Now I still say that you should demand things go through an ffl if he himself is not picking up the weapon as you have no way of verifying his location.
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Old April 17, 2014, 11:32 AM   #10
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Jlr2267, the would-be buyer could scan his DL and email it to you. He can email his phone number to you; you can verify his state by the Area Code. Phone the number and ask to whom you are speaking, etc., etc.

If all that proves out and "his friend" has the proper DL, do the deal.

"His friend" can't legally buy from you and then take it out of state to basically resell it to your contact--but that's not your problem.
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Old April 17, 2014, 11:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vamo View Post
It is entirely possible he just lives in a different part of the state, and picking it up in person would require a long drive. It is also possible he does not want to buy a gun without someone looking it over first; maybe offer to let his friend see the gun before shipping.

Now I still say that you should demand things go through an ffl if he himself is not picking up the weapon as you have no way of verifying his location.
I just verified that he's *not* a same-state resident. I told him that his "friend" is welcome to inspect the gun, but I will have to ship to an FFL for transfer.
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Old April 17, 2014, 11:44 AM   #12
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I think that's a perfectly reasonable solution.
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Old April 17, 2014, 02:24 PM   #13
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Last question: if I ship to his FFL, do I need to get the FFL license #, an actual photocopy of the license, or nothing at all? Pretty sure I can only ship to the address on the license..??
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Old April 17, 2014, 04:20 PM   #14
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I always get a copy of the FFL's license and run it through EZ-Check (https://www.atfonline.gov/fflezcheck/) as a cross check.

Most times if it's a long gun I'll ship it USPS myself, handgun I pay a local FFL $20 to ship it as that's way cheaper than UPS or FedEx.

Shipping any firearm interstate for the purpose of transferring it to another individual requires it be shipped to a FFL dealer, I want to be as certain as possible the addressee is really a FFL dealer.
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Old April 17, 2014, 06:48 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Art Eatman View Post
He can email his phone number to you; you can verify his state by the Area Code. Phone the number and ask to whom you are speaking, etc., etc.
Art, ummm, just how old are you? Area Codes have had nothing to do with where the person resides since the advent of cell phones and VOIP service. An Area Code now days will only tell you what state a hardwired land line is located in if the phone number is actually attached to a hard wired land line.
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Old April 17, 2014, 09:42 PM   #16
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So ask him for a land-line number. That's easy enough. And not everybody is cell-only. Ya gotta start somewhere.
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Old April 17, 2014, 10:12 PM   #17
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All you need is enough of the FFL number to verify it via EZ-check, and send the gun to the premises address
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Old Today, 11:23 AM   #18
Jlr2267
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I guess my caution paid off. When I told the guy FFL only and payment with postal MO, he disappeared. Something was fishy. Be VERY careful w/armslist.
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Old Today, 01:53 PM   #19
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Just say no.

Quote:
"His friend" can't legally buy from you and then take it out of state to basically resell it to your contact--but that's not your problem.
It would be interesting to see what the ATF and a Federal judge would think when you knew, or had strong reasons to suspect, that the straw buyer was purchasing the gun to ship out of state.

I know everyone here seems to be of the "shall not infringe" type, but personally I don't want to arm any gangbangers if I can keep from doing it. Everyone gets to have their own standards as to how they live their lives though.
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Old Today, 03:31 PM   #20
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Art Eatman So ask him for a land-line number. That's easy enough. And not everybody is cell-only.....
What's a land line?
More than 40% of households are wireless only....and that number grows each day.

I haven't had a land line since 2004.
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Old Today, 03:37 PM   #21
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browningguy ....It would be interesting to see what the ATF and a Federal judge would think when you knew, or had strong reasons to suspect, that the straw buyer was purchasing the gun to ship out of state.
What would be interesting is what Federal laws you think the buyer violates.
1. It's not a "straw sale"....seller isn't a licensed dealer.
2. It isn't illegal to buy a firearm from a nonlicensee on behalf of someone else.
3. It isn't illegal to ship a firearm interstate....as long as the buyer ships to a licensee in the other state.
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Old Today, 07:58 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogtown tom View Post
What would be interesting is what Federal laws you think the buyer violates.
1. It's not a "straw sale"....seller isn't a licensed dealer.
2. It isn't illegal to buy a firearm from a nonlicensee on behalf of someone else.
3. It isn't illegal to ship a firearm interstate....as long as the buyer ships to a licensee in the other state.

Even individuals selling private guns "face to face" have a responsibility to not knowingly sell to someone they Know or have reason to know is prohibited

It seems the OP is reasonably certain something isn't kosher, which, I suspect would be enough to show that he had cause to NOT follow through with the sale, which it appears he didn't.
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Old Today, 08:17 PM   #23
Art Eatman
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"More than 40% of households are wireless only..."

So nearly 60% have landline.

I have both, but I'm in a cell-phone dead zone. I even tried Verizon wireless with an amplified antenna. No joy. So, landline DSL.
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Old Today, 08:56 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogtown tom View Post
What would be interesting is what Federal laws you think the buyer violates.
1. It's not a "straw sale"....seller isn't a licensed dealer.
2. It isn't illegal to buy a firearm from a nonlicensee on behalf of someone else.
3. It isn't illegal to ship a firearm interstate....as long as the buyer ships to a licensee in the other state.
But it is illegal to knowingly enable someone to commit a criminal act. A person comes to you and says, "I need a gun to kill my boss with. I have no criminal record, yet, and I could buy it from Joe's Gun Shop down the street, but I really don't want that record there with the dealer, so just sell me this gun and don't worry about what I plan to do with it, OK?"

or guy comes to you and says, "I am Joe Smith, here to pick up the gun that John Doe paid for" and you have reason to believe that John Doe does not reside in your same state.

Only difference is the number of years in Federal prison you are looking at doing.
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