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At what point is it no longer a straw purchase?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by tuckerdog1, Sep 8, 2008.

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  1. tuckerdog1

    tuckerdog1 Member

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    I have a friend that has no legal issues that would prevent him from buying a firearm. But he does not like the paper trail when buying new from a dealer.

    So I have a particular gun he wants, which I bought new from a dealer. I told him I'd sell him mine FTF for whatever it cost me to replace it with another new one. All perfectly legal ( I think ).

    So what would be the difference if I just bought a new gun, and turned around and did a FTF with that one? It seems like "time" of my ownership is the only issue. I'd own this one for a few minutes vs the one I'm going to sell him, which I've owned for about a year.

    Is the issue a matter of time, intent, both or something else?

    Tuckerdog1
     
  2. Norinco982lover

    Norinco982lover Member

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    Good question. I do not know the "matter of time" I do know that when I was 20 and my wife 21 she bought the gun for us (family tho might be different). There was a previous discussion I was reading today I believe in this section of the forum that stated that it was legal to buy a firearm as a "gift". If yuo know your friend well I would not have a problem selling them a gun you had purchased. I'm sure you know if he has something to hide from the NCIS check or whatever:)
     
  3. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    It is "intent".

    When you bought your gun you have now, you did not intend to sell it. Selling it to your friend would not be a straw purchase.

    Similar situation: You go to your local gun shop and pick up a new gun. You fill out the paper work and go home. When you get home, you show your neighbor and he offers you $75 + what you paid for it. You sell it to him. This is not a straw purchase, either, because when you filled out the paperwork, you had no intentions of selling it.



    If you go buy another one for him, you'll be committing perjury when you check the box marked "I am purchasing it for me." It would be a straw purchase.

    There is no time limit on this.
     
  4. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    Seems to be to be intent. If you buy a rifle now because someone doesn't want to face an FFL dealer, then sell it to them a year from now, it would still seem to me to be a straw purchase.

    If you just happen to have a gun that's been in the closet for years and you want to sell it to a friend because you don't want it and he prefers a private transaction I would think that would NOT be a straw purchase .

    Selling a rifle to someone for the price it would cost to replace it doesn't seem to fit the bill for straw purchase either since you will be keeping the newly purchased firearm.

    Selling the exact same rifle after owning it for a few minutes would clearly be a straw purchase.

    Kinda silly but that's how it sounds to me anyway.

    not a lawyer and all that businesss.......
     
  5. deadin

    deadin Member

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    If you buy the gun with the intention of reselling it to your friend, I can see a case for a straw purchase. The Feds would have to prove your intent, which could be difficult, but on the other hand, you might have to prove that it wasn't your intent, which might be even harder with an immediate turn around.
     
  6. zoom6zoom

    zoom6zoom Member

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    but wants to use you as a cut-out who has the paper on him. Nice friend.
     
  7. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Member

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    INTENT is the answer.

    At the time you bought the gun from the dealer and filled out the paperwork you INTENDED keeping the gun yourself. Isn't that correct?
    The transaction was completely legal.

    Thereafter there is no time limit that you must keep the gun before deciding to get rid of it.
    (of course, also state laws may come into play somehow)


    For example,
    Say you bought a gun from a FFL at a gun show. AT THAT TIME you had every intention of keeping the gun for probably years.

    But on the way home, with your Buddy, you start thinking that you aren't sure that you really want this gun and you Buddy says he'd like to have it.
    You can sell it to him.
    You did not make a Straw Purchase. You made a honest, legal purchase, then at a later time you decided to sell the gun.
     
  8. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    Amen. I'm not one of those types who are worried about the "paper trail", but if he wants the gun, let him buy it for himself - whether that means from a dealer, or from a FTF sale. Why should you have to deal with the hassle at the dealer's because he doesn't feel like it?
     
  9. bigjohnson

    bigjohnson Member

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    First of all, I would have to question the motives of the "friend" who doesn't want to fill out the paperwork but wants the gun.
    Secondly, I would be very hesitant to go through with the deal. BATF can come up with some wierd interpretations of the law, and it is NOT a good idea to put yourself in a situation where that wierd interpretation can land you in jail.
    Tell your friend that if he wants to buy a gun without paperwork to look somewhere else.
     
  10. Jst1mr

    Jst1mr Member

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    +1.
    I suspect your "friend" may have a piece of his past that you are unaware of...DON'T do it!
     
  11. mbt2001

    mbt2001 Member

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    My understanding of a "straw purchase" was when someone ABLE to legally own and purchased a firearm bought one for someone who was UNABLE to legally own and purchase a firearm.
     
  12. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    Don't always trust Wikipedia.

    The National Shooting Sports Federation, a group that represents gun dealers among others, defines it to be:

    That definition has nothing to do with eligibility, merely the intent to hide the purchase.
     
  13. TAB

    TAB Member

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    For some reason this thread makes me think of this old saying:

    "I wouldn't touch that with a 10 ft pole. "


    I also don't think your friend should own firearms... him not wanting a paper trail, but its ok if you have one. Speaks volumes about his mental state of mind and his morals.
     
  14. Thernlund

    Thernlund Member

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    As others said, "intent" is your problem. Even if the purchase was 10 times removed, any decent DA could probably connect the dots if they were gunning for you (pardon the pun).

    It's really for a Judge to decide in the end.

    If he needs an "off-the-books" gun so bad, I'd start wondering what the big hangup is all about.

    Just tell him to man up and stop being a little girl about it.


    -T.
     
  15. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    I can't really fault him for wanting an off the books, that's his business. It's his willingness to have his buddy take the steps that worry me.

    I know lots of perfectly law abiding folks that for whatever reason don't want the paper trail, so they go to gun shows.

    It's the willingness to toss his buddy under the bus so to speak that sounds odd.
     
  16. Thernlund

    Thernlund Member

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    Sounds to me like tuckerdog1 offered.


    -T.
     
  17. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    LOL yeah I re-read it, guess you're right. That's even worse :)
     
  18. mbt2001

    mbt2001 Member

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    I didn't use Wikipedia...

    Hiding your identity is the right of all Americans. That is why we have anonymous ballet and privacy laws... I understand that the above is a conservative way to look at it to keep safe, but honestly, how can it be illegal for me to buy a firearm for my brother, supposing he doesn't have a criminal record?

    The law has to quit expanding or someday it will eat us all up.
     
  19. Thernlund

    Thernlund Member

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    The Million Dollar Question.


    -T.
     
  20. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    Oh don't get me wrong, you'll NEVER hear me defend gun laws. Personally I'd like to see the ATF closed and the Second Amendment be the only gun law in the land.

    But, since the law exists, and many people interpret straw purchases that way, it's still a good way to go to jail.
     
  21. JImbothefiveth

    JImbothefiveth Member

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    +1

    Why doesn't he want the trail? Is he going to rob a store?:scrutiny:

    Allright, if he really doesn't want the paper trail, for legitimate reasons, have him go to buy a gun at a FFL. They will background check him BEFORE he can purchase it, after the check, he can simply say he changed his mind. Just don't hand over your money before they check you.


    And hey, not to hijack, but if you buy your kid a gun, is it a straw purchase? Like if my kid wants a youth gun, because the adult gun's stock is too big?
     
  22. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    If your kid isn't old enough to buy one then it's not a straw purchase.
    If you give it to him (or anyone) as a gift it's not a straw purchase.

    In both cases you ARE the actual purchaser. In the first case you purchase it and let your kid use it, in the second you are the purchaser and you plan to give it away at Christmas. Neither of those are intended to hide the identity of the true purchaser.

    People love to get onto Sarah Brady because she gave a shotgun to her son. She's a slimeball, but that's not a straw purchase and is perfectly legal.
     
  23. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Member

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    A straw purchase is a crime because you have to lie on a federal form to do it.

    On the form 4473 it asks the question: "Are you the ACTUAL PURCHASER of this firearm?"

    If you can answer that question HONESTLY than it is NOT a straw purchase.
     
  24. Aguila Blanca

    Aguila Blanca Member

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    Irrespective of the NSSF web site, they are not a legal source and it is to their advantage to provide the answer that is most likely to keep their members (gun dealers) out of trouble. The Wiki definition seems closer to what the laws and regulations actually say.

    I agree with the many respondents who said that "intent is the key." However, IMHO that's only part of the story. If you look up the info on purchases and sales on the BATFE FAQ page, and then look up the actually statutory cites they provide after every answer, I think you'll find that in fact all the law really addresses is purchase by an eligible individual for an individual who is ineligible. That is a straw purchase, and I hope none of us question that.

    Another case is two eligible people. (Like this case, maybe.) Person A wants a Ruger Blackhawk but, for whatever reason, doesn't want to buy it. He gives the money to person B, who buys it and then hands it over to person A. Remember, both are eligible, but IMHO this one is still a straw purchase because person B did not use his own money to buy the gun. Therefore, he in essence lied when filling out the 4473 that he is the actual purchaser. How can you be the purchaser when you haven't spent any of your own money?

    Now let's look at the same scenario, except that now person A doesn't front any money. Person B buys the gun, then subsequently sells it (for no profit ot loss) to person A. I submit that this is not a straw purchase, because both persons are eligible, and because person B did spend his own money to make the purchase. Person A could have then said "Sorry, I changed my mind," and person B would still be the owner of a Ruger Blackhawk, and his bank account would be correspondingly lighter.

    However, in the last scenario, while I do not think it is a straw purchase I do think person B has certainly made the purchase with the intent to resell. While not making it a straw purchase, it does raise the question of whether he perhaps should have an FFL to be engaged in the "business" of buying and reselling firearms. That's a separate question from the straw purchase issue.

    Despite the fact I do not think this would be a straw purchase, Mr. Original Poster I will say that I think you are an absolute idiot if you put YOUR name on a 4473 for a firearms so that your "friend" can remain hidden from the records of the transaction. I have no idea what your friend's motives might be, but I would not stick my neck out in such a way to humour a friend's paranoia. If he wants a gun off-paper, he can find a used one in the classifieds and go buy it from a stranger.
     
  25. Thernlund

    Thernlund Member

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    Gave my step-daughter a 9mm Sig SP2022 as a "first apartment" present last year. I don't expect I broke the law.

    The ATF hasn't kicked down my door yet anyway. :D


    -T.
     
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