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Legality of "flipping" guns?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by jos2f, Dec 30, 2008.

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  1. jos2f

    jos2f Member

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    Hey guys, first post so go easy on me :cool:

    I've run across some deals on legal firearms that made me think to myself "hmm, I know I could make $50, 100, even 200 if I bought it at the price it's being sold for and resold it." These are private individual transactions, not through gun stores.

    I ran across a guy on a local Craigslist-esque site saying that the BATF has been monitoring guys who are buying off the site and then reselling at higher price.

    Would this sort of buying low/selling high be considered dealing, thus requiring a FFL license and requiring registration of the sold guns?

    Also, what would the legality be to buy a gun with the intent to trade it for something of greater value?

    Thanks!
     
  2. cassandrasdaddy

    cassandrasdaddy Member

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    need to be a ffl
     
  3. N003k

    N003k Member

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    I've always taken the law to mean if you're making profit off the selling of firearms on a regular basis, then you're considered a dealer, and need to be licensed. I'd imagine buying a firearm just to sell it is considered to be dealing and thus you need to be licensed also.
     
  4. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    It's not illegal to sell a gun from your personal connection, but if you regularly do flipping it can either be considered a straw purchase or an illegal transfer. Any firearm you buy should be held onto for a few months at least, and used at least once. That way you can always say you needed the money or decided you wanted something different.
     
  5. jos2f

    jos2f Member

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    Thanks for the answers guys.

    Mike's thinking seems to make a lot of sense, as it's not illegal (to my knowledge) to sell a gun from your own collection when you're tired of it or need money etc.
     
  6. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    The above is entirely the personal opinion of Mike the Wolf. He is playing CYA to a deep level.

    If you go to the gun shop and buy a gun, and your neighbor Fred just won the lotto and comes up to you outside, and offers you 10x what you just paid for your new gun, neither "straw purchase" or "illegal transfer" (does apply in california / other nanny states) apply.

    You buy the same new toy, and arrive home to find your water heater exploded, flooding your basement. Requiring a fix, you give your new toy to the contractor who helps you clean up as part of his payment. Neither 'straw purchase' or 'illegal transfer' applies here, either.

    To get stung by "straw purchase", it must be proven you intended to buy a gun for another person. To get stung by 'illegal transfer' (in the free states), it must be proven you knew that the person was prohibited from purchasing firearms and dealt with him anyway.

    The answer to the OP has already been given: If you are making a regular income from the process, you are a "dealer" whether you are licensed as such or not. You'll need an FFL if you are doing so.
     
  7. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    And there's nothing wrong with covering your bases. Fact is, if it happens ONCE, it's not going to get any real attention. If it happens more than that, the ATF is going to start paying attention.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  8. Duke of Doubt

    Duke of Doubt member

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    Intent may be inferred, or even presumed based on facts determined to exist.

    I might reasonably snap up a half-dozen cop trade-in Berettas, simply because they are a great deal and I planned to keep them all, and then find a month later that they have gone up in local value, and so sell most of them to raise money for other purchases. My true intent may have been entirely innocent and lacking in commercial profit motive. But it would appear so obviously either a straw purchase or for-profit behavior that I just wouldn't do it. Remember, it's all up to the jury, most of whom are NOT gun collectors, and to whom six handguns and a couple hundred rounds of ammunition would probably constitute an "arsenal."

    Federal enforcement in this area has been incredibly lax for a long time. It was not always so. It may not be so for long. Don't push the envelope.
     
  9. Treo

    Treo member

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    Not sure how legal it is but if you drop one on your foot it's going to hurt:D

    On a serious note, I'm W/ mike CYA I'd ask Naiolith 1. where he went to law school 2. Is he admitted to the bar in YOUR state and 3. Is his legally specialty is 2A before I'd take his advice as gospel.

    Of course you may want to consult some one who can answer all 3 questions before you take MY advice as well
     
  10. Bubba613

    Bubba613 member

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    What he said.
     
  11. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    Free advice is worth every penny you paid for it. :neener:
     
  12. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    This just seems to me, to be more junk law that makes me shake my head.:cuss:
    Over my Christmas visit to my Dad's, we talked about this very thing.

    What if you see a gun that you know would be a good investment?? Guns can be wonderful investments. You can't buy it because your intent is to sale it for a profit later??
     
  13. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Imagine the following exchange:

    Cop: We know that gun you sold Joe was used by him to kill his wife. Where did you get the gun?

    Mike: I got it from Pete, he buys and sells guns all the time.

    Cop: Is Pete a dealer?

    Mike: Heck, no, he doesn't bother with licenses and stuff, he just wants to make money and doesn't care who he sells to.

    Cop: (on phone) Hello, BATFE? I have one for you.

    Jim
     
  14. Treo

    Treo member

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    Now Imagine This Conversation The Way It SHOULD Be

    Mike: Officer I have nothing further to say W/out my attorney present. If there's nothing else I can help you with, good day.

    OFFICER: ........
     
  15. w_houle

    w_houle Member

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    Okay, let's see if we can get a high water mark for this:
    Cars and guns always seem to make a good analogy, and yet again here we are! In Kansas, a motor vehicle dealer is defined as any individual or business actively engages in buying, selling or exchanging basically everything with a license plate; and that by actively engaging, they mean five or more a year.

    So does anyone know how many guns constitute "Actively selling"?
     
  16. deadin

    deadin Member

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    An occasional “flip” is perfectly legal (providing there aren’t any State laws against it.) It’s just a matter of frequency and volume before you might draw the attention of the BATFE. There is no set “number” of guns or “how often” you can do this before it’s “dealing”, so you just have to take your chances. The rub is if someone in authority decides you are dealing, then you have to go to court and convince a judge that you aren’t.
    Is it really worth it?
     
  17. jos2f

    jos2f Member

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    At the risk of hijacking my own thread...

    If I decided to sell multiple guns a year and had my FFL, would I have to make sure the people I sold the gun to register with the state before leaving with my gun?

    Also, would an FFL license require that every single sale I make has to be a registered sale?

    I'm just thinking, is the FFL dealer license the only difference between the guys with a table at a gun show and the guys in the back of the building with a backpack?
     
  18. Duke of Doubt

    Duke of Doubt member

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    Actually, if I were a betting man or, more realistically, a criminal defense attorney with knowledge and experience in firearms and tax matters, I'd predict the next likely focus (low hanging fruit) for enforcement action would be alleged abuse of C&R licenses.

    But what do I know?
     
  19. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Jos2F, if you had a dealer's FFL, you would have to comply with all federal, state and local laws or you would not have it for long.

    If you are talking about an 03 (C&R) FFL you can sell occasionally but not as a business, about the same thing as if you had no license.

    The exact number of guns an unlicensed person or a C&R license holder can sell (to a non-licensee) without being considered a dealer is deliberately kept vague by BATFE.

    They feel that it is not the number of guns in itself, but the type of sale and the buyer(s). It is one thing to sell five handguns over a period of two years to five different people, all honest folks; it is another to sell five handguns at the same time to an MS-13 member.

    Treo, that sounds good; you would get your attorney, but I doubt you would just walk away. If you provided the murder weapon, you could well be charged with being an accessory before the fact. And you would be surprised by how many "smart" people waive their rights and talk their heads off trying to prove to the cops that they didn't do anything wrong (just like the folks here sound off about their "rights" and what the law says).

    Jim
     
  20. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I guess it may depend on where you live. I see some of the same people with a table at every gunshow around here. All are private sales. No yellow sheets. I do not go to a lot of flea markets but I see the same thing there when I do. Never heard of anyone getting in any trouble.

    I probably buy, sell, or trade around a dozen guns a year. I've made a quick $50-$100 a few times but just hope to break even. Never tried to make money, but It has allowed me to own and shoot a lot of different guns.
     
  21. Duke of Doubt

    Duke of Doubt member

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    I go a little out of my way to make my disposal deals a trade or series of trades with an FFL, even if I am pretty sure HE (legally) has a (lawful) buyer or buyers in mind. An advantageous and complex trade, maybe, but not a lot of cash coming my way in any event. The few times I've sold guns for cash, and it's pretty uncommon, I try to dispose of larger numbers of cheaper guns directly to an FFL as an explicit partial collection disposal, with it stated in front of a witness that I am getting out of a certain area, and without anyone else mentioned as a possible purchaser. That way, there is no legitimate question of a straw purchase, and a very much reduced risk of any sort of "doing business" problem. In the current enforcement climate, that is probably, and has been called, quite conservative. But as I say, it wasn't always this way, and may very well change. Take care.
     
  22. Treo

    Treo member

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    I may not walk away but I'm not going to start a conversation W/ a cop that just connected my name to a murder investigation. Starting said conversation seems like the quickest way to MAKE SURE I don't walk away.

    Which is why I wouldn't say a word W/out my attorney

    No, actually I wouldn't

    If you page through some of my previous posts you'll find I'm one of the most vocal advocates on this board in regard to not talking to the police W/out a lawyer present. It's very likely that I would make no statement period until subpeonaed by a court of law.
     
  23. 45Badger

    45Badger Member

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    Lots of opinions here. Anybody here been personally contacted by BATFE on this issue? There are quite a few active (my wife says compulsive:cool:)buyer/seller/swapper/collector types on this and other boards. To my knowledge, most of us are non-licensees. As long as I (we) comply with applicable state and federal regs on transfers, it's no big deal.

    I'll be sure to post when I get a call from BATFE:D
     
  24. TCB in TN

    TCB in TN Member

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    I "met" a couple of the guys the BATF busted. They were running adds, for buying guns cheap, and turning around and advertising the same guns on the same online classified page. They were (as near as i can tell) illegal gun dealers. Didn't care what they bought or who they sold to.
     
  25. goon

    goon Member

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    Something tells me that you probably won't find yourself "actively selling" by accident.
     
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