Non-US residents allowed to shoot at range?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by davidjblythe, Jul 14, 2008.

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  1. davidjblythe

    davidjblythe Member

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    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    I have a friend who is here for a year (Ukranian Military officer). He is very interested in shooting some of my firearms. Just to be safe, I called Shoot Straight, a local gun store and indoor rifle range, and spoke to "Mack" about him coming to shoot with me. I pay the yearly fee to use the range and figured that this would be no problem. Here is the reply from Mack:

    M: "He can't shoot."
    "Why?"
    M: "It's against federal law."
    "So non-US Residents are not allowed to handle and shoot firearms?"
    M: "That is correct."
    "Thanks... I'm going to look up that law right now."

    What is the policy of foreign guests at a shooting range? I understand that there may a more restrictive store policy for liability reasons, but "Mack" clearly stated that it is a FEDERAL law that prohibits my Ukranian friend from shooting with me.
     
  2. scout26

    scout26 Member

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    People come from outside the US to hunt all the time. The only Federal law about non-US residents is IRT them purchasing firearms.
     
  3. RNB65

    RNB65 Member

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    "Mack" is an idiot.

    No such law. Perfectly legal for a non-resident to shoot.

    Go to the range and don't tell them. Unless they check ID's on every person, what they don't know won't hurt their poor, ignorant heads.
     
  4. Robby

    Robby Member

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    Sounds like you need to talk to the owners of the place. If Mack is the owner, he needs to check out restrictions more.

    But I would suggest you check out, with State, and Fed sites to see if there is some restriction.
     
  5. bubba1

    bubba1 Member

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    Nonimmigrant aliens are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition - 18 USC 922(g) and (y) - unless the individual meets one of the listed exceptions such as having a hunting permit.
     
  6. AndyC

    AndyC Member

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    http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=browse_usc&docid=Cite:+18USC922

    The relevant sub-section is (y)2:

    (y) Provisions Relating to Aliens Admitted Under Nonimmigrant
    Visas.--

    (2) Exceptions.--Subsections (d)(5)(B), (g)(5)(B), and
    (s)(3)(B)(v)(II) do not apply to any alien who has been lawfully
    admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa, if that
    alien is--
    (A) admitted to the United States for lawful hunting or
    sporting purposes or is in possession of a hunting license or
    permit lawfully issued in the United States
    ;
    (B) an official representative of a foreign government who
    is--
    (i) accredited to the United States Government or the
    Government's mission to an international organization having
    its headquarters in the United States; or
    (ii) en route to or from another country to which that
    alien is accredited;

    (C) an official of a foreign government or a distinguished
    foreign visitor who has been so designated by the Department of
    State; or
    (D) a foreign law enforcement officer of a friendly foreign
    government entering the United States on official law
    enforcement business.

    Nothing to do with simply shooting at a range - the law is about ownership.
     
  7. RNB65

    RNB65 Member

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    Shooting someone else's firearm in their presence is neither purchasing nor possessing. It's perfectly legal for a nonresident to shoot someone else's gun in their presence. Just like I can go to the range and rent a machine gun without having to fill out an ATF Form 4.
     
  8. bubba1

    bubba1 Member

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    Depends on the legal definition of "possession" being applied - if you have a reference or case law on this point, I'd like to see it. This question has been on my list of stuff to ask a firearms lawyer in the near future (relatives coming to visit).
     
  9. AndyC

    AndyC Member

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    Also, from ATF: http://www.atf.treas.gov/firearms/022002form6updates.htm

     
  10. AndyC

    AndyC Member

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    Another from the ATF FAQs - http://www.atf.treas.gov/firearms/form6updatesfaqs.htm

     
  11. davidjblythe

    davidjblythe Member

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    This person would qualify as a distinguished visitor per the DOS, but I think that the rules are clear:

    He is allowed to shoot my weapons with my supervision. What can I go into the range with as evidence? I can't say that he is plain wrong... but I'm afraid that if I bring in the letter of the law, he will have another 'interpretation' of it.
     
  12. AndyC

    AndyC Member

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    Print out the ATF FAQs and highlight the relevant sections, along with the URL so the range-owner can check for himself before your visitor arrives (can't blame the guy for being careful).
     
  13. JB Books

    JB Books Member

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    I'd have your friend purchase a hunting license. Believe it or not, some states require you to have a hunting license to shoot at state owned ranges (ie. a rifle or pistol range on a game refuge).
     
  14. Wes Janson

    Wes Janson Member

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    Sorry, but it's a federal crime for your friend to possess a firearm or any ammunition unless he holds a hunter's license (or qualifies for one of the exemptions, ie diplomat, foreign law enforcement, sporting competition, etc). Call up the ATF, and they'll tell you the exact same thing.

    It's a law that virtually no one knows about, but which DOES exist and CAN be enforced by the ATF/FBI.

    If you don't believe me, read the following news articles:

    http://www.abcactionnews.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=3bd47796-de9d-4250-a01c-45fbc8a63e25

    http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/myfox/pages/News/Detail?contentId=6980121&version=3&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=TSTY&pageId=3.2.1

    As interpreted by the government, "possession" is effectively defined as physical contact with a firearm or ammunition. If someone is a tourist, doesn't qualify for a diplomatic/police/sporting exemption, and doesn't have a US state-issued hunting permit, then it's a federal felony for them to pick up, touch, shoot, handle, etc any firearm or ammunition.


    If this pisses you off, then write letters to your congressmen, or to the ATF, or FBI, or whoever you can find who'll listen. As it stands though, by the letter of the law, thousands of tourists commit felonies every year, and thousands of law-abiding gun owners aid them in the commission of such.
     
  15. AndyC

    AndyC Member

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    So, we're all agreed - he's fine if he buys a hunting license :D
     
  16. Harry Paget Flashman

    Harry Paget Flashman Member

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    I have seen foreign nationals shoot at our range. Most are military who are training at NAS Pensacola. It has never been a problem. They wear their membership cards on their lapels just like us.
     
  17. Wes Janson

    Wes Janson Member

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    Except that I believe it would be necessary for the visitor to have completed a hunter's safety course before getting a permit. Could be wrong on that one, but I don't think you can just buy one outright.

    Military personnel are generally going to be exempt from that law, I believe. And just because you see someone engaged in an activity does not mean that said activity is legal.
     
  18. awkx

    awkx Member

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    18 USC 922(g)(5)(B) says:

    Or simply put, it says that a non-immigrant alien can't "possess" or "receive" a firearm. Both terms seem to denote ownership or unsupervised control of the firearm, so simply shooting a gun under its owner's direct supervision might be in compliance with the statute, depending on how "possess" is interpreted.

    Anyhow, I have severe doubts about whether 922(g)(5)(B) is valid law after the decision in Heller v. DC. If non-immigrant aliens are part of "the people" referred to by the Fourth Amendment, then they should also be part of "the people" referred to by the Second.
     
  19. NC Dave

    NC Dave Member

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    I've seen businessmen from the UK come and rent guns at a local range many, many times. It is perfectly legal for them to do so.
     
  20. Gator

    Gator Member

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    Hmmmm...last hunting license I bought was in a hardware store in another state. I handed over the cash and got the tag.

    To the OP: Foreigners come to the US on vacation expressly to shoot guns! "Mack" is a fool.
     
  21. Wes Janson

    Wes Janson Member

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    Great, except who wants to raise their hand and get to be a test case? Particularly since Heller said nothing about the right of tourists to keep and bear arms.

    I've also seen young adults smoke marijuana many, many times (including in public, for that matter). It is, however, quite illegal for them to do so. "Ignorance of the law is not a valid defense".
     
  22. awkx

    awkx Member

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    Ideally, this question would be decided by suing for injunctive relief, just like in Heller, rather than via criminal prosecution.
     
  23. highorder

    highorder Member

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    I took a Brit and a Dutch guy to the S&W Academy in Springfield Mass. They provided picture ID that stated they were over 18, and handed over greenbacks. They had no problems all day, except for trying not to flinch with the Model 29.... In Massachusetts of all places.

    What kind of range are we talking about here?
     
  24. Erik

    Erik Member

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    Lots of misinformation...

    In general, I wouldn't read the 922(g) language too interpretively... And I certainly wouldn't cite Heller as any type of affirmative defense at this stage. Simply put, don't be an alien caught with firearms and/or ammunition if you don't fall under the enumerated exceptions. Folks get deported, sometimes after prison stints, over it.

    Specifically, if your friend falls under one of the exceptions as you indicated, federal laws won't be violated by his possessing firearms and/or ammunition, and using them. Emphasis on the word "if."
     
  25. Erik

    Erik Member

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    Now here is a question for the crowd: Generally speaking, can aliens visiting the US legally obtain hunting licenses, thus satisfying the exception? Generally speaking as in not those admitted specifically for hunting or sporting purposes, or under as "special categories" of visitors with priveledges not available to most?
     
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