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Ohio Man arrested for selling guns out of state

Discussion in 'Legal' started by bad4dr, Feb 1, 2011.

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  1. bad4dr

    bad4dr Member

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    The recent thread here about selling guns without an FFL for profit, coupled with this story in today's local Columbus newspaper prompted me to start a new thread. Here's the story:

    http://www.dispatch.com/live/conten...Ohioan-charged-illegal-gun-sales.html?sid=101

    The guy lives in Ohio. He drove to Tennessee to sell some guns (shotguns, rifles, and revolvers) to an individual who turned out to be an undercover cop. The man was arrested immediately but released on a $20,000 bond.

    So why did I think of the FFL thread regarding this story? Well, there was a post in there that said "Face to face sales, if not an FFL, need be non one else's business. Buy and sell 5 or 500 and it's no one's business how much money you make or lose." Well, that's not always the case, it seems.

    Thoughts? Opinions?
     
  2. docnyt

    docnyt Member

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    As long as everybody stays within the bounds of the law we should be OK.
     
  3. yeti

    yeti Member

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    Living in Ohio and selling in Tenn., and being under the RO were his problems, and selling illegally to the UC, really doesn't have much bearing on legal F2F sales.

    The big problem, if you do a lot of private selling, is there is no defined point where disposing of some personal property becomes dealing without an FFL.
     
  4. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    No, it isn't always the case. If you sell to someone in another state, you're breaking federal law.

    Further, if you are buying and selling a lot of guns, you could open youself up to charges of dealing guns without a license.

    The US Code says:
    Some further definitions:
    There is still plenty of grey area to get yourself hung up in.
     
  5. Deltaboy1984

    Deltaboy1984 Member

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    There must be more to this case than what we are being told at this time.
     
  6. bad4dr

    bad4dr Member

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    That's kinda what I'm thinking too, Deltaboy. Thanks, Sam, for the detailed response, also. I'm curious about a few things, mainly because I don't know much about buying and selling guns privately. Let's say I'm on vacation from OH in TN, and I bring my gun because I know of a range where I can shoot. While I'm there, a guy walks up and says, "Hey, that's a fine piece. I've been looking for one of those. Would you take $1,000?" Am I breaking the law if I sell it to him? If so, why? Is it a tax thing? I paid the taxes on it when I bought it from the dealer. Is it strictly an interstate commerce thing? What makes a gun different from a car? Or real estate? Again, other than the tax thing when it comes to registering said car or transferring the deed of the house.

    Another reason I ask is because I've seen several guns in the "for sale" section here that I'd be interested in buying. Some are in neighboring states, but if the price is right it would make for a nice weekend getaway. CDan I legally BUY a gun in another state, I just can't SELL one in another state?

    Again, I'm not attempting to kick a hornet's nest, I'm just unsure of the rules.

    EDIT: Found a thread on THR that deals with this very thing (as if there was ever a doubt :) ) Looks like no matter what, out of state deals must go through at least one FFL.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
  7. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    I hate to be that guy, but, why not just read the NRA's page on federal laws, or the ATF's FAQ?

    YES. You are selling a firearm to a resident of another state without going through a Federal Firearms License holder (dealer). Both you and he commit separate felonies.

    Nope. It is a Gun Control Act of 1968 thing.

    That's the underlying guise of how the federal government claims the ability to regulate arms sales, yes.

    I don't know all the laws on car or real estate transfers, but there isn't a "Car Control Act of 1968." But there IS a "Gun Control Act of 1968," and it says this is illegal.

    You CAN buy OR sell a rifle or shotgun in another state -- as long as it is bought from or sold to an FFL dealer. You can SELL, but not BUY, a handgun to/from a dealer in another state.

    (You can buy and sell to individuals, of course, so long as you do all the transferrs through a dealer.)
     
  8. natman

    natman Member

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    Seems straightforward enough to me.

    He's a resident of Ohio. It's reasonable to assume that the buyer in Tennessee was not a resident of Ohio. Hence:

    According to Federal law you can only sell directly to a resident of your own state. Otherwise an FFL has to be involved.
     
  9. docnyt

    docnyt Member

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    You cannot legally buy or sell a gun interstate without going through an FFL on the receiving state's end. The scenario you gave with the guy wanting to buy your gun while at the range is definitely illegal. It would be legal if you both went to one of his state's FFLs and conducted business there.

    You can buy guns from members here from different states as long as they get shipped to an FFL in your state. Some exceptions being antiques and curios and relics eligible firearms IF you hold a C & R license.

    As to why we have these arbitrary laws, don't ask me.
     
  10. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    Fixed it for you, bud.

    You can buy a long gun from a dealer in any state, so long as both state's laws are observed. Selling any gun to a dealer in any state is not illegal, so "selling" isn't needed here.
     
  11. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    You know, this brings up an interesting question...

    18 USC 922 (a)(5):
    Technically, by the letter of the law, if Joe from Montana sees a gun that I have for sale on gunbroker, me being a Washington resident, and buys it from me, and I ship it to his FFL for transfer to him, I have still, technically broken the exact letter of the law. We know tens, possibly hundreds of millions of transactions have been done this way, but how is that not violating the law?

    Joe from Montana pays me directly for my gun. I have SOLD the gun to him. He purchased that gun from ME, not an FFL. The FFL only does the transfer, not the actual purchasing or selling. How does that not violate the letter of the law?
     
  12. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    NavyLT, here's the kicker:
    This makes it illegal to transfer or deliver to anyone other than a same-state resident, or FFL holder.
    This makes it illegal to sell or deliver to anyone other than a same-state resident, or FFL holder
    This makes it illegal to trade or deliver to anyone other than a same-state resident, or FFL holder
    This makes it illegal to give or deliver to anyone other than a same-state resident, or FFL holder
    This makes it illegal to transport or deliver to anyone other than a same-state resident, or FFL holder
     
  13. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    You're saying that by the text of the law, we should have to sell the gun to the DEALER and then the dealer would sell the gun to the eventual purchaser?

    Why don't we have to? Well, probably because the BATFE hasn't thought of interpreting it that way, yet.
     
  14. TX expat

    TX expat Member

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    let's not give 'em any ideas!
     
  15. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    This is the short of it, and this is how I read it. To put it more clearly, when the buyer resides in the state in which the transferor (FFL license) resides, the seller does not violate the law. In fact, this is how this law is being enforced today.
     
  16. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    nalioth,

    I would agree with your interpretion except for one thing... the grammatical construction of the sentence. The actions listed in the sentence:

    "transfer, sell, trade, give, transport, or deliver" are a list of actions, separated each with a comma with the conjuction 'or'. Because of the grammatical construction of the sentence, it would be interpreted, literally as: "transfer or sell or trade or give or transport or deliver".

    In order for your interpretation to be correct, the sentece would have to be constructed as:

    "transfer, sell, trade, give, or transport - and deliver" or something similar which would attach the action of delivering to each of the previous terms separately. As it is currently written in the statute, however, the action of delivering is just one more item in the list.

    I am not arguing the BATFE's interpretation and enforcement of the law. We all know the BATFE holds sales that go THROUGH FFL's to be legal.... but I don't really see how that can be a LITERAL interpretation of the law.
     
  17. xr1200

    xr1200 Member

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    Always use an FFL dealers and for shipping and recieving, follow the law to avoid problems. This guy just should have had a dealer sell them all on consignment.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
  18. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    If the commas are taking the place of "and", your interpretation doesn't make sense, because you can't do all 5 actions at the same time.

    Logically, each comma replaces an "or", which makes sense, as you can do any of the actions, but are breaking the law if you don't do them with an FFL holder OR an eligible fellow state resident.
     
  19. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    And that is exactly what I am saying. When I sell my gun to Joe in Montana, he pays me directly for that gun. I am the seller, he is the purchaser. Even though since 1968 the BATFE has said that transaction is OK so long as the gun is TRANSFERRED through an FFL dealer, the fact remains that I still sold the gun to an out-of-state resident - the FFL is neither the purchaser nor the seller - the FFL is only the transfer agent.
     
  20. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    That was my point, but it also is the primary phrase in the law itself. From my earlier post...
    It is only unlawful to sell to that guy. There is nothing in the law about the buyer and seller residing in the same state, only the transferor and the buyer. You are not the transferor to Montana Joe. But the law goes further and puts the burden of residency verification upon the transferor, not the seller. You can sell Joe Montana the gun, as long as Joe resides in the same state as the transferor, but not necessarily the same state as you.

    I tend to believe that this law was worded intentionally to ban interstate transactions across the board, but going through a licensee in the buyer's state is a loophole to the law. :D
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
  21. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    I'm not sure if you guys are devil's advocating or what.

    It's pretty cut and dried with the "or".

    Tom Texan cannot sell a gun directly to a visiting Yankee, but he can sell a gun to a Yankee and deliver said gun to a FFL holder for legal disposition.

    Tom Texan can sell and deliver any firearms he wishes to Tawny Texan, his next-door-neighbor w/o an FFL's involvement (same state residents).

    The law as y'all are quoting allows for legal disposition of any transferred firearms, whether intrastate or interstate.

    The way you guys are interpreting it, NO OUT-OF-STATE TRANSFERS are legal, in any form, which would put a lot of the gun industry out of business.
     
  22. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    Not me, I'm saying the opposite. I can't comment on the OR language. I did well in English class, but not well enough to pick up that dispute. I can only see that it plainly says that the buyer has to reside in the state that the transferor resides. It absolutely does not say that the buyer has to reside in the state that the seller does.
     
  23. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    It seems like it's written in perfectly clear English to me. Selling not only involves collecting the money, but you have to deliver the goods as promised to have a completed sale.

    By shipping the gun to the dealer you have met the precise letter of the law. You have not delivered, sold, transferred a firearm to a prohibited out-of-state person. The sale is not a sale until the buyer takes delivery and the buyer does that from a licensed dealer. Read the part about "other than a licensed dealer." They've specifically listed who is exempt from the prohibitions and who you/we can send a gun to out-of-state.

    "transfer, sell, trade, give, transport, or deliver any firearm to any person (other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector)"

    The sale is not complete until the FFL completes it by delivering the gun as specified in the law.

    John
     
  24. Joe in fla

    Joe in fla Member

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    Bad4dr said: The guy lives in Ohio. He drove to Tennessee to sell some guns (shotguns, rifles, and revolvers) to an individual who turned out to be an undercover cop.

    Has anyone besides me noticed all the arrests for strawman and out of state sales recently??? Ohio, Wisconsin, Arizona and more. All seem to be based on sales to an undercover agent. Looks like the ATF has been very busy!
     
  25. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    Thanks everyone... I see what you are saying now. Yes, I do believe, according to your explanations that the typical out of state sale, through an FFL does actually conform to the letter of the law. You changed my mind!

    I wasn't seing the word transferor for some reason...
     
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