Straw Man Duration?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Monac, Aug 11, 2019.

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  1. Monac

    Monac Member

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    I apologize if this question has been asked and answered here a thousand times. I tried searching for an answer here and via Google, but I did not find one.

    I am at an age where I would like to thin out my gun collection, at least of guns I never use and that no longer interest me. If I bought a gun from Federal Firearms Licensee (an FFL dealer), how much time must pass before a sale to a non-FFL holder*is NOT a straw man sale? Is there any clear statement by the Federal government on this? Does it vary by state?

    Thanks in advance for any help. As I said, I am sorry if this is a dumb question.

    * Or, if the gun is on the Curio and Relic list, to a non-CRFL holder.
     
  2. S&W620

    S&W620 Member

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    Don’t believe there’s a time frame, but I’m no lawyer.

    I believe straw man comes into play when you knowingly purchase a gun with the intent to sell it to a 3rd party, not when you make an impulse buy and later sell it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
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  3. newfalguy101

    newfalguy101 Member

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    If you bought with intent to keep use and enjoy, it doesnt matter how much or how little time passes between time of purchase and sale
     
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  4. Theohazard

    Theohazard Member

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    There’s zero time frame at all: a straw purchase occurs at the moment you lie on form 4473, not after.

    According the the 2014 SCOTUS case US v Abramski, a straw purchase is simply lying on question 11a of the 4473 as to who the actual buyer of the firearm is. If someone has previously arranged with you to pay (or otherwise compensate) you for a firearm you’re purchasing from a dealer, then you’re lying if you answer “yes” to question 11a since you’re not the actual buyer of the firearm, the person paying you is.

    If no one has previously agreed to pay you for the firearm, then you’re not lying on question 11a if you check “yes”, so there’s no straw purchase.
     
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  5. Monac

    Monac Member

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    That's good news. I have not bought any guns intending to resell them to anyone, and I have owned all the ones I am planning to resell for at least a couple of years. Thanks, all!
     
  6. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    You would not be a very efficient straw man if you are holding onto firearms for years at a time. You can use sites like Armslist for sales 1 at a time, maybe a handful. But if you are looking to clear more firearms you would be best looking into lot sales or auctions.
     
  7. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    A "straw purchase" is when a legal buyer purchases a firearm specifically for the purpose of providing it to someone who would not be able to legally make the purchase himself/herself. In many cases, it even involves funding provided by the illegal recipient of the gun.

    The resale of a firearm initially purchased for personal ownership, no matter how quickly, is not a "straw" transfer.

    A point to remember, though, is that it is still unlawful to sell or otherwise transfer a firearm to someone you have reason to suspect is prohibited from ownership. Make sure you either know each buyer is "clear", or that you simply know nothing ("plausible deniability".)
     
  8. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    Myth that will not die.:cuss:

    A straw sale occurs when the person acquiring the firearm from a licensed dealer completes and signs the Form 4473 and IS NOT the actual buyer/transferee. Whether the actual buyer/transferee is prohibited makes no difference. As noted above, in US vs Abramski the crime occurred when David Abramski lied on the 4473 at the time of purchase. He took the firearm to a dealer in another state to transfer to a relative....who was not a prohibited person. His relative had written him a check as payment for that new Glock.
     
  9. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    That is not a true statement. I’ve lost count of how many times this has been discussed on THR and the correct information provided and documented. But some people it seems just don’t pay attention.

    See dogtown tom’s post, just above.
     
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  10. Monac

    Monac Member

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    I don't want to be a straw man at all. :) I think I can sell some to friends, and others (not very valuable ones - Rexio Pucara in 32 Long?) at local gun shows. The number involved at any one time will not be large. And if I was up-to-date enough to be comfortable with Armslist, I would sell them via GunBroker.
     
  11. Theohazard

    Theohazard Member

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    That has no bearing on whether it’s a straw purchase. Buying a gun from a dealer with the intent to resell it isn’t a straw purchase unless you’ve made an agreement with the buyer beforehand.

    Think of it this way: Let’s say you’re at a gun shop and you see a gun you think your friend Fred might like. So you call him and he says, “Buy it for me and I’ll pay you back.” That’s a straw purchase.

    But let’s say you see the gun and you think to yourself, “I think Fred will want to buy that gun from me if I buy it,” but you don’t actually talk to Fred about the deal before you buy the gun. That’s not a straw purchase. (Though it could possibly be considered dealing firearms without a license if other criteria are met, but that’s a different issue for a different thread.)
     
  12. Monac

    Monac Member

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    Wow. This is getting technical to the point of being philosophical, but I think I will be in the clear, which is what I wanted to know. Thanks again.
     
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  13. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Administrator Staff Member

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    Buying guns with the express intent to resell gets onto shaky ground. Unlicensed persons aren't really supposed to be in the business of buying/selling firearms. There's no clear line to cross over to determine when you've crossed into operating as an unlicensed dealer so it's best not to be in the habit of buying with the express intent to resell.

    That said, operating as an unlicensed dealer (buying firearms with the express intent to resell them) is a different offense from a straw purchase.

    A straw purchase is buying a gun from a licensed dealer on behalf of someone else--lying on the 4473 form where it asks you if the gun is for you.

    If you are buying a gun from a dealer and the gun isn't for you, then it had better be a gift in the truest sense of the word. If that person is paying you to perform the purchase, if you're getting anything from them in return for buying a gun from a dealer for them, or even if you're doing it as a favor in hopes that they will one day repay the favor, if it's not truly a gift, then it's not legal.

    When you buy a gun from a dealer there are only two legal options:

    1. You are buying the gun for yourself.
    2. You are buying the gun to give to someone as a true gift.

    Anything else is a straw purchase.

    Selling off guns that you have in your personal collection is not against the law, even if you have hundreds, and even if you end up making a profit on the sales. Again, that's more a discussion about dealing without a license--and selling off your collection is NOT dealing without a license.

    It has nothing to do with straw purchases because the sales of your personal firearms have nothing to do with purchases from a dealer. Straw purchases happen at the time of the purchase, not at the point of sale.
     
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  14. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    The Devil is in the details in law, so it's necessary to really get down on a gnat's eye if we want to be sure you have complete information.

    First, it's not a dumb question.

    Second, as others have noted, there's no magic time frame that you have to wait to sell. It's a question of intent and agreements. In legal terms, it's a question of "agency." If, when you purchase, you are acting as an agent for someone else, it's a straw purchase. Let's look at some examples:

    1. My buddy Fred (apparently, Theohazard and I have friends in common) tells me he's looking for a Lautenboomer 3000, and he knows that a Lautenboomer dealer will be at the next gun show. Fred can't go to that show, so he gives me $1000 to buy him a new Lautenboomer 3000 from the dealer. Straw purchase.

    2. My buddy Fred tells me he's looking for a Lautenboomer 3000 in passing. I go to the next gun show, and there's a Lautenboomer 3000. I call Fred, who says he'll pay me back if I'll buy the gun. Nope! Straw purchase.

    3. I go to the gun show, and find a very nice rifle. It's a Lautenboomer 3000. I buy it, using my own cash. It was the last one at the show. As I'm leaving, I run into my old friend, Fred. He's heartbroken that I bought the last Lautenboomer, and he offers to buy it from me. We're good to go here, and I can sell to him. No straw purchase.

    4. I go to the gun show, and find a very nice rifle. It's a Lautenboomer 3000. I buy it, using my own cash. It was the last one at the show. Fortunately, I did well in the stock market this year, and can afford to give a few firearms away. My good friend, Fred, has been looking for one of these for the last 3 examples, so I decide to make a gift of this rifle to him. Again, we're good to go. No straw purchase.

    I quoted John's post just to highlight that there's another aspect to consider. You don't want to be "in the business" of buying and selling firearms without an FFL. It's a different offense from a straw purchase, but an offense nonetheless.
     
  15. DeepSouth
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    DeepSouth Random Guy

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    Apologies for a bit of a thread drift, but I’m wondering if this applies to a spouse as well.

    I once had a ordered a gun and the evening I was to go pick it up I had to work late. I subsequently called my wife and asked her if she could go by and pick it up for me, she couldn’t and didn’t, but if she had would that have been a straw purchase? As we are married it is both mine and hers, until/unless a divorce court says whose it is.....I guess.

    For the sake of erring on the side of caution I’ll just continue to pick them up myself. But I’m curious now.

    ETA:
    For this matter when a man and his wife go to get her a new/first gun, she decides which she wants and he proceeds with the rest of the transaction (including 4473) as he is familiar with the process and the one with the money... is that a straw purchase, I’d imagine that happens on a daily basis.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
  16. newfalguy101

    newfalguy101 Member

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    Yes, both are technically straw purchases, in the eyes of the law no different than a felon sending his girlfriend to pick it up.

    It doesnt matter who pays, as long as the end user does the 4473.

    The 2nd example really could go either way, however, it would look suspicious.
     
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  17. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    ^^^Bingo. There's no "spousal exception" to the straw purchase laws. And technically, if it's the end user that does the 4473, it shouldn't matter who pays. "Shouldn't," but I can easily imagine that an FFL might think that a straw purchase is going down if: (a) Person A fills out the 4473, but (b) Person B hands over the cash.

    Then there's the whole issue of gifts being legal . . . . But let's set that aside for another thread.
     
  18. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    That is a store by store basis. Some FFLs will allow a person other than the 4473 applicant to pay. Case in point I visited AL before I moved there and stayed with then girlfriend, now wife. We stopped by a gun store. She found 3 guns she liked. She filled out the 4473 as an Alabama resident, my debit card paid the total. 2 of the 3 guns became mine when I became a AL resident.
     
  19. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    The whole deal of engaging in the unlawful unlicensed business of being a dealer can be a major hairball. As John correctly points out it is different from the straw purchase issue and is murkier because there's no bright line test -- there's no way to say definitively that on one side of a line you're okay and on the other you're on your way to prison.

    We discussed the question at some length in this thread.

    We can be pretty confident that thinning a collection by selling guns one has had for some time would not be a problem. It's not repetitive, and it sounds like there would be substantial evidence that the guns being sold were originally acquired for personal use. But it's a good idea to remember that it's a potential issue, and anyone considering selling a bunch of guns would be wise to think about the question and be satisfied that he'll be in the clear.
     
  20. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    This has nothing to do with the Straw Man issue, but I believe it may be relevant to someone selling off a number of guns.

    I believe I read somewhere on the ATF website years ago, that there is a limit to how many guns an individual without an FFL can privately sell in any one year. I think the number is 8. If I'm wrong about this (I may have misread or maybe even imagined it), I hope someone who knows better will correct me.
     
  21. eastbank

    eastbank Member

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    I talked to a atf agent at a large gun show about selling off part of my collection at a gun show and he said it was legal(no limit) as long as the buyer was a resident of age from my state(long guns) with a drivers license, hand guns needed a back ground check. he said nothing about how long I owned them.
     
  22. Theohazard

    Theohazard Member

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    That’s not correct. Read the thread that @Frank Ettin linked in the post just before yours. In short, there is no clear line that can easily be drawn when it comes to dealing firearms without a license.
     
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  23. DeepSouth
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    DeepSouth Random Guy

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    I suppose that at least makes sense, which isn’t always the case in gun laws. I wasn’t thinking about the possibility of a spouse being a prohibited person, that’s the only way the intended purpose of the law would work.
    Now I get to go tell my wife I once asked her to commit a felony for me.
    :eek::uhoh:
     
  24. Theohazard

    Theohazard Member

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    The dealer doesn’t get to decide what’s a straw purchase, federal law does. Like @Spats McGee said, there is no exception for spouses when it comes to federal law regarding straw purchases. It doesn’t matter what an FFL’s individual policy is.

    Also, that transaction you described would have been a straw purchase if your girlfriend filled out the 4473 out but the guns were for you and you paid for them. It wouldn’t have been a straw purchase if she filled out the 4473 and the guns were for her, even if you paid for them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
  25. Theohazard

    Theohazard Member

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    A straw purchase has nothing to do with buying a gun for a prohibited person. A straw purchase is when someone buys a gun from a dealer on behalf of another person. Whether that person is prohibited from possessing firearms is irrelevant.
     
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