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Straw Purchase?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Texan Scott, Nov 14, 2012.

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  1. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Member

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    I can't find exact legal verbiage for this, and might not interpret it correctly if I did. Exactly what is /is not a straw purchase?

    If person A gives person B money to buy a gun, and person B buys the gun, fills out the 4473, and gives the gun to person A, is this an illegal straw purchase?

    Even if A and B reside in the same state /locality (no inter state transfers, no state or local restrictions on person to person transfers) AND neither party is a prohibited person?

    If B signs the 4473, pays with A's cash, and gives the gun to A, would the feds still consider this a crime?
     
  2. Nightdiver

    Nightdiver Member

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    Quoted from the ATF website:



    Keep in mind that a straw purchase is a purchase in which the actual purchaser uses someone else — a.k.a. the “straw person” — to purchase the firearm and complete the paperwork. Generally, the straw purchaser is used because the actual purchaser is not eligible to conduct a transaction because he or she is a felon or other prohibited person. However, a straw purchase occurs even when the actual purchaser is not a prohibited person. The crime committed is knowingly making a false statement on the Form 4473 indicating that the straw purchaser is the actual purchaser, when this is not the case.
     
  3. bikemutt
    • Contributing Member

    bikemutt Member

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    I believe under the scenario the OP presented, that would be a straw purchase; simply put, the transferee is not the purchaser.
     
  4. Bovice

    Bovice Member

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    When deciding if it is a straw purchase or not, look at where the money comes from. If Person A uses their own money and buys a gun which he later gives to person B, that is not a straw purchase.
     
  5. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Member

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    I was pretty sure it was. See, today someone I care about (who is employed by an FFL holder) almost knowingly did this. I panicked and flipped out on them- stomped them pretty hard, a real verbal butt ripping actually. Well, it's not going to happen, but I value my relationship with this person, and I know I did damage. I hurt a friend, and I feel rotten.

    When I calmed down, and remorse set in, the horrible thought occurred to me - what if I'm wrong? I don't want someone close to me to lose their job or go to jail, but to do what I did NEEDLESSLY would be terrible.

    You guys can't persuade me that I wasn't a huge jerk... but you can go right on explaining how I wasn't incorrect. It's all I got right now, and it's knowledge worth putting out there.
     
  6. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    You stopped your friend from committing a Federal crime. He should be the one feeling rotten..........you kept him from doing a crime that is punishable by ten years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
     
  7. LubeckTech

    LubeckTech Member

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    It could have been a setup and the persons doing the "purchase" ATF operatives. I don't believe the courts recognize entrapment anymore.
     
  8. hermannr

    hermannr Member

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    Follow the money.

    Senario: I take my wife to the gun store, she picks out a gun, I pay for it, fill out the forms. and give it to her,

    My money: it is a gift

    Her money: it is a straw purchase.

    Put anyone you want where I used the word "wife", the effect is the same.
     
  9. Davek1977

    Davek1977 Member

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    LubeckTech said:
    That is a COMPLETELY bogus, inaccurate statement that in no way applies to this scenario even if it WERE an ATF sting. Entrapment involves the police or state MAKING you commit a crime, not merely giving you the opportunity to commit one. If an ATF agent offered to sell you an unregistered machine gun, and you took him up on the offer, no entrapment occurred...you voluntarily committed a crime. Simply offering to sell you the gun doesn't constitute entrapment in the least. An undercover operation where officers pose as drug dealers to arrest potential customers isn't entrapment either....giving someone the opprotunity to buy drugs isn't the same thing as holding a gun to their head and FORCING them to buy drugs. Unless force or coercion is used, there is no basis whatsoever for a claim of entrapment. To claim that the legal standard of entrapment ceases to exist is an extremely erroneous statement.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
  10. Sergei Mosin

    Sergei Mosin Member

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    Sometimes Mr. Nice Guy doesn't work. Sometimes you have to be a jerk in order to get the point across in time to prevent something bad from happening.

    I was not there; I cannot and will not judge whether Mr. Nice Guy would have worked. For that matter, you can't be sure about it either. But apparently being a jerk did work - you prevented your friend (and two other people) from committing a felony, with all that entails. So be glad that you saved them from themselves.

    In similar circumstances, I will often offer a semi-apology: "Sorry for being such a jerk about it, but right then I couldn't see any other way to do it." Usually people are pretty understanding; they realize that you did them a huge favor and don't much care how you went about it.

    Look at it this way: your buddy owes you lunch for bailing him out. You owe him lunch for being a jerk. Call it even, go out to lunch, and forget about it.
     
  11. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    We can't know how gently or brutally you spoke -- or how gently or brutally you NEEDED to speak -- to stop this from happening, so whether you're a big jerk is left to the participants to decide. :)

    However, on the whole you did the right thing. They may never appreciate that fact, and this "crime" happens probably thousands of times a week across the country, but it is technically a federal felony violation and they should NOT have completed that transaction.

    So kudos on your knowledge and willingness to help your friend. Work on your presentation! :D
     
  12. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    EXACTLY right, and I'd use that as an opener when I saw him/her the next time.

    "Look, you owe me lunch for keeping you on the right side of the law. I owe you lunch for being a jerk about it. Let's call it even and go get lunch!"
     
  13. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    The layman terms explanation of "straw purchase" is here:
    Other than buying a gun as a bona fide gift for a non-prohibited person, you can legally buy a gun for your own personal use. What will get you in deep doo-doo is if you buy for a person who is a "prohibited person" who would not pass a NICS BG check OR buy for a person engaged in the business of dealing in firearms without a license. If you fit a pattern of buying as a straw or buying for resale, ATF can and sometimes will "stop and knock" to see if you have the gun. What will really hurt you with most ATF is you getting a "street rep" as an unquestioning source for weapons but that is usually more "dealing without a license", like one guy who showed up at the local flea market month after month liquidating his gun collection (in the meantime buying guns for the collection to liquidate at the flea).

    When my son got his first good job, every payday almost he would go to the local gunshop and buy a gun off his "wish list" and on the third buy in one month was given a friendly warning from the dealer. He was also given a "heads up" when he saw a good deal on Yugo M70AB2s with full accessories and bought one for himself and one for me as a belated birthday gift. He has passed TBI and FBI BG checks for handgun carry license and got a CLEO sign-off on a Form 4 and thought it was all silly. But the law is: (a) you can buy for personal use with (b) the exception that a bona fide gift to a non-prohibited person is recognized as a legal personal use.


    (If you want bogus info on "straw purchase" and "dealing without a license" you could consult Katherine Eban, "The Truth about the "Fast and Furious" Scandal", CNN/Fortune, 27 Jun 2012. Her type of "truth" is sold at Tractor Supply in bags as natural fertilize, but you would be surprised at the number of people who have gotten their explanation of "straw purchase" from that article.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
  14. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    Texan Scott: "You guys can't persuade me that I wasn't a huge jerk... "

    I count you as rude as a guy who shouted expletives at a blindman about to step out in the path of a truck.

    Ever so often on the gun boards people complain about situations where a couple have gone into a store to buy a gun as a gift, one party looks at and picks out the gun, then the other goes to fill out the 4473 and pay for the gun, and the dealer refuses the sale because it appears to be a straw purchase, especially if the picker hands cash or credit card to the purchaser. Dealers are advised by ATF that they are not obligated to complete a suspicious sale (unless it is part of an investigation).
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
  15. Blackrock

    Blackrock Member

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    Remminds me of the time when my daughter and I were looking for a new rifle for her. She finally settled on one she liked and said "this is the one I want, can you buy this one for me". I saw the look go across the clerks face like 'UH OH". So I told her "you do the paperwork in your name and I will cover it. The clerk said no problem.

    Straw purchase vs. gift can be misconstrued so easily by seller and purchaser that the waters can get pretty muddy. The clerk told me that whoevers hands the firearm goes into must fill out the 4473. He didn't care who eventually paid for it.
     
  16. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    It is a tricky issue to fully understand as it is fraught with rather absurdly fine lines and grey areas.

    It isn't surprising that a clerk would say such a thing, but he really had it pretty much backward.

    A) You buy the gun, you fill out the paperwork, you pay for the gun. You turn around and hand it to daughter -- "happy birthday, here's your gift!" That's fine.

    B) She picks out the gun, she fills out the paperwork, YOU put down the money -- that's usually considered a warning sign that YOU are the actual purchaser and recipient of the gun, and she's just filling out the paperwork in your stead.

    When this is a parent and child coming in to pick out Junior's (or Sis') new hunting rifle most gun store clerks are pretty lax about who pays and who signs.

    C) However, things get pretty dicey when it's a (fill in the blank rough-looking) dude who comes in with his girlfriend/wife/ol' lady/etc. and she picks out a Hi-Point or Glock or AK or whatever (just to keep the stereotypes rolling ;)) and fills out the paperwork while HE plunks down a roll of bills to pay for it. That screams to the clerk that the dude is a felon and can't pass the background check for the new "gat" he wants, so he's getting his companion to buy it for him.

    Now, "B" and "C" are both in straw purchase territory, but technically "D" isn't!

    D) Same rough dude and his ol' lady come in, she whips out a roll of Benjamins and purchases that Glock or Hi-Point or AK, fills out the 4473 and passes, then turns around, hands it to the dude and says, "Here, happy birthday." That's not a straw purchase. That's a legal gift (unless, of course, he actually IS prohibited from possessing a firearm).
     
  17. fatcat4620

    fatcat4620 Member

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    What if person A and B are married and person B uses person A's check card because person B forgot theirs?
     
  18. mgkdrgn

    mgkdrgn Member

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    yes in all cases that you state... both parties are felons
     
  19. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Well, that gets into the absurd grey areas. Being married doesn't technically have anything to do with it at all.

    However, married couples often have joint accounts and if that was the case then person B is really using his/her money rather than person A's specifically ... but who has to sign the card receipt? And, in the end it comes back to who is the purchaser, exactly.

    I'd wager that 95% of the time if a couple is in the store and the husband is buying himself a gun and has to use his wife's check card on their joint account, the clerk is going to give that a pass. (And vice-versa ... probably.) Where does it fall under the letter of the law? Well, that's a real question, isn't it?
     
  20. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    The absurd grey areas

    I've seen flat-out blatantly obvious straw purchases go through with the clerk's consent and I've seen innocent and honest attempts at a legit transaction get tossed out of the store because another clerk thought it was a straw purchase.

    Guy walks in with his girlfriend and walks straight over to a Mossberg and tells her, "This is the one", takes it to the counter and tells the guy, "We want to buy this one." The clerk hands him the 4473 and asks for his ID and the guy jumps back and says, "No! We're gonna put this one in her name." So she fills out the paperwork, they pay and the boyfriend carries the shotgun out.

    A dad and son looking at Kimbers. Son chooses one and dad tells the clerk, "I'll buy this one for him." Both father and son are tossed out and treated like criminals.

    It happens every day all across the nation.
     
  21. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    So what if it is a Christmas present?
     
  22. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    OK... from my examples above:

    A) You buy the gun, you fill out the paperwork, you pay for the gun. You turn around and hand it to daughter -- "MERRY CHRISTMAS, here's your gift!" That's fine.

    D) Same rough dude and his ol' lady come in, she whips out a roll of Benjamins and purchases that Glock or Hi-Point or AK, fills out the 4473 and passes, then turns around, hands it to the dude and says, "Here, MERRY CHRISTMAS." That's not a straw purchase. That's a legal gift (unless, of course, he actually IS prohibited from possessing a firearm).
     
  23. gfanikf

    gfanikf Member

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    Same with Hanukkah too? :)
     
  24. brboyer

    brboyer Member

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    I took my very pregnant daughter into my LGS, she pointed her big belly to a S&W 638, a Marlin 60, and a Remington 700. Told the clerk "he (pointing to her belly) wants those three, but he's a little shy, so Grandpa is going to fill out the paperwork for him." Somehow the clerk (and the owner) had no problem with the purchase.:D

    Also found out the wifey does not complain so much when I buy guns (or most anything else) for the grand kids. Even when I have to hold on to them for 10-12 years before they get them. And of course I have to make sure they remain operational and sighted in til then.;)
     
  25. Riceman98

    Riceman98 Member

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    Everyone says follow the money. What about in community property states (such as Idaho)? There is no such thing as "her money" or "his money". It is "their Money".
     
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