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Law at Gun Shows

Discussion in 'Politics, Elections & Legislation' started by jimrich60, Mar 1, 2009.

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  1. jimrich60

    jimrich60 Member

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    There are lots of federal laws governing gun sales at shows. However, in general, a private (non-dealer) individual may sell a firearm (or buy) a firearm (including handgun) to or from a resident of the same state without federal paperwork, NICS, etc. A problem can occur here if a non-dealer is found (through investigation, etc) to be "dealing" in firearms at shows without a license. There are no specific guidelines as to what constitutes "dealing" but generally that would mean regular buying and selling for profit, not just selling off one or two firearms you personally own once in a while. Posssibly instances of this "non-licensed dealing" is what you have heard of being prosecuted. Or perhaps selling to a non-resident without verifying their residency. In addition to federal laws on the buying and selling of firearms at gun shows, each state, of course, has its own gun laws which may further regulate what can be bought or sold by private individuals without a federal license and which you must be aware of. There are also some provisions allowed for contiguous state purchases or sales where states have agreed on allowing cross state line purchases, but these vary from state to state often. Also such allowed "contiguous sales/purchases do not include handguns normally. There are all sorts of rules, laws, etc which govern this activity (nothing new, these have been around a long time mostly) and anyone doing any sales or purchases at gun shows needs to know not only federal laws, but state and local laws as well.
     
  2. Easystreet

    Easystreet Well-Known Member

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    Jim,

    That's good advice you gave, but I'm not sure that the seller is required to "verify" the state of residence of the purchaser. They just can't "knowingly" sell to someone who is prohibited from buying the gun (whether that is due to residency, age, prior felony conviction, etc).

    I'm not a lawyer and I didn't sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

    Easystreet
     
  3. jimrich60

    jimrich60 Member

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    Easystreet:

    The law is somewhat unclear in this regards, but per the BATF (on their website) "A person may sell a firearm to an unlicensed resident of his State, if he does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law." Although it does not specifically so state (as you note) the implication seems to be (in my opinion) that since you can only sell to a resident of your State, you must know (I read this as requiring know or verify) whether such buyer is, or is not a resident or technically be in violation. You do not need to "verify" that such a resident is not "prohibited from receiving or possessing" as long as you have no reason or reasonable cause to know that he is so prohibited. To me just makes good sense to know the buyers State of residence is the same as yours.

    Jim R
     
  4. Easystreet

    Easystreet Well-Known Member

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    Jim,

    I can understand your cautious approach and there is certainly nothing wrong with being careful, but again, as you quoted from the BATF website, the requirement to "verify" that the purchaser is not prohibited from owning/possessing a gun does not appear anywhere in the regulation regarding this matter. Neither is there any requirement for the purchaser to "verify" that he/she is not buying a stolen gun.

    Easystreet
     
  5. Joe Potosky

    Joe Potosky Well-Known Member

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    In some states there are no private sales at gun shows...
     
  6. Bushmaster1313

    Bushmaster1313 Well-Known Member

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    Check the laws state to state.

    In NY people have been arrested for making private sales in the parking lot.

    Lou
     
  7. rw993

    rw993 Active Member

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    The system works very slowly. You would likely become embroiled with the ATF only if the buyer got busted using the gun for something illegal.

    Easystreet, I understand where you are coming from, but if you are a dealer or not, looking for little pin holes to push your interpretation through will result in the ATF crawling up your A$$ with a microscope.

    No question, some of the laws are a little grey. However, as a dealer I will not sell you a gun without the Brady check. If you turn out to be a felon or from Kalifornia the profit from selling you a whole boat load of guns will not cover the legal fees defending myself.

    Ron Wilson
     
  8. Easystreet

    Easystreet Well-Known Member

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    Ron,

    From a dealer's perspective, you are certainly correct. However, the original poster clearly stated that he was concerned with the law about "private sales between individuals" at gun shows. And my interpretation of the law is no more "looking for pinholes" than is yours. In fact, MY interpretation is simply what the law SAYS....... or doesn't say. I'm not reading anything into it that isn't there.

    Easystreet
     
  9. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

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    Dealers know what they have to do. Background checks, yellow paper, the whole 9 yards. This is a condition of the license.

    I am not sure any private person to person sales can be regulated in any fashion legally. At least not in my neck of the woods.

    Bushmaster, please elaborate. I am curious about your statement. thanks.

    HM
     
  10. straightshooter1

    straightshooter1 Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    Our friends at ATF have done several stings at Gunshows.

    For example, a C&R license is not a license to deal (engage in the business) in selling guns.

    What happens is that an undercover ATF agent sells a C&R gun to someone who has a table. The price is ridiculously low. An M1 Garand for $2-300 for example.

    The agent, in the sale, gets the collector to tell him how much he'd like to add this gun to his collection, that he'll always treasure it, etc., then leaves the show.

    Not long afterwards, the collector has the treasure on his table at two or three times what he paid for it. Another agent comes along and buys the gun.

    They may do this to the same collector a few times at a few shows. This shows a pattern of engaging in the business and can be prosecuted successfully.

    This has happened in my State, Florida, and I have read or heard about it in others.

    If it seems to good to be true.... Count your blessings and take it home. At the next show, sell you duplicate.

    I have not heard of ATF coming back and trying to undo the deal if the collector doesn't put the gun up for sale BUT I heard of one case where the gun was sitting in back of the table, not offered for sale, and the follow up agent kept offering more and more money till the collector agreed to sell.

    That, IMO as a retired prosecutor, may have been entrapment. I don't know what happened to the case after it got into the Fed's system.

    Bob
     
  11. Easystreet

    Easystreet Well-Known Member

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    Bob,

    Unfortunately, that type crap by the BATF agents happens all the time. Didn't the fellow at Ruby Ridge (sorry I forget his name) get in trouble because an undercover BATF agent kept hounding him to cut off a shotgun barrel to less than 18" for him?

    There have been MANY dealers who have been enticed with LOTS of money to do something illegal and then busted when they succumb to the pleading and monetary temptation.

    Easystreet
     
  12. jimrich60

    jimrich60 Member

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  13. ou.3200

    ou.3200 Well-Known Member

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    The ATF rules state that a person may sell a firearm to an unlicensed resident of his State. It doesn't say that a person may sell a firearm to an unlicnesed resident of another state if he doesn't know the buyer lives in another state. That puts the burden on the seller to know or have reason to believe (as in verify) that the buyer resides in the same state as the seller. This rule applies not only at gun shows but to private sales nationwide including out of state shoots.

    If an illegal sale was made to the resident of another state I don't think ATF would be very sympathetic to someone who made no effort to verify the buyers state of residence. Not getting caught is not the same thing as obeying the law. It is not hard to follow the rules and doing so could save a lot of trouble in the long run.
     
  14. Easystreet

    Easystreet Well-Known Member

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    Jim,

    Once again, you are reading something into the law that is NOT there. Read it again. It does NOT say a private seller must "know or have reasonable cause to know" that the purchaser is not prohibited from owning a gun.

    It says "A person may sell a firearm to an unlicensed resident of his State, if he does NOT know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law."

    There is a big difference between being required to know something and "NOT knowing or having reasonable cause to believe" something. If you can't understand this distinction, then I can't do much more to make you understand it.

    If the buyer TELLS you that he lives in another state, or that he is a convicted felon, then obviously you now have reason to believe that he is prohibited from owning a gun. But, no where in the law does it say that you must ask or that the buyer must tell you where he lives and/or whether he is a convicted felon. And it certainly doesn't say that you must in any way VERIFY any of this.

    Easystreet
     
  15. 870

    870 Well-Known Member

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    Easystreet:

    I'd be careful. The law says you may sell to an unlicensed resident of your state, and then adds additional qualifications. I don't see any qualifications that affect the resident requirement. The later qualifications regarding "does not know or have reasonable cause..." don't seem to modify the requirement of same state residence, instead they refer to whether the individual is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under federal law. Certain persons are defined as being prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms, and the residence issues are not part of that section.

    I think you have your neck quite far out if you sell to a nonlicensed out of state buyer, period.
     
  16. Easystreet

    Easystreet Well-Known Member

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    870,

    Very well explained. I understand what you are saying, but if the residency requirement is so clear cut and unequivocal, then how is the private seller supposed to insure that he complies with it?

    Just asking to see a Driver's License is not really "proof" of residency. Fake DL's can be bought on the street corner for a few bucks and most people probably couldn't tell a fake one from a real one. Perhaps we could ask for a utility bill that confirms their address or a copy of their most recent tax return.....(just kidding).

    In essence, you're saying that the seller is REQUIRED TO KNOW that the buyer is a bona fide resident of the same state or suffer the legal consequences, yet there is no way (that I'm aware of) for a seller to really know about legal residency.

    What I have done on a couple of instances in the past is draw up a Sales Agreement with the names and addresses of both the buyer and seller and then have both parties sign the agreement and furnish a copy to both parties. Still, this isn't "proof" that the other guy isn't lying or furnishing false address info, but at least it would show that an attempt was made to comply with the law.

    Easystreet
     
  17. 870

    870 Well-Known Member

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    Easystreet:

    I agree with you, it's easier to write the law than to follow it in some circumstances. I'm not going to comment on how residency is determined for these purposes. Generally it is very simple, but as you know, there are many people that spend time in more than one state. In some of these cases, determining residency is more complicated than most people realize.
     
  18. Ken Brandt

    Ken Brandt Active Member

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    I hope no one takes offense to what I am saying. This is not the question to be asked of people who only use screen names!!! You should go to a local dealer that you trust and as him. He will know the answers you are looking for.

    No offense easystreet.

    Ken Brandt
     
  19. ou.3200

    ou.3200 Well-Known Member

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    Actually many dealers know what they have to do to comply with the law but know little of the requirements for an individual to transfer a firearm to another non licensed person. Some say that an interstate firearm transfer has to go from one FFL holder to another FFL holder which is not the case. Go the the ATF website and look for an answer to your questions and document what you find if you are relying on it. ATF has posted a lot of information on the website.
     
  20. lbshootin

    lbshootin Active Member

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    Kalifornia is totally differant...(of course)..you cannot just sell a firearm person to person (long gun, or handgun) without going to a dealer and the buyer going through the 10 day waiting period...IF he fails the background check then the gun could (haven't heard either way tho') be gone forever..and IF if is on the state's banned list then you cannot go out of the state and bring one back...KRAZY....lb
     
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