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Thread: Supreme Court to decide if buying a gun for a lawful person is a ‘straw purchase'

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    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Supreme Court to decide if buying a gun for a lawful person is a ‘straw purchase'

    .


    Tues. 15OCT13 article by Emily Miller:

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...-gun-lawful-p/

    The Supreme Court decided Tuesday to hear the case of a Virginia man who bought a gun for his uncle and was then convicted of committing a “straw purchase.” The high court will determine whether it is a crime to buy a gun with the intent to resell to another lawful person.
    I don't see why this was ever brought to trial, or why it took so many levels of courts screwing up that it landed in SCOTUS.
    Let's hope they do the right thing, or this will have some serious consequences.



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    Regular Member HPmatt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MKEgal View Post
    I don't see why this was ever brought to trial, or why it took so many levels of courts screwing up that it landed in SCOTUS.
    Let's hope they do the right thing, or this will have some serious consequences.
    .
    I think this was promoted to get to the SCOTUS just so it could be used to harm 2A rights.
    Noticed the SCOTUS refused to take the MD case about Gun Permit needing a 'good and substantial reason'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HPmatt View Post
    I think this was promoted to get to the SCOTUS just so it could be used to harm 2A rights.
    Noticed the SCOTUS refused to take the MD case about Gun Permit needing a 'good and substantial reason'.
    Right on the money !

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    Quote Originally Posted by HPmatt View Post
    I think this was promoted to get to the SCOTUS just so it could be used to harm 2A rights.
    Noticed the SCOTUS refused to take the MD case about Gun Permit needing a 'good and substantial reason'.
    The MD case involved the licensed privilege to conceal. This case involves the Right to own (purchase).

    Once the court accepts that concealment can be licensed, there is a much higher hurdle to clear to establish that the State is overstepping its bounds.

    I don't know MD law, but if a license is needed to carry (or if carry is impractical without one), then THAT is the argument, not that the license is too hard to get, but that the license is required to exercise the Right.

    I don't give a crap about licensed carry, as long as there is a way to carry unlicensed. I won't fight for the privilege, only for the Right.

    This case is about the Right.

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    http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files...united-states/

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.a...es/12-1493.htm

    Primary sources where available, please, else OCDO is more wiki-fied.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files...united-states/

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.a...es/12-1493.htm

    Primary sources where available, please, else OCDO is more wiki-fied.
    Top link is great ! Thanks. This case is more involved that I previously thought. Seems as if this is what happened:

    1) guy buys gun from FFL SMITH
    2) guy transfers gun to FFL JONES
    3) FFL JONES transfers gun to another guy

    4473's completed all around.

    This is not a straw purchase.

    The guy will win his case IMO.

    BUT I don't think that the main underlying question will be answered by the court which is: can a person eligible to purchase buy a gun for another who is also eligible to purchase?

    ie:

    1) guy buys gun from FFL SMITH (for the purpose of providing gun to another) 4473 completed
    2) guy gives gun to another guy who is eligible to own (no forms completed)

    In the 2 step process it IS a straw sale (exceptions of spouse discounted) ... the constitutionality of a conviction when both people are OK to own is the basic question that is desired to be answered. But it won't be answered IMO .. they'll sidestep the issue entirely in this case.
    Last edited by davidmcbeth; 10-17-2013 at 02:20 AM. Reason: engrish

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    The Cert Petition is a good place to look in order to figure out in short order what a Supreme Court case is really about.

    http://sblog.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-con...Certiorari.pdf

    This one is about whether lying on a 4473 about your intent to further transfer a firearm is automatically a "material" lie.

    In this case, the guy who bought the gun for his eligible uncle lied to take advantage of a law enforcement discount.

    Legal complications aside, I really hope the Supreme Court overturns this conviction. At any gun show, people buy guns because they know that a lawful purchaser friend is looking for a particular model, or that they can sell it to a particular lawful purchaser for a profit. The second transaction here was completely legit. The question of what is "material" in terms of intent is so vague as applied to these kinds of circumstances that it threatens to turn many of us technically into criminals.

    For this retired police officer, it was not so technical.

    If that is the law, then it needs to be changed.

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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    I don't give a crap about licensed carry, as long as there is a way to carry unlicensed. I won't fight for the privilege, only for the Right.
    I don't give a crap about licensed speech, as long as I can say some things unlicensed.

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    Regular Member March Hare's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    <snip>
    BUT I don't think that the main underlying question will be answered by the court which is: can a person eligible to purchase buy a gun for another who is also eligible to purchase?

    ie:

    1) guy buys gun from FFL SMITH (for the purpose of providing gun to another) 4473 completed
    2) guy gives gun to another guy who is eligible to own (no forms completed)

    In the 2 step process it IS a straw sale (exceptions of spouse discounted) ... <snip>
    The answer to that question would be; Yes.

    I fail to see how that is a Straw Purchase if both people are eligible to legally own firearms.
    If that were the case, me purchasing a rifle for my friend for a birthday present and then giving it to him would be a Straw Purchase, right?
    What we do with our private property is our business.
    If He/She wanted to give that gun away or sell it, would they then need another 4473?

    I hope that you're not saying that we need go through an FFL with 4473 forms for a private transfer in the form of a gift or private sale.

    -MH
    Last edited by March Hare; 10-17-2013 at 05:05 PM. Reason: Deleted Snarcasm, unneeded!
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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by March Hare View Post
    The answer to that question would be; Yes.

    I fail to see how that is a Straw Purchase if both people are eligible to legally own firearms.
    If that were the case, me purchasing a rifle for my friend for a birthday present and then giving it to him would be a Straw Purchase, right?
    What we do with our private property is our business.
    If He/She wanted to give that gun away or sell it, would they then need another 4473?

    I hope that you're not saying that we need go through an FFL with 4473 forms for a private transfer in the form of a gift or private sale.

    -MH
    "Bona fide" gifts are OK. Selling your property is OK. The issue is solely with guns purchased knowingly for another person, when it is not a "bona fide gift".

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    Regular Member March Hare's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marshaul View Post
    "Bona fide" gifts are OK. Selling your property is OK. The issue is solely with guns purchased knowingly for another person, when it is not a "bona fide gift".
    Let's say I'm at the gun show and see a really nice Finnish Mosin, something my friend is looking for.
    I call him and he asks me buy it for him and he'll pay me back.
    I know from being with him when he's purchased firearms that he's not a prohibited person, so I buy it for him.

    Is that what they're considering a Straw Purchase?

    How so? I thought a Straw Purchase was knowingly buying for a prohibited person.
    Am I wrong?

    -MH
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    Quote Originally Posted by March Hare View Post
    Let's say I'm at the gun show and see a really nice Finnish Mosin, something my friend is looking for.
    I call him and he asks me buy it for him and he'll pay me back.
    I know from being with him when he's purchased firearms that he's not a prohibited person, so I buy it for him.

    Is that what they're considering a Straw Purchase?

    How so? I thought a Straw Purchase was knowingly buying for a prohibited person.
    Am I wrong?

    -MH
    It's almost like there's a bunch of confusing legalese going on here.

    OP said it best. I have no idea why this was even brought to trail.

    Of course, I said the same thing about the GZ case.
    I carry everywhere because crime doesn't make appointments.

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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by March Hare View Post
    Let's say I'm at the gun show and see a really nice Finnish Mosin, something my friend is looking for.
    I call him and he asks me buy it for him and he'll pay me back.
    I know from being with him when he's purchased firearms that he's not a prohibited person, so I buy it for him.

    Is that what they're considering a Straw Purchase?

    How so? I thought a Straw Purchase was knowingly buying for a prohibited person.
    Am I wrong?

    -MH
    Well, that's what this case is going to decide, supposedly.

    The question we've narrowed it down to is not an issue of settled law, and you'll hear folks say both: that the actual purchases must be prohibited for it to be a straw purchase, or that it does not matter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by March Hare View Post
    ...If that were the case, me purchasing a rifle for my friend for a birthday present and then giving it to him would be a Straw Purchase, right?...

    -MH
    Wrong. Purchasing a firearm as a gift is specifically defined as NOT being a straw purchase.

    Straw purchases are a matter of intent. If B wants to buy the gun, A fills out the paperwork and pays for the gun, then B repays A, and A gives B the gun, that is a straw purchase, regardless of why B actually bought the gun instead of A.

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    Quote Originally Posted by March Hare View Post
    Let's say I'm at the gun show and see a really nice Finnish Mosin, something my friend is looking for.
    I call him and he asks me buy it for him and he'll pay me back.
    I know from being with him when he's purchased firearms that he's not a prohibited person, so I buy it for him.

    Is that what they're considering a Straw Purchase?

    How so? I thought a Straw Purchase was knowingly buying for a prohibited person.
    Am I wrong?

    -MH
    That would be a straw purchase. The FFL is required to sell the gun face-to-face with the actual purchaser, not his agent, whatever the reason.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    Wrong. Purchasing a firearm as a gift is specifically defined as NOT being a straw purchase.

    Straw purchases are a matter of intent. If B wants to buy the gun, A fills out the paperwork and pays for the gun, then B repays A, and A gives B the gun, that is a straw purchase, regardless of why B actually bought the gun instead of A.
    To my knowledge your answer is only correct when viewed in light of the current "legal fiction" that has been created by the courts and ATF. I am not aware of any such distinction in the actual statute.

    We'll see what SCOTUS says about it. If they decide that this guy should be a felon for this, despite effectuating the ultimate transfer to the recipient through another FFL (and doing the background check, etc.) it will be a sad day.
    Last edited by BrianB; 10-17-2013 at 10:50 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    That would be a straw purchase. The FFL is required to sell the gun face-to-face with the actual purchaser, not his agent, whatever the reason.
    Though most don't know it, Federal law actually permits an FFL to sell a firearm to someone in their own state in a non-face-to-face transaction (via common contract carrier). There is a green 4473 that is for this purpose, though for reasons one may only speculate about ATF has not chosen to print any of those green 4473s in the last 15 years. I mentioned the form to an ATF compliance inspector the other day and she said she was aware of the form but had never actually seen one. I happen to have a couple of these unicorns. The law permitting non-face-to-face transactions, and prescribing the procedure is still on the books. It is 27 CFR 478.124(f) for the curious.

    The non-face-to-face transaction presents some logistical issues such as how to inspect the purchaser's photo identification, etc. I asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement about that a long time ago and their somewhat confused reply was that they guessed you'd just have the purchaser send a photocopy of their driver's license.

    In this day and age I doubt any FFL would consider doing a non-face-to-face transaction, but it is still technically legal under Federal law. For me it's a legal curiosity and not something I'd ever do. I do like having a couple of these ultra rare forms in my collection though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    That would be a straw purchase. The FFL is required to sell the gun face-to-face with the actual purchaser, not his agent, whatever the reason.
    While that may be the current law as it's viewed, imo that is a horrible view and I don't see how it can stand. If I'm buying a gun, regardless of if I already have another buyer lined up or not, I am the buyer until that weapon is no longer owned by me. The law is effectively saying that one can't buy a gun with the sole intent of reselling it to another citizen who can lawfully own it. And that to me is an infringement upon both the Peoples and States rights, for where do they think they get such power (rhetorical, I know they make most of their power grabs via the Commerce Clause)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aknazer View Post
    ...If I'm buying a gun, regardless of if I already have another buyer lined up or not, I am the buyer until that weapon is no longer owned by me....
    Exactly. This is another of those rules that don't get you in trouble for what you do, but rather what you say.
    Last edited by MAC702; 10-18-2013 at 01:48 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    Exactly. This is another of those rules that don't get you in trouble for what you do, but rather what you say.
    That's a really good point.

    Of course, the flip side is that it sheds some light on why virtually every other malum prohibitum offense has abandoned the mens rea requirement of the common law.
    Last edited by marshaul; 10-18-2013 at 02:14 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aknazer View Post
    While that may be the current law as it's viewed, imo that is a horrible view and I don't see how it can stand. If I'm buying a gun, regardless of if I already have another buyer lined up or not, I am the buyer until that weapon is no longer owned by me. The law is effectively saying that one can't buy a gun with the sole intent of reselling it to another citizen who can lawfully own it. And that to me is an infringement upon both the Peoples and States rights, for where do they think they get such power (rhetorical, I know they make most of their power grabs via the Commerce Clause)?
    I am speaking of the law as I am currently required to follow it when I sell a gun, not how I think it should be.

    I think that adults should be able to walk into a store, point to a gun, say, "I want that one," show proof of age, pay for it, and walk out--just like buying a pack of cigarettes. Unless I had reason to believe that the person was prohibited, I should simply be able to sell him a gun.

    However, that is not the way the law is.

    I have not actually read this case, but based on some of the posts, this may not have even been a straw purchase, meaning the Court won't even likely be ruling on the constitutionality of the ban on straw purchases.

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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marshaul View Post
    That's a really good point.

    Of course, the flip side is that it sheds some light on why virtually every other malum prohibitum offense has abandoned the mens rea requirement of the common law.
    +1
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