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Basic tutorial for buying, selling, and shipping firearms

Discussion in 'Buy Sell Trade' started by Quigley_Sharps, May 13, 2012.


  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    This is a basic tutorial for buying, selling, and shipping firearms IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE 1968 GUN CONTROL ACT AND U.S. POSTAL REGULATIONS.

    The information presented here is taken directly from Title 18 United States Code, Chapter 44, Title 18 United States Code Chapter 83, and Title 27 CFR Chapter II Part 478 – Commerce in Firearms and Ammunition as presented in the “Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide.” (ATF publication 5300.4, revised September 2005.) http://www.atf.gov/publications/download/p/atf-p-5300-4.pdf

    Additional information is also presented from the United States Postal Service Domestic Mail Manual. Domestic Mail Manual - PDF Version

    More anxiety and resulting misinformation has resulted from lawful firearms transactions than most any other consumer action conducted today. It’s important to understand the basic scope of the main federal firearms law regulating the sale and transfer of firearms whenever you find yourself engaged in buying and selling firearms and firearm-related items. The 1968 Gun Control Act, sometimes referred to as the ’68 GCA, is the major firearms law currently in force in the United States. It sets the minimum standards that state and other local firearms laws must follow. The main purpose of the ’68 GCA is the regulation of interstate firearms commerce. It establishes the Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) system that we know today and establishes standards of conduct for FFL holders. This same law also requires that most interstate firearms commerce must occur via an FFL holder.

    What the ’68 GCA does NOT do is provide regulation and standards of conduct for most firearms transactions between non-FFL holders or laypersons. These are governed primarily by laws enacted at the state and local level. (Laypersons are commonly referred to as “unlicensed persons” in BATFE literature.) Most of the ’68 GCA addresses conduct of business by licensees and many unlicensed persons mistakenly believe this is directed at their conduct as a gun owner.

    With regard to an unlicensed person making an interstate purchase or sale of a gun, this is what the ’68 GCA says:

    Ҥ 922 Unlawful acts.

    (a)It shall be unlawful—

    (3) for any person other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector to transport into or receive in the State where he resides (or if the person is a corporation or other business entity, the State where it maintains a place of business) any firearm purchased or otherwise obtained by such person outside that State, except that this paragraph (A) shall not preclude any person who lawfully acquires a firearm by bequest or intestate succession in a State other than his State of residence from transporting the firearm into or receiving it in that State, if it is lawful for such person to purchase or possess such firearm in that State, (B) shall not apply to the transportation or receipt of a firearm obtained in conformity with subsection (b) (3) of this section, and (C) shall not apply to the transportation of any firearm acquired in any State prior to the effective date of this chapter;

    (5) for any person (other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector) to transfer, sell, trade, give, transport, or deliver any firearm to any person (other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector) who the transferor knows or has reasonable cause to believe does not reside in (or if the person is a corporation or other business entity, does not maintain a place of business in) the State in which the transferor resides; except that this paragraph shall not apply to (A) the transfer, transportation, or delivery of a firearm made to carry out a bequest of a firearm to, or an acquisition by intestate succession of a firearm by, a person who is permitted to acquire or possess a firearm under the laws of the State of his residence, and (B) the loan or rental of a firearm to any person for temporary use for lawful sporting purposes;

    The first paragraph simply stated says:

    “It shall be unlawful…for any person other than a…licensed dealer…to…receive in the State where he resides…any firearm purchased or otherwise obtained…outside that State.” It means you may NOT legally purchase and directly receive a firearm from an out of state source unless you hold an FFL.

    The second paragraph simply stated says:

    ”It shall be unlawful…to… transfer…any firearm …to any person other than a…licensed dealer… who the transferor knows…does not reside in…the State in which the transferor resides…” It means you CANNOT transfer a firearm to someone who is not a resident of your state unless the buyer possesses an FFL.

    There is another part of that that I’ll touch on just briefly concerning buying long guns from an out-of-state FFL holder.

    Ҥ 922 Unlawful acts.

    (b) It shall be unlawful for any licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector to sell or deliver—

    (3) any firearm to any person who the licensee knows or has reasonable cause to believe does not reside in (or if the person is a corporation or other business entity, does not maintain a place of business in) the State in which the licensee's place of business is located, except that this paragraph (A) shall not apply to the sale or delivery of any rifle or shotgun to a resident of a State other than a State in which the licensee's place of business is located if the transferee meets in person with the transferor to accomplish the transfer, and the sale, delivery, and receipt fully comply with the legal conditions of sale in both such States (and any licensed manufacturer, importer or dealer shall be presumed, for purposes of this subparagraph, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, to have had actual knowledge of the State laws and published ordinances of both States), and (B) shall not apply to the loan or rental of a firearm to any person for temporary use for lawful sporting purposes;”

    I wanted to highlight this because it spells out that an unlicensed person may purchase a long gun from an out-of-state dealer in an in-person, over-the-counter transaction. If you’re on vacation to Jellystone and you see that cool new Benelli shotgun that no one back home had, you may buy it provided these terms are met:

    ”It shall be unlawful for any…licensed dealer…to sell…any firearm to any person who the licensee knows does not reside in the State in which the licensee's place of business is located, except that this…shall not apply to the sale…of any rifle or shotgun…if the transferee meets in person with the transferor to accomplish the transfer, and the sale, delivery, and receipt fully comply with the legal conditions of sale in both such States…”

    ATF Online - Publications - State Laws and Published Ordinances - Firearms, 2009 (30th Edition)

    Another part of the ’68 GCA that is misunderstood is the identification of an FFL holder. The ’68 GCA only makes provisions for the exchange of license copies by FFL holders, there is nothing to require or in any way legally compel an FFL holder to provide a copy of a license to an unlicensed person.

    This is what the ’68 GCA says with regard to providing copies of licenses:

    Ҥ 478.94 Sales or deliveries between licensees.

    A licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer selling or otherwise disposing of firearms, and a licensed collector selling or otherwise disposing of curios or relics, to another licensee shall verify the identity and licensed status of the transferee prior to making the transaction. Verification shall be established by the transferee furnishing to the transferor a certified copy of the transferee's license and by such other means as the transferor deems necessary: Provided, That it shall not be required (a) for a transferee who has furnished a certified copy of its license to a transferor to again furnish such certified copy to that transferor during the term of the transferee's current license, (b) for a licensee to furnish a certified copy of its license to another licensee if a firearm is being returned either directly or through another licensee to such licensee and (c) for licensees of multi-licensed business organizations to furnish certified copies of their licenses to other licensed locations operated by such organization: Provided further, That a multi-licensed business organization may furnish to a transferor, in lieu of a certified copy of each license, a list, certified to be true, correct and complete, containing the name, address, license number, and the date of license expiration of each licensed location operated by such organization, and the transferor transferor may sell or otherwise dispose of firearms as provided by this section to any licensee appearing on such list without requiring a certified copy of a license therefrom. A transferor licensee who has the certified information required by this section may sell or dispose of firearms to a licensee for not more than 45 days following the expiration date of the transferee's license.

    § 478.95 Certified copy of license.

    The license furnished to each person licensed under the provisions of this part contains a purchasing certification statement. This original license may be reproduced and the reproduction then certified by the licensee for use pursuant to § 478.94. If the licensee desires an additional copy of the license for certification (instead of making a reproduction of the original license), the licensee may submit a request, in writing, for a certified copy or copies of the license to the Chief, National Licensing Center. The request must set forth the name, trade name (if any) and address of the licensee, and the number of license copies desired. There is a charge of $1 for each copy. The fee paid for copies of the license must accompany the request for copies. The fee may be paid by (a) cash, or (b) money order or check made payable to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms."

    Simplified, it says this:

    ”A licensed dealer selling…firearms…to another licensee shall verify the identity and licensed status of the transferee prior to making the transaction. Verification shall be established by the transferee furnishing to the transferor a certified copy of the transferee's license and by such other means as the transferor deems necessary…” There is NO requirement under the ’68 GCA for an FFL holder to provide a copy of a license to an unlicensed person. An FFL holder at his discretion may do so, but there is no legal requirement stating such. An unlicensed person may use the BATFE’s FFL eZ Check to verify a license if this is a concern: ATF Online - Applications - FFL eZ Check

    Then there is the matter of shipping firearms. Unlicensed persons may use the United States Postal Service, UPS or Federal Express to ship long guns and UPS or Federal Express ONLY to ship handguns. (I’ll address what shipping options federal firearms licensees have later.) UPS and Federal Express each have a policy – this is their POLICY, NOT THE LAW – requiring handguns to be shipped via overnight. There is no law requiring overnight shipping services to be used, nor is there any law requiring you to notify anyone you’re shipping a firearm provided the recipient is a federal firearms licensee. This is what the ’68 GCA says about shipping firearms:

    "§ 922 Unlawful acts.

    (e) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to deliver or cause to be delivered to any common or contract carrier for transportation or shipment in interstate or foreign commerce, to persons other than licensed importers, licensed manufacturers, licensed dealers, or licensed collectors, any package or other container in which there is any firearm or ammunition without written notice to the carrier that such firearm or ammunition is being transported or shipped; except that any passenger who owns or legally possesses a firearm or ammunition being transported aboard any common or contract carrier for movement with the passenger in interstate or foreign commerce may deliver said firearm or ammunition into the custody of the pilot, captain, conductor or operator of such common or contract carrier for the duration of the trip without violating any of the provisions of this chapter. No common or contract carrier shall require or cause any label, tag, or other written notice to be placed on the outside of any package, luggage, or other container that such package, luggage, or other container contains a firearm."

    "§ 478.31 Delivery by common or contract carrier.

    (a) No person shall knowingly deliver or cause to be delivered to any common or contract carrier for transportation or shipment in interstate or foreign commerce to any person other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector, any package or other container in which there is any firearm or ammunition without written notice to the carrier that such firearm or ammunition is being transported or shipped: Provided, that any passenger who owns or legally possesses a firearm or ammunition being transported aboard any common or contract carrier for movement with the passenger in interstate or foreign commerce may deliver said firearm or ammunition into the custody of the pilot, captain, conductor or operator of such common or contract carrier for the duration of that trip without violating any provision of this part.

    (b) No common or contract carrier shall require or cause any label, tag, or other written notice to be placed on the outside of any package, luggage, or other container indicating that such package, luggage, or other container contains a firearm."

    Simply stated, it says this:

    "It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to deliver or cause to be delivered...to persons other than...licensed dealers...any package...in which there is any firearm...without written notice to the carrier that such firearm...is being...shipped..."

    You can save yourself a lot of headaches with UPS and Federal Express by opening up an account online. You can print, attach, and pay for shipping labels without having to stand in line or having to argue with a misinformed little person at one of their service counters. Accounts are free and you can either drop off or give to a driver when you’re ready to ship. (Scheduling a pickup is an extra expense you may want to avoid.)

    https://www.fedex.com/fcl/web/jsp/contac...ator=ss90705920

    https://www.ups.com/myups/registration?s...Module=Tracking

    The United States Postal Service (USPS) will accept long guns from unlicensed persons and handguns from federal firearms licensees:

    "11.3 Rifles and Shotguns

    Although unloaded rifles and shotguns not precluded by 11.1.1e and 11.1.2 are mailable, mailers must comply with the Gun Control Act of 1968, Public Law 90-618, 18 USC 921, et seq., and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, 27 CFR 178, as well as state and local laws. The mailer may be required by the USPS to establish, by opening the parcel or by written certification, that the gun is unloaded and not precluded by 11.1.1e

    11.4 Legal Opinions on Mailing Firearms

    Postmasters are not authorized to give opinions on the legality of any shipment of rifles or shotguns. Contact the nearest office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for further advice."

    12.1.5 Manufacturers, Dealers, and Importers

    Handguns may also be mailed between licensed manufacturers of firearms, licensed dealers of firearms, and licensed importers of firearms in customary trade shipments, or for repairing or replacing parts.

    12.1.6 Certificate of Manufacturers, Dealers, and Importers

    A federal firearms licensee manufacturer, dealer or importer need not file the affidavit under 12.1.4, but must file with the postmaster a statement on Form 1508 signed by the mailer that he or she is a licensed manufacturer, dealer or importer of firearms. The mailer must also state that the parcels containing handguns, or parts and components of handguns under 12.1.2d, are being mailed in customary trade shipments or contain such articles for repairing or replacing parts, and that to the best of their knowledge the addressees are licensed manufacturers, dealers or importers of firearms.

    PS 1508 for dealers: http://about.usps.com/forms/ps1508.pdf

    Should you need to find an FFL holder to receive a firearm, try here:

    GunBroker.com - FFL Holder Network
    Find An FFL Dealer

    SHIPPING FIREARMS TO CALIFORNIA

    Shipping to California has been the single biggest source of confusion for gun owners since the expiration of the AWB. THERE ARE NO SPECIAL REGULATIONS THAT APPLY TO UNLICENSED PERSONS WISHING TO SHIP TO CALIFORNIA. SIMPLY SHIP AS YOU WOULD TO A FEDERAL FIREARMS LICENSEE IN ANY OTHER STATE.

    Below is the text to section 27555 of the California Penal Code as it applies to FEDERAL FIREARMS LICENSEES wishing to ship firearms to California -- THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO AN UNLICENSED PERSON:

    "27555. (a) (1) Commencing July 1, 2008, a person who is licensed pursuant to Chapter 44 (commencing with Section 921) of Title 18 of the United States Code may not sell, deliver, or transfer a firearm to a person in California who is licensed pursuant to Chapter 44 (commencing with Section 921) of Title 18 of the United States Code unless, prior to delivery, the person intending to sell, deliver, or transfer the firearm obtains a verification number via the Internet for the intended sale, delivery, or transfer, from the Department of Justice."

    It states:

    "...a person who is licensed pursuant to Chapter 44...of Title 18 of the United States Code may not...transfer a firearm to a person in California who is licensed pursuant to Chapter 44...of Title 18 of the United States Code unless...the person intending to...transfer the firearm obtains a verification number via the Internet for the intended...transfer from the Department of Justice."

    CA Codes (pen:27500-27590)
    California Firearms Licensee Check System | State of California - Department of Justice - Kamala D. Harris Attorney General

    What this does is requires an FFL holder to verify the validity of the California FFL holder's license with the State of California prior to shipping a firearm there. It ONLY applies to FFL holders wishing to ship to California and has absolutely NO bearing on an unlicensed person.
     
  2. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    This is only a post to give some links and reading material. it is up to you to make the correct and legal decisions using your state and federal laws.
    [peep]
     
  3. STANGF150

    STANGF150 Knowledge Seeker

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