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Private Gun Sales – No Questions Asked No Sale – Protecting Gun Shows
By Jeff Knox

FirearmsCoalition.org

FirearmsCoalition.org

Manassas, VA, - -(AmmoLand.com)- Anyone who does not hold an FFL and sells a firearm to someone he doesn’t know well is incurring a certain amount of liability. And, a bit of bad judgment could cause trouble not just for the seller, but for the rest of the gun owning community as well. There is no question that individuals have the right to buy, sell, and trade firearms between themselves without government infringement. But there are laws on the books and failing to know and follow them is just asking for trouble. A prudent trader will take into account not only the legal technicalities, but the political environment also.

Title 18, Section 922 of the U.S. Code, the 1968 Gun Control Act, covers sales and transfer of guns. The law forbids transfers between residents of different states except through an FFL in the buyer’s state. Of course it is also illegal for a federally “prohibited person” – a felon, fugitive, someone dishonorably discharged from the service, etc. – to purchase a firearm from anyone, FFL dealer or not. If the seller has any indication that the prospective buyer is a “prohibited person,” selling the gun is a crime. It is also illegal for anyone to purchase a firearm on behalf of someone else – even if that someone else could legally purchase it himself – and a seller can again be held criminally responsible if they had any indication that such a “straw” transaction was taking place.

Any sale in violation of the 1968 Gun Control Act and its subsequent amendments exposes traders to serious criminal liability – as much as five years and $5,000 for every violation. And when those sales happen at a gun show it does grave harm to the gun show industry and the entire Second Amendment movement.

Given the legislative threats and the political climate – with Bloomberg and his anti-gun mayors, the Brady Bunch, and various reporters and other scoundrels routinely targeting gun shows with hidden cameras and sting operations – it is wise for traders and gun show promoters to engage in some self-regulation to keep the government from coming in and doing the regulating for us. The trick is to solve, or at least mitigate the problem without creating worse problems in the process.

As with most problems, the solution here begins with education, so smart gun show promoters are making an effort to make sure that everyone selling at their shows understands the basics of the laws. The next step is procedural: Making sure sellers always ask the tough questions and get clear answers. Some promoters are solving that problem with a simple form issued to non-FFL sellers. A good form is like an abbreviated 4473. It informs the buyer of the legal requirements while it asks them disqualifying questions and collects identifying information. The seller keeps the part with the drivers license number and signature, the buyer gets a part with the sellers ID as a receipt, and the gun show checks receipts at the door. Nobody else gets a copy. By mandating use of such forms gun show promoters protect themselves and their business as well as providing some legal cover for their sellers. Since there is no government involvement and no centralized storage of records, the privacy of both buyer and seller are also protected.

Most sellers won’t make a sale if they catch a hint of impropriety, and smart sellers always take down the buyer’s drivers license information as a precaution. But not all sellers are that prudent. A foolish few think they are “safe” if they take a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach, avoiding any question of the buyers’ legal status and studiously not noticing if the buyer says something that might indicate ineligibility. They delude themselves. Even though it is highly unlikely that a buyer is breaking the law or that a particular gun will ever be remotely connected to a crime, that rare exception can not just ruin your day, it can ruin your decade, and provide ammo to the enemy. Anyone making a private sale to anyone they don’t know well should always get a signed statement of eligibility and a drivers license number. Buyers should be concerned about identifying the seller as well, just in case.

The public’s lack of understanding of the so-called gun show loophole issue, and the complexity of trying to explain it, has placed gun shows and all private transactions in the political crosshairs. If gun show promoters, exhibitors, and attendees don’t accelerate efforts to mitigate the issue, the gun shows – and all private transfers – could be just a fond memory in the not too distant future.

About:
The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition is a project of Neal Knox Associates, Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.org .

  • 15 User comments to “Private Gun Sales – No Questions Asked No Sale – Protecting Gun Shows”

    1. Howard Krebs on December 19, 2009 at 4:43 AM said:

      Dear Mr. Knox;

      Repeal the 1968 gun control act, quit supporting it. Your, “trying to meet them half way attitude” is sickening.

      Sincerely,

      Howard Krebs

    2. I must agree with the above comment Repeal the 1968 Gun Control Act.

      Jeff Knox it was your father that lead the revolt at the NRA convention in 1978 over the NRA’s compromise on the 1968 GCA.

      Gun control doesn’t work and playing games with our rights is wrong.

    3. Jack Paper on December 23, 2009 at 7:34 AM said:

      All of the laws you cited are patently unconstitutional, read that ILLEGAL. Each person will have to decide how he will deal with that conundrum. For me, obeying unconstitutional laws is to become another sheep for the traitorous tyrants who passed them. Therefor, I will not obey them.

    4. I would simply like to be able to purchase whatever gun I please…whenever I please…wherever I please…with 6 grandsons growing up nd living here in the country in California, it sucks that the laws prohibit me from buying, and teaching my Grandsons, how to hunt or just target shoot.

      So I had a beef 25years ago…so what…why does the Law think they can take control away from me because of one mistake…They want to change generations…It just isn’t right…at what point do they believe somebody has actually become responsible again?…according to them…never…and that my gun owner friends is wrong!
      Makes me want to leave this state…and move into another where I can actually own a gun to protect, hunt, or whatever I would like…Blessings

    5. To Mr. Krebs et al:

      Neither my brother Jeff nor I, nor does The Firearms Coalition as a body “support” the 1968 Gun Control Act. Jeff and I know more than most people about GCA ’68 and I can state categorically that the 1977 Cincinnati Revolt had precious little to do with it. That NRA members’ uprising did indeed lead to the reforms of the law embodied in the 1986 McClure-Volkmer Firearms Owners Protection Act which was written at Dad’s conference table with his guidance, but the Gun Control Act was not the primary motivation in Cincinnati.

      Complying with a law is not the same as opposing it politically.

      Violating a federal law with felony penalties as a protest is a risky and irresponsible, not to mention futile, form of protest. It’s risky and irresponsible because it can land you in jail leaving your family destitute; futile because, being a federal felony, you aren’t going to make it public. So the protest is the political equivalent of a single tree falling in a forest.

      Complying with the law does not imply agreement with its provisions.

      Chris Knox

    6. “A good form is like an abbreviated 4473. It informs the buyer of the legal requirements while it asks them disqualifying questions and collects identifying information. The seller keeps the part with the drivers license number and signature, the buyer gets a part with the sellers ID as a receipt, and the gun show checks receipts at the door. Nobody else gets a copy.”

      So now the seller has a key piece of your personal identification information and an easy to scan/copy version of your signature. You better hope they choose to not make use of it when stopped by the police, shopping online, etc.

      This is only one small step better than the 4473 form, and the whole GCA is one of many things we need our new legislature in 2010 to work on.

    7. Hey, the writer of this article would make a great communist or socialist (democrat or republican). Just an outstanding supporter of gun control. I would say someone like this would be uninformed but that would be stupid on my part as this is obviously written by someone who hates the constitution and all it stands for. BATFE operative would be my guess.

    8. LOL … FYI Jeff Knox is definitely not a communist and is in fact a great supporter of the Constitution and the second amendment. You may disagree but calling him an ATF operative is a huge insult to the man.

    9. I an a disabled veteran, I can’t believe how much trouble I’m getting trying to buy a firearm
      !!!!!
      WHY? I have millitary training shot a M2 50cal
      fully auto, a mark 19 gernade fully auto, and carried a 9mm beretta,m-4 fully auto with 3 round burst. WHY am I having so much trouble

    10. luvzforplay on November 30, 2012 at 4:20 PM said:

      I remember before all the gun control bull started , a person could walk into an Army Navy store and buy an M-1, M-14 or a .45 automatic extremely cheap I think the M-14s were maybe 75 bucks , no waiting period give the guy the money and walk out with your Army surplus firearm. There wasn’t people being gunned down in high schools, or roberys back then either . I think politcs have got so many rules that people are getting a little nuts. Lighten up Big Government lets get back to where big brother didn’t worry about the advrage man on the street or how much he was making . Gun control is like the war on drugs you dummies are wageing , All you managed to do is drive the prices up so much that everyone wants what they can’t have and the guys at the top (the cartels) don’t want things legalized, because it would put them out of business and save the taxpayer billions on a lostr cause you will never win .

    11. lawrence[larry]lattanzio on December 18, 2012 at 1:08 PM said:

      I’m looking for an auto rifle[ both semi and auto cpapable]. I’m liscensed in Florida to carry. Have extensive training as a combat paratrooper in Nam 65-66. Is this possible? Also will need the ammo if you want. A 9mm type would be prefered so my handguns can share ammo but not a dealbreaker. 239-682-6803

    12. MR663910 on January 19, 2013 at 4:59 PM said:

      I am a former Marine Sgt, attached to 1st Battalion/7 Marines. I trained for over 8 years and carried an m1911 lock and loaded and was trained in the use of Deadly Force. I received 4 Rifle expert awards for marksman ship. Dealt with 50 cals, grenade launchers, kabars, bayonets, laws you nameit . But here I stand in the Island of Puerto Rico stripped of all my rights and cannot get a permit to carry even a knife let alone a pistol or revolver or an AR15 or a shotgun. I can’t even get one for home defense to protect my family. And home envasions are big here like car jacking is. You see is not within the monetary means of the commoner to acquire a permit, I have to file that’s $200.00 wait 6 months to a year for an answer which may not come, hire a lawyer to acompany me to the courts to have a look over by the judge and a wiat for a conclusion to be drawn which adds high expenditures into the thousands and then I may not even get the permit. If I do I have to take a safety class, been there done that, then join a shooting range club, been there done that, which also cost alot of money plus fork out the cash for the weapon or weapons of my chose. There are no civil right here although it is a COMMONWEALTH OF THE USA and falls under Federal Jurisdiction. Violence is astronomical people are scared to come out at nite. Which force people to break the law and acquire a weapon through the black market, puttin at risk his or hers liberty and being fined, I thought the whole idea of our fore fathers was liberty the right to bear arms? The only people here that are armed to the tea are the deliquents, drug dealers thieves, rappest, gangs organized crime and the police who are all corrupt.

      So much for time served defending liberty and justice for all for which it stands in a pile
      of bullshit for all civilians and US citizens.

      You may ask well why would you want to live in Puerto Rico, I don’t but as a disabled Marine and with the amount of funds I receive each month I barely get buy. What’s wrong with this picture. “And we the people bla bla bla is nothing but a farce. And I bought into it.
      SEMPER FI to my former Marines and those serving.

    13. Ted M on May 8, 2013 at 2:17 AM said:

      Hi,

      I need to get a gun now because IM handling some problem property starting tomorrow.

      I don’t have time to wait weeks for the guns and ammo to get back in stock and then more weeks for all the other paper work and additional wait time they want.

      I would like to get a revolver 357 with at least 6 rounds.

      I have a 1000.00$ dollars ready to go.

      Best Regards
      Sincerely,
      Ted
      650-325-9861

    14. No thanks on August 9, 2014 at 2:32 AM said:

      Can anyone point to a legal case wherein a person was found either criminally or civilly culpable for selling a gun to a stranger in a state where that is legal? Can anyone cite a legal case where a person was exonerated from criminal or civil culpability because he had the buyer fill out a homemade form?

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