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Straw purchases of firearms can land you in jail

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2022 | Weapons Crimes |

Suppose you have a buddy who has always been there when you needed him. Recently, he approached you to ask a favor. He wants you to purchase a gun for him and then he will immediately buy it right back from you.

You think that sounds a bit odd, but you want to help your friend out if you can. When you ask why he can’t buy it himself outright, he mentions something about an old arrest 30 years ago that repeatedly pops up when he tries to buy a firearm. He was young and made a mistake one time as a teen. What could be the harm in assisting him with getting him a weapon for protection?

You could face jail time, for starters

What your friend is proposing is a straw sale — and it’s illegal. Any time a person buys a gun for another person who cannot legally acquire that weapon on their own, it’s known as a “straw” sale. There are good reasons why the person is barred from legally obtaining firearms. He may have a domestic violence conviction on his record, had been found to be mentally ill or is prohibited (like your friend) because of prior criminal convictions.

If you and your friend’s scheme gets exposed to authorities, as the original purchaser, you could be convicted of giving false statements on the Federal Firearms Transaction Record you filled out at the time of your purchase. It’s right there in black and white on the federal Form 4473: “If you are not the actual buyer, the dealer cannot transfer the firearm to you.”

Firearms dealers know to look for straw purchasers

While you might think that no one will ever suspect you of making a straw gun purchase, be aware that firearms sellers are familiar with the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s (NSSF) educational program, “Don’t Lie for the Other Guy.” If you suspect or detect an attempted straw purchase, keep in mind that the sellers are within their rights to refuse to assist with the transfer of a firearm to anybody for any reason.

Don’t become a victim

If you are facing gun or weapon charges, you deserve a stalwart defense to the charges. Learning more about Colorado and federal gun laws is a good place to start when building your defense.

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