Can You Legally Buy a Gun for Someone Else?

MikeGLaw
can you legally buy a gun for someone else, Can You Legally Buy a Gun for Someone Else?

Purchasing a firearm for someone else is not necessarily illegal. Still, the purchase intent and adherence to state laws can determine whether the purchase/transfer of the firearm is legal. 

So, is it legal to buy a gun from someone? Florida deems it perfectly acceptable to purchase a gun as a gift, and the process is simple. However, gun laws in other states can complicate this process if the receiver is a resident of another state. 

Read on for an in-depth look at the question, “Is it illegal to buy a gun for someone else?”

Inform Yourself of Gun Purchasing Laws in Your State

It is important to take a look at gun purchasing laws in both the state of the purchaser and receiver. Purchasing a gun for someone else is legally allowed as long as state laws are being followed. Neglecting the rules of one state is what gets people in trouble. 

The state of Florida is lenient when it comes to purchasing a firearm for someone else. It requires no gun registry and no paperwork is necessary to comply with state law. This applies whether the gift is for someone in the state or someone who lives outside of Florida. Most states, however, are not as lenient. Make sure before purchasing a firearm for a friend that you carefully check the state and local laws, as the laws vary by state.

Before you purchase a firearm as a gift, you must be able to answer the following questions:

  • Can the recipient of the gift legally own a firearm in their state?
  • Do they need to have a firearms license?
  • How am I going to get it to them?

There are many stipulations to this transaction that could turn a thoughtful present into a legal battle. You, as the giver of the gift, will not be liable for any crime or reports of the firearm being stolen if you have proof that you are no longer in possession of the gun. 

This can be done by writing down the gun’s serial number with the type of firearm and the date along with the recipient’s signature. 

Are There Instances Where Gifting a Gun is Illegal?

When is it illegal to buy a gun for someone else? Instances include straw purchasing and illegal transferring.

Straw purchasing is when the buyer does not disclose the recipient’s identity, so a background check cannot be performed on the true owner of the gun purchased. Lying on an application to a licensed dealer is also illegal and will result in you being arrested and convicted for making false statements under the straw purchaser law. Even if the recipient has a clean background, providing false information is enough to justify conviction in court. 

Star purchases are illegal because federal law criminalizes false statements that have been made to a licensed dealer when a firearm is purchased. Gifting a gun between two private parties in separate states is also illegal. You can sell a firearm to someone in another state, but it must be done through a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL). 

Transferring a firearm to someone out of state requires sending it to a FFL, so a background check can be done before a transfer can be completed. Attempting to bypass this law is considered a serious federal crime.

Are There Limitations to Gifting a Gun?

If you are shipping a firearm to another state after adhering to all state laws, you have a few options for getting it to the recipient. If you adhere to all state laws regarding the purchase, limitations surrounding the transfer process of the gift will begin your next set of steps. 

The United States Postal Service (USPS) does not allow the shipment of handguns, but the United Parcel Service (UPS) and FedEx do. All three carriers will ship rifles as long as the carrier is notified. And, keep in mind that the firearm cannot be loaded. 

Additional rules for shipping a firearm:

  • The carrier must be informed that the package contains a firearm.
  • The firearm cannot be loaded when being shipped.
  • Ammunition must be shipped separately.

So, is it illegal to buy a gun for someone else? In most cases it’s not as long as you’re adhering to state laws in both the purchaser and receivers states. If you’re being charged with a firearm charge, contact Mike G Law to discuss whether the charge goes against your Second Amendment rights and how you can fight it in court.

Know the Law Before Gifting a Gun

Gifting a firearm to someone you know or suspect may be prohibited is a serious federal crime. If convicted of supplying a firearm to a convicted felon, a person can face prison time and thousands of dollars in fees. 

Some states like California, Colorado, and New York require a transfer of ownership within the state to be done through licensed dealers. Unlicensed transfers in these states are highly illegal and result in legal consequences. 

You can legally gift someone a firearm, but purchasing it for them is a crime. A gift implies that you’re using your own money and are not being compensated for the transaction in any way. If the recipient is offering something of value as compensation for the transaction to be made, you are taking part in a straw purchase.

Now, is it illegal to buy a gun for someone else? No. But providing and transferring a gun to someone who is legally prohibited from owning and possessing one is a federal crime that results in punishment for the purchaser and the recipient. 

You may be wondering – is it illegal to buy a gun for someone else in my situation? Although gifting a gun in Florida is not illegal, it’s recommended to keep documentation of an in-state transfer if the firearm you purchased is involved in a crime.

There are many laws you must abide by when purchasing and transferring a firearm out of the state. If you think you may have committed a crime, you need to contact a reputable lawyer immediately. Give Mike G Law a call today for more information about your case.

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