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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone, new member and first post here.

I am an American citizen that lives in the UK. I am planning on purchasing a single action revolver online from a gun auction site in the U.S. My question is around the law re: whether a gun can be purchased online from outside the U.S. I don't plan on keeping the gun in the UK because UK law doesn't allow it except for in very specific situations. I plan on buying and keeping the gun in the U.S. to use when I come back to visit. Anyway, I'm not sure what the laws are around this kind of purchase or whether it's allowed at all. If the law doesn't permit it, can I have a family member purchase the gun in the U.S. and then gift it or sell to me after the fact? I'm just trying to figure out the best and most lawful way I can do this. Any advice and info is much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Do you have a permanent resident in the US in which you have a drivers license or passport with that address? If so, you will have to have the auction house or their agent send the firearm to a FFL in that state and you will have to take possession of it in person and fill out the necessary forms. Some states require you to have state issued gun licenses as well. Use this link to find out more.
Just an FYI, typically you cannot have a firearm shipped outside the US.
 

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100% of the time it is best to consult those persons or entities to whom you will be explaining yourself if you screw up.

Typically, a lawyer in the state of residence and the local of that residence will know the laws there. The ATF will also know the laws and can offer guidance as well. I’m pretty sure they take calls.

There are many knowledgeable people on online gun forums. Most of them will not be representing you in court.....

Alan
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Do you have a permanent resident in the US in which you have a drivers license or passport with that address? If so, you will have to have the auction house or their agent send the firearm to a FFL in that state and you will have to take possession of it in person and fill out the necessary forms. Some states require you to have state issued gun licenses as well. Use this link to find out more.
Just an FYI, typically you cannot have a firearm shipped outside the US.
Thanks. I definitely don't intend to have anything shipped to me overseas, unless i'm looking for trouble which i'm certainly not. I don't have an American ID with a valid address on it. I think I'm going to have to go down the road of having someone else purchase it and then sort out how to gift or sell the gun to me, if that's legal. Overall it sounds like it's going to be a pain in the but any other way. I have other guns that have been given to me (Shotgun and a 22 rifle) As far as I know there are no restrictions that I know of regarding gifting guns to someone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
100% of the time it is best to consult those persons or entities to whom you will be explaining yourself if you screw up.

Typically, a lawyer in the state of residence and the local of that residence will know the laws there. The ATF will also know the laws and can offer guidance as well. I’m pretty sure they take calls.

There are many knowledgeable people on online gun forums. Most of them will not be representing you in court.....

Alan
ATF is a very good idea. I want to stick to the letter of the law.
 

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Thanks. I definitely don't intend to have anything shipped to me overseas, unless i'm looking for trouble which i'm certainly not. I don't have an American ID with a valid address on it. I think I'm going to have to go down the road of having someone else purchase it and then sort out how to gift or sell the gun to me, if that's legal. Overall it sounds like it's going to be a pain in the but any other way. I have other guns that have been given to me (Shotgun and a 22 rifle) As far as I know there are no restrictions that I know of regarding gifting guns to someone.
Well that's going to depend on the type of gun and what state this is going to happen in along with the relation of the person doing the gifting. For instance here in NY you must obtain a pistol permit to buy, carry, shoot or even hold any type of handgun. Without a residence here or valid ID you can't get a pistol permit. I'm pretty sure there are at least several other states with similar laws. There are probably other Federal laws about you not being a resident or having a U.S. ID that will either hamper or forbid you to do what you want to but I'm not real familiar with laws for this type of situation. It's hard enough to keep up with the laws that pertain to me living in NY!
 

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If you don't have an American government issued ID, you're basically SOL. And having someone purchase the firearm for you (gift or not) is considered a "straw-man purchase" and illegal.

Do you return to the USA for any extended period of time? As an American citizen, your only hope is to return to the USA, re-establish residency, acquire the necessary government issued ID, and then purchase the firearm in question.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well that's going to depend on the type of gun and what state this is going to happen in along with the relation of the person doing the gifting. For instance here in NY you must obtain a pistol permit to buy, carry, shoot or even hold any type of handgun. Without a residence here or valid ID you can't get a pistol permit. I'm pretty sure there are at least several other states with similar laws. There are probably other Federal laws about you not being a resident or having a U.S. ID that will either hamper or forbid you to do what you want to but I'm not real familiar with laws for this type of situation. It's hard enough to keep up with the laws that pertain to me living in NY!
I have a US ID but I no longer live at that address. I think I'll be getting a family member in Florida to purchase the gun and just keep it in their name until I can figure out all the logistics, laws and paperwork required to make it legally mine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If you don't have an American government issued ID, you're basically SOL. And having someone purchase the firearm for you (gift or not) is considered a "straw-man purchase" and illegal.

Do you return to the USA for any extended period of time? As an American citizen, your only hope is to return to the USA, re-establish residency, acquire the necessary government issued ID, and then purchase the firearm in question.
I have the Government issued ID just not the residence because I live in the UK now. Good to know about the straw man purchase thing. I don't want to mess about with the law at all.
 

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Jesus Saves
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Thanks. I definitely don't intend to have anything shipped to me overseas, unless i'm looking for trouble which i'm certainly not. I don't have an American ID with a valid address on it.
You answered your own question.

With all due respect, this seems shady to me. You know the answer. You cannot make a legal purchase. Quit trying to bypass the law.
 

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You answered your own question.

With all due respect, this seems shady to me. You know the answer. You cannot make a legal purchase. Quit trying to bypass the law.
No, he's made it clear that he wants everything up front, clear and legal. If he hadn't, this thread would have been shut down yesterday when I first read it. No need to panic, Zig! :)

He CAN transfer it legally to his own name, he's just going to have to come to the states to do it. And gyrate a bit to establish residency, etc.

All too many people misunderstand who can actually purchase a firearm. Read the 4473 AND the instructions and it will clarify, quite well, what you have to do to qualify to buy a firearm. Most people don't read the instructions to the 4473 so they have no clue and it always comes out in threads like this. Just because my daddy said you have to be a U.S. citizen to buy a firearm, doesn't make it so. And it isn't so. Non-citizens CAN by firearms if they are legal residents and can prove it.

Also, you CAN buy a firearm for the purpose of gifting it to someone else but the intent has to be clear. In this case, it's a little fuzzy, especially if the BATFE gets wind of THIS thread! Ergo, it's clearly not a gift in the trust sense of the word and would be considered a straw man purchase. We all know that and so does the OP, apparently. No worries there.

But, if someone buys a firearm and then sells it to someone else, legally, that may or may not be a straw man purchase but you can easily circumvent any questions about it by doing the transfer via an FFL. Problem solved. Assuming he passes the NICS.

Again, make no mistake, if it were a blatant attempt to promote an illegal purchase or to ask how to do it illegally, we wouldn't allow it on this forum, to be sure.

--Wag--
 
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What Wag mentions about gifting a firearm reminds me of that December 2020 day when I was at Bass Pro picking up a new rifle and a lady and her 10 yr old son was sitting at the table next to me filling out the dreaded form. The kid had the new Henry 22 golden boy out swinging it around looking down the sights and at first, I smiled, but then started to ask myself, where was his Dad, who was going to instruct him. Couldn't help to think of Sandy Hook. I asked the mom where they lived, Condo on the Beach was the answer. Where did she plan to teach him to shoot, safety, etc. Was going to look around was the answer. I know my Dad had that all worked out before I got that shotgun.
 

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Jesus Saves
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My antenna ears may be a bit to sensitive this morning.


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My antenna ears may be a bit to sensitive this morning.


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No worries. For all intents and purposes, better to be safe than sorry.

--Wag--
 

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I worked for FFLs in Central Texas, Austin and the Ft Hood area before I retired. There are a lot of foreign nationals that want to buy guns. And some can legally. It depends on what Country they are from mostly. Some Countries will not even let their citizens buy here and leave them here.
Even at the places I worked, I was the only one that would even take the time to learn how to sell to them. It is a little more involved than for a U.S. citizen. A fair amount of them were from the UK and other countries in Europe where they can not possess them at home but can while here.

In the OP's situation, my best recommendation, contact the ATF. For the most part, the rank and file just want things done correctly. It makes their job easier. As a rule they are more than happy to tell you what you can not do and how to do what you can do legally. It saves them a lot of paperwork later.

Good luck to the OP.

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And to any that are considering a personal sale to a foreign national, same thing. But I will add this.
Talk to the State Attorney General's Office for your State as well as the ATF. Some States have a very different set of laws concerning who you can make a personal sale of firearms to and what types they can be in possession of.
What may seem legal, or illegal, is not always so and varies a lot frome State to State.

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
You answered your own question.

With all due respect, this seems shady to me. You know the answer. You cannot make a legal purchase. Quit trying to bypass the law.
Quite the opposite! I'm trying to everything I can to make sure I stay within the letter of the law. The whole point of this post was to try and get as much info as I can so I don't go into the process totally ignorant and get my self into unintended trouble.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I worked for FFLs in Central Texas, Austin and the Ft Hood area before I retired. There are a lot of foreign nationals that want to buy guns. And some can legally. It depends on what Country they are from mostly. Some Countries will not even let their citizens buy here and leave them here.
Even at the places I worked, I was the only one that would even take the time to learn how to sell to them. It is a little more involved than for a U.S. citizen. A fair amount of them were from the UK and other countries in Europe where they can not possess them at home but can while here.

In the OP's situation, my best recommendation, contact the ATF. For the most part, the rank and file just want things done correctly. It makes their job easier. As a rule they are more than happy to tell you what you can not do and how to do what you can do legally. It saves them a lot of paperwork later.

Good luck to the OP.

Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
Thanks for this. Talking to the State Department and ATF seems to be the consensus so far to make sure all the right boxes are checked and procedures followed.

Oh and just for the sake of asking, Are their restrictions re: transporting guns over state borders? My uncle has given me a couple of rifles and I need to transport them by car from Missouri to Florida. Better to ask here than start another thread.

Thanks again.
 

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We're kinda spooked. That's too bad. Waaay too much is being made of this.

Anyone who can legally purchase a firearm in The USA can purchase a firearm and, later, sell/give it to anyone not bared from firearms ownership. Its federal law. Neither the ATFE nor the State Department nor local law enforcement need be involved (especially in Florida).

If one of your kinfolk or a neighbor decides they want the same revolver you happen to be looking at and purchases it, sobeit. If they later decide to sell/give it to you, its legal so long as you properly fill out the required paperwork.

US citizenship still has benefits.
 
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