Last night my wife and I had dinner with some friends, and my buddy was surprised when I dispelled some of the myths about buying a gun. I’ve had similar conversations with other friends who held various misconceptions about buying/selling guns. So it dawned on me that what he and many people believe is perpetrated either by lies from certain public officials or hollywood. So, as a Federal Firearms Licensed Dealer, I thought I’d take some time to publish some facts.
MYTH #1 THERE'S A LOOPHOLE THAT ALLOWS ANYONE TO JUST BUY A GUN ON THE INTERNET
Fact: While anyone can order a gun off the internet the actual transfer of the gun must take place through a Federal Firearms Licensed Dealer. The gun can not be shipped directly to the purchaser. The FFL dealer on the distant end takes the responsibility of ensuring the form 4473 (gun transfer form) is filled out correctly and that the purchaser passes the federal NICS background check. If the purchaser fails the background check the firearm may not be transferred and the firearm is transferred back to the selling dealer. Here’s where it gets really interesting, most stores have an all sales final clause when purchasing a gun. So the seller has a choice at this point of keeping both the money and firearm, refunding the money, or finally working with the purchaser to get the issue cleared up. Odds are that if the purchaser knowingly tried to illegally purchase the firearm because they were a prohibited purchaser, they just lost both their money and firearm.
Myth #2 THE FBI HAS A GIANT DATABASE OF EVERY GUN YOU OWN
Fact: ATF seems to prefer a pen and paper log book. They allow an FFL dealer to utilize a computerized log book system. However, they have very stringent backup requirements and periodic hard copy printing requirements. I guess they don’t want anyone to delete records like some public officials delete emails to pretend it never happened. I don’t think any FFL dealer would get the same leniency as a certain presidential candidate did if they deleted log entries. The 4473’s aren’t transferred and the pen and paper log book aren’t uploaded to to a giant FBI database.
Now, that’s not to say they can’t track down the gun. Since FFL dealers are required to maintain their records for the life of the business, and once the business is shuttered, the logs must be turned over to the ATF, so there’s a permanent trail somewhere of where the firearm has been transferred. At any time, the government can trace the ownership of a firearm from the manufacturer to the final transferee.
Myth #3 IT'S EASIER FOR A TEENAGER TO GET HIS HANDS ON A GLOCK THAN A COMPUTER OR EVEN A BOOK
Fact: Well let’s face it, the idiot who said that one wasn’t even trying to base that myth in fact. It was an outright lie and he must have known it, but we’ve all come to expect that by now haven’t we? I mean really think about it. Did he really think we’ve never heard of a little something called a Library? A library where you have access to both computers AND books all at the same place? Surely he’s not so daft to think a Library would be a novel concept. Or as usual was he ignoring the laws that already stand on the books (yes I like puns)? An FFL dealer may not sell a firearm to any one under the age of 21. They may sell a firearm to an Active Duty military person age 18 or older. Furthermore, in the state of Texas, it’s a Class C misdemeanor if someone age 17 or younger gains unsupervised access to a firearm. That charge goes to a Class A misdemeanor if anyone gets injured due to that person getting unsupervised access to the firearm.
Finally it’s a federal felony to perform a straw purchase . What’s a straw purchase? A straw purchase is when you knowingly sell or transfer a firearm to one one person who intends to give it to another person.