New gun / Ammo law talk

Just so everyone knows; with regard to the news stories about Obama’s “executive actions” on guns, basically nothing is changing, and Obama is just pandering to the anti-gun left. He simply wants the ATF / FBI to more vigorously spend time pursuing who is or is not “engaged in the business of selling” as far as deeming who had ought to get an FFL license, which has been defined for a long long time in federal law as: “someone who devotes time, attention, and labor to selling firearms as a regular course of trade with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of firearms”. The term “with principal objective of livelihood & profit” is further defined as: “the intent underlying the sale or disposition of firearms is predominantly one of obtaining livelihood through pecuniary gain, as opposed to other intents such as improving or liquidating a personal firearms collection”.

This firearms law is for determining who had ought to be required to have an FFL license, and who had not, and applies equally to an ammunition manufacturer, importer, distributor, etc… NOTHING is changing in the law however, although I am sure Obama and some in his administration would like for the definitions to be more loosely interpreted by the ATF / IRS so as to produce some seemingly meaningful enforcement action as a plausible success.

So basically if you sell guns/ammo locally (person to person) via Facebook or through local classifieds, then you are perfectly fine, and absolutely nothing has changed so long as you are not deriving your principal livelihood or earnings from being a regular gun seller all of the time. Even if you somehow do earn a disproportionate amount from selling guns from time to time, there is an out allowed if it is for the purposes of “trading up” or selling & then buying another gun for your collection (improving your collection), or if you are just doing a one-off liquidation of a firearm collection. << This applies to ammo sales as well, so collectors are seemingly fine, always have been, and are not tracked by the government other than the IRS which generically & randomly audits various persons to determine where significant amounts of income are derived from, “significant” being the operative word. The ATF / FBI presently, and always have had their hands full with real criminals, or people doing illegal machine guns, etc, and I can’t imagine how this will function any more than it already does, aside from possibly a few token enforcements against egregious violators.

Matt- Don’t be so hasty with your assessment until you see the actual language of the Executive order, and the new BATFE regulations, which will probably be released today.

Presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett yesterday stated that selling “even one gun”, or “one or two” could require having a FFL.

Not having the FFL can result in a felony conviction and serious prison time.

To get a FFL, a seller must be “engaged in the business” and have business premises open to the public, properly zoned for gun sales, with business and sales tax licenses, and permission of the chief local law enforcement officer.

Having a FFL makes your entire premises open to unannounced inspections by BATFE agents.

Let’s see what the devilish details are before we dismiss this as “nothing new” and not a threat. I am not nearly as optimistic, and see this carefully orchestrated roll out and sales campaign filled with deception and falsehoods to pass their agenda.

Remember, anything that is “gun control” is closely related to “ammunition control.”

A lot of this is based on “closing the gun show loophole to expand background checks.” However, when 77,000 felons, abusers or crazies illegal attempt to buy guns but only 44 are prosecuted that tells us that it is not about keeping guns away from criminals, but something else.

And to further confuse the issue, simply having an “FFL” does not necessarily allow the holder to “engage in the business.” There are FFls and then there are other FFLs. The one I have is a Type 3 - Collector of Curios and Relics. It clearly states in bold type that “the license does not authorize the holder to engage in the business of dealing in any firearm.” But it does allow me to buy a C&R firearm from Spangler’s excellent web site and have him ship it directly to me. The FFL is silent on ammunition, or, thank God, books about firearms and ammunition.

Here is a link to the 15 page document just released by BATFE:

Everyone please read all 15 pages before discussing further.

The ATF cannot make new regulations or laws, they can only enforce, or offer interpretations via the technology branch. Obama wants them to firm up certain interpretations during his last 11 months to try and get some kind of token enforcement going, and he is counting on his Treasury secretary Jack Lew to get something going.

For Valerie Jarrett to say that “even one gun” can cause a person to be a “dealer”, is perhaps technically true in a mathematics sense, but would probably require that the gun cost 10’s of thousands of dollars, and that the sale be for pecuniary gain, and not a collection liquidation. Their whole thing is just waaayy way off from 99.999% of legal person-to-person gun sales. I am sure there are violators out there, but they are at a level which is violating already existing laws and can be enforced at the discretion of the federal agencies, which thus far, has been a screaming silence of non-concern. Just like I witness violators of ammunition sales laws go unattended on daily basis, even though they are visible out in the open online. And just like the “solvent traps” which are painfully easy to convert to unregistered suppressors which are impossible to track & enforce - the enforcement just isn’t there.

I feel this whole thing is political legerdemain / jiu-jitsu designed to get the conservatives to line up squarely behind the NRA so that they will be painted as “gun-mongors” for the general election coming next year, which the liberals believe will poll negatively for conservatives, and shows what I believe to be their very accurate concern that the next president will be a pro 2nd amendment conservative.

As to the requirements of an FFL holder, it will all depend on the prosecutor’s definition of the phrase “doing business”. Mel is spot-on concerning the differences between an 01 and an 03 FFL. In addition, state laws are often much more relevant to gun transfers thatn federal regulations. Obama’s actions shouldn’t have any effect on state laws.

I read the whole thing, and it sounds as if they are laying out all the technical potential scenarios of whom might be enforced against in so far as gun sellers who buy & resell for profit at flea markets, or on Gunbroker or other online sites. None of it is anything new, except for the vigor with which they might pursue offenders I suppose if Jack Lew & James Comey press hard enough with the woefully insufficient 11 months they have left before being flushed by a new admin. The issue I see is enforcement - it would take an army to track down & determine who is doing what. But that’s just guns.

Luckily, I came across this at an ATF link for an application for a federal firearms license (#1140-0018), which plainly states that “ammunition sales alone do not require a license”, so that is pleasantly black & white enough for me, thank goodness:

The “catch-22” is in there. They now say gun show “dealers” must have a FFL, whereas since the Clinton Administration the BATFE has denied FFLs for gun show sales only.

The requirement is restated (see page 9) that to get a FFL you must have licensed premises, properly zoned, and appropriate business licenses, and approval from local top cop. So, unless you have a store front, you cannot get a FFL.

Clearly an attempt to stretch the definition of “dealer/ engaged in the business” to the limit to intimidate as many people as possible into not selling guns at all, as defense against a federal charge of “being engaged in the business without a FFL” will cost many tens of thousands of dollars.

Why the push to increase the number of background checks when in 2010 some 77,000 people failed background checks, but only 44 were prosecuted? This is not about stopping criminals.

Not really to the point of the forum, but what do you call someone who sets up at gunshows for the express purpose of selling firearms for profit, not for the enhancement of their collection?
And what do you call an 03 Collector who buys 10 of the same firearm and then turns around and sells 9 of them?
I would consider both to be a “dealer involved in the sale of firearms for profit”.
I think both of those two categories will be most affected by any new enforcement efforts. I am not implying that they are the cause of armed criminality, but they are operating outside of both the letter and the intent of current firearms law.
And this “unless you have a store front, you cannot get a FFL” is not really accurate. I know a few FFLs that do not have a store front. What they do have is a house that happens to be in an area zoned for business or mixed use. You can’t have a business in an area zoned for just residential purposes.

Even if I agree in principal with all of the worst-case scenario concerns about this tough talk from the administration, the fact remains that there is only 11 months left for the current FBI / ATF heads (under Obama) to do things his way, with the ferocity he has expressed (since no actual laws are changing - just initiatives). That is barely enough time to even begin any serious investigations and then develop trends where they might claim a person in “engaged in the business of”, never mind that our agencies are currently swamped with plenty of legitimate serious activity to monitor. With the presumption of a Republican in office next year, the priorities, department heads, and initiatives will all shift, but I don’t think the agencies will have time to even change much from current enforcement. But if Clinton or Sanders are elected, then collectors may have far more to worry about then this minor enforcement shift with regard to ammunition & guns.