The Knox Update
From the Firearms Coalition
(Manassas, VA, December 2, 2009) Anyone who does not hold an FFL and sells a firearm to someone he doesn’t know well is incurring a certain amount of liability. And, a bit of bad judgment could cause trouble not just for the seller, but for the rest of the gun owning community as well. There is no question that individuals have the right to buy, sell, and trade firearms between themselves without government infringement. But there are laws on the books and failing to know and follow them is just asking for trouble. A prudent trader will take into account not only the legal technicalities, but the political environment also.
Title 18, Section 922 of the U.S. Code, the 1968 Gun Control Act, covers sales and transfer of guns. The law forbids transfers between residents of different states except through an FFL in the buyer's state. Of course it is also illegal for a federally “prohibited person” – a felon, fugitive, someone dishonorably discharged from the service, etc. – to purchase a firearm from anyone, FFL dealer or not. If the seller has any indication that the prospective buyer is a “prohibited person,” selling the gun is a crime. It is also illegal for anyone to purchase a firearm on behalf of someone else – even if that someone else could legally purchase it himself – and a seller can again be held criminally responsible if they had any indication that such a “straw” transaction was taking place.