Legal Process of Purchasing, Gifting Firearms for Someone Else
HARLINGEN – Guns may be on some people’s holiday shopping list.
Buying one for someone else in the state of Texas is legal. The process of buying for yourself or someone else is the same.
First, a person would need to complete formal paperwork through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Next, they’d need to complete a federal background check.
There's only one stipulation that could land you in hot water.
“You as the purchaser, you as the gift giver needs to know that person can or can’t have that gift,” said Rio Grande Valley gun store owner Brian Guerra.
Buying a gun for someone who is banned from legally purchasing one themselves is called a straw purchase.
It's a federal felony and could land you in prison for up to ten years.
“So for instance, if you know someone who’s in a gang or a drug trafficking organization and they’re a convicted felon, and you’re buying the gun on their behalf, but on the question you’re filling on that the form is for you,” said ATF spokesperson Nicole Strong.
If someone is buying a gun for someone they know can legally own one in the United States and they're still uneasy with the process, there are a few options you can take to protect yourself.
The first option is drafting an agreement between yourself and the gift receiver.
Describe the exchange of ownership; include things like their driver's license number and the gun’s serial number and have the person sign it.
“So then if the gun is used in a crime and the police come back and ask questions about where it goes, you’re going to be able to have that answer for them,” said Strong.
The easiest route is buying a gift card. This way the gift giver can pay the cost of the weapon and the receiver is registered with a federally licensed gun dealer.
You may also have the person you gift the weapon with complete a background check after they receive it from you.
If you’re going to gift a gun to someone out of state, it has to be done through a gun dealer.
The gun must be shipped to a federally licensed dealer within the receiver’s state.
The transferee may then receive the gun with the completion of ATF documents and a federal background check.