A recent post on Daily Kos "Did you get a gun for Christmas" http://www.dailykos.com/...
Pointed out that under current laws, you can't just go on line and put a gun in your online shopping cart and have it shipped to your door. The only way to buy a gun not in person is to have the transfer (sale) run through an Federal Firearm License holder (FFL - dealer) which would require a background check. (and record of the weapon - registration light)
This means Aunt Sue can't go to the local gun shop and buy a gun for little Billy and have it shipped to him either, with out the background check.
In a reply, I pointed out that there is a way to sort of get around this and have a gun shipped to your door.
More (lots more) after the Squiggle.
Yeah, that was a teaser, but thanks for reading.
The way an average gun owner would buy a gun is to go in person to the store, pick out the gun and go through a background check. In general, each state has requirements for that state. For example, in New Hampshire this is all that is needed - show up, don't be a felon or other prohibited person, be the right age, and have money. New York requires an owners permit before you can pay for the handgun, you get run through the background check, get a document to take to the sheriff who sells you a coupon and annotates your "new" pistol on your owners permit, which you then take back to the dealer and pick up your gun.
If a gun owner buys a gun from someone out of state or on line, the person selling the gun has to ship it to a Federal Firearm License (FFL) holder near the buyer. The buyer then has to have a background check from that FFL holder. So the buyer has to find a dealer near him, pay a fee to 'run the gun through the books', and have a background check done.
The way around this, sort of, is to become an FFL holder called Curio and Relic Firearms. C&R for short, or "cruffler".
C&R weapons are primarily firearms that are 50+ years old and have some historical significance. The BATFE defines what is and what is not a C&R weapon. C&R weapons can be bought and shipped right to the license holder's door. Many find that collecting and refinishing these old firearms is a great and relatively inexpensive hobby. (or a very expensive one)
This kind of FFL is not a dealer. You can't be in the business of selling and buying guns. You can, resell guns you have or have restored, but not to the point it is a business. (Many Cruffler's don't sell the guns as much as trade or partial trade them - such as I'll trade you an Ithaca Model 37 Pump S/N USA1972 and $150 for your West Virginia Centennial Colt .45.)
The idea is that Curio's and Relics are not things you find at your local dealership. You won't be able to find them in person but rather through the phone, mail, or inter webs. To help you complete a collection or restore something, this allows you to buy directly and have it sent to you with out the added cost and time of finding dealers at both ends.
So, what does it cost? How hard is it to get? What kinds of guns can you get? What about importing Ammo? And Could this be abused by a gun nut?
First answer is simple: $30 for three year license.
How hard is it to get?
I'm told it is very easy. (Full honesty here, I've only just found out about C&R's and will be applying in Feb to get one.) To get one the BATFE will approve the license if: you are over the age of 21. Are not prohibited from handling or possessing firearms or ammunition. (meaning a felon, dishonorable discharge, illegal alien, user of federally prohibited drugs, renounced your US citizenship) You have not violated the Gun Control Act or its regulations. You have not failed to disclose information or facts in connection with their application. (lying about something or just not filling out the form completely) And you have premises for conducting business or collecting. (since you're not conducting business, just collecting, you can't be homeless. and no, having a storage locker won't cut it.)
You also have to let the BATFE know that what you plan on doing is not "prohibited by State or local law in the place where the licensed premise is located." (if local law says no business can be conducted in a house in your area due to zoning, and you want to sell C&R guns from your bedroom, you can't.) Also within 30 days after the application is approved the business will comply with the requirements of State and local law applicable to the conduct of the business. (comply with the local laws)
The BATFE also requires you to certify that you have sent or delivered the form to the chief law enforcement officer where the premises are located notifying the officer that the applicant intends to apply for a license. [NOTE: you have to let them know you're GOING to apply for a license. Not get their approval. They have no say in your getting approved or disapproved.]
That is it. Fill out the form, send a copy of the form and a letter to the Sheriff (or Chief Law Enforcement Officer in your area), check your zoning, and pinky swear to comply with state and local laws. Oh, and pay $30.
Now keep in mind, you are not conducting a business. Your goal is to enhance your collection, not make a living or a "little walking around money". That is bad juju and could end up winning you a trip to Club Fed.
What kind of guns can you buy with a C&R? The BATFE says: Weapons "of special interest to collectors by reason of some quality other than is associated with firearms intended for sporting use or as offensive or defensive weapons." To be recognized by ATF as a C&R firearm, a firearm must fall into at least one of the following three categories:
1) Firearms manufactured more than 50 years prior to the current date, not including replicas
2) Firearms certified by the curator of a municipal, State, or Federal museum that exhibits firearms as curios or relics of museum interest
3) Any other firearms that derive a substantial part of their monetary value from the fact that they are novel, rare, bizarre, or because of their association with some historical figure, period, or event. Proof of qualification of a particular firearm under this category requires evidence of present value and evidence that like firearms are not available except as collector's items, or that the value of like firearms available in ordinary commercial channels is substantially less.
It is important to point out that the BATFE says: Firearms automatically attain C&R status when they are 50 years old. Any firearm that is at least 50 years old, and in its original configuration, would qualify as a C&R firearm. It is not necessary for such firearms to be listed in ATF’s C&R list. Therefore, ATF does not generally list firearms in the C&R publication by virtue of their age. However, if you wish for a classification of your particular firearm under categories (b) or (c) above and wish your item to be listed, you may submit the weapon to the Firearms Technology Branch (FTB) for a formal classification.
1963 was not that long ago. So that Marlin .222 semi-auto sport model with detachable magazine that was in production from 1957 to 1962 is now a C&R. However, the BATFE has a nice list last updated in 2007, and five amendment updates up to 2010 here: http://www.atf.gov/...
As you look through the list, you will see some very rare guns. Those, if you can find them, will run in the thousands of dollars to buy. Others, like the very popular SKS or K98 Mauser might run you $150 plus shipping for a well used model. (go to http://www.gunbroker.com and do a search for C&R guns, most will run in the $500 to $1,500 range, but $6,000+ is not uncommon.) There is no requirement for these guns to be non-functional. In fact if they are "de-milled", they don't often end up for sale.
Ammo importation. You can't import ammo to the US with out a special license…except if the Ammo is a C&R item. (the list of types is in the link with the gun list)
As for the last question: Could this be abused by a gun nut? Well, yeah. But the BATFE does a background check before giving the license, and each renewal. The C&R holder has to keep a "bound book" of all weapons shipped to them or sold/transferred to someone else, and turn that over to the BATFE on demand. If the person receiving a gun is not an FFL or C&R holder a background check has to be done by the Seller (the C&R holder).
It is possible that a C&R person could hand over guns to a prohibited person, but this is unlikely. It is more likely that they will be a target of theft because by definition, they are collecting guns, meaning having more than one.
I hope that gives you some idea of the current laws on gun ownership and sales. A bit of understanding will better help everyone when we look at gun laws and how to stop illegal guns. In general, you can't ship a gun across state lines, and the system to do so requires a background check. This looks like a loophole, but is not really.
Ok. I'm ready for both sides of the RKBA to go nuts on this.