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Are illegal auctions taking place?


A comment for your better late than never department: from the April and September 1989 articles by Chuck Karwan on auctions)

I read with interest the comments by Mr. Harvey McRay of the National Auctioneers Assn. to Chuck Karwan in relation to Chuck's advice on how to buy at an auction. Boy, it's amazing how loud these characters holler when you step on their toes. We've been plagued for years in Missouri with Dog & Gun Auctions, where a bunch of "good ole boys" get together for a "good ole time" tradin' guns. An atmosphere is created where stolen firearms from another part of the state can be sold for cash ... no questions asked.

As a stocking dealer I am required as all other legitimate dealers large or small are to account for every firearm I sell and determine that the buyer is legally qualified to purchase that firearm. An auctioneer sells the firearm on consignment and collects a fee from the seller and an admission from the buyer and doesn't give a damn who he sells it to. The buyer could be a convicted felon, mentally incompetent, underage or whatever. The pace is fast, the crowd comes and goes and nobody knows nothin'. Anything obviously illegal can be handled out in the parking lot out of the trunk of a car.

The general public thinks these auctions are great, fun and exciting. It allows them to beat the system," no 4473 to fill out, no handgun permit, no sales tax, no questions asked. But you should see the long faces on these same "good ole boys" when their guns are stolen and the realization hits that their guns have disappeared into the underground network of "good ole boys" just havin' fun sellin' guns.

I suggest that all firearms dealers, no matter how large or small, write their representatives in Washington and their state capitol as well as their local law enforcement officials and DEMAND that existing Federal and State laws be enforced at auctions as they are under control of the 1968 Gun Control Act and be required to maintain a bound book of sales and require a 4473 on every transaction just like the rest of us, because these auctioneers are sure as hell in it for the money.

Name withheld


Editor's Note:

The ATF's 1990, Volume 1 FFL Newsletter, recently added some clarity to the subject of auctions. The following paragraphs are taken from page seven of that journal:

Under the Gun Control Act of 1968, as amended, any person engaged in the business of importing, manufacturing or dealing in firearms is required to have a Federal firearms license. "Engaged in the business" is defined for a dealer in firearms other than a gunsmith or a pawnbroker as:

A person who devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resales of firearms, but not such a term shall include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, of purchases firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection of for a hobby, of a who sells all of part of his personal collection of firearms.

Accordingly, whether an auctioneer is a person who should be licensed depends upon whether he is engaged in a firearms business. Occasionally, an auctioneer is merely acting as an agent for the actual owner of the property by finding a purchaser and arriving at a price. The owner consummates the sale and the auctioneer receives a commission for his services. If the property included firearms, this transaction would normally be treated as a sale between private individuals (the actual owner and the purchaser) and the auctioneer would not require a Federal firearms license.

However, if an auctioneer purchases firearms for resale or takes firearms on consignment for sale in his auction business, he may need a firearms license to be in compliance with the GCA. The necessity for a license is determined on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all pertinent facts. For example, if an auctioneer infrequently auctions off a firearm which was part of an estate that contained a wide variety of personal property, he would not be considered to be engaging in the business of dealing in firearms. On the other hand, if an auctioneer held a weekly or monthly auction of such property, his conduct would probably constitute engaging in the business and he would require a Federal firearms license. It should be noted that a Federal firearms dealer's license is issued for a specific premises, and all sales concerning that license must be transacted at that location. However the licensee may solicit purchases for the firearms (by auction or otherwise) at a location other than the licensed premises so long as the sale is consummated and the property is delivered to the purchaser at the licensed premises. Also the records of the licensed dealer must be kept at the licensed premises.

Political Activism

I noted that (again) your Legislative Update column mentions the increased need for political activism. Last week a customer castigated me for the 1989 import ban because the other dealers in town don't care. How do I fight other gun store owner's apathy?

Lock, Stock, & Barrel Gun Store

Heath, OH
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Title Annotation:auctioning and selling of firearms
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Sep 1, 1990
Previous Article:ATF tips.
Next Article:The 1990 NRA show.

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