Murky Definitions Of Who’s A Gun Dealer

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WASHINGTON – Why is a gun dealer? President Obama on Tuesday plunged into the murky endeavor of defining who, under the law, is in the business of selling firearms. What resulted was guidance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) – titled “Do I WANT a License to get and Sell Firearms?

” – that boosts as many questions as answers. It doesn’t specify a seller by the number of guns sold, the money value or the frequency of sales. The definition isn’t dependent on sales over the Internet or at a gun show. And it relies on gun retailers to step of progress – under penalty of heavy fines and prison time if they fail to achieve this. Unknowns in Ohio taking pictures: Did gunman focus on his sister? “That’s been the problem to the time – that there hasn’t been an obvious working definition to determine who’s a seller and isn’t,” Kari Hong, who teaches law at Boston College, said in a telephone interview.

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The definition is important just because a dealer must get a license and submit customers’ brands for an instant criminal-background check before offering them guns. The federal gun-control action of 1986 provides an exemption for individuals who sell guns using their personal collection or as a hobby, and it sets no conventional measure for identifying when a hobby becomes a business. Which has let some sellers operate under the legal radar at gun shows, at flea markets, from kitchen tables or on the web. Gun-safety advocates say this “gun-show loophole” has been exploited by some sellers.

The 15-web page assistance from ATF underscores how opaque the issue remains. “Federal law will not set up a ‘bright-line’ guideline for whenever a federal firearms license is necessary,” it says. ATF included nine scenarios aimed at helping sellers understand if a license should be obtained by them. “Debby has three handguns at home and decides that she no longer wants two of them,” one of the examples says.

For the purposes of the law, the fictional Debby isn’t a seller. From that example Aside, nothing of the others include any true numbers specifying just how many weapons are participating or how much money is made. “Doug regularly attends gun shows and rents a table to show firearms for sale,” one of them reads. According to ATF, Doug has to obtain a permit to continue selling weapons and shouldn’t be exempted.

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