In today’s Dickinson Press Newspaper, I read in the Police Blotter section, that on January 23 the Runnings Farm & Fleet store in Dickinson had called the City of Dickinson Police about a possible “straw buyer” of a firearm. This was very concerning to me, and I will explain why.
There are three main things that I want to point out, and then explain in more detail:
One, If you have ever purchased a firearm for your wife, daughter, son, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, friend, or anyone, you could be reported for a felony punishable by more than one year in prison, if the firearm dealer chose to report you. The reason why you would be guilty of a felony, is because when you complete the firearm purchase and registration forms required by the Federal Government or ATF, you are required to answer, “Are you the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm(s) listed on this form? Warning: You are not the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person. If you are not the actual buyer, the dealer cannot transfer the firearm(s) to you.”
Two, You should be concerned that at the time of the sale of a firearm to you, or at a later date, a gun dealer or an employee of Runnings Farm & Fleet could use your personal information on file at the store, to report you to the Police for a felony, based on suspicion, something they saw, heard, or became aware of, regarding a friend or family member possessing a firearm that was sold to you.
Three, If an employee of a gun dealer or Runnings Farm & Fleet is so convinced that the person they are selling a firearm to is a “straw buyer” that they would call the Police to report it, why would they make this sale in the first place?
When I read the Dickinson Press Newspaper this morning about Runnings Farm & Fleet calling the Police about a “straw buyer” of a firearm, I began trying to look up the North Dakota law, or any law that covers this. After I had spent about one hour trying to look up the law on this, and reading reports of several different court cases, I learned that the easiest and simplest way to prosecute the accusation that someone was a “straw buyer” of a firearm, was to prosecute them for falsifying the paper work that they signed, which is a crime in itself.
The most famous applicable case, is the U.S. Supreme Court case of 2014 Abramski versus United States. In this case a former Police Officer living in Virginia purchased a Glock handgun for his Uncle living in Pennsylvania, because he was able to buy it cheaper using his Law Enforcement discount at a gun dealer in Virginia. In this case, some of the law that was cited that led to Abramski being found guilty of a crime was:
The Gun Control Act of 1968 regulates the sale and transfer of guns. Section 922(a)(6) of the act makes it unlawful for any person acquiring a gun from a gun dealer to “knowingly … make any false or fictitious … written statement … likely to deceive” the dealer, “with respect to any fact material to the lawfulness of the sale.” Section 924(a)(1)(A) of the same act, makes it unlawful and provides a penalty for anyone who “knowingly makes any false statement or representation with respect to the information required by this chapter to be kept in the records of a firearms dealer under this chapter.”
And even more specifically, the “false statement or representation” that was made by Abramski to the gun dealer, what I already cited up above previously, was when he answered in the gun dealer paperwork the question:
“Are you the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm(s) listed on this form? Warning: You are not the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person. If you are not the actual buyer, the dealer cannot transfer the firearm(s) to you.”
To the readers who are thinking ahead of me, on how to circumvent this law, if you waited a certain amount of time, no one knows exactly how long, in order to demonstrate that you were the actual owner of the firearm for a period of time, and then at a later date you chose to sell this firearm or give it away as a gift, you could use this as your legal defense. But I want to point out and remind everyone, that it costs just as much money to hire an attorney to defend yourself when you are charged with a crime, whether you are innocent or guilty, so do you even want to be charged with a crime in the first place?
The reason why I am so concerned about Runnings in Dickinson calling the Police to report a “straw buyer”, is that if they really thought that this person was buying this firearm on behalf of another person, possibly because of hearing something this buyer said, Runnings should have told this buyer, “We have reason to believe that you intend to purchase this firearm for someone else, based on what we heard you say, this would be a felony punishable by more than one year in prison, and we are not able to knowingly be involved in this sale or this felony.”
If Runnings in Dickinson heard a customer talking about a firearm and saying something such as, I think that my wife would like this, I think that my daughter would like this, I think that my son would like this, or my father always wanted a gun like this, and Runnings completed the sale, then telephoned the Dickinson Police to report a “straw buyer”, I think that everyone in Dickinson should be made aware that this can happen, so that they don’t do this. If someone is convicted of this felony of being a “straw buyer”, they will no longer be able to buy or possess any firearm.
I don’t know how much of a detective and informant I want a gun dealer or Runnings Farm & Fleet to be. Probably not at all. Probably, if they are going to report me to the Police for buying a firearm from them, please just don’t sell me a firearm in the first place.
How far is Runnings Farm & Fleet in Dickinson going to take this? Are they going to assume that someone accompanying a buyer and giving their advice or expressing their preference is actually going to be the owner of the firearm being purchased? Is Runnings going to call the Police after the sale, and turn over the store and parking lot surveillance videos to be used to prosecute people?
Why would you purchase a firearm from Runnings Farm & Fleet in Dickinson if you had any reason to believe that they were surveilling you and going to report you to the City of Dickinson Police after you purchased a firearm from them? Do you want to be questioned and investigated by the City of Dickinson Police? Do you want the City of Dickinson Police getting into your personal business?
Runnings Farm & Fleet, Dickinson, North Dakota, manager Doug Tyrrell, phone 701-483-1226.