Maybe there was a burglary in your brother’s neighborhood, or maybe your buddy just moved to a rural area where they feel alone and exposed. Either way, they’d like to get a gun for protection – and that sounds wise enough to you. You’re a firm believer in the Second Amendment and the right to protect your home and family.
There’s just one problem: Your brother or your buddy can’t pass the federal background check, so they’d like you to buy the gun for them. This is called a “strawman” or “straw” gun purchase. Should you help them out?
Proxy purchases are illegal
No matter how justified the other party’s concerns (or your concern for them), making a proxy purchase to skirt your way around the federal background check isn’t just a monumentally bad idea – it’s illegal.
Most proxy purchases are “for profit,” with the hidden buyer paying the “strawman” a small sum of money to act as their go-between with the gun dealer, but the hidden buyer is calling the action. Other straw purchases happen simply because someone is trying to help out a friend, relative or neighbor.
Your “good deed” for your friend or relative could be punished by up to $250,000 in fines and a decade in prison. It doesn’t even matter whether the gun is ever used unlawfully. You could be caught and charged simply because the gun dealer gets suspicious and reports you to the authorities.
If you’re facing weapons charges
If you’ve already made a mistake with a straw purchase and are facing weapons charges, don’t compound your problems: Exercise your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent until you can fully explore your legal options.