Can You Legally Give a Gun to Someone Else as a Gift in Florida?

February 24, 2022 Criminal Defense

Florida has its own rules and regulations around the purchase of guns. Florida is known for being a state not as strict on gun laws, and as long as you follow the rules and regulations it is legal to purchase a firearm or hold a concealed carry.

However, what happens if someone wants to purchase a gun for someone else? In the state of Florida, it is legal to buy someone else a gun. However, it is important that the laws of the state are followed to avoid committing a potential crime. If the laws are ignored when buying someone else a gun, you could find yourself facing serious legal repercussions.

For starters, there is a difference between buying a gun for someone else, or gifting someone a gun that you purchased with your own money. While it may sound confusing, the breakdown of the different wording is important.

Paying for a gun with your own money and then gifting it to someone with no expectation of anything in return is permitted. When gifting a gun, you do not have to fill out any paperwork or register the gun, you simply have to make a written note of the gift to prove that you are no longer the sole owner of it. However, you cannot purchase a gun for someone else who has promised you compensation in doing so. This would be if someone gave you the money to purchase a gun or promised something of value in exchange for you buying them a gun.

It is important to review the rules around purchasing a gun from both the person buying it, as well as the person receiving it. This way you can ensure you are protected from potentially breaking any of the state’s rules.

The Legality of Purchasing a Firearm for Someone

There are general requirements when purchasing a gun in the state of Florida, which you can read more about on our blog post here. If you wish to purchase a gun for someone other than yourself, there are three initial questions that must be answered beforehand:

  1. Is the person receiving the gun legally allowed to own a firearm in Florida—or whatever state they live in?
  2. Is a firearms license required of the recipient of the gun?
  3. How will you transfer the gun to the recipient?

Although someone may think their gifting of a gun may be a thoughtful present—there is a chance that you could wind up in a legal battle instead.

If any crimes are committed with the gifted gun, it is good to know as the original purchaser that you would not be held liable if you can prove that you no longer hold the possession of the gun. One way to ensure this is to write down the serial number of the firearm and the type of gun, the date of the purchase and transfer, along with the receiver’s signature.

When is it Illegal to Give a Gun as a Gift?

Gifting a gun to another person becomes illegal in two instances: illegal transferring and straw purchases. Under U.S.C 922(a)(3), it is illegal for someone to transport or receive a gun from someone residing in another state. It is also illegal for an individual to purchase a gun for someone else in another state if there is a reason to believe that the person purchasing or receiving is prohibited from possessing or receiving a gun under federal or state law.

There are specific steps that need to be followed to ensure that giving a gun as a gift to someone in another state is legal. Unless the process is followed through the Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL), then giving a gun as a gift to someone in another state would not be considered legal. This is to ensure that you are not just trying to ship a gun to a private party in a state outside of Florida.

By using the FFL process, authorities can make sure that a proper background check has been completed before the transfer from one state to another takes place. If you were to bypass this process, it would become a federal crime.

What is a Straw Purchase?

A straw purchase is when someone buys a gun for someone else. More specifically, a straw purchase is centered around the fact that the receiver of the gun is typically prohibited from buying a gun on their own. This is a common tactic for people to go around the law to obtain a firearm. It is typically done for someone who does not want his or her name associated with the firearm transaction.

In addition, when a person purchases a firearm they are required to fill out an ATF Form 4473, which would require you to confirm whether you are the sole buyer and not buying it for someone else, meaning a straw purchase. If you were to lie on this document and make a false statement, it can be considered a felony offense which is punishable with up to 10 years in prison.

Taking part in a straw purchase violates both federal and state laws and can lead to serious legal penalties in Florida. The two key factors in a straw purchase are that there was some monetary exchange for the purchaser to buy the gun, and that the receiver is someone not legally allowed to purchase their own gun.

Under 18 U.S.C. § 922, a straw purchase is an incredibly serious criminal offense. If convicted, the penalty for a straw purchase of a firearm includes a fine up to $250,000 and up to 10 years in prison.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

Although Florida is known for its lenient gun laws compared to other states, there are still rules that need to be followed. It is legal to give a gun to someone else as a gift, but only under specific circumstances. If you or a loved one is wanting to purchase a gun as a gift for someone else and is wondering if it is legal, we recommend seeking the legal advice of an experienced defense attorney in Florida. Furthermore, if you have been accused of illegally gifting someone a gun, it is imperative you reach out to an experienced and qualified criminal defense attorney. Don Pumphrey and his team at Pumphrey Law Firm have represented clients all across Florida and understand the ins and outs of Florida gun laws. Call (850) 681-7777 today and receive a free consultation regarding your case.

Written by Karissa Key


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