A federal court in Colorado has ruled that the resale of guns does not violate the Form 4473 question regarding whether you are the actual buyer of said gun. This specific case is somewhat involved and unique, but it’s worth noting.
A federal court has dismissed the allegation that a man lied on a federal form when purchasing firearms, determining it is not a violation to buy weapons for the purpose of reselling them.
Notwithstanding the evidence that Defendant purchased these weapons for resale in Mali, I therefore conclude that the United States has not demonstrated probable cause to believe that Defendant made a false statement,” wrote U.S. Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter in a Dec. 16 order.
How did this come about? Mamadou Kouyate, who lawfully purchased the guns in Denver, Colorado in 2019, later sent them/sold them to his brother in Mali via his wife:
The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged that Mamadou Kouyate purchased 13 firearms in January 2019 from a dealer in Denver, attesting on the transaction record that he was the actual purchaser of the guns when he allegedly was not. The form from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives warns that “You are not the actual transferee/buyer if you are acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person.
Six days after the purchase, airport authorities found two of the pistols in the luggage of Kouyate’s wife on her way to Mali. She explained to Customs and Border Patrol personnel that her husband had instructed her to give the guns to his brother in Bamako, Mali, for his own protection in the African country.
In October of this year, when Kouyate and his wife were interviewed for their citizenship applications by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Kouyate provided the same explanation for the guns found at the airport, while elaborating that he was trying to start a gun club in Mali to export weapons. Over the prior year and a half, he had purchased 106 pistols, including up to 20 at one time, from the Denver gun shop.
This isn’t a straightforward case of whether or not someone was a straw purchaser. But aside from the ATF saying they felt Kouyate knowingly lied on his 4473 we have attorneys stating that isn’t how it works nor is it how the form is meant to be construed:
“The statute requiring affirmation that you are the ‘buyer’ is not meant to control the secondary market — what happens to the gun after it is bought,” wrote David S. Kaplan, an attorney with Haddon, Morgan and Foreman in Denver.
The court dismissed the case against Kouyate, ruling that buy weapons for the purpose of reselling them isn’t a violation of the law.
Straw purchases are widely misunderstood, even among FFLs. A straw purchase is a situation where you knowingly buy a firearm for someone who is otherwise ineligible to have one. I’ve run into FFLs who believe any kind of gift or other use including an eventual resale makes it a straw purchase. Then there are the FFLs who know nothing about how gun writers work and argue over the legalities of even review guns (yes, it happens).
That said, this one is more than a little unusual. We have guns moving from one country to another and large purchases that appear to be only for the purpose of resale or passing them on. Is this legal? What do you all think?