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Can Non-Citizen Residents Own Firearms?

Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by ArcturusRising, Apr 12, 2009.

  1. ArcturusRising

    ArcturusRising Hillsboro, OR Member

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    Hi,

    I have some friends moving here from another country and they are working on becoming American citizens. One of the first things I want to do is take them out shooting, give them some training, and eventually buy them their first weapon, probably something simple like a .22 long rifle to practice safe handling and marksmanship, before moving up to the larger calibers.

    I began thinking though, if there might be any restrictions on non-citizens owning firearms, federally and in Oregon. I did some research on the internet and so far it looks like federally there is no restrictions, but state laws vary. One of the things people kept on saying was that in their state, the non-citizen purchaser must provide their alien ID number and 3 months utility bills to prove their residence, when buying a weapon from a dealer, but in Oregon it is legal to buy from a private party and not go through all of that crap. So my questions are:

    1. Are there any Oregon laws restricting non-citizen ownership of firearms?

    2. If I buy a firearm from a private person and then sell it or give it as a gift to my friends, and they are ever stopped or questioned by a police officer, will it be a problem if there is no registration of the firearm in their name?

    I'm a proud American and want to share this awesome right and responsibility with my new countrymen-to-be, but I want to make sure I obey the laws in the process. The last thing I want to do is cause them or myself any legal problems.

    Thank you for your time!
     
  2. Buddhalux

    Buddhalux Hillsboro, Oregon Active Member

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    Wow, you have a ton of research to do.

    Non-citizen = no firearms until specific forms are filed.
    Buy then sell/gift = straw purchase which is a federal offense and you'll end up in a federal pound you in the poooper prison.
     
  3. Oro

    Oro Western WA Active Member

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    Ok that's not straight advice on either count, besides being rather crude and offensive. I married a non-citizen and went through this issue years ago.

    1) If they are a LEGAL resident, then they are OK to own firearms - e.g., have a resident work visa, green card, etc. and thus an Alien ID number. WA is having a bit of a legal/beuarocratic hiccup right now, but you are talking about Oregon.

    2) If they are legal to own a gun, and you buy and GIFT it to them, this is in NO WAY a straw purchase - it is perfectly legal. If it weren't lots of gun dealers would have to shut down at Christmas time! If they pay you back for it, then indeed that IS a straw purchase and illegal.

    Hope this helps and you get some better advice going forward.
     
  4. jackrocks59

    jackrocks59 tigard Member

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    Green card holders can buy a firearm, "legal resident"
     
  5. Frog

    Frog Vancouver, Washington Member

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    ArcturusRising.......

    I'm a Legal Alien, not an American Citizen (Canadian, better know as a Canalien :D )

    If your friends are visiting the U.S., then as Visitors with a temporary visa, (work, student or otherwise) they are not allowed to buy or own firearms, however they can use yours, with your permission and acceptance of responsibility.

    If they have become a Legal Alien Resident and have a Permanent Residence Card, they, after 6 months residency in Oregon, can buy and own firearms. When buying from a FFL Dealer, they must provide the 'A' number from the card AND 3 months of proof, from 3 different sources (3 Bank statements, 3 Credit Card statements, 3 Utility statesments) which all must have the same address as their Oregon driver's licence. They must be concerent and from the immediate previous months from the time of the sale.

    When the Back-round check is done, approval may be withheld for up to 24 hours.

    After 3 years, even if they have not sought Citizenship, they can declare their intent to do so, and make application for a CHL !

    Frog.
     
  6. eriknemily

    eriknemily Tillamook County (Cheese!) Member

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    So Buddhalux, when I go to the sporting goods store and by my daughter one of those PINK ruger 10/22 for her birthday the salesman will either think I'm some sort of a fairy boy or go into the backroom and turn the ATF loose on me because I'm committing a federal crime? I kind of doubt that. But feel free to post a link where I can read this law!
     
  7. Buddhalux

    Buddhalux Hillsboro, Oregon Active Member

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    Well then you may be a fairy if that's the answer that you're looking for. That is why I suggested that the OP had a lot of reading to do. I've always been a legalized and naturalized citizen that defended this country. I don't make it a habit to read laws that don't pertain to me.
     
  8. emanon

    emanon SE Portland, Oregon Member

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    On a closely related note, does anyone know what the federal and state laws are in Oregon and/or Washington for a US citizen who wants to take a foreign visitor out shooting? I'm talking about with the gun owner standing right by the visitor, not loaning the guns out or the visitor bringing their own guns, etc. TIA! :)
     
  9. Oro

    Oro Western WA Active Member

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    This gets hashed out regularly at THR. My understanding of this (and I have read the relevant USC and BATF FAQ's on it, but don't have them linked handily):

    The relevant word in the law that everyone argues over is "control" and I think "possession." The BATF has stated in some private letters that you can track down with some googling and research that they do not view handing a firearm to someone to test shoot at a range constitutes truly handing them "control" of the weapon. They do not own it, can't take it home, etc. The person who owns it, stores it, etc. is in possession and control of the weapon in the eyes of the law - including when loaning it to a person in their presence. Thus it remains at all times in the possession and control of the owner. This is not the case if the US owner gives it to another person to take away and use elsewhere without their presence.

    Bear in mind there are lots of ranges in tourist places like Las Vegas that make good money renting guns - even full auto ones - to foreign visitors here on nothing more than a tourist visa. Also, foreign visitors come to hunt in the US all the time - so it's plainly obvious that licensed businesses operate with BATF knowledge. There are those who read the law, see the words "control" and "possession" and equate that to "touch" or "handle" - which is pretty narrow and not what the BATF says when questioned on the issue. So you can take a foreign national shooting and not worry something bad will happen - I have done this a few times over the years.
     
  10. ORBrit

    ORBrit Eugene Member

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    To reaffirm what Frog has already stated...

    I am a British Citizen, and a legal resident of the USA - Also known as a Permanent Resident Alien (Green Card).
    I can legally purchase and own firearms, including class III items. I have the right to obtain a Concealed Handgun License and carry (and exercise that right).

    The OSP back ground checks do require proof of last 3 months residency - such as utility bills, in addition to your Green Card and Drivers License.
    Prior firearms transactions or being a CHL holder have no bearing on the OSP background checks. I always need all the documentation.

    Background checks are never instantaneous like those of US Citizens. The longest has taken several hours, the shortest about 20 minutes. They always say it will be a 24 hour hold regardless of how long it takes. I now get used to hanging out in the store/range or at my FFL and they generally call back within the hour.
     
  11. Frog

    Frog Vancouver, Washington Member

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    My experiences exactly, ORBrit,
    I've only had to make a return trip once for a 24 hour hold. Most times, even at gun shows, the approval has come back as soon as the OSP is assured that the dealer has all the necessary documentation. A couple of times, I've had a 20 minute wait, but I think that was because they were busy and I believe they run us through a different file.

    I have just recently found out that Washington is way different. It's presently in the courts, seeking to be changed, but for right now, (and since the early 1900's) I'm told that a non U.S. Citizen can not legally own a firearm in Washington State. You can't even bring your legally owned firearms, from your Oregon residence, into Washington State, legally.

    I figure, I don't need Washington State, I've got lots of good places to shoot right here in Oregun!! :thumbup:

    Frog.
     
  12. ArcturusRising

    ArcturusRising Hillsboro, OR Member

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    So is it legal to gift a firearm to someone with a green card and avoid the background checks, etc.? I prefer to avoid purchasing and selling weapons through licensed dealers and do it through private citizens (which is legal in Oregon).
     
  13. ORBrit

    ORBrit Eugene Member

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    I hope so because my wife has given me several firearms as gifts.
     
  14. Frog

    Frog Vancouver, Washington Member

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    Lets just say that if you sell to a person to whom firearms ownership is illegal, you are opening up a 'can of worms' that may someday shoot you in the ***.

    Frog.