Dunham's in Kokomo


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Feb 3, 2016
Please post a link to the federal law or Indiana statute that prohibits buying a firearm for a family member that is legally allowed to own one.

It may be a crappy store policy, but there is no federal or IN state law that prohibits this.
My bad, I thought the minimum age for a handgun in Indiana was 21, which was incorrect. So basically Dunham's was
Not really. I dealt with this many times when I worked behind a gun counter.

Indiana law allows anyone 18 or older who is "proper person" to own a handgun as well as obtain a "license to carry a handgun" to carry that same handgun. Indiana law does not place a restriction on the purchase of handguns. That is federal law.

Federal law prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing a handgun from an FFL, not from owning one. Since Indiana law does not align with federal law, this creates a odd situation for 18-20 year old's. They can own and carry handguns, but they cannot purchase them.

In this case, if the father purchases the handgun as a true 100% gift (no exchange of money, services nor any compensation in any form).....as a true 100% gift, it is permissible for a parent to purchase a handgun for their 18-20 year old child assuming the child is a "proper person".

What the OP encountered with Dunham's was probably related to their store policy. Most of the people behind the counter at a box store are poorly educated by their employer and often don't know the difference between store policy and the law.

ATF does not mind true 100% gifts to immediate family members who are "proper persons" (parents - children - siblings) under the age of 21. But once someone is 21 or older, the grey zone is more murky and the ATF gets a lot more picky.

Because of this added murkiness and pickiness from the ATF, this is how most box stores handle those 21 or older. There viewpoint is that this helps to separate out those who really want to offer a gift versus those who are attempting a straw purchase.

If a family member wishes to gift a gun to someone 21 or older, the preferred method the ATF mentions is to offer a gift card or gift certificate to the family member. This allows the family member to help pay for the gun all while the 4473 and all related background checks and documents are being run in the name of the person who will actually be the owner of the gun.

A gift card is not as pretty as a nice shiny new gun under the Christmas tree. But that is how many box stores choose to do business these days.
I admit, I was under the mistaken impression that you had to be 21 to own a handgun, but as you said, the situation with federal law and the noise that's been made about straw purchases, would make most FFL's tend to err on the side of caution (better to risk pissing off a potential customer than to invite the ATF to raid you business...). I still maintain blaming Dunham for this is a bit unfair, because while what the father and son wanted to do was perfectly legal, it puts Dunham in a less than ideal situation, especially when one considers how, flighty let us say, the ATF can be about enforcing the law, especially if they are left any room to put their own interpretation on said law.


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Dec 27, 2020
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I still maintain blaming Dunham for this is a bit unfair, because while what the father and son wanted to do was perfectly legal, it puts Dunham in a less than ideal situation
That's fine, I personally disagree and will take my business elsewhere. The other members can decide on their own if they want to give Dunham's their business. It doesn't matter to me either way.
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