I was recently contacted by a client who wanted to acquire several shotguns for their skeet shooting club. I should note that they also served as an officer of the club and a member of the board of directors, which will be important later in our analysis.
My client was uncertain how such an acquisition should be handled in order to avoid making any legally false statements when completing the necessary background check forms.
Given the ever-increasing legal scrutiny facing gun owners, it is understandable that my client wanted to make sure they were handling this process correctly. After all, answering question 21.a. on the form 4473 “Are you the actual transferee/buyer of all of the firearm(s) listed on this form?” incorrectly can lead to charges of committing a ‘straw purchase’ as well as making a false statement on a background check form.
So … is it possible? And if so, how should an officer complete the form 4473 when purchasing a firearm for an organization?
The good news is that it is possible (at least in Virginia … see disclaimer below regarding other states).
The steps are actually quite simple:
- The organization (corporation, LLC, etc.) should officially pass a resolution authorizing the buyer (who should be an officer of the organization) to acquire the firearm(s) on behalf of the organization.
- The organization should file this resolution in their minute book and provide a copy to the officer who will be making the purchase.
- The officer should prepare a written statement, executed under penalties of perjury, stating:
- the firearm is being acquired for the use of and will be the property of that business entity; and
- the name and address of that business entity.
- The officer should take both the corporate resolution and the written statement with them to the dealer.
- The officer should complete Section B of the form with his/her personal information and sign Section B.
- The corporate resolution and written statement should both be provided to the dealer for attachment to the completed 4473.
This is a distillation of the information provided in the form 4473 instructions on page 4 which states:
When the transferee/buyer of a firearm is a corporation, company, association, partnership, or other such business entity, an officer authorized to act on behalf of the business must complete Section B of the form with his/her personal information, sign Section B, and attach a written statement, executed under penalties of perjury, stating: (A) the firearm is being acquired for the use of and will be the property of that business entity; and (B) the name and address of that business entity.
Once the firearm is acquired, the firearm should be recorded as an asset of the corporation, and proper records should be maintained.
DISCLAIMER: This guide is designed specifically for Virginia. I am not licensed to practice law outside of Virginia and local or state restrictions may apply in other states.