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Frequently Asked Questions: What is a STRAW PURCHASE?

A straw purchase is when a buyer uses an intermediary (the "straw man") to purchase a firearm(s) from a licensed firearms dealer. The purpose is to hide the true identity of the actual purchaser of the firearm(s).

Straw purchases are a felony violation of the Gun Control Act of 1968 for both the straw purchaser (who can be charged with lying on Federal Form 4473) and the actual possessor.

Frequently, the actual purchaser is a prohibited person under federal law.

It is legal for one person to purchase a firearm as a gift for another person.

It is legal for a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) to purchase an off-Roster handgun and later sell it to another California resident – that would not necessarily be a ‘straw purchase’.


Straw Purchase Fact Sheet