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Posted: 1/29/2006 6:35:34 AM EDT
Guns seized in probe of Berne man
Federal agents suspect Richard J. Coons of selling hundreds of firearms over Internet without license

By BRENDAN LYONS, Staff writer
Click byline for more stories by writer.
First published: Sunday, January 29, 2006

BERNE -- Federal agents have seized dozens of guns from the home of a Berne man who is being investigated for selling firearms on the Internet without a federal gun dealer's license, court records show.
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Richard J. Coons, 41, an auto mechanic who lives with his family on Helderberg Trail, is suspected of selling hundreds of guns on the Internet. Agents believe Coons may have violated a federal law that makes it a felony for someone to privately deal firearms "as a regular course of trade or business."

The case highlights an issue that has troubled some lawmakers: How to regulate the booming business of Internet gun sales.

Coons attracted the interest of agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Washington, D.C., last June. That's when a Maryland man, Omar Hassan, told the ATF his efforts to buy a bolt-action rifle from Coons fell apart because a gun store in that state refused to facilitate the deal after it learned Coons did not have a federal firearms license, according to ATF records.

The ATF's interest was piqued when Hassan said Coons had boasted he'd sold hundreds of other guns on the Internet without a license, according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court.

"It would be inappropriate for me to comment at this time as our investigation is ongoing and no charges have been lodged," said John Morgan, agent-in-charge of the Albany ATF office. "Illicit firearms trafficking, whether taking place on the Internet or from the trunk of a car, remains one of ATF's highest priorities."

Federal restrictions do not apply to sellers who peddle an occasional gun, even if it is across state lines or over the Internet.

The sale of guns on the Internet has increased tremendously, and federal agencies are not equipped to monitor the thousands of sales that authorities estimate take place each year. In most cases, the sales are legitimate. They are done through licensed gun dealers who require buyers to submit to background checks and pick up guns in person from an established firearms dealer.

But federal laws primarily scrutinize sales by gun dealers, and there is little regulation of secondhand sales involving many of the estimated 230 million guns that are privately owned.

In 1999, at a time when many gun-related violent incidents had been linked to weapons purchased over the Internet, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., introduced a bill aimed at clamping down on Web-based gun sales.

But the proposed Internet Gun Trafficking Act, which would outlaw selling firearms on the Internet by anyone who is not a licensed dealer, died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"The good news is, once we introduced our bill, shining a spotlight on this gaping loophole, we've seen the Justice Department recognize this as a problem and closely monitor these sites and transactions," Schumer said. "The Internet must not be an unregulated market for those looking to buy guns without any questions asked."

In Coons' case, federal agents are trying to track down how many firearms he may have sold over the Internet without documenting the sales. During a raid at his home Jan. 13, federal agents seized dozens of rifles, shotguns and handguns, including many that were purchased from area gun stores.

But the high number of purchases wouldn't have necessarily set off alarms. Under federal law, licensed dealers must report to the ATF only when someone buys more than two guns in a five-day period. There is no requirement for private sales.

The monitoring of gun sales is further restricted by the Firearms Owners' Protection Act, which prohibits ATF agents from going to gun shows to monitor activity unless they're working on a specific investigation. That law, which is supported by the National Rifle Association, also forbids the ATF from inspecting firearms dealers more than once a year without cause.

Experts in gun retail sales said it's possible Coons made small profits by purchasing firearms at area stores and then re-selling the guns on the Internet to buyers in states where the guns would fetch more money.

Coons, who held a federal firearms license that expired in 1996, did not respond to a request for comment.

Coons allegedly made sales through an Internet site -- www.gunbroker.com -- using the name "Rick the Stick," according to a search warrant affidavit filed in federal court. Authorities said they're in the process of tracking sales made by Coons through that Web site.

Link Posted: 1/29/2006 6:49:49 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Tactical_Jew:
Guns seized in probe of Berne man
In 1999, at a time when many gun-related violent incidents had been linked to weapons purchased over the Internet, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., introduced a bill aimed at clamping down on Web-based gun sales.

"The good news is, once we introduced our bill, shining a spotlight on this gaping loophole, we've seen the Justice Department recognize this as a problem and closely monitor these sites and transactions," Schumer said. "The Internet must not be an unregulated market for those looking to buy guns without any questions asked."



Me------Chucky

While I don't think there should be any regulation of firearms whatsoever, and is a violation of the Second Amendment, Schumer is completely misrepresenting the facts. The guns were being shipped to an 01 FFL , or at least in the case discussed above. That means there would still be the magical background check every Socialist/Communist Left Wingnut has a hard-on for.




Originally Posted By Tactical_Jew:
Coons, who held a federal firearms license that expired in 1996, did not respond to a request for comment.



What tiny minuscule sympathy I may have had disappeared after reading that. A ex-01 FFL should know better than to make a business out of selling guns. Yes it's completely unconstitutional, but it is the law.
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 6:51:20 AM EDT
Feedback for "Rick The Stick"

Gunbroker link is here
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 7:05:00 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/29/2006 7:16:38 AM EDT by CS223]

But the high number of purchases wouldn't have necessarily set off alarms. Under federal law, licensed dealers must report to the ATF only when someone buys more than two guns in a five-day period. There is no requirement for private sales.


Wrong.

For handguns only. "Multiple Handgun Disposition" form.


1968 GCA created this problem. Then, everyone obtianed their FFL so that they could buy & sell guns. This created a new problem so the Clintoista's took care of all the "kitchen table" dealers. So now we're back to the 1968 GCA problem. You can sell one gun, but more than one is dealing. By law, you can't obtain an FFL to dispose of your private collection.

If the guy bought the guns on 4473's and shipped them thru a FFL then he was in the confines of the law except for "dealing without a license". I don't recall any ATF definition as to what constitutes a dealer in the way of quantity and frequency of sales. If they argue he was running a business, he simply need to point to the fact that he is employeed as a mechanic. Lot sof folks have a hobby business, what if he was fixing up wrecked cars on the side? Would DMV kick down his door and arrest him for dealing in cars without a license? What about folks that buy and flip houses, shouldn't they have a contractors license and a real estate license? They are doing those things for income are they not??
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 7:09:30 AM EDT
I wonder what his arfcom screen name is...
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 7:19:59 AM EDT
Link to the story? I am interested to know if it's Berne, Indiana.
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 7:24:32 AM EDT
as a EX ffl. any guns he has are now hes "privet colection", who the fuck are they to say you cant sell what is yours?

Link Posted: 1/29/2006 7:25:14 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 7:34:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 82ndAbn:

The case highlights an issue that has troubled some lawmakers: How to regulate the booming business of Internet gun sales.


OH! Something's happening in the U.S. - we must move to regulate it!!!

Bastards



"If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving: regulate it. If it stops moving: Subsidize it."

--Reagan complaining about the federal gov.


Link Posted: 1/29/2006 7:37:46 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/29/2006 7:38:28 AM EDT by C-4]

Originally Posted By Ring:
as a EX ffl. any guns he has are now hes "privet colection", who the fuck are they to say you cant sell what is yours?




Selling a private collection is fine, but when he brags about selling hundreds and implying that he makes money ie. business from it, then it is no longer just 'selling his collection'. Completely unconstitutional but that is the law.
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 7:43:07 AM EDT
I agree that it is unconstitutional, but with the current law, as long as he buys and sells through an FFL, what it wrong with that? A paper trail has been created.
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 7:47:54 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/29/2006 8:11:12 AM EDT by bastiat]
The funny thing is that if this guy is buying through a dealer, so he's paying street prices, and then making money by selling them online - which means some yahoos are out there paying probably agood deal above street prices just to buy over the internet.
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 7:58:46 AM EDT
I have never had an FFL but even I knew you cannot be in the business of selling firearms for profit without an FFL. My state used to say if you sold more than 12 in one year it was a business.
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 8:09:59 AM EDT
Uhh, his license expired in 96. Since 2001 he has 377 feedbacks on Gunbroker........ Yeah, he was dealing.
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 8:45:02 AM EDT

Originally Posted By AZ-K9:
Uhh, his license expired in 96. Since 2001 he has 377 feedbacks on Gunbroker........ Yeah, he was dealing.



Lots of those feedback points were with him as the buyer
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 9:05:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By BigBang:

Originally Posted By AZ-K9:
Uhh, his license expired in 96. Since 2001 he has 377 feedbacks on Gunbroker........ Yeah, he was dealing.



Lots of those feedback points were with him as the buyer



Granted, but the seizures amounted to only "dozens". I think the math will show there are lots of purchased weapons no longer at the guys home, and ATF will assumed they were sold.
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 9:08:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By C-4:

Originally Posted By Ring:
as a EX ffl. any guns he has are now hes "privet colection", who the fuck are they to say you cant sell what is yours?




Selling a private collection is fine, but when he brags about selling hundreds and implying that he makes money ie. business from it, then it is no longer just 'selling his collection'. Completely unconstitutional but that is the law.



well, then, what's the magic number?

EXACTLY how many can a non-FFL'er sell?
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 9:19:35 AM EDT
I found it disturbing that they took his guns to fingerfuck for a while even though "no charges have been filed".

Either press charges so he can lawyer up and get them dropped or leave him alone... assholes...

I'm not a lawyer, but this sounds to me like there are some VERY serious constitutional issues at play here.

They are screwing with interstate commerce and with the right to own property, and by logical association, sell said property. It's not like he was selling FTF across state lines...
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 9:21:38 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 9:27:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By david_g17:

Originally Posted By C-4:

Originally Posted By Ring:
as a EX ffl. any guns he has are now hes "privet colection", who the fuck are they to say you cant sell what is yours?




Selling a private collection is fine, but when he brags about selling hundreds and implying that he makes money ie. business from it, then it is no longer just 'selling his collection'. Completely unconstitutional but that is the law.



well, then, what's the magic number?

EXACTLY how many can a non-FFL'er sell?



They won't tell you a number. If they did they would give up their power to bust you just because they feel like it that day.
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