That’s Tennessee state representative Mike Stewart (D-Nashville) engaged in a little street theater for the cameras this morning in Music City. The media-whoring stunt he came up with; set up a stand where passers by can refresh themselves with lemonade, a cookie or a delicious AK-47 rifle.

The ostensible purpose — especially since he doesn’t appear to have any actual lemonade or cookies — is to illustrate the ease with which anyone can purchase a gun without a background check in this dangerous day and age. But Rep. Stewart may have already broken the law . . .

According to a report by wrkn.com,

Stewart set up his lemonade stand in front of the old Ben West Library at the corner of Union Street and Polk Avenue at 7:30 a.m.

He brought a newly-purchased, knock-off AK-47 assault rifle to sell along with lemonade and cookies.

Stewart has introduced a bill in the Volunteer State legislature that would restrict all gun sales to licensed FFLs. So you’d expect that when he acquired that “newly-purchased” AK, he filled out a form 4473, just as he’d like to force all of his fellow Tennesseans to do.

If he had, then he answered question 11a which asks if the transferee is “the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm(s)”. In this case, it would seem that Rep. Stewart bought the gun with the intent to turn around and sell it to someone else.

Does that make him a straw purchaser? It’s a fuzzy area, but you could make that argument. Assuming he actually sells the gun, though, no one really expects our friends at the ATF to arrest a state legislator attempting to further his gun control agenda.

Not when people like David Gregory can get away with flaunting contraband on national television and get a free pass. Some people are more equal than others. Again. Still.

[h/t Bob H.]

 

97 Responses to Tennessee Legislator Lemonade Stand AK Sale: Is He a Straw Purchaser?

    • He says he obtained a street vendor permit so you might be on to something. Also check the link, there is a hilarious video of an attempted Q & A with another state legislator who knows even less about the law.

    • I just think it’s funny he paid $700 for An I.O. beater ak. The store that sold it to him is the real winner here.

  1. Citizens arrest and petition the governor to pressure the state AG?

    And how much did he want for the AK? Would he actually be willing to sell it? If not, civil suit for misleading or false advertising?

    • No actual lemonade or cookies, because if he sold them without a permit the County Health Department would bring the hammer down on him. DO NOT mess with the County Health Department!

  2. “no one expects our friends at the ATF to arrest a state legislator who was attempting to further his gun controlling agenda”

    Leeland Yee might disagree about that statement, and that was the BHO Justice Dept that prosecuted him.

  3. Someone from TN needs to get down there and take him up on it and film him trying to weasel out of the sale.

    • Absolutely! If I were in Nashville, I’d hotfoot it down there with seven bills and call his bluff.

      Even better would be if someone who looked stereotypically Arabic did it, and when he refused the sale, called him out as a racist profiler.

      As for the issue of it being a straw purchase, it’s not, and it won’t be, because this putz never had any intention of actually selling the rifle to someone else. Odds are, once the stunt is done, he’ll sell it back to the gun store (at a loss, that he’ll probably find some way to reimburse with taxpayer money).

    • Damn, I’m only an hour away, but that looks like an IO. Not even worth the metal it’s made with. I’ll pass!

      • Not really a straw purchaser unless you get the buyer to buy it FOR YOU to avoid a background check. If I walked up and bought the thing, with no prior arrangement, not a prohibited person, the worst anyone could do would be to nail him for being ‘in the business’ without a license. And then, only if he was ‘making a living’. For all we know, he bought the thing, and didn’t like it, and just wanted to sell it.

        • This ^^^
          A straw purchase is made on behalf of a specific person – usually one who is otherwise disqualified from purchase or possession. Other than the grandstanding, this is pretty much like an open air gun show with one rifle for sale.

        • One with half a brain would agree. But a one-time cop is in jail because a judge AND appellate judge both said he broke the law by filling out the paperwork that HE was the buyer, and then sold it to his uncle who was is not a prohibited person.

        • And they also made an agreement that the one would buy it for the other, to avoid the paperwork and bypass the manufacturer’s rules. Seems crappy, but they made an agreement between the two of them, BEFORE THE SALE, to avoid the paperwork.

        • Omer, your facts on the cop and the straw sale are off. The cop bought the pistol with his uncle’s money with the intent that the uncle would be the “actual purchaser.” He therefore lied on the 4473. Had the cop bought the Glock with his own funds and then sold it to his uncle there would have been no straw purchase.

  4. As much as I would like to see him arrested, I think the words “behalf of another person”, imply some sort of agreement with that “another person”. Buying it for yourself and then immediately selling it, should be ok.

    However, if you bought it with the INTENT to immediately sell, that might be actionable, which is clearly the case here.

    From Dictionary.com

    1. in / on behalf of, as a representative of or a proxy for:
    On behalf of my colleagues, I address you tonight.
    2.in / on someone’s behalf, in the interest or aid of (someone):
    He interceded in my behalf.

    • Yep, buying with the intent to immediately sell might be construed as being ‘in the business’ of trading firearms without a license. That seems to be the worst they could nail the turd on. Bringing up straw purchasing just muddies the waters of what’s legal, illegal, and makes our lives worse. While his intent is screwed up, what he’s doing is perfectly legal. Now, if someone walks up and admits to being a prohibited person, and he sells the gun to him, he should be punished accordingly. I think that’s what I’d do, just let him know that I did time for armed robbery (I didn’t), and wanted to buy the gun. If he sold it, he would be in big trouble…

      • The current regs, AFAIK, require at least five sales to be considered “in the business,” and a profit motive is a factor.

  5. “Does that make him a straw purchaser?”
    No. No, it does not. It’s also not a straw purchase if I buy a gun with the intention to immediately give it to someone as a gift.

    “It’s a fuzzy area, but you could make that argument.”
    You could, but it would be a stupid argument.

    Let me be clear. I bought every one of my guns with the intention of selling them. Eventually. I have sold two guns already this year and have more to sell. And as long as I’m not actively engaged in the business of buying and selling guns for profit, there is no federal law preventing me from selling my guns.

    This particular moron could have bought the gun yesterday, took it to the range and realized that the report and recoil were overwhelming, causing him to experience PTSD (such has been reported by others with rifles of similar design). He can and should be able to sell it to another person as he chooses, so long as he does not know that the buyer is a prohibited person.

    • There’s an exemption for gifts. You can buy guns with the intention to give them to people (unless it violates state laws), but buying them with the intent of selling them counts as a straw purchase.

  6. Devils’ Advocate Here: The statements in 11.a have not been broken as written. The question doesn’t ask if he was purchasing it with the intent to sell. He didn’t purchase it ‘on behalf’ of another person as he hasn’t even met the gun’s future owner yet. Also, purchasing one firearm with the intent to sell doesn’t qualify him as “an unlicensed dealer*” so he is probably in the clear.**

    *Definition subject to change at will by the BATFE.
    **Not a lawyer and don’t pretend to be! This is just my opinion and there are probably alot of holes that can be poked in my statements and I don’t plan on defending them in a court of law 🙂

    • That’s certainly the way I look at it. He’s doing nothing wrong, except for being an idiot gun-controller (redundant, I know…).

  7. Wasn’t Ibama trying to push the line that “if you’re in the buesiness of making money selling guns, you need to be an FFL”?

    $700 for an AK? Sounds like this fits the bill…

  8. In today’s legal system, it’s all about the intent, not the actual action. Well, unless you aren’t anyone of any importance, anyway.
    It’s obvious Stewart had no intention of actually selling the gun, so there’s no foul. At least with the actual offering for sale.
    As a stunt, though, IMO it falls short, since no one expected him to actually make a sale, especially with a news crew standing there.

  9. Scissors are free (to Planned Parenthood) and have killed more people (in the hands of PP) than all the other weapons ever made. You are paying for it, and PP doesn’t want to have to be burdened with the cost of burial or cremation for the fetal remains, because it eats into their PROFITS, and because then they can’t sell the remains for food, cosmetics, ‘medicine’, satanic rituals, etc.

    • For one, Congress defunded payments to Planned Parenthood for abortions years ago. So “you” aren’t paying for them. Second, Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit charitable corporation, so it has no profits. That’s two strikes. Care to go for three?

      • The organization may be non-profit, but there are people at the top who are most certainly profiting. When the president of your “charity” makes $750,000 per year, and VPs are making more than half a million, the term “non-profit” is a bit disingenuous.

      • All money is fungible. It can be moved around. If they receive a $20 with serial number 233548A from the government, they can’t send THAT $20 to abortions. However, they’re free to move another $20 to abortions because there’s a government $20 doing non-abortion work for it.

      • Mark, you’re mixing oranges and your horse-apple lunch. PP is not a “charitable” organization although it may claim to be one. It is a Not-for-Profit, and so it doesn’t show one on its tax returns, and cannot inure to any individual or business entity benefit, or support any foreign government, or persons on the Treasury Department OFAC SDN list. But it can pay individual employees A FING LOT OF MONEY, and PP’s activities outside the U.S. are washed-once (at least) through the political give backs to PACs and outright to candidates and political movements and those movement’s key players. PP makes MILLIONS if not BILLIONS on abortions, and YES, by receiving funds from the U.S. government THEY COME FROM US (Not you, you are obviously housed nicely as one of satan’s sex-toy minions).

        Planned Parenthood DOES sell the dead kids for food and medicine and scientific experiments, and WHY NOT, right? THE DEAD KIDS ARE NO MORE PEOPLE THAN YOU, RIGHT?

        go pick yourself up a bucket of choices so they don’t wind up in someone’s Soylent Green, ok?

        • The sick AF people that snort powdered Rhino horns as viagra likely love our nice tender “choices”, but I wouldn’t bet against our “choices” being incorporated into cosmetics, and “beauty products”, anybody wonder why there’s been a huge fight in the last 20 years regarding labeling of such products? Anyone wonder why fewer industry people are pushing for ingredient checks for China?

          No?

          Ok..

  10. Did he file and obtain a vender’s permit? Did he obtain the proper permit to protest? Did he hire enough LGBTX dreamers who want to do jihad, and did he provide them enough of the right port-potty’s for them to be able to stand on the seats and piss on the toilet paper?

    satan’s evil blue house of (D) ought to STFU.

  11. I think someone should have come to him immediately with no identification on them of any kind and $700 in cash and offered to buy the gun with vague answers to all questions. It would make a great event for the evening newscast.

    • Someone should have just taken it from him.

      He’s in bend-over-and-take-it mode (and wants everyone to join him).

    • I would have bought it. Would have made it obvious to him that I was a convicted felon (I’m not)… $700 cash. Then see what the authorities do and how much trouble he gets into. The game can be played both ways.

      • Making false statements, in the purchase of a firearm, is prohibited and, even in jest, would likely prevent you from further purchase or possession of a firearm. So (sadly) don’t even joke.

        • Good point. I forgot I’m not a cop or gestapo employee. Only they get to lie to entrap people.

    • What I would love to do is approach his table as the news cameras gathered around, and initiate a conversation.

      “Is this an AK-47? Who is the manufacturer? What makes you think it’s an AK-47? Is it an assault rifle? Does it have select fire capability? What makes you think it’s an assault rifle? Do you know the definition of an assault rifle? …”

      The State Rep’s ignorance would be on full display in front of the TV cameras and he would have no options. It would be fun!

  12. Sadly, this straw purchase BS has hurt gun collecting. Many collectors have friends that may be looking for a somewhat rare gun, and if you see it and buy it(or buy a case of Mosins to get the best pick and sell the rest, you are a straw purchaser, not a collector that is trying to get a deal.
    If you collect coins, bottle caps, stamps, tiddlywinks, marbles, Barbies, action figures, etc, you are allowed to do this..But old tech rifles, fuugedabouit.

    Maybe the FFL could allow C&R licensees a little leeway. While I certainly would protect what is mine and to a lessor extent, my friends with a bolt action rifle, I don’t see a rebel movement from a bunch of outdated WW1 and WW2 rifles in this country.

    • Worse, if you had an upbeat outlook on your monetary status and bought an expensive gun, but Obamacare kicked in and all of your company’s clients took a dump and you got laid off, and needed to sell such gun, then you’d get pennies on the dollar at a pawn shop, a no-thank-you from your local GS (even if they sell used). But if your friend offers you $200 less than what you paid for it, you could have the a-hole yahoos at the ATF consider it a straw purchase because time frame doesn’t matter in consideration to straw purchase.

      • Not really. A family emergency isn’t a straw purchase. Simply buying a gun and selling it sometime later has nothing to do with a straw purchase.

    • Buying and selling isn’t straw purchasing. Buying a case of Mosins and selling them off to people that want them isn’t straw purchasing. Buying a gun and having to sell it due to family emergencies isn’t straw purchasing.

      Making an arrangement to buy a firearm FOR a specific person that can’t or won’t submit to a background check is a straw purchase. None of the examples above fit that description.

      • Thank you for that concise explanation, Ben. I find it highly amusing that people here will hyper-aggressively point out when someone misuses the term “assault rifle” or “clip”, but then resolutely refuse (despite frequent discussions on the topic) to learn what is and isn’t a goddamn straw purchase. It’s not a particularly difficult concept.

      • Ben,

        Making an arrangement to buy a firearm FOR a specific person that can’t or won’t submit to a background check is a straw purchase.

        Remember, fedzilla prosecuted (successfully) the cop who purchased a firearm FOR his uncle even though neither the cop nor the uncle were “prohibited persons”.

        • Ya, all ya all better pay attention, a quick flip sale of a firearm (for profit or otherwise) can, and has been construed to be, a “straw” puchase. The rules specifically state, it may even be briefly recited on the 4473 something to the effect that a purchase / sale may be considered a “straw purchase” regardless of how much time has passed. AND THAT WOULD ALSO INCLUDE IF YOU “USED” IT.

    • The ONLY thing that defines a straw purchase as such is if the buyer acts as a third party for someone he knows is not allowed to purchase a firearm. That’s it.

      I don’t understand why this is such a difficult concept. If you found LNIB Garands at a gun store, bought them all, kept the best, and decided to sell the excess—that’s not a straw purchaser.

      If you buy a firearm at a pawn shop that is underpriced solely to turn it around for a profit, that’s not a straw purchase.

      If your buddy who has a felony conviction asks you to buy him a Hi-Point at Rural King, and you do it—straw purchase.

      It is not complicated.

      • Almost, but not quite. The determination of a straw purchase doesn’t have anything to do with whether the other party is prohibited or not.

        It’s all about the source of the money. Whose money is it, and who gets the gun? If it’s your money, it doesn’t matter who ends up with the gun. You buy it, you can sell it or gift it as you see fit. If it’s somebody else’s money, that they’ve given you for the express purpose of buying a firearm for them, that’s a “straw purchase”. No other situation is a straw purchase, and it doesn’t matter if the other party would otherwise be able to buy the gun themselves or not.

        If you’re a felon, and I buy a gun and give it to you, that’s illegal, but not because it’s a straw purchase.

        • Well, SCOTUS held that the important thing is whether someone “is the actual purchaser” of the firearm on the 4473.

          To be honest, if a lifelong friend of mine offered to give me money and asked me to pick something up for him at a gun show, I’d decline. I would happily buy the firearm with my money, then sell it to him for exactly what I paid as soon as I got home. Semantics? Well, no—I was actually the purchaser at the time, right?

          But we all know what a “straw purchase” actually is, SCOTUS’ Obama-era liberal nonsense notwithstanding. Some person with a clean record buying a gun for somebody they know isn’t allowed to.

          It has nothing to do with buying a bunch of LNIB Mosins at a discount then selling the ones you don’t want. Nor does someone buying a rifle on Monday and selling it on Tuesday qualify. Nor does someone who flips guns for a profit at a gun show qualify…

    • “Many collectors have friends that may be looking for a somewhat rare gun, and if you see it and buy it(or buy a case of Mosins to get the best pick and sell the rest, you are a straw purchaser, not a collector that is trying to get a deal.”

      That’s not a straw purchase. Get a clue.

  13. Don’t think it meets the intent of a straw man purchase. It would be fun to challenge him on it. I bet he has no understanding of what constitutes a “straw man” purchase or what is on the 4473 form.

  14. This should be a Lose Lose for this guy.

    If he does sell it, he has betrayed his values and provided a gun to who know who.

    if he can’t sell it, It proves lack of background checks is a small issue at best and not a real issue at worst.

    If he chooses to not sell it because he deems you a member of the unworthy masses, it proves he is a Democrat who thinks he is better than you.

  15. Pity is, based on the stock, that looks like a Robinson Arms era VEPR-K, which are *really* nice examples of the type. I’d be all over that for $700.

  16. Judging by the stock, that appears to be an I.O rifle. I sure as hell hope nobody would fork over $700 for it. I live in Tennessee. His bill is still in the civil justice subcommittee with little to no chance of ever making way outside said subcommittee.

    • I just checked. H.B1319 (his bill) failed today in the Tennessee Civil Justice Subcommittee. That rifle is an I.O btw. Look up an I.O M214. Compare the stock, pistol grip, finish, handguard, and muzzlebrake to the pictures on I.O’s website. Even with the mags and the 500rds he claims to have bought with it, I would not give $700. I’d give him $275 for the whole lot and that would be about it.

  17. Still looking for “background checks on firearms purchases,” in the Bill of Rights. Maybe I’m stupid, but it just doesn’t seem to be in there.

  18. This is BUZZFEED-level clickbait.

    Is he a “straw purchaser”? No. Someone can walk into a gun store, buy a rifle, then IMMEDIATELY sell it to someone else. The definition of a “straw purchaser” is someone who acts as a third party to purchase a firearm for someone who they know is not legally allowed to purchase a firearm.

    Someone else said “He might need an FFL”. Nope. He could buy a bunch of AR-15s then put an ad in the newspaper and sell HIS AR-15s all day long.

    Come on—really?

    • And I’d bet that in your example, he’d be considered ‘engaging in the business’ of selling firearms, requiring an FFL if he bought a bunch of guns and took out an ad in the paper, and sold HIS guns. Yep. Come on, really?

      I said the only thing the guy in the article MIGHT be considered for could be ‘in the business’. Not likely. He’s doing nothing wrong.

      • No, he wouldn’t. Not any more than if he rented a table at a gun show and sold his “Private Collection”.

  19. I can read these comments and tell that gun people care more about themselves than anything else.
    Such people are not desirable citizens.

    • Sounds like you think you know everything, then… not sure how you derive that flawed conclusion. Do you have anything productive to add to this conversation?

      • Which conclusion?
        The one about gun people being selfish or the one about gun people being undesirable citizens?
        I have evidence to support both.

        • Both of your conclusions are flawed. Everything you’ve said so far is flawed, and I’m pretty sure everything you’ll utter here is flawed, too. You have evidence of nothing, except in your own mind, which is just your opinion.

    • We are not gun people. We are Internet gun people. Gun people in general are wonderful citizens. Internet gun people are all French supermodels or Special Forces Operators.

  20. Did Jesus want us to love guns?
    No.
    If you love guns, you go against Jesus.
    I can’t respect that.
    It’s pretty simple.

  21. All the arguments in support of guns are unimportant when you think about Jesus.
    I figure gun people don’t like to think about Jesus.
    They like to think about deadly weapons instead.

    • I love Jesus. I also like to shoot guns. There are plenty of deadly things around, but you’re focused on the gun and your hatred of it. It’s a thing. It exists. It’ll continue to exist, whether you want it to or not. Criminals will use them to initiate crimes, and we, the good guys, may use guns to stop crimes. Hopefully, we never have to. But it sounds like you would rather have us disarmed and become victims of the criminals. Maybe, as the criminal is about to shoot you with his gun, you could wish them away or something. That doesn’t seem very nice to me, that you would leave us defenseless in the face of a brutal criminal act. Doesn’t seem very nice at all.. By the way, there’s nothing inherently bad about guns, any more than there’s anything inherently bad about cars. Or anything else that COULD be used to kill. Nothing…

    • NA,

      I like to think about firearms and Jesus. How much? So much that I put my firearms down yesterday afternoon to take a young person to lunch who was struggling with faith. I took over three hours out of my day (which I would normally have applied to business and/or firearms) to teach someone about History, Archaeology, and the source manuscripts of the Bible … as well as the practical value of faith.

      A healthy relationship with God and ownership/interest/joy in Earthly, man-made objects are not mutually exclusive. Unless someone truly loves their object (whether they are firearms or otherwise) more than God, they are doing nothing wrong.

  22. The police should demonstrate to the public why he is wrong…and arrest him for selling an AK without either an FFL or a background check.

  23. A background check was done by the shop when the firearm was purchased. If the owner wants to sell it to someone disreputable, that’s their personal decision. His theatrics only accomplish putting a spotlight on how Liberals are diametrically opposed to rational thought, along with their hatred for personal freedom, firearms, & everything else guaranteed by the founding fathers.

  24. Not a straw purchase. He bought it legally for himself and can legally sell it 5 minutes later if he wants. Just like many other people do every day. Or have you never been to a gun show?

  25. I had a rousing debate yesterday on FB on a post about this on Tennessee House Democratic Caucus’s page.

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