Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Michigan gun stores are pissing me off!

So a couple of months ago, I put a pistol up for sale on Gunbroker. It sat there forever but finally someone bought it. The buyer promptly sent me the money and the FFL of a dealer he wanted it shipped to, Michi-GUN in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. I sent the gun off, thinking that we were all set.

A week later, the gun was back, returned by UPS and marked "refused". A call to Michi-GUN was answered by a woman who told me that they'd sent it back because I, the sender, was not an FFL dealer and "it's the law that we cannot accept guns from anyone who is not an FFL dealer."

Now this is NOT the law. BATFE requires that firearms sold across state lines be received by a holder of a federal firearms license, or FFL. It does NOT have to be shipped by one. But some dealers, in a collaborative effort to cut down on internet sales and transfers of firearms (they'd rather you buy the gun from their store inventory and pay their mark-up), refuse to accept guns sold by private sellers.

Now this is their right as a business and I don't begrudge them that, but when, instead of saying as much and standing by their policy, they LIE and say "the law says...", well that pisses me off. It's insulting being lied to because they obviously think that we're all too stupid or uninformed to know any better. It also speaks volumes about their business ethics. I told the woman as much, and when I asked her for her name, she hung up on me.

Giving it a bit, I called back. This time, a man answered. I asked for the name of the woman who worked there, and he jumped right in and started with: "look, if you're calling about that gun we sent back, we're not allowed to accept guns from anyone who is not a licensed dealer." When I asked him who didn't allow him to, he, like the woman, claimed that it was "the law". I again explained that there was and is no such law and this time he said that it was their policy not to accept guns from individuals because they don't know if the seller is a felon or under-age.

"Again," I explained. "The law doesn't say who you can or cannot buy from. It specifies who you can and cannot sell TO. and that's why you do the NICS check."

"Well we still don't accept guns from non FFL dealers," he responded.

"Fine," I said. "But why lie to me about it and say that it's the law? And by the way, what's your name?"

CLICK! He hung up on me. Without giving his name. Coward.


So I spoke with the buyer of my gun and he gave me the FFL of a second dealer, this one being Peter's Indoor Range and Gun Shop in Roseville. I shipped the gun off again and figured that we were finally done.

I got home today just as Mike, the UPS guy was coming down my driveway. He had a box. The box was this pistol, back again, once more marked "refused".

I called this shop up and was told the same damned thing: "The law doesn't let us accept guns from non-FFL dealers."

I told him that it was not the law, and he came back and asked me how I knew, since I wasn't a dealer. "In the first place," I replied, "You don't have to be a gun dealer to know the law. In the second place, I've been buying and selling guns for years and I know how it works."

"Well it's the law in Michigan," he replied, still trying to win the argument despite a lack of facts in his hand. "You wouldn't know that because you're not a Michigan resident."

"I know that I don't appreciate being lied to," I told him. "If you lie to me about something like this, what else are you willing to lie to me about?"

He didn't respond, but just sat there, dead silence on the phone.

"To hell with it," I told him. "I'm blogging this." Then I hung up on him and wrote this post.

Michigan shooters and gun shoppers, deal with Michi-GUN and Peter's Indoor Range at your peril. If they lie that easily to me over the phone, I doubt that they'll be any less reluctant to lie to you about anything else in person. You may be ok with that but as far as I'm concerned, character counts and I don't do business with liars and cheats. Michi-GUN and Peter's Indoor Range, both of whose staff have shown a willingness to lie, are off my list on subsequent Michigan trips.

And the damned pistol that I've shipped off twice now is still here. Grrrr...

9 comments:

  1. Just a thought . . . . I'd type up a letter of complaint to the BATFE explaining your experience and sharing your frustrations with them lying to you and their customers. Then, I'd send each place a copy of the letter.

    Obviously won't change much but might make you feel a bit better and perhaps send a bit of a a shiver through them as well.

    Just a thought . . . .

    Bill

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  2. LOL, I LIKE eia's idea... :-)

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  3. Heh. You might CC a copy of that letter to the Better Business Bureau, as well. THAT will get the owners' attention! If it doesn't, they don't deserve to be in business.

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  4. A question popped up. Buyer of gun must have (should have) queried gun store regarding FFL service, i.e. receipt of gun on behalf of buyer. A service fee is typical and the FFL agrees to perform the necessary paper work. If the FFL is not going to accept, despite the law, then the gun buyer should be advised of the conditions of service. Seems like maybe your buyer is a bit of a dumbo as well in this transaction.

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  5. Ed, I agree that my buyer is kind of a novice at this. But still, when he goes into a gun shop and they give him a copy of their FFL to mail to me, I would expect that they, the professionals, would explain to him that they will only accept delivery from other FFL professionals. Heck, if it's that big of a deal to them, perhaps it should be spelled out right on the FFL copy that they hand out. In any case, I'm getting tired of shipping and re-shipping this same box.

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  6. A phone call to the FFL in advance might be prudent.

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  7. From what I hear, Cali does the same thing. In addition, they require more crap from the sending ffl, which is why a lot of dealers won't ship to CA now.

    You might consider modifying future auctions to state no sales to CA and MI. Might be a couple other states with problem causing policies. MA and NJ come to mind. Best to research this subject.

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