Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Nonimmigrant Aliens may Legally buy and Posses Firearms in the USA, If:



It has long been known that nonimmigrant aliens may purchase and own firearms  in the United States for hunting or for sporting purposes.

In order to legally purchase firearms from federally licensed dealers, non-resident aliens have to show a legal hunting license or that they "have been admitted" for sporting purposes. The easiest way to obtain a document to allow purchases at gun stores is a hunting license. Some Chinese students in Arizona recently fell afoul of the law by purchasing *resident* hunting licenses when they were not technically eligible to do so.  From azcentral.com:
In recent months, federal and state officials have cited at least eight Chinese students at the University of Arizona for fraudulently obtaining resident hunting licenses, and also seized from them a number of firearms obtained using those licenses.

A high-ranking federal official told the Star his agency has no evidence of “malicious intent” by the eight students. Nevertheless, the purchases reveal what officials say is a potentially troubling vulnerability in federal and Arizona firearms laws, which exempt international students and other non-immigrant visa holders with hunting licenses from prohibitions on gun ownership.
The students had been living in the United States for up to two years when they purchased their resident licenses. This seems to meet the requirement for being "domiciled in this state for at least six consecutive months". In 2010, that would have been sufficient.  From the 2010-11 regulations:
Resident:

A person who has been a bona fide resident of the state of
Arizona for six months immediately preceding the date of application
for a license or a tag or a member of the armed forces who has been
stationed in Arizona for a period of 30 days immediately preceding the
date of application for a license or a tag.
 But another requirement  was added by 2015.
and who does not claim residency for any purpose in any other state or country.
Was the extra requirement added at the suggestion of the federal government?
 
It was this added requirement that tripped up the Chinese student firearm enthusiasts. They were cited for fraudulently obtaining a resident hunting license in Arizona.  If they had obtained a non-resident license, they would have been legal.

States vary considerably in what is required to obtain a resident hunting license. In Iowa, a full time student qualifies.

From iowadnr.gov:
2. Is a full-time student at an accredited educational institution in Iowa and resides in Iowa while attending the educational institution,
Our Chinese students would have been perfectly legal in Iowa. 

The ATF is clear that having a valid hunting license is a lawful exception for nonimmigrant aliens to legally possess firearms. From atf.gov:
May a nonimmigrant alien who has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa possess a firearm or ammunition in the United States?

An alien admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa is prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing a firearm or ammunition unless the alien falls within one of the exceptions provided in 18 U.S.C. 922(y)(2), such as: a valid hunting license or permit, admitted for lawful hunting or sporting purposes, certain official representatives of a foreign government, or a foreign law enforcement officer of a friendly foreign government entering the United States on official law enforcement business.

[18 U.S.C. 922(g)(5)(B) and 922(y)(2); 27 CFR 478.11 and 478.32]
An Arizona non-resident hunting license is $165 per year.  If you are in the USA on a nonimmigrant visa, it is a small price to pay to own a firearm, compared to the enormous costs of owning firearms in most of the rest of the world. But you could purchase a Utah non-resident hunting license. A Utah non-resident 1 year basic hunting license is $65.

Another suggestion for people here on nonimmigrant visas: join a shooting club and compete in competitions. You could do so with borrowed equipment at first. After you decide what you wish to purchase, then use a valid hunting license and copies of your competitions to meet the federal requirements. The law does not limit nonimmigrants to hunting; sporting purposes, which include competitions, are included as well.

I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on the Internets. But a valid hunting license and proof of participation in club competitions should be more than sufficient to meet the federal requirements for legal firearm ownership by nonimmigrant aliens.

 ©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.





1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It seems to me they had established legal residency to purchase a resident license. this is the problem with a Hodge podge of state laws conflicting with federal laws. what is legal in one state is not legal in another state. the second amendment is national reciprocity, if you have a legal right to be here you gain the protection of the second amendment. personally I think any one not a legal citizen is not qualified to exercise any rights, rights come from legal citizenship, there are specific exemptions as in sporting competition or we could never host the Olympics. Exemptions must be extended to people on very limited circumstances. but when state law says you are a resident then that must be recognized until the law is better worded. the students attempted to comply with the laws but how many of them are licensed attorneys? when you have to be an attorney to understand the law the law is bad. I vote not guilty on all counts.

Federal court recently ruled that illegal alien are not entitled to constitutional protections.

Another area of contention is the federal government determines citizenship but the states determine residency. this is not the fault of the students.

We had this problem with hospitals on the Colorado river. some employees worked in California but lived in Arizona. the state of California tried to force dual state car registration. at the time there were 400,000 open hospital jobs in CALIFORNIA. California lost. California HAD TO BE SATIFIED WITH WAGE TAXES.

I WAS LICENSED IN California and Arizona Many hospitals use registry. You work one shift in California and maybe the next shift in Arizona. Working one shift in California should not get your car towed while working. California had to pay many two bills. My credentials were good any where in the world. the federal government wanted import export taxes every time you took your car with you. that didn't last long either.

Now California has tax and spend brown again after 29 years he managed to get back into office again. it took 8 years to get rid of him the first time.