MOSCOW — Some have questioned the legality of a Viola man purchasing an AR-15 from a Caldwell man and then promising to donate the $500 to Family Promise of the Palouse in Moscow.

But Stan Smith, 75, followed private firearm sale rules, according to state and federal laws.

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, any person may sell a firearm to an unlicensed resident of the state where he or she resides as long as he or she does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law.

In this case, both men live in Idaho.

Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson said there is no Idaho law controlling the transfer or sale of firearms.

Latah County Sheriff Richie Skiles said he recommends those who sell a firearm to obtain the buyer’s name and personal information in case that weapon is ever used to commit a crime.

Selling a gun to an out-of-state resident is trickier under federal law, however.

An unlicensed individual is prohibited from transferring a firearm to an individual who does not reside in the state where the transferee resides. Generally, for a person to lawfully transfer a firearm to an unlicensed person who resides out of state, the firearm must be shipped to a Federal Firearms licensee within the recipient’s state of residence. He or she may then receive the firearm from the FFL upon completion of an ATF form and a National Instant Criminal Background Check System check.

Last month, Smith offered $500 to anyone who would surrender their AR-14 or AR-15 rifle to be destroyed and sign a pledge to give that money to a charity of their choice.

Jim Runsvold, of Caldwell, was visiting the area on a hunting trip and gave his AR-15 to Smith. The Daily News previously stated the rifle was an AR-14, but Runsvold confirmed it was an AR-15. If AR-14s are in circulation, they are much less common than AR-15s.

Smith said Runsvold told him to donate the $500 to a charity of Smith’s choice, so Smith chose his favorite Moscow charity — Family Promise of the Palouse, a nonprofit organization that provides shelter to homeless families.

Smith gave the money, which was actually provided by Moscow couple Richard and Janet Shumway, to Family Promise on Wednesday, and he said Runsvold’s rifle will be destroyed soon.

Smith, a former social studies teacher at Moscow High School and current substitute teacher at local schools, said AR-14s and AR-15s have the potential to cause great harm, referencing mass shootings in which AR-15s were used. He said he does not believe the weapons should be in the public’s hands.

Smith told the Daily News last month he is frustrated with politicians not taking action on gun legislation to help prevent mass shootings, so he decided to take matters into his own hands.

He said he plans on holding a public meeting next month at the 1912 Center in Moscow to gauge community members’ interest in what he is doing.

Smith hopes others get involved by purchasing the rifles, destroying them and then giving the money to charity.

Smith can be reached at globalsmithb@gmail.com.

Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to gcabeza@dnews.com.

Recommended for you