Giving Guns as Gifts: National Shooting Sports Foundation Advice

By author of Turkey Blog with Steve Hickoff

Do You Know These Legal and Ethical Rules?

Firearms full of hunting character and experience. Gently nicked wooden stocks and barrels bearing evidence of time afield. Guns passed along from grandparent to parent to young hunters filling the ranks.

New shotguns and rifles too are given as gifts, along with wisdom to use these hunting tools safely. Sons. Daughters. Young hunters and old continuing this tradition.

But do you know all the rules for doing it legally? Ethically? 

© Bill Konway photo, courtesy of ScentLok

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) reminds us that hunters, and yes recreational shooters and gun collectors, need to be aware of rules for gift giving. 

Some questions to ask include: Is the firearm being transferred to someone who lives in your home state? According to the NSSF, there's no federal law prohibiting this kind of exchange. Can that person legally own a gun where they live? 

What some might not know, as noted in the NSSF's recent news release, is: "The following states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington State) and the District of Columbia require you to transfer a firearm through a local firearms retailer so an instant background check will be performed to make sure the recipient is not legally prohibited from owning the gun. Maryland and Pennsylvania require a background check for private party transfer of a handgun. There are exceptions, so it’s important to carefully check the law of your state or ask your local firearms retailer."

Options and Advice

A gift card is one good option. The NSSF suggests, as recommended by the ATF, "Consider using a gift certificate from a firearms retailer near where the recipient lives."

Shipping a firearm can also present some legal challenges and limitations. Depending on the state, transferring a gun must be done with thought and care to do so within the limits of the law.

The good news, is that no matter where you live or who you are giving the gun (or gift card) to, following legal and ethical requirements will still allow you to continue this timeworn tradition in the modern world.

For more NSSF tips on giving guns as gifts go here.

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