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Giving Guns as Gifts: Doing It Right

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A Christmas story with AR 15

If you plan to make a gift of a firearm to a family member, close friend, or relative this season, there are right ways to do that — and some very wrong ways to transfer firearms to loved ones, say Texas & U.S. Law Shield Independent Program Attorneys.

Ownership of a firearm has serious legal implications that other consumer products don’t. So let’s look at some questions you may have about giving a firearm as a gift this holiday season.

Gift Certificates Make the Process Simple

Texas Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Emily Taylor said, “The ATF recommends that if you want to give someone a new firearm, rather than going to a gun store, buying it, and giving it to someone, purchasing a gift certificate from a retailer and giving that as the present makes the process easy.”

“That way,” she said, “the recipient will get the exact gun he or she wants, and there’s no question about who is ‘the actual buyer of the firearm,’ which is a question any purchaser must certify on the Federal Form 4473 at the time of purchase.”

1: Can the Recipient Legally Own a Firearm?

If you decide to go ahead with giving a gun directly to the recipient, you must find out if the intended recipient can legally own a firearm where he or she lives.

“There are more than 20,000 different gun laws on the books, so the kinds of firearms that law-abiding citizens can own vary quite a lot,” said Taylor. Also, she reminded gun givers of a big restriction that many people overlook: Juveniles under the age of 18 generally may not possess a handgun.

Check out the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) website for more details.

army santa

2: Know the Recipient Very Well

Taylor pointed out that gift givers must not ever transfer a firearm to someone they know legally can’t own one. That’s a federal felony, so if your sketchy brother-in-law may be disqualified from owning firearms, don’t take the chance. It’s also worth pointing out that if you even have reasonable cause to believe the recipient can’t legally own a firearm, that’s enough to get the giver prosecuted under the law.

3: In-State Transfers Are Easier

There’s no federal law that prohibits a gift of a firearm to a relative or friend that lives in your home state. Abramski v. United States, a recent Supreme Court decision involving a “straw purchase” of a firearm, did not change the law regarding firearms as gifts.

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, there are a handful of states that currently require in-state firearm transfers to run through a local firearms retailer. This ensures an instant background check will be performed to make sure the recipient is not legally prohibited from owning the gun. This is the law in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington State. Also, the District of Columbia Maryland and Pennsylvania require a background check for private-party transfer of a handgun.

Taylor said, “There are exceptions, so it’s important to carefully check the law of your state, ask your local firearms retailer, or call Independent Program Attorneys in these states to get clarifications on the law.”

4: Getting the Gift There

If you would like to gift a firearm to someone in another state, you may not simply ship handguns or long guns to that person. If you would like to transfer a gun to an individual in another state, this must be accomplished by using Federal Firearms License Dealers as an intermediary between the individual parties.

Carriers vary in the types of firearms they are willing to transport, and in the specific rules they impose. Taylor added, “With all carriers, federal law requires you to declare that your package contains an unloaded firearm. To be safe, always consult your carrier in advance about its regulations for shipping firearms.”

5: Family Transfers of Meaningful Firearms

During the holiday season, many families want to pass down meaningful firearms to the next generation. What if you want to give a family firearm to your son or daughter?

firearm family

Of course you can, Taylor said, but she points out that some states require even inter-family transfers to go through a licensed retailer.

“It’s worth emphasizing,” Taylor said, “that you can never transfer a firearm directly to another person who is a resident of a different state. In that case, you must transfer the firearm through a licensed retailer in the state where the person receiving the gift resides.”

If you do it right, giving someone a hunting rifle, a waterfowling shotgun, a plinking handgun, or many other types of firearms can be rewarding gifts. Just keep in mind there are right ways to make the exchange, and wrong ways. It’s better to know the law and follow it closely so the gift-giving is above board and completely legal. — Texas & U.S. Law Shield Staff

 Emily Taylor is an Independent Program Attorney at Walker & Byington

Gun shops anticipate a busy Black Friday despite Hillary Clinton loss

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Despite many gun owners stocking up prior to the 2016 Presidential Election, firearms retailers still expect a good holiday sales season.


Source: Reuters


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Like most other retailers, gun sellers thrive during the holidays. Last year’s Black Friday featured record activity for a single day, according to Federal background check data. This year, Christmas actually came early for U.S. gun shop owners. Spurred on by fears of a Hillary Clinton victory and the accompanying threat of restrictive gun legislation, U.S gun shop owners had staggering sales in the months prior to the election, but these same retailers may now be hard-pressed to match last year’s record holiday sales (December 2015 was the second busiest month ever, next to December 2012 in the face of an Obama-driven push for more restrictions). Analysts believe that this year’s holiday sales may appear to be floundering due to gun owners having stocked up in anticipation of a possible Clinton presidency. Overall, though, there’s no cause for alarm.

Federal background check data showed that gun retailers had a record October this year, the month preceding the November Presidential Election. As reported last issue, gun store traffic has fallen off substantially since Donald Trump won the presidency. The following day, November 8, shares of Smith & Wesson Holding Corp dropped 15% (but with a rebound this past week), while Sturm Ruger & Company’s stock is 17% lower.

Now, with this year’s Black Friday upon us, gun dealers say traffic is regaining momentum after the post-election drop.

“I’m not expecting it to be any slower than our normal Black Friday,” said Kellie Weeks, owner of Georgia Gun Store in Gainesville: “But if Hillary had won, we would have sold out already…”

History repeats… After Democratic candidate Barack Obama was elected in 2008, November background checks jumped 48% compared to the prior November, according to data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. By comparison, background checks rose a more modest 5% in November 2004 after Republican George W. Bush was re-elected.

The Federal background checks are the best source for factual data on gun sales, which gun manufacturers do not publicly release. This data is refined and relayed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). The NSSF eliminates applications for conceal-carry permits (typically made by people who already own guns) from the data to give a better reflection of actual firearms purchases.

Through October 2016, background checks are up 15% compared to the same time last year, suggesting another a strong year of overall sales.

Wall Street expects Smith & Wesson’s revenue to increase 28% in 2016 and 11% next year, based on data from Thomson Reuters.


Let’s relax a little and go buy the guns that we really want to have, and let’s get back to enjoying that pursuit. It’s a far better feeling to buy something you’ve always wanted rather than something you might not be able to ever get again… So what’s on your Christmas shopping list?

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