December 23, 2020

With the Holidays upon us, the tradition of last minute, frenzied gift buying is in full swing. For sport shooters, hunters, and collectors what could be better than receiving a brand new firearm or a family heirloom that is being passed down to a younger generation? Despite our good intentions, there are legal considerations and potential pitfalls to be aware of when gifting firearms.
The first thing to consider is if your recipient is legally permitted to own a firearm in the first place. There are many factors to consider such as age and criminal record so make sure you are familiar with your recipient’s background. The transfer of a firearm to an individual who is not legally permitted to possess a firearm is a federal crime. You must also be familiar with the state and local laws regarding firearm ownership in the location where your recipient resides. There are thousands of laws in the United States restricting firearm ownership based on the type of firearm and who will be owning it — these laws differ from state to state. That being said, it is legal to transfer a firearm that you already own or purchase a new firearm that you intend to give as a gift. The state laws related to transfer of firearms, however, vary considerably. For instance, in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington State, and the District of Columbia you must transfer firearms through a local licensed firearms retailer so an instant background check can be performed to make sure the recipient is not legally prohibited from owning the firearm. Other states have different requirements so be sure to review all applicable laws and regulations before deciding to gift a firearm.
As exciting as it is to watch a loved one unwrap a brand new out-of-the box firearm, there is always the ever-reliable gift card option which is available at most national and local firearm retailers. Not only does this avoid the various legal hurdles described above, it also gives your loved one the opportunity to try out various brands and models before settling on the one that suits them best. Given that firearm sales have broken records this year with 40 to 50% of those customers being first time buyers, a gift card is an even better option for those who are new to the shooting sports. The opportunity to receive guidance and an education from experienced retail sales associates and instructors will set your recipient on the right path towards fulfilling and responsible firearm ownership.
Renzulli Law Firm, LLP wishes everyone a very Happy Holiday season and a healthy New Year.