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Guns as Gifts

By Rick Vasquez

Have you ever wanted to give someone a firearm as a gift, but you weren’t sure of the legal aspects of the transfer? The issue of giving a firearm as a gift is not as confusing as a person may think. Gifting a firearm is perfectly legal under the Gun Control Act (GCA. However, you must ensure that you follow the proper regulations.

One of the most important aspects of gifting a firearm is to consider if the recipient of the gift may or may not be prohibited from possessing a firearm. If the recipient is your child or a close relative, it would appear that you would know whether the person had ever committed a crime that would prohibit him/her from possessing a firearm. However, when it comes to casual friends and distant relatives, you need to ask that question.

A large portion of firearms gifts are prized possessions or family heirlooms. Many of these firearms will fit in the Curio&Relic (C&R) category or are antique firearms. C&R firearms are categories of firearms over 50 years of age or for some reason have been identified as collectable by ATF. C&R firearms are still regulated under the GCA. Antique firearms are firearms that were made before January 1, 1989, or firearms with antique ignition systems such as flintlocks, matchlocks, percussion caps, etc. Antique firearms are not regulated under Federal statutes and can be possessed by anyone of any age. There are certain states that regulate antiques under state law so you must ensure that if gifting an antique firearm it is lawful in the stat you reside in.

Under federal guidelines, a background check is not required for personal transfers of firearms. They can simply be handed over to the recipient. The requirement for a background check on transfers is only when purchasing a firearm from a licensed firearms dealer. However, in certain states, under state law, all handgun transfers and to some extent all firearms transfers, require the use of a dealer to facilitate these transactions. In those states, even the gift of a firearm to a family...

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