Christmas is nearly upon us, and all the last minute shopping is likely rampant in all parts of the country. People are scrambling to get those last minute gifts bought and wrapped, and perhaps you’ve thought about buying someone the gift of a gun.
While this could be a great idea, there are some things you need to consider and a few rules you should follow to make sure you don’t get yourself, or the person you’re giving to, in trouble. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind as you do your last minute shopping that may prevent you from getting jammed up later on down the road:
The gun buyer --
Can you give a gun as a gift? Technically speaking, yes. However, there are a couple of very strict things that you must know in order to do so, to make sure you’re not doing something illegal.
The first thing that you need is to be the actual buyer of the gun. In other words, it has to be YOUR money being used for the gun’s purchase. You cannot be expecting anything in return for the gun, which is commonly known as a straw purchase. The second thing, is that the person cannot be prohibited from owning that firearm in any way. More on this in the next section ...
The gift receiver --
You have to know whether or not the person on the receiving end of the gift is actually allowed to own a firearm to begin with. This includes knowing the local laws of the state where the person resides, as well as making sure the person is not a felon. Taking it a step further, are age requirements that may be prohibitive of certain kinds of firearms for individuals under a certain age.
Buying a gun --
There is a fine line between what’s legal and what may be a straw purchase. The best advice is to not only know the gun laws, but also make sure you understand the difference between what is considered to be a gift, and what may be a straw purchase.
If you’re buying the gun with the intent to resell it to another person, or if that gift is technically somehow being bought by another person, it’s likely to be considered a straw purchase by authorities. However, if you’re buying the gun as a gift and expect nothing in return, it’s actually considered to be a gift.
If it’s the latter, you’re safe in most cases provided you’re following the rest of the laws.
Shipping a gun --
As far as handguns are concerned, they can only be shipped via what’s known as a common carrier like FedEx. Long guns, on the other hand may be shipped by U.S. mail or common carrier.
As a rule of thumb, both handguns and long guns should only be shipped to an FFL dealer so that the person on the receiving end can still go through the appropriate background check.
Another good practice is to check with the carrier to see if any of their rules have changed.
Across state lines --
Buying a gun for someone across state lines will usually bring its own set of struggles with it. If this is the case, the receiver has to go through a background check in their home state. It is technically illegal to bring a gun with you from one state to another with the idea of just handing it to another person. They have to go through a background check in their state.
If shipping it, this means you have to ship the firearm to their local FFL as talked about above so they can go through the transfer process. If this is the case, it’s recommended that you include a note to the FFL with your contact info, the contact info of the other person, and a copy of your state issued ID.
That way, if there are any questions they know who to contact.
Gift Card --
The gift card may be viewed by many as “the easy way out” when it comes to giving a gift. But when you just don’t know what to give, the gift card may be the best thing. It clears your name by allowing the person to pick out her own thing, even if the card doesn’t completely cover the cost.
All of the major big box stores like Cabela’s and Bass Pro have gift cards available, as do most of the smaller mom and pop gun shops you may frequent. And, any of them will be happy to have your business. We don't sell guns be we offer gift cards here at Relentless Tactical.
To play it even safer, is the purchase a debit style gift card with the logo of one of the major credit card manufacturers on it, that way if they don’t want a gun they aren’t forced to spend your money on something they don’t want from a store they’d never shop in.
Buying someone a gun as a gift can be a rewarding thing for both the giver and the receiver, but can be a confusing process to follow correctly. Following the rules will help keep you out of trouble, and the main thing is to know the rules in the state where the receiver lives and follow them exactly. Then again, maybe the easiest thing would be just to follow the ATF’s advice and just give a gift card or certificate, and let that person pick out whatever he or she wants.